This past week, President Obama met with Pope Francis for the first time and they seemed to really hit it off– famously:
President Obama said of the meeting,
“I would say that the largest bulk of the time was discussing two central concerns of his,” said the President. “One is the issues of the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality. … And then we spent a lot of time talking about the challenges of conflict and how elusive peace is around the world.”
Their physical exchange included:
The president presenting the pontiff with a custom-made seed chest containing a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House garden – a nod to the pope’s decision to open the gardens of his summer residence to the public later this year. The chest was custom-made of leather and reclaimed wood from the Baltimore Basilica, one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the U.S.
The pope offered Obama two medallions and a copy of his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” in which he denounced the global economic system that excludes the poor. “And this, for when you are bored,” the pope said in Spanish as he handed over the book.
“You know, I actually will probably read this when I’m in the Oval Office, when I am deeply frustrated and I am sure it will give me strength and will calm me down,” Obama replied.
“I hope,” the pope responded.
If you recall, Pope Francis has directly condemned the economic philosophy of Right wing conservatives’ views on income inequality and the promotion of structural greed, or trickle-down economics, stating last year,
“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,” Pope 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.”
“I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!” Pope Francis wrote. “It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”
Meanwhile, Right wing nut jobs used the occasion to deflect the truth and substance of the nature of the meeting, lobbing unrelated “LOL” idiot-bombs from the back of the clown car, with Chief Nut Job Rand Paul tweeting out to the giddy delight of terrible, misguided people everywhere,
. @BarackObama to @Pontifex: Forgive me father for I have spied. #NSA
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) March 27, 2014
Back here at home, Vice President Joe Biden was left to his own devices, and, while filling in for the president, used the occasion of the Weekly Presidential Address to continue to promote a raise in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty. But right now a worker earning the federal minimum wage makes about $14,500 a year. And you all know that’s incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on.
Not only would it put more hard-earned money into the pockets of 28 million Americans, moving millions of them out of poverty, it’s also good for business. And let me tell you why.
There’s clear data that shows fair wages generate loyalty of workers to their employers, which has the benefit of increasing productivity and leading to less turn over. It’s really good for the economy as a whole because raising the minimum wage would generate an additional $19 billion in additional income for people who need it the most.
While the illegitimately-appointed right wing activists and corporate lawyers sitting in a majority on the Supreme Court were hearing arguments whether or not corporations, like The Hobby Lobby, are people, who have the right to force their insincere beliefs onto their workers, because the government has no right to interfere in businesses, evidently, or something– the Obama administration is taking giant leaps to walk the talk by expanding healthcare to millions(six million and counting), raising the minimum wage, and even finding the time to please the inconsolable single-issue crowd and so-called Left by rolling back Bush-era surveillance practices.
But some people are serious about their religious beliefs and freedom from religious and economic persecution, and some people ain’t. Some people have much more in common with this pope than others. Can you guess which ones?