Wall Street Protests Too Vague For Me


Readers might notice that this will be the first time I address the protestors on Wall Street.  The reason for no coverage on CP is due to the lack of organization or message from these protests.  It is not that their story has not had ample coverage or that their actions have not seen the light of day.  I have been following the protests, but have not been impressed by them.

It is that after weeks of protests I am no more sure of what they stand for, or what policies they hope to create than before this all started.   There are too many disparate interests coming from clearly discontented people that makes the message muddled and confusing.

I know there is anger over the assistance that banks received, and the vast amounts of cash that large companies are sitting on.  I know that U.S. incomes are falling, and the unemployment rate remains too high.

I get those feelings of national angst.

What I do not sense however is the path forward that is supposed to come from these protests.

Whether people know it or not there are some foundations that have to be accepted.  The protesters seem unable to grasp at least two of them.

The TARP funding was an appropriate reaction of our government to the disaster that was looming.  While I am not a rich banker and can understand the needs of middle America during the economic crisis, I truly can not see how anyone can think that a massive injection of money into the financial sector was not prudent, or not know that without such monies things would have been much worse.

I also can not fathom why anyone thinks a large corporation (of which I am hardly ever supportive since they do not pay their fair share in taxes) would ante up money to create more widgets when there is not a nation of consumers at this time to buy them.  Yet when I was listening to some protestors speak this past week from New York that was basically what was desired. 

I am not clear about the goals those who are protesting Wall Street are seeking, and I am not sure they are either.  I very much agree the direction the nation is headed is not where I want it to go.  I get the high degree of angst people feel about a whole series of national concerns.

But at the end of the day I am not at all convinced the protests are the means to create a much-needed dialogue, or the best way to advocate for changes.  Even if the protesters knew which changes they wanted.

8 thoughts on “Wall Street Protests Too Vague For Me

  1. amigay

    I suppose you also missed the point that while TARP money was beneficial, not one person who caused our financial meltdown, requiring the necessity of TARP, has gone to jail? You may have also missed the point that while I am making my last payment for 2010 taxes this month, many corporations have not paid a penny for 2010. So, I get screwed because I am drawing down my retirement money and paying a penalty for early withdrawal and I get screwed because I have to be on a payment plan to pay my taxes thereby also having to pay penalties etc etc, corporations like GE pay nothing.

    NOW DO YOU GET IT?

  2. Many people talk about ‘fair share’ but few define it. Can it be calculated? Yours and my fair share could be calculated by the cost of security, regulation, entitlements, education, etc. How would we calculate the fair share of taxes for corporations? Would we charge all corporations with the cost of the Commerce Department, for example?

    This would be an interesting calculation as roads, other infrastructure, tax exemptions, and subsidies to America’s businesses would be added to that.

    Anybody around here with the brain horsepower and time to figure that out?

  3. I was in Washington D.C. last weekend, and I swung by Freedom Plaza to check out the Occupy D.C. camp. The frustration felt by the protesters over corporate power and the economy is real, and their intentions are noble. However, I left the plaza with doubts about what the Occupy movement can really achieve.

    Protests are great for reviving energy and networking. However, to bring about change, movements need to take concrete, practical action, and that’s not what I’m seeing yet.

  4. Patrick

    Amigay: welcome to the tea party. Many of us share your cencerns that taxes on individuals are too high, that cronycapitalism as demonstrated in TARP and in the tax exemptions to some corporations–but not to others. We, likewise, wonder why none of those bankers who caused the whole mess went to jail.

    We are also concerned that nobody has taken real action to secure the financial future of the nation. We do not believe in the fantasy that extrordinary tax rates on corporations will solve any problem, however. We note that corporaitions are owned for the most part by huge pension funds like those of California and Wisconsin. Taxes imposed on corporations are always paid by consumers and never by the “fat cats” that the poop-baggers in New York imagine. Who cares anyway? There will always be someone to be jealous of. There will always be a 1%.

    Join the Tea Party and work for a flat tax system which eliminates all deductions, loop-holes, or shelters. We need less government spending if we are ever going to solve this problem.

    Again, welcome to common ground, but choose a facet of the movement which can clean up after itself.

  5. amigay

    Patrick, thanks for the invite but if you believe the tea party is the answer, you’ve been tea-bagged a couple times too often.

  6. Hi there,

    I am glad to have stumbled upon this critically engaged post about the New York protests. While I do not agree with a lot of your points, most specifically that the vagueness of the movement’s goals necessarily make the movement itself ineffective, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to actually present your anxieties and uncertainties about the lack of focus and what message that conveys to a very focus-oriented West.

    I’m sharing a quote of yours on my blog and I hope we can continue the conversation and get, as you say, necessary dialogues about national angst in motion.

    thanks again,
    newdaynewmood

  7. Here’s what I’ve proposed the movement stand for…would appreciate input:

    1. The middle class is endangered.

    -We don’t dislike the rich, we just want more of them, and fewer in poverty.

    -Jobs first, not never-ending wars or repealing safeguards and safety nets.

    -Wages should not be taxed at a higher rate than day trading.

    ​2. The system is broken.

    -It must be made easier—not harder—to vote.

    -Transparency is oxygen to Democracy.

    -Life doesn’t begin at incorporation.​

    3. We are here to stay.

    -We are a movement, unchained by and bridging party labels.

    -We don’t endorse candidates; they can endorse us.

    -We are progressives, whose protests are peaceful.

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