I Didn’t Know “Trickle Down Economics” Was in the Ten Commandments.

Pope francis funny

I didn’t know “trickle down economics” was in the Ten Commandments.

I also didn’t know it was in the Sermon on the Mount.

I remember things about “blessed are the poor” and “depart from me I never knew you.” But I missed that “trickle down economics” part. I guess it must be in the part that says that government should transfer the wealth of generations to a few corporatists under the guise of corporate welfare and “privatization.” Or maybe it’s under the demands that economies should only be built on making war and not manufacturing goods, providing for infrastructure and growing the nation.

I dunno.

I read the Bible every day. I read through the Bible — the Catholic Bible, complete with all those books that Martin Luther took out — every year and a half or so. But I don’t remember anything about taking from the poor to give to the rich, or trickle down economics being a requirement for heaven.

I have heard these claims. I heard them just about every single day I spent in the business of legislating. They are part of the wing nut teachings which political nut jobs on the right use to replace the Scriptures. Left wing nut jobs do the same thing, only in reverse.

In the left wing political religion, moral values only apply to economics. Everything else — sexuality, family, basic honesty, even human life itself — are fixed on their own, selfishly-defined constructs. In the right wing political religion, moral values only apply to sexuality, family and, human life — when it fits their vote-getting expedience. Economics is a absolute morality-free zone.

The one thing the right and left wing political religions both agree on is basic honesty. Neither one of them have any use for it at all.

Which leads us to what has become an entertaining stand-off in the United States House of Representatives. 

House Speaker Boehner invited Pope Francis to speak to the House when he visits the US next year. It’s customary when dignitaries come by like this to pass an attaboy resolution and present it to them with suitable legislative fanfare. Nobody takes this resolution stuff all that seriously. It’s just being polite; kind of like offering your neighbor a glass of iced tea when she drops by to say howdy. Neither you nor your neighbor think all that highly of the tea. The only issue would be your rudeness if you didn’t offer it.

In a show of bi-partisanship, the resolution slotted for Pope Francis has both an R and a D as primary co-authors. It congratulates Pope Francis on being elected Pope and compliments him for his “inspirational statements and actions.”

That sounds like plain vanilla do-dah politicking to me. You’d think the resolution would sail through without a comment, that even the pope-hating bozos would chill and keep their mouths shut.

But the true-believers of wing nut political religion can never be underestimated. Their breathtaking self-importance is only exceeded by their equally breathtaking self-righteousness. The pro forma attaboy resolution for Pope Francis’ possible visit to the House may not pass. It will not pass if the true believers of right-wing-nut political religion prevail.

Meanwhile, the Ds are giving the resolution a big huzzah. The party whose national convention booed God is all for Pope Francis as he is defined by their press right now. Their press has edited and parsed Pope Francis into what he is not, which is to say an apologist for laissez faire morality in all areas except economics.

That’s heady stuff for a party that’s been damned and consigned to hell-fire in the public imagination. Pope Francis may not be their cheerleader, but unlike every other pro-life, pro-marriage religio on the planet, he has not washed his hands of them and told them to go to hell. He thinks they’re still people that Christ died for who are in need of salvation. Over 200 Ds jumped on the resolution with co-authorship. They’d co-author the thing twice each, if they could.

The party that claims it speaks for God is all in a pope-hating funk because, as it turns out, he thinks that they are also people that Christ died for who are in need of conversion. They’re not used to being told they need conversion. And they don’t like it.

While anyone can see that the lefty press is twisting statements to lie about the Holy Father, there is no denying that he is laying claim to all those troublesome things Jesus (and the prophets before Him) said about rich men having a tough time getting into heaven and how we all have a responsibility to care for the poor. That’s discombobulating to a party that (1) is corporatist to its core, and (2) has made its vote-getting bones by self-deification.

So, this do-nothing, attaboy, courtesy resolution has become another opportunity for the two political parties to proclaim their own righteousness and teach morality to God. Or, as the case may be, teach morality to the Vicar of Christ.

Rather than just hold their little noses and rise about the stink of their own self-importance, the Rs have used their power as the majority party to sideline the resolution in committee where it is intended to quietly expire. About 19 brave Rs stepped up to co-author. Most of the rest — many of whom are Catholic — have folded their hands and are now studying their shoes.

There are a few convinced and convicted right-wing-nuts who are so apoplectic at the Holy Father’s confrontational attitude toward right wing nut political religion as it concerns economics that they’ve stepped up to set the record straight. They are against the resolution because, they say, “the pope sounds a lot like Obama” (Obama = Satan in their parlance), that he has “denounced trickle down economics” and that he “supports civil marriages.”

In the first place the pope did not say he “supported civil unions.” Go back and read the post about that and see.

But I’m pretty sure, based on dealing with these kinds of birds, that what’s got their feathers in a ruffle is not “civil unions.” They’re on their soapboxes because the pope “denounced trickle down economics.” The reason I say that is twofold. First, it’s what has given well-paid corporatist mouthpieces the temerity to say that the pope is “a marxist,” “following Lenin” and some other thing that’s too stupid to even talk about.

