Friday,Senator Bernie Sanders, (D-VT), Democratic candidate for President, appeared alongside priests, bishops, academics and two South American presidents at a conference at the Vatican to mark the 25th Anniversary of the teachings of Pope John Paul II for social and economic justice. The Pope, though, did not attend the event as he was travelling. The Pope did send his best regards to those who attended the conference. “I have been enormously impressed with Pope Francis speaking out and his visionary views about creating a moral economy, an economy that works for all people, not just the people on top,”
Sanders recalled in his speech, the words of Pope Francis and the disparage of wealth in the world. Sanders said, “as Pope Francis has stated: “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules.” Continuing Senator Sanders recalled that Pope Francis said that “We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” Sanders went on to say that it is his belief that wealth and income inequality is the great political and moral issue of our time, not just in the United States but across the world. They suffer not only from the boom-bust cycles on Wall Street, but from a world economy that puts profits over pollution, oil companies over climate safety, and arms trade over peace.
Sanders spoke of the changes he believes need to happen in the United States for the sake of future generations. The speech was marked by legions of complaints dealing with financial fairness between the rich and poor but the speech was short for answers. In one particular exchange, Sanders stated that, “we have seen on Wall Street that financial fraud became not only the norm but in many ways the new business model. Top bankers have shown no shame for their bad behavior and have made no apologies to the public. The billions and billions of dollars of fines they have paid for financial fraud are just another cost of doing business, another short cut to unjust profits.” But in the end, Sanders gave no answers to the perceived inequalities he believes is a great threat not just to the United States but to the global economy.
One aspect that Sanders hit upon was the effect of global warming and “a world economy that puts profits over pollution, oil companies over climate safety, and arms trade over peace.” Ironic that Senator Sanders spoke on the need to take care of the planet and the effect of pollution on it when he had just flown in on a private jet with only 50 people aboard. According to the Daily Mail, the Sander’s entourage, flew on a chartered Delta 767 which normally seats between 211 and 261 people. According to Boeing the manufacturer of the plane, the 767 carries up to 23,980 gallons of fuel. Also the cost of paying for the rental of such a plane is another troublesome factor when one considers that Senator Sanders’ calls on those who are wealthy to recognize the needs of those without. It is difficult to understand how Senator Sanders can justify his use of a private jet, that normally holds 250 people, and costs in upwards of $200,000 when he is stating that the rich just don’t get it. Looks like they really don’t, Senator Sanders.