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Saturday, May 21, 2016

“Living on the blood of the people”

Pope Francis is no fan of Walmart or of McDonalds, or really of many American companies. 

In a powerful mass at the Vatican, he called companies that exploit workers “bloodsuckers” and the people who work there, “slaves.” 

He also said the employers were committing a mortal sin.

During mass at the Vatican, he told a story about a girl who found a job working 11 hours a day for 650 euros ($729) a month, paid “under the table”.

“This is starving the people with their work for my own profit! Living on the blood of the people. And this is a mortal sin,” he said at the service in his Santa Marta residence.

“Without a pension, without health care … then they suspend (the contract), and in July and August (the workers) have to eat air. And in September, they laugh at you about it. Those who do that are true bloodsuckers.” Source: Reuters ($1 = 0.8919 euros)

It’s hard to read those words without imagining that the Pope is speaking directly to Americans. 

The United States is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t offer universal healthcare. 

Fewer than half of Americans have a pension or even a 401(k). Only about half of employers offer any sort of retirement plan.

Before Ronald Reagan, it was standard for companies to offer pensions and even health insurance. 

Then, 401(k)’s which are a gift to Wall Street, came along, and pensions went away as some employers chose to offer nothing at all.

Not only does this make the companies “bloodsuckers,” it’s a bad business move, at least for companies that value their employees. 

Because people aren’t tied to their jobs with pensions, they are leaving them. The average turnover rate is about 40 percent a year.

Now, we know how hard Republicans fight against basic health care for all. 

We also know how hard they fight against a living wage, but we hear little about pensions, unless it’s about companies stealing pensions from their employees. 

The Pope didn’t mention that “bloodsucking” tactic. 

The fact is, though, that Republicans don’t like pensions any more than they like healthcare or paid time off. 

They are doing their best to end them, whether it be public pensions or through destroying unions. Remind me, who are the Christians here?

Author Wendy Gittleson is one of the luckiest people on the planet. She actually gets to make a living out of two of her greatest passions, writing and politics. When she's not writing, she's hiking with her dogs, riding her bike or cooking a great meal with her friends or loved one. Follow Wendy on Facebook,