Pope Francis has been making members of the Republican Party in the United States a little worried. You see, Francis has been saying a bunch of stuff in criticism of trickle down, supply-side economics.....the idolatry of money.....income and wealth inequality......and outrageous CEO salaries and bonuses.
These criticisms of basic Republican economics....come on the heels of the new Pope's advice to the Catholic Church not to make cultural issues like gay marriage and abortion the central theme of the church.
So...basically...Pope Francis has begun his Popedom by rebuking, indirectly, the GOP policy platform. That's, of course, a good, right and proper thing for the Pope to do. But the Pope's Anti-GOP messaging is causing GOP politicians to get nervous.
“I genuinely believe … supply-side economics does more to help people come out of poverty, move up in the world … but on the other hand, we shouldn’t be dwelling on wealth,” (NY GOP Congressman Peter) King said.
“He’s entitled to his opinion, but I think we should look carefully at what he’s saying,” (Pennsylvania GOP Senator Pat) Toomey said. “It’s easy to draw I think what could be mistaken, superficial conclusions from some of the things that he said..."
“The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina,” (Wisconsin GOP congressman Paul) Ryan said. “They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.”
None of this is a surprise. Even though the Pope has never mentioned the Republican Party of the U.S......his messaging is a total rebuke of Republican economic theory. The Pope's message, in fact, is a total denouncement of Reaganomics, the supply-side, voodoo theory of economics our nation has suffered through these last three decades. Francis has declared Reaganomics a failure without ever mentioning the Gipper.
Today's elected Republicans, like Toomey and Ryan, have every intention of doubling down on lower taxes for the wealthy, fewer regulations on the powerful, and maintaining an 'investor-class-first' economic framework in America. So, GOP push back against the Pope's messaging is to be expected.
I predict that over the next few months Francis will be labeled by conservatives in the U.S. as a 'liberation theology' Pope.....much as the corporatist President Obama was accused early on of following Marxist liberation theology. ElRushbo has already laid the groundwork.
All that being said.....it's Paul Ryan's quote which amuses me the most. “The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina. They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.”
That, my blog friends, is some funny shite.
You want to see an example of genuine USDA Grade Effing-A "crony capitalism"?
"...drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC's Mexican branches and "deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows."
HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), (the) Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank.
That's what "crony capitalism" looks like....in America.....not Argentina. The HBSC story is but one example of an epidemic in the U.S., and other first world nations, of pure crony capitalism. The powerful, rich and connected have a standard of justice applied to them that is entirely unavailable as a standard for the rest of us.
Sell a couple pounds of reefer and get caught.....do time in prison. Launder billions of dollars of known drug loot through your respectable bank.......even to the point of designing and installing custom-made drive through deposit boxes to expedite the illegality......simply write a check and go about your crony capitalism business.
The most offensive characteristic of modern America is the dual-system of justice we've allowed ourselves to accept. Equal justice before the law has been jettisoned in favor of, yes, crony capitalism. Crony capitalism leads directly to a double standard before the law. We've watched this double standard in real time with Big Pharma companies, Big Oil companies and Big Banking companies.
Paul Ryan.....and I'm sure without any intended irony....pushed back against the Pope's evisceration of GOP economic policy by stating that the Pope doesn't even know what free enterprise is because he's from a country plagued by "crony capitalism."
The Stephen Colbert jokes write themselves.
Read the entire Matt Taibbi piece on HSBC here. Gone over the weekend, next post on Monday.