By Julian Pecquet - 11/27/13 10:12 AM EST
Pope Francis stepped squarely into the U.S. debate over tax reform this week, slamming conservatives' cherished “trickle-down” economic theory as a scam.
Since his inauguration earlier this year, the Argentinian-born pope has championed a renewed focus on combating poverty and inequality. In a 50,000-word papal statement released Tuesday, he warned that the “idolatry of money” in today's secular culture could lead to a “new tyranny,” The Washington Post reports.
“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,” Francis wrote. “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.”
Trickle-down economics, which is usually used pejoratively, refers to the idea that tax breaks for the wealthy would help society as a whole by improving the economy. The theory is closely associated with President Reagan's “supply-side” economic policies.
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