Pope Francis blasted the practice of tax cuts for the rich as part of a “structure of sin” and lamented the fact that “billions of dollars” end up in “tax haven accounts” instead of funding “healthcare and education.”
Speaking at the seminar set up by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences the Pope criticized “the richest people” for receiving “repeated tax cuts” in the name of “investment and development.” These “tax haven accounts” impede “the possibility of the dignified and sustained development of all social agents,” claims the Pope.
He added that “the poor increase around us” as poverty is rising around the world. This poverty can be ended if the wealthiest gave more.
“The 50 richest people in the world have an equity equivalent to 2.2 billion dollars. Those fifty people alone could finance the medical care and education of every poor child in the world, whether through taxes, philanthropic initiatives or both. Those fifty people could save millions of lives every year,” the Pope said.
Though Pope Francis believes poverty is a major current issue, something he has spoken about before, he tried to remain hopeful by saying the world’s problems today are “solvable.”
“The main message of hope I want to share with you is precisely this: these are solvable problems, not ones from a lack of resources. There is no determinism that condemns us to universal inequity. Let me repeat: we are not condemned to universal inequity,” he said.
Still, a higher tax rate for wealthier individuals is a popular idea with some parties in both the US and UK, and the gap between rich and poor is certainly widening. A recent Oxfam report indicated the richest one percent of the world’s population has twice as much wealth as the remaining 90 percent, or 6.9 billion people.