Those media moguls are the corporatist-apologists-without-any-pretense in today’s media. The nut-job Congresspeople are the corporatist-puppet-people-with-loads-of-pretense in elected office. They were beamed into office on a beam of corporate money. They are wholly owned subsidiaries of corporatist thinking and activism. If they weren’t, they’d be pulled and replaced like a bad spark plug.

As for me, I’m not all that alarmed about this resolution thingy. As we say here in Oklahoma, it don’t mean nothin’. The resolution is just a piece of paper with no force of law of any kind. It’s a Congressional attaboy that they hand out to visiting dignitaries and such like gum drops.

Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ. He answers to Our Lord. I doubt very much that he’s going to cry himself to sleep because a bunch of political puppets with delusions of grandeur do not deign to gift him with a meaningless attaboy filled with compliments they clearly do not mean.

It’s entirely possible that the press flurry may embarrass these Congresspeople’s corporatist owners enough that they tell them to go ahead and vote the resolution through and be done with it. If that happens, it’ll slide through and we’ll go on to the next Congressional stupidity. If it doesn’t, no matter.

The beauty of this particular incident is that these folks have demonstrated rather candidly what they are and who they follow. In terms of its impact, the resolution itself is worthless. But in terms of its teaching powers, it’s priceless.

I keep putting this message out there. I’m going to continue putting it out there until it gets through.

Repeat after me: Political parties have nothing to do with righteousness. Political parties are about power; about getting power and keeping power. Everything else they say is a lie.

Do not follow the R or the D.

Follow the whole Gospel of Christ, all of it, including the parts that disagree with your political religion. The simplest and surest way to do that is to follow the teachings of our Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church constantly irritates both the R and the D. If you believe Jesus, you will not agree with either political party most of the time. If you follow Jesus with your life, you will not and cannot follow either political party.

There is one Way. The R and the D are not it.

From The Hill:

A popular piece of legislation that seeks to honor Pope Francis is stuck in Congress.

With time running out on the Capitol Hill calendar, the lawmakers who crafted the bipartisan measure are getting impatient with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The resolution, written by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Pete King (R-N.Y.), congratulates Francis on his March 2013 election and recognizes “his inspirational statements and actions.”

The seemingly innocuous resolution was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which hasn’t acted on it. The panel didn’t comment for this article.

The inaction and the lack of a white smoke signal from Boehner have sparked speculation that politics is at play.

Only 19 of the 221 co-sponsors are Republicans. The dearth of GOP members on the measure could be attributable to assertions that the pope is “too liberal,” according to a Republican backer of the legislation.

The source noted that Francis last year denounced “trickle-down economics.”

Some Republicans believe the pope is “sounding like [President] Obama. [The pope] talks about equality — he actually used the term ‘trickle-down economics,’ which is politically charged,” the GOP official said.

  • Maggie Goff

    Oh, I would love for you and Kevin Williamson to get together. He is the author of this article: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/379954/catholics-against-capitalism-kevin-d-williamson/page/0/1

    • hamiltonr

      Thanks for the link Maggie. I’ll look at it this evening.

  • FW Ken

    I think it’s important to not confuse the goal of a just society with means toward it. Lower tax rates do generate more economic activity, and thus more revenue. Unfortunately, politicians with money generally go on a spending spree.

    OTOH, a more economically equal society tends to be more stable. I’m not talking socialism, but people having what they need to make a home and raise kids. Advertising has convinced us we need to live in huge homes and retire to golf resorts. We need luxury cars and the kids need the latest gadgets to be cool. Plus all the latest fashions from Ross. We need to get back to gospel simplicity. It doesn’t mean having a garden (although I have happy memories of my grandfather and father’s gardens). Does stuff make kids happy?

    I think two factors play into this. One is disparity of income. It’s been noted that the CEO of Costco makes a base salary of some hundreds of thousands (plus stock, I’m sure) compared to the CEO of Walmart, at $17 million or so. Japan, I understand, has strict limits on the ratio of bottom and top level salaries. Whether that is law or a matter of honor, I don’t know.

    We also have tax structures, as well as social expectations (see above) for material success. Which is fine, but a Christian ought to be about home, family, church, and community. How we achieve that is what we should be discussing .

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      “Lower tax rates do generate more economic activity, and thus more revenue. ”

      I have yet to see that proven. I’ve seen data that shows the opposite- that in fact, every major tax decrease on the federal level, has brought a short term recession or depression, going back to the 1890s. All that seems to happen is that the rich get richer and the poor get screwed.

      I’d much rather have stability. It makes it a lot easier to obtain home, family, church and community when you have stability.

      • FW Ken

        Ted, I didn’t go back to the data, but I remember the 60s and the 80s, when tax rates were cut and income – and spending – increased.

