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Pope Francis, Bernie Bro

Illustration for article titled Pope Francis, Bernie Bro
Photo: Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP (Getty Images)

Pope Francis spoke out against trickle-down economics on Saturday, writing in an official papal declaration that the economic structure only leads to vast inequality.

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The declaration, known as an encyclical, addressed the subject of “human fraternity,” according to Reuters, and the pope concluded that such harmony is impossible so long as a system that favors the rich remains in place.

The pandemic, he said, has made this abundantly clear: “There were those who would have had us believe that freedom of the market was sufficient to keep everything secure (after the pandemic hit),” he wrote.

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The pope said the 2008 recession had been an opportunity to rethink this economic model, which promotes tax cuts and benefits for the rich based on the belief that those benefits will eventually “trickle-down” to the rest of society. But instead, governments’ response to the financial crisis only “increased freedom for the truly powerful, who always find a way to escape unscathed.” Trickle-down economics, Pope Francis continued, persists as “the dogma of neoliberal faith.”

But it’s not too late! The pope said there’s still time to redistribute the wealth of the global elite and “administer it for the good of all.”

Sound familiar??

Pope Francis has decried trickle-down economics before, saying that conservatives’ unflagging defense of the economic theory has “never been confirmed by the facts.” But it’s a disavowal worth restating over and over again, especially given all that we know about the rich getting richer during a pandemic that has devastated the middle and working classes.

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Still, there’s some irony to the pope’s statements on wealth inequality. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church used an “unprecedented exemption from federal rules” to collect as much as $3.5 billion in coronavirus relief funds, a portion of which reportedly went to dealing with the financial fallout of sexual abuse allegations among the clergy.

If the pope is looking for some wealth to redistribute, the church is as good a place as any to start.

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at Vice, The Nation, Gothamist, The Awl, and more.

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DISCUSSION

straightoutofpangaea
The Thugnificent Pangaean

For the sake of all that’s profitably exploitive, don’t tell any US evangelical that OG Rabbi Ieshua Bin’ Yusef was into to healing the poor (without money), feeding the masses, and organizing his followers to live in a feed-everybody soshulist commune.

/s

Bravo for the Pope just repeating what’s already in the Bible.

Nowadays, if you can convince people that literally all they need to do is “accept Jesus as their personal savior” to be good, holy, Christian people, you’re going to get a lot of people who are convinced they are good, holy, Christian people. Those same folks also behave in ways that explicitly fly in the face of the teachings of Jesus...

Particularly without all the works, love, charity , fellowship, and the required community of the early church. You know, uplifting all mankind.

Very few evangelicals have ever read the whole Bible. Just the selected passages fed to them by the pastor at their megachurch. Heck, I grew up in a church where the pastor knowingly descaled our bus ministry form the poorer part of town - where the church originally started.

Now think about how much of US leadership, especially now, emphasize helping the poor without a tax cut to the top 1%.