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The Pope Says Greed Is Not Good

By       Message Thom Hartmann       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

From commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pope_Francis_Palo_11.jpg: Pope Francis
Pope Francis
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In 1987 the film "Wall Street" summed up the general feeling in Reagan's United States with Gordon Gecko's legendary speech that hinged on one phrase.

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"Greed is Good."

That became the private mantra for vulture capitalists and hedgefund managers through to today -- and it made a catchy case for "trickledown" Reaganomics.

But that film didn't invent the idea -- it just spelled it out.

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Seven years before that film came out -- from the very beginning of the Reagan era -- that idea was applied to every aspect of our society.

Public programs were privatized -- and common resources handed over to private corporations.

Reaganomics -- the idea that greed is good and profits naturally lead to justice and equality for all -- has had a number of dramatic effects on US society.

It's led to the rise of charter schools and for-profit colleges and the decline of public education while student debt has exploded.

It's given us a health-care system that promotes profits over people -- a system where pharmaceutical companies spend more on advertising prescription drugs than on research and development of new and more affordable treatments.

It's led to the rise of for-profit prisons that create profits out of human misery.

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But what Reaganomics didn't create is any shared prosperity.

It has created an unholy amount of wealth -- but that wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few -- while the vast majority of Americans since the Reagan presidency have seen their standard of living decline.

In 1980 -- the richest families only owned about 10 percent of US wealth -- whereas the bottom 90 percent of families possessed about one third of all the wealth in the United States.

But now -- the families in top one hundredth of the 1 percent own nearly as much as the bottom 90 percent of families.

At the beginning of the Reagan era -- homelessness and poverty exploded -- and it didn't decline in any significant way for another 20 years.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 

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