The Pope hasn't been very kind on supply-side economics, which has ruffled a few feathers on Wall St. Not that they really care what goes on in the Vatican, although I'm sure they are bemused by how the Holy See can tolerate a Pope who seems to be lashing out against the Vatican's own enormous wealth. But, it appears for the time being the Pope has become detached from the Vatican, floating on his own cloud as he reaches out to people the world over with simple messages taken directly from the New Testatment, such as,
No man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon -- Matthew 6:24
Words that are not exactly music to everyone's ears, especially the pundits at Fox "News" who have been trying to piece them out without being disrespectful to the Pope. Jon Stewart had a field day with the financial pundits, calling out Stuart Varney and Larry Kudlow on The Daily Show, especially in regard to the ongoing battle over raising the minimum wage.
It would seem that many on Wall St. already view the minimum wage as a yoke around big business' neck. Add Obamacare and you have a weight few businesses feel they can bear, as if their sumptuous lives have come under attack. The odd part is that so many businesses offer well above the minimum wage for entry level employees, including large retailers like Costco and fast food syndicates like In-N-Out Burgers. Not only that but they provide health insurance as well. How can this be?
These successful businesses are glossed over as we hear the financial woes of many other businesses like Darden Restaurants, which owns the popular Olive Garden among many others. McDonalds pays $15 an hour to Australian employees, as well as a full range of benefits, but can't bring itself to pay $11 an hour to US employees unless mandated at the municipal level, as in San Francisco.
McDonalds became the object of protests nationwide recently, and not surprisingly conservatives have launched their attacks on these rebellious picketers, feeling that someone "flipping burgers" is lucky to get the current minimum wage, as if only high school kids work at Mickie D's. As it turns out, only 16 per cent of fast food jobs are held by teens. Over 40 per cent of the workforce have college education, and many are supporting families. Yet, a lot of these persons find themselves stuck at the low rung of the corporate ladder.
Of course, this recent recession impacted a great number of persons, forcing them to downsize both their standards of living and their expectations, but this doesn't compare to the 1.4 billion persons worldwide who are forced to live on one dollar per day.
The Pope is trying to call attention to the abject state so many persons live in around the world, who have little or no hope. One can argue the sincerity of a church that has bathed itself in luxury at the expense of others, but to the Pope's credit he is addressing this issue as well. Whether it will signify a change in the Holy See's role in easing suffering around the world remains to be seen, but the Pope's challenge to global capitalism seems to have been heard.