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Pope’s speech hits nail on head

“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” asked Pope Francis in a speech in November when he attacked trickle-down economics and sharply criticized growing inequality and unfettered markets.

Other questions of “How can it be that?”

1. Millions of children go hungry in the “richest country” in the world, and yet House Republicans propose to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps, by $40 billion dollars over the next 10 years?

2. House Speaker John Boehner, a multimillionaire who has voted more than 40 times with fellow Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and shut down the government at a cost of $24 billion, has now signed up for coverage through He complained about his $449 a month premium for an individual plan, 70 percent of which is paid by taxpayers. Many Republican representatives from Wisconsin who voted for repeal have signed up for the ACA, including Paul Ryan.

3. Millions of people declare bankruptcy because of health care costs. One of my closest friends, a certified public accountant, spent every penny he had saved and died destitute because he got sick. Tens of thousands die each year of treatable diseases because they do not have insurance.

4. John Paulson, a hedge-fund manager, can earn billions a year trading paper but the fast food worker who works like crazy standing on his or her feet for hours a day isn’t worthy of a “survival wage” or a full-time job?

5. Teachers and school staff die protecting their students while a man with a high-powered rifle and high-capacity magazine fills them and the children with bullets to the point where some of the children were unrecognizable.

6. Over 30,000 people have died since Dec. 14, 2012, by gun violence — many of them children. Many more are traumatized by gun violence each year to the point where students in Chicago run to school in the streets hoping the vehicles will protect them from gunfire, according to National Public Radio.

The pastor at the church I attend said in his prayer, “I am ticked off.” He was speaking of the injustices of this world — a child with stage 4 cancer and the suffering all around us.

We should all be “ticked off” and vow to do what we can to bring about change.

As Pope Francis stated, “Meanwhile the excluded are still waiting.”