Pope: Pandemic shows ‘trickle-down’ economic policies don’t work

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Pope Francis said on Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic shows that “trickle-down” economic policies don’t work.

The pope signed an 86-page encyclical on human fraternity on Saturday in Assisi, in which he criticized trickle-down economics, Reuters reported

Trickle-down economics is a conservative theory that suggests tax breaks and other incentives for the rich and businesses will benefit the entire society, by leading to more investment and job creation. 

“There were those who would have had us believe that freedom of the market was sufficient to keep everything secure (after the pandemic hit),” the pope said.

Pope Francis condemned the economic policy, calling it “this dogma of neo-liberal faith” that resorts to  “the magic theories of ‘spillover’ or ‘trickle’ … as the only solution to societal problems.”

He said he instead promotes a theory that “makes it possible for jobs to be created and not cut,” according to Reuters. 

The pope labeled the Great Recession crisis as a missed opportunity for economic change, saying it ended up creating “increased freedom for the truly powerful, who always find a way to escape unscathed.” He said society has to confront “the destructive effects of the empire of money.”

Pope Francis advocated for redistribution of wealth to help the poor and “administer it for the good of all.” But he added he was “certainly not proposing an authoritarian and abstract universalism.”

The encyclical also delved into other topics like fraternity, immigration, the wealth gap, economic and social injustices, health care imbalances and political polarization.  

Pope Francis has denounced trickle-down economics in the past calling it a scam in 2013.  

“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 in 2013. 

“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,” he continued.

The coronavirus pandemic has rocked economies around the world as Johns Hopkins University has recorded more 34.9 million confirmed infections and more than 1 million deaths worldwide. 

Tags Catholic Economics Encyclical Free market Pope Pope Francis Redistribution of wealth Trickle-down economics Wealth gap

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