I knew it would only be a matter of time before Pope Francis would come under heavy assault by conservative forces here in the U.S. It was inevitable.
It was only a few months ago that Francis shocked Republican leaders and corporate media in the U.S. with his skewering of supply-side economics.....
Francis had a similar message to the World Economic Forum in January and in his apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel." That document, which denounced trickle-down economic theories as unproven and naive, provoked criticism in the U.S. that he was Marxist.
As I wrote at the time, conservative media figures in the U.S. were hesitant to pull a Benghazi on Francis after he condemned conservative economic ideology for the rank failure and deceptive sleight of hand that it is. But because the Pope was new and the number of Catholic voters in the U.S. rather large, those conservative priests of the voodoo refrained from trashing the papa.
But there is only so much that pimps for oligarchs can put up with. It seems that the same religious leader who exposed supply-side economics for the voodoo that it is.....has dared now to utter the R word.....redistribution. Here is the Pope's most recent "controversial" directive in it's context....
"...equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level. A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society."
The words, "A contribution to this equitable development will also be made by.....the legitimate redistribution of economci benefits by the State.....".....is a bridge too far for the media arm of the Republican Party. Here's the executive vice-president and executive editor of Fox News....
By appearing to sanction what amounts to forced redistribution, Francis grievously exceeded his authority and became what amounts to a robe-wearing politician. He also exposed his Church, one of the wealthiest institutions in the world, to inevitable charges of hypocrisy. And he put himself in a position of having to back up his frothy talk with ruinous action.
Perhaps a new House Select Committee is in order.
Mr. Conservative, yesterday.....
"...the pope is demanding that the United Nations somehow use it's influence to get member states to redistribute wealth. That's Marxism. That's socialism."
And what would a screed against the Pope's truth-telling be without Limbaugh lies?....
"But trickle-down economic theories are proven, they are not naive, they happen to work, and it is the essence of economic growth. Trickle-down is exactly what happens in a vibrant economy."
The attacks of Francis by conservatives will only increase now that the Pope has dared to encourage redistribution. There will also be many more conservative responses trying to parse the words of Francis....attempting to explain how he doesn't really mean the words that he speaks. Responses like this one.
But the truth of the matter is that the Pope is correct about the need for redistribution.
After all, conservatives forces actually favor redistribution themselves and have worked for decades in the U.S. to accomplish their redistributive goals: redistributing profits and productivity gains out of the hands of average workers and into the hands of a tiny group of wildly wealthy owners. And conservative efforts to redistribute income and wealth upline into the accounts of only a few....have worked.
Our nation's income and wealth disparity gaps now rival those seen in the last Gilded Age. Our minimum wage is lower than it was in 1969. While the top 1% have made gains during the great recession of the last few years, the 99% in America have seen their incomes drop.
While I agree with Francis that there is a moral reason to redistribute income and wealth.....I'm more interested in the pragmatic reason to redistribute. Any one who has participated in a multi-level marketing program, or knows how those types of programs work, realizes that the way for those at the top to increase their riches is for the lower level program participants to prosper.
No, I'm not saying that American capitalism is a pyramid program, but it works like one...and particularly so these last 35 years. The numbers do not lie.
So redistributing income and wealth to the masses participating in the U.S. economy, through higher wages, sharing productivity gains and profits, increases in Social Security, or direct government subsidies to the not-wildly-wealthy is the PRACTICAL solution to our stagnant economy.
Lack-of-consumer-demand is the number one drag on our economic recovery. Conservative economic forces avoid discussion of this demand-side problem like it's the plague....but 6 years after the Bankster Heist, consumer demand is still the primary culprit holding back growth.
The way to increase consumer demand is to pay average workers more money. That process should begin with a significant increase in the minimum wage. The way you know for sure that Republicans and conservatives in America prefer fairy tales of voodoo for the sake of the 1% over practical, workable solutions to egregious income disparity is to recognize that Senate Republicans roadblocked a minimum wage increase and Tea House members refuse to even take a minimum wage measure up.
Yes, Pope Francis is telling the truth about redistribution.....and he's talking directly to conservatives. That's why conservatives will not hold back any longer in their open criticism of the religious icon.
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