Pope Francis calls out big banks

Nicole Sara Sivens
May 18, 2018
11 min read
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Here are three things people are talking about in the markets this week.

The pope himself calls out derivatives

Income inequality is a priority concern for Pope Francis, who has made humility a distinguishing feature of his papacy – you can spot him cruising around Rome in his old Ford Focus (for real). As such, he has some thoughts on unbridled global capitalism.

Read all about it on Bloomberg.

What this means for you: When the pope tells you you’re wrong, listen. While not infallible, the Vatican's pronouncement is considered official teachings of the Catholic Church and could affect the attitude of the church's 1.2 billion members. Perhaps a more ethical bend is on the horizon for big banks?

Capitalism 101

We all know the rules: When the economy strengthens, labor markets tighten, then wages rise. But there’s an important part missing. Higher wages are rarely handed out from on high, you gotta go get them. Teachers in Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all got raises through protest. These states have had healthy economic growth, btw.

Read more on AZCentral.

What this means for you: Speak up. The 2017 GOP tax reform law rested on the belief that raising corporate after-tax profits would give corporations wiggle room to raise wages and keep profits steady. Instead, the tax breaks allowed managers to buy stocks back from investors, causing stocks to go higher and wages to languish.

Farm bill out

The farm bill is generally known to be the biggest safety net for millions of farmers across the country. But it also includes the Supplemental Nutrition Program — known as SNAP or food stamps. Last year, 40 million people used the program, totaling about $70 billion in spending.

The president seeks strict work requirements for people who receive those benefits — a plan Democrats reject.

Read all the details at NPR.

What this means for you: If you’re one of the many millions of people who rely on SNAP, relax for now. The current farm law expires at the end of September. If you don’t like the way it goes, remember that when it’s time for your local elections.

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