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Christopher Hale
Christopher Hale came to FPL after interning at the White House and on Capitol Hill. He is a 2011 graduate of Xavier University, where he studied in the Philosophy, Politics and the Public (PPP) Honors program.

Illinois Group to Governor: Give Up Corporate Tax Loopholes for Lent

February 24, 2012, 3:33 pm | By Christopher Hale

Governor Pat QuiinnEarlier this week IIRON—an Illinois group dedicated to social and economic justice—called on Catholic Governor Patrick Quinn (D) to give up for Lent the over $1.5 billion of “morally corrupt and indefensible” corporate tax loopholes in his proposed budget.

Here’s IIRON’s explanation of the particularly egregious case of a loophole for Sears:

Sears CEO, Lou D’Ambrosio makes a $1 million annual salary plus $6 million in stocks, $2 million in bonuses and he flies around in a private corporate jet. His company received $275 million in tax giveaways from the State of Illinois, money that must be made up by Illinois working taxpayers and clients of its human services. After that huge gift from Illinois taxpayers, Sears demonstrated both its appreciation to Illinois taxpayers and the validity of trickledown economics by firing 100 workers at its Hoffman Estates headquarters and announcing the closure of more than 100 stores.

Unfortunately, Governor Quinn only partially responded to this request—cutting a mere $75 million in corporate tax loopholes. As IIRON noted, this effort is just not enough.

Good on IIRON for holding leaders of all parties accountable when they fail to propose and pass moral budgets. Mr. Quinn and his fellow governors need to know that concerned citizens will not stand by while they push for spending cuts that gut the safety net for the most vulnerable citizens, while leaving unnecessary tax loopholes for the rich untouched.

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Pope Continues Critique of “False Divinity” of Financial Markets

February 17, 2012, 1:00 pm | By Christopher Hale

Golden CalfSince the height of the 2008 financial crisis, one of the most vocal critics of unrestrained capitalism has been Pope Benedict XVI. His 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate (“Love in Truth”) devoted significant attention to the ways in which modern economic systems no longer necessarily align with the common good.

Addressing a group of seminarians in Rome on Wednesday night, Benedict continued his strong critique of marketplace idolatry. According to Vatican Radio, Benedict said that:

“[t]he world of finance, while necessary, no longer represents an instrument that favours our wellbeing or the life of mankind, instead it has become an oppressive power, that almost demands our adoration, mammon, the false divinity that truly dominates the world.”

This critique is particularly timely as Catholic politicians like John Boehner and Paul Ryan fight to block or repeal efforts to reform and regulate the financial markets that caused the economic crisis, such as the Dodd-Frank law that regulates big banks and establishes new protections for consumers.

Correction: This post was originally attributed to Nick Sementelli in error

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