        • FW Ken

          Here’s am article that she’s with my point, but to be fair, others don’t. The fact is, taxation is complicated, and my interest is more in the moral aspects than technical.

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikepatton/2012/10/15/do-tax-cuts-increase-government-revenue/

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          I remember the 1980s- when income increased for New York City and Washington DC and decreased for all the rural areas. The tax breaks hit the rich quite nicely, but the rising tide sunk the leaky boats and family farms started to disappear even faster.

          Which is exactly what happened in 1896, 1903, 1929, 1963, 1984, 1992, 2001, and 2007.

          Trickle down economics is great if you are already wealthy and need the tax break. If you are cash poor, land rich, and barely scraping by from year to year, it ain’t so great.

      • AnneG

        What Ken said is correct. High taxes don’t help anyone, especially the poor. The government takes in less and businesses look to move or lower their liabilities. Unemployment goes up, too, when the rich pay more.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    “Follow the whole Gospel of Christ, all of it, including the parts that disagree with your political religion. ”

    ESPECIALLY the parts that disagree with your political religion.

  • peggy-o

    I’m sure Pope Francis will have more important things to say and more productive places to be. Was in Memphis this weekend and our family visited the Loraine motel where MLK was killed, now a civil rights museum. His peers noted that Dr. King was a marked man once he stood up to economic injustice. How many leaders today would willingly sacrifice their lives for others. I cried and prayed there…for an end to sacrificing and hurting the lives of others. Our Holy Father speaks for Christ…many politicians are greedy goats in sheeps clothing.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Economic justice means free markets NOT stealing from those who work and giving Obama phones to those who won’t work.

      • peggy-o

        I think it’s more comprehensive. Don’t know about phones but am familiar with Jesus talk on the corporal works of mercy in Mathew 25 where he will seperate sheeps from goats. He didn’t offer exceptions based on political affiliation. We all have free will. We can insult and ignore the Lazarus at our door or maybe kick the partisan politics to the curb and actually work together to solve these problems equitably.

        • AnneG

          I don’t think she’s saying ignore the poor and the needy. We seriously try to be generous and thoughtful. But, giving stuff away does not help those who need something other than stuff.
          For example, if a good education that teaches the basics well is what is needed, what is wrong with vouchers for any school the parents want to send their kids to?
          Those are moral issues affected by political decisions. That is the problem, is it not?

          • peggy-o

            Thanks. There are differing but constructive ideas out there but it seems like we won’t get too far if we blame the other political party or the poor. I suppose we are all influenced by our experiences. I work very hard and the economic injustices I see tend to be by those abusing their power not people who don’t want to work. I think Dr. King and Pope Francis have keen insight in these areas and Rebecca as well. I’m unaware of the phone thing but if Onama wants everyone to have one it’s probably so the NSA can spy more… Bad joke.

  • AnneG

    Btw, what is translated as “trickle down economics is not what we in the US understand as the pejorative from the Reagan years. It is a southern cone, Spanish term, badly translated.

  • oregon nurse

    A healthy middle-class is the only thing that keeps a society functioning well. Our corporate, financial, and political policies have been undoing that in a big way since Reagan. Expecting greedy people to share their increased wealth with others through job creation is laughable when they have the opportunity to make money off of money in the global financial markets without producing a single job or tangible thing. The wealthy have just taken to amassing wealth and holding on to it.

    A country needs to produce the things it buys and it’s citizens need to be able to afford to buy the things it produces. That means a large and stable employed middle class, not outsourcing every job we can to the countries with the lowest paid workers so owners, execs, and shareholders can make a higher profit.

    • AnneG

      I agree that a healthy middle class is important. A little story about what happened to the “middle class.” Kaiser Steel used to manufacture steel in the US. It was a union shop. Things improved, changed, developed until every well-paid, middle class worker made a very good living with outstanding benefits including a minimum 5 week vacation every year, up to a 13 week vacation every 3 years, completely paid. That equals 1/3 of your workforce on paid leave at all times, meaning they had 1/3 too many employees. A company cannot make money that way. Kaiser is now in the mediocre health care business.
      The economy of the US is no longer local, it is global, just like every other country’s economy, so you have to adapt, learn new skills. My brother in law had to learn to do new things which he did not want to do. That’s his choice but you cannot expect to do anything like your dad did them.
      Part of the problem is involvement of the public sector, poor education, low expectations, crony capitalism that give taxpayer funds to friends for “green energy” that then go broke. How about the influence by huge, green donors who want to shut down US coal production while building coal mines and coal fired plants in other parts of the world, govt regulation about use of public land and energy production that benefit “friends of the administration.”
      The Kaiser example came from the Reagan era, but it ain’t all Rs. Most of the rest are committed Ds or go both ways.
      It isn’t as simple as you think, Oregon nurse. You might be interested in Thomas Sowell’s book, Basic Economics. Very eye-opening.

  • mochalite

    Great article … Really sorry I know about this though. Pathetic Congresscritters.


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