Congress should heed the Pope to rectify budget woes

December 15, 2013 

Heed Pope

to rectify

budget woes

Pope Francis recently observed: "Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape." (Apostolic Exhortation Avangelli Gaudium, paragraph 53)

And: "The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile... is defenseless before the interests of a deified market..." (Ibid. paragraph 56)

The recent budget deal emanating from Washington unfortunately perpetuates the oppression observed by Pope Francis (despite the fact that the Democrats managed to stave off deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid). Because of Republican insistence, corporate welfare via tax loopholes will continue under the budget deal, while the long-term unemployed are left to starve due to capitulation by the Democrats.

No Robin Hood tax on stock transactions that could raise billions of dollars for programs to help Americans. No $15 minimum wage that would begin to make life bearable for millions of people. No Civilian Conservation Corp. type public works program that could immediately put millions of people to work as was done during the FDR's New Deal. Six members of the Walton family will continue to have more wealth than 49 million American families.

A tax-the-rich people's budget in the spirit of the Pope's Exhortation has been proposed by 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Unfortunately they are not a majority in Congress. Defeat of the Tea Party (whose populist demagogy runs interference for the rich and powerful) and the Republicans is a necessary first step to rectify the economic realities observed by the Pope.

Robert Phillipoff

Bradenton

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