A bumper sticker said “I work so that someone on welfare doesn’t.” No, I work to support captains of finance who make costly problems for everybody else, threatening their jobs, their homes and the food on the table. What the titans of finance caused doesn’t compare with what little the rest of us can do to affect the economy.
Ten percent of us are out of work, losing homes, facing real personal tragedy. But tea party goers scream “fiscal discipline,” fire more people, fire state workers, make business more competitive, fire more corporate employees. The remedy for unemployment is to fire people. What a great remedy. These are hard times so let’s make it worse!
The Occupy Wall Street movement is a breadth of fresh air. They’re pointing to the insanity and to the institutions harboring the real culprits. They refuse to be taken in by the claims that business and finance will be responsible now. Those on Wall Street who understood what was going to happen were systematically ignored. Financial institutions have not been responsible, and have done everything possible to avoid rules that would restrict profits made by fleecing the rest of us. Financial incentives have become short term; if there’s a deluge later, well, they’ve got theirs.
So doing what the American press requires, the Occupiers are out on the streets with signs, placards, tents. How dangerous those tents are. They might keep people warm. They must be dangerous because Governor Andrew’s so scared he sent in the State Police to arrest these dangerous people. Never mind the First Amendment or the right to speak peacefully in public. He’s scared those banners and tents will expose his pandering to the wrong wing, the apologists for the greed of the financial titans and the scourge of honest workers trying to keep house and hearth together. The Occupiers expose his complicity in the class war of wealth against the mass of decent Americans.
There is an effort to organize the local occupiers so they can drive the primary battles in upcoming congressional elections to restore sanity to American politics. Hallelujah.
You don’t create jobs by making them disappear. You don’t strengthen the economy by refusing to invest in the infrastructure that keeps the economy moving. You don’t strengthen the economy by turning it into a riverboat where the cardsharks can fleece everyone else without adding any value to the economy.
Many cheers, and many votes, for the Occupiers, for those with the courage to endure arrest for their convictions, and to stand up for the right of free speech – a right which is never popular with officials who have every interest at stake except the people’s.
— This commentary was broadcast on WAMC Northeast Report, November 15, 2011.