Prudent financial and investment management is crucial to the success of any corporate enterprise. Thoughtful CEOs know they must conduct their business lives with the knowledge that they stand under the watchful eye of God. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “Every economic decision has a moral consequence.”
Legatus has long emphasized that as business leaders, we must employ the culture of life in our organizations. We know that even among fellow Catholics, the horrors of abortion are often not taken seriously. Unfortunately, our world seems to be backsliding on abortion, the greatest evil of our time. Sadly and shamefully, today’s Democratic party is pushing acceptance of mass atrocities — some even endorsing barbaric infanticide. (God help us!) Planned Parenthood is defending that crime. Any clear-thinking person is repulsed by the idea that some newborn lives are worth less than others, since each baby is created in the image and likeness of God. I am ashamed and frustrated with ‘proabortion Catholics.’
In my new book, In God We Trust: Morally Responsible Investing, I elaborate on how odd it is that even as the U.S. economy has prospered from pro-growth policies like taxrate cuts and deregulation, there exists a rising tide of sympathy for socialism among leftist politicians and young people.
When it comes to capitalism vs. socialism, anyone with common sense knows socialism doesn’t work. Wherever it’s been tried worldwide it always hurts the ones it’s supposed to help. Socialism always increases poverty, eliminates incentives, hurts productivity, increases corruption, destroys the economy, and destroys the well-being of its citizens. It’s exasperating to hear these newly minted naïve congresswomen (and men) proposing silly policies, which if implemented, would significantly reduce prosperity for everyone. Capitalism obviously creates job opportunities and incentives, and it has lifted billions of people out of poverty. Capitalism also creates wealth and philanthropy, both of which result from private-sector success. One of my favorite quotes from President Ronald Reagan is, “Socialism can only work in two places, heaven where they don’t need it, and hell where they already have it.”
At my firm, we’re strong believers in the merits of democracy and free-market capitalism. We are also highly focused on the culture of life. Indeed, it is our mission. Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc. manages five pro-life mutual funds, which comprise the largest family of Catholic mutual funds in the country — Ave Maria Mutual Funds. Our world-class Catholic Advisory Board, made up of individuals well known to Legatus members, have asked my team of analysts and portfolio managers to screen out from each portfolio companies that support abortion and pornography. In doing so, we invest in exceptionally well-managed companies that often have long histories of success in growing their sales, earnings, and dividends in a morally responsible way. In addition, each company must have a strong financial position and prospects for continued success. Tom Monaghan asked my firm to undertake this mission 18 years ago and since then we have has been blessed to attract 100,000+ pro-life shareholders to our mutual fund complex. We’ve grown dramatically, and today manage over $2.3 billion in assets in the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, all of which are invested in a morally responsible way, i.e., no companies supporting abortion or pornography.
The culture of life should and must be a priority for every Legate.
GEORGE P. SCHWARTZ, CFA is chairman and chief executive officer of Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc., the investment adviser to the Ave Maria Mutual Funds. He is a member of the Ann Arbor Chapter, and author of three books including his newest, entitled In God We Trust: Morally Responsible Investing