Time out from the history of the Church to address a contemporary issue affecting the larger society as we prepare to choose leadership: I am a historian. My degree is not in Church history, but simply in history. I studied at a secular university and while I took courses oriented towards giving me the skills I need for the history of the Church, there is nothing “Catholic” or “religious” about my degree. As I often joke, in my time at the university, I had one Catholic professor for one course and that course was the History of Islam. All this is said to make the point that I am not a theologian but a historian and as a historian I have insights into the field of economics. I want to make an observation about the state of our economy.
Too much money is concentrated in the hands of too few people who use it to make more money rather than to feed it into the consumer economy where it can create employment that will in turn spread the wealth across a wider and healthier base. This has not begun under the current administration but is the result of the economic policies of Presidents Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush, inclusive of the Democrat Bill Clinton. I am not commenting on the merits of the various presidents, simply on an economic policy that was initially termed “trickle down economics” but which has led to the disproportionate concentration of wealth in the hands of a small percentage of the general population and which has been disastrous for the Middle Class. As one of my siblings said to me several years ago “I have never made so much money and had so little.”
Whatever choices we make in the upcoming election we need to focus on re-growing the Middle Class if we want a strong United States and indeed an economically healthy world where harmony among its peoples is a realistic possibility.