"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality,"
"Such an economy kills," wrote Pope Francis, denouncing the current economic system as "unjust at its roots" and one "which defend(s) the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation." Such a system, he warned, is creating a "new tyranny," which "unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules."
Conservative Leader Rush Limbaugh called the Pope's words "pure Marxism". I know, shocker, right?
But Stuart Varney, toady-host for Fox Business and a capitalist's capitalist, recognized what political group in America the Pope was criticizing with such clarity....
“I go to church to save my soul,” Varney said. “It’s got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.”
"specific political system"......that would be the political system which relentlessly advocates for lower taxes and regulations on wealthy folks. And that political system in the U.S. is the Republican Party political system. The trickle downers whom Francis criticized mercilessly in his encyclical.
I give credit to Varney for recognizing that the Pope was specifically criticizing the economic policies of the GOP in America. Limbaugh, the clown entertainer that he is, could only muster name-calling Francis as a communist.....even though Limbaugh knew exactly who the Pope was referring to.
"an economy of exclusion and inequality"......Francis clearly couples income and wealth inequality with trickle down economic policies. That connection, while barely whispered in the U.S., has been at the root of growing American poverty, unemployment and income and wealth disparity statistics for at least the last three decades.
The concept of trickle down, or supply side economics, holds that if a free society eternally lowers taxes on the rich few.....those freed rich few will prosper and that prosperity will "trickle down" to the not-rich masses in the form of new jobs and higher pay, etc. All boats get lifted.
What trickle down policies actually accomplish is another matter altogether. Tax rates on the wealthy have been slashed in half over the last 30 years.....and yet....American workers' wages have flatlined over that same period. Income and wealth disparity gaps during our 30 year romance with GOP economics have literally become obscene. Supply side economics, trickle down economics, voodoo economics.....have been a miserable and cruel failure.
Despite that miserable failure.....the supply side fairytale believers are, right now, pushing for tax relief for poor put upon corporate profits.
One option, which has support in the business community, is for tax writers to at least move ahead on corporate tax reform — where Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) laid some groundwork.
Record corporate profits, record stock index highs, record income and wealth disparity gaps, three decades of flatlined worker wages.....mean that corporations should get a tax cut. That "thinking" is exactly what Pope Francis criticized so scathingly.
Trickle down....supply side economics.....is not so much an economic policy as it is a ruse, a trick. It is a messaging tool of the Republican Party......but it is a "phony gospel", so to speak....because it doesn't work as advertised, and never has.
I have noticed that elected Republicans have been slow to respond to the words of Francis. Criticizing what the Pope wrote won't work politically for Republicans....for obvious reasons. For now, the conservative response will most likely be limited to conservative hate-media talkers.
But if I were a Democrat running for office, I would pin the words of Francis to every Republican opponent. The midterm election question.....THE question....should be...'do you agree with the pontiff about trickle down economics?'
After all.....Republicans have not hesitated to link Catholicism's opposition to Obamacare's mandatory birth control provision to their own policy of destroying Obamacare root and branch.
To restore a robust American economy which doesn't simply reward only a rich few.....the trickle down provisions embedded in our current laws must be reversed. That won't be easy.
Americans can begin to reverse the cruel, inhumane effects of supply side economic warfare being waged against them by removing elected Republicans in next year's midterm election. It's the best democratic avenue for communicating "thou shalt not."
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