Pope Francis or Bernie Sanders?

Who said it, Pope Francis or Bernie Sanders?

“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 naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the socialized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

“What you see with trickle-down economics is that from 1982 to the present increasingly the beneficiaries of economic recovery are the top 1%.  Right now you’re seeing the most extreme numbers where virtually all the benefit is going to the top 1%….  Trickle-down economic theory which says we need to give large tax breaks to the rich and to corporations, and we need more deregulation just like we deregulated Wall Street, that makes no sense at all.  Trickle-down economics is totally discredited.  It’s not just a theory.  In reality it has failed.”

“Climate change is the greatest threat facing the planet.  The debate is over.  The scientific community is virtually unanimous: climate change is real.  Climate change is caused by human activity.  We need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into sustainable energy.  Our task is clear.  We need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.  If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.”

“An unfettered pursuit of money rules.  THe service of the common good is left behind.  Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, and it sets people against one another and as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.”

“Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.”

“We are moving toward an oligarchic form of society, where the billionaires will control the economy and the political life of this country.”

“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 2 points?”

Answers: Francis, Sanders, Sanders, Francis, Francis, Sanders, Sanders, Francis.

Of course, this little pop quiz is not intended really to trick anyone (after all, Sanders tends to speak of “this country” and “America” while the Pope is focused more globally).  But it is intended to draw some parallels in some of the rhetoric between the pontiff and one of the leading presidential candidates.

Meanwhile, the right-wing continues to live by Christianity a la carte where they can cherry-pick the Bible and blithely ignore admonitions to help the poor, and admonitions for economic justice, as my colleague Ken Downey repeatedly points out.  Some Christian leaders speak out against the rising tide of oligarchies in the world, and some “Christian” leaders will sell you buckets of survivalist pizza for a premium.

-Robert Gross