Pope Francis politely says trickle-down economics is a lie

Pope Francis condemned trickle-down economics and the world of inequality and exclusion it fosters in the first apostolic exhortation of his papacy:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.”

Many of the pontiff’s criticisms of trickle-down economics are true of the American experience. The policies that began with Ronald Reagan have not benefited middle and working class Americans, while deregulation spawned a reckless financial system that nearly destroyed the financial industry in a historic recession — a recession in which the most affluent have rebounded from far more easily than other Americans. Three decades of high-income tax cuts have proven equally ineffective. The Bush tax cuts aided the wealthy but did not reach the middle and lower classes as promised, resulting instead in “the worst wage and salary growth and total compensation growth of any postwar economic expansion.” In short, the wealth never trickled down…

The exclusion of the poor: Pope Francis noted that economies grounded on the relentless, selfish pursuit of wealth lead to the marginalization of the poor. The belief that only the fittest survive leads to the exclusion of those that fail to thrive. Francis asked, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points..?”

The growing inequality gap: Francis condemned the global economic system that has seen the very few profit while so many fall further behind: “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few.”

In the United States, income inequality is at levels not seen since the Great Depression. And whether it’s billionaire Charles Koch advocating for the elimination of the minimum wage or mammoth banks bemoaning regulation, the apostles of trickle-down economics have, in Francis’ words, rejected “the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control.”

The new idolatry: The blame for society’s ills, according to Francis, goes back to worshipping profits. “The worship of the ancient golden calf…has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose,” he wrote. “The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”

I must wonder how long this new pope will be allowed to follow this very Christian course. I remember Willard Uphaus saying there is nothing wrong with old-time religion – if it’s old-time enough. Relevent here in a nation where those who wrap themselves in the fundamentalist mantle demonstrate care and concern for souls – and crap for human comfort, human progress, human rights.

It’s been a bit over 50 years since the last time a pope tried to reboot the Roman Catholic church. Pope John XXIII released Pacem en Terris in April 1963 – calling for establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty. It was considered such a radical document that at least one bookstore [in Texas, yes] was raided and all copies of the encyclical along with other subversive tracts were confiscated.

John died, soon after publication. He was replaced. His efforts ignored.

7 thoughts on “Pope Francis politely says trickle-down economics is a lie

  1. moss says:

    Sure as shooting you can give John Boehner and Congressional Republicans their due for wanting to cut food stamps. They couldn’t care less about the working poor of America. As long as they can keep them from voting, our neo-Confederates are a happy lot.

  2. Doug Daniel says:

    To a large extent, however loudly fundamentalists proclaim their doctrinal purity, many in effect have compromised their faith by the worship of a false god– the free market, which is assigned all sorts of unrealistic powers and attributes (“it levels the playing field! It provides equality of opportunity! It maximizes freedom! It lifts all boats!”). As Francis says, such assertions are not supported by evidence.

    The pope is getting a great deal of good press in my section of the country, but you have to wonder what forces are aligning against him in a church hierarchy which has been intentionally packed with conservatives since John XXIII.

    • Doug Daniel says:

      I should read the whole article before posting– idolatry is exactly what Francis is talking about. It’s just that, coming out of that culture, I know how loudly fundamentalists proclaim their adherence to a pure faith, while they seem to be unaware that falsehood and error have crept in.

  3. Alfred Parodi says:

    Just another socialist wanting every one to be the same. that statue in New York harbor is the statue of Liberty and not equality. Personal responsibility is what we need. If it were not for the largess of the rich , there would be no charities to help the poor. they support the eradication of disease also and support the arts. they do not hoard their money. they make it work for everyone. I my self volunteer at a thrift store six day a week and our funds go to help at risk youth.
    what have all the so called poor done for everyone else. with all the government handouts the poor are dong better than the working person.
    And just what does the P{ope know about the economy. Take a look at the wealth of the catholic church. It is probably the richest entity on the face of this earth.

    • keaneo says:

      So out of touch with reality. So, divorced from reason, logic, history, economics. You sound like you’ve lasted a long time without learning anything; so, I won’t waste any time pointing out the silliness of of your assumptions.

      I think anyone who regularly wanders by through Eid’s personal blog is knowledgeable enough to simply step back and recognize the sad little political corner you live in Alfredo.

      Used to like your cigars when I used to smoke, though. 🙂

  4. Cures Obese-Riches (@Cures_Riches) says:

    It’s battle of the fat bald morally retarded chicken pig misogynist assholes pushing competitive non-pertinent bullshit out of their head…
    Maybe someone should point out to the Pope that there is A guy called Silvio Berlusconi just in case he’s never heard of him…. I don’t think I’m being too sarcastic…

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