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Friday Five: Conservative Responses to Pope Francis and a Prescription for Foreign Aid

Every Friday, we bring you the best ideas from our blog and around the web. This week’s collection includes conservative responses to the Pope’s denouncement of capitalism, a prescription for philanthropic aid and more.

Back to Work: Despite the somewhat optimistic November jobs report, AEI scholar Michael Strain, writing for The Weekly Standard, considers a conservative response to the serious—and still existent—problem of long-term unemployment.

Why, then, are the long-term unemployed finding it so hard to get a job? Simply put, the labor market has yet to heal. Aggregate demand is still weak. The 7.3 percent unemployment rate is quite high. The share of the population aged 25 to 54 with jobs fell by a staggering 4.9 percentage points during the recession, and has recovered only 0.6 percentage points of that loss. The ratio of unemployed workers to job openings has fallen to 2.9 from its July 2009 peak of 6.7, but it is still considerably higher than its pre-recession average.

Miracle in Mooresville: How one school district defied the odds: AEI’s Education Policy team tells the story of how a once underachieving school district with a staggering racial achievement gap and poor graduation rates has been extraordinarily transformed.

Africa’s Aid Mess: In an article for Barron’s, Paul Theroux discusses the nearly two centuries of failed aid efforts in Africa and offers an alternative prescription for making philanthropy more effective.

Never have so many people, so many agencies, so many stratagems, so much money been deployed to improve Africa—and yet the majority of the movers are part-timers, merely dropping in, setting up a scheme in the much-mocked “the-safari-that-does-good” manner, then returning to their real lives, as hard-charging businessmen, Hollywood actors, benevolent billionaires, atoning ex-politicians, MacArthur geniuses, or rock stars in funny hats.

Harvard Poll: Millennials ‘Mugged by Reality’ on Obamacare: Citing a recent poll by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, Josh Good discusses the grim reality that Millennials are beginning to face. Ironically, this may bode well for our country’s future.

Harvard Poll

Pope Francis & Capitalism: Are We Overreacting?: Elise Amyx at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics encapsulates several conservative responses to the Pope’s denouncement of capitalism and adds some commentary of her own.

I don’t excuse the Pope’s denunciation of capitalism. Since he’s so passionate about the Christian duty to care for the poor, I wish he saw the potential of free markets and enterprise in lifting whole nations out of poverty. But while pointing this out is important, Pethokoukis has a point. Let’s tackle his critique of capitalism charitably, while at the same time striving to lift up the truth that lies beneath the sticky semantics and misguided economics of “Evangelli Gaudium”: the joy of the Gospel.