Monday, November 7, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party need to work together

Yes, that's right. What we need is some form of collaboration between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party. That seems to me to be the best way--perhaps the only way--to have a good chance of fixing the status quo of dysfunctional partisan politics.

At first glance, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party seem like the Hatfields and the McCoys--no way would they ever work together. But they actually have quite a lot in common. Both are vehemently against the status quo. Both argue that the American people are being screwed over by a small minority of powerful people at the top. Both have widespread popular support. And in my view, both of their main points are extremely valid.

For the Occupiers, the enemy is the so called "1 percent," Wall Street in particular. For the Tea Party, the enemy is a different 1 percent: politicians and lobbyists and their ilk. They're both kind of right. Wall Street took lots of foolish risks that led to the 2008 financial crisis--but did so in large part because government gave them huge incentives to do just that. The government gave Wall Street massive bailouts and refuses to pass meaningful financial regulation, in large part because so many people in Congress and in the Obama cabinet are either bankrolled by Wall Street or former Wall Street employees.

Unfortunately, both movements have a tendency to go off the deep end as well. Occupiers tend to view government as the solution to the problem rather than a co-conspirator in the plot. In an era where trust in the government is as low as during Vietnam and Watergate, calls for more government are not going to be well-received by the majority of the people. Besides, given the government played a big part in causing the problem, more government will almost certainly make things worse. The Occupy movement also tends to have a negative view of business in general, also counterproductive during an unemployment crisis.

On the other hand, I am baffled and a bit disturbed by how often GOP candidates have railed against the so-called "47% of Americans who don't pay taxes," and by the continued support for Cain's 9-9-9 plan even though analysis has shown it will raise taxes significantly on lower-income people. I don't really know how much this is attributable to the Tea Party, but given the significant Tea Party influence in recent GOP politics, and the popularity of the 9-9-9 plan among GOP voters, I have to think there is a connection. Calling for more taxes on the poor is an almost surefire way to turn off large swaths of American voters. For two years I made less than $14,000, which put me among those despised 47% who paid no federal income tax. But payroll tax and sales tax still ate up about 7-8% of my income. That's quite a bit.

I really think that the Occupy movement and the Tea Party could find a common cause and become a considerable force for real reform in Washington that limits the power of both government and their Wall Street cronies. Given the polarized partisan nature of politics today, though, it probably won't happen.


  1. "...raising taxes on the poor"?? I don't recall the TEA party (Taxed Enough Already) or the GOP calling for ANY increase in taxes. In fact, the argument with the Democrats has been just the opposite. The Dems want to raise taxes (income and other) and the TEA party wants to cut spending and reduce taxes. Even Herman Cain has recently tried to tweak his plan to exempt people under $22k in order not to raise taxes on the poor.
    I do think you are correct that both the TEA party and the OWS crowd want an end to crony capitalism. However, in the last few weeks the OWS crowd has gotten very radical and now openly say they want to end all capitalism.

  2. I edited the post slightly and provided a link. Even if people under $22k are exempted, those making $22-60k will see a significant tax increase under Cain's plan.

    As for the OWS crowd--I guess the sane protesters needed to get back to work or get on with their lives, so only the radicals are left.

  3. We will never work with those OWS people. They hate Capitalism, and Freedom, and want to be handed a living. At the tea party we want freedom and the chance for everybody to make it with a safety net just for those who can't. The Occupy folks also hate Jews.

  4. Tea party protesting for over 2 years: Arrests 0, Rapes 0, Cost to taxpayer =0

    OWS Days protesting = 40 days, Arrests 2,511, Rapes 4, Cost to taxpayer so far $2,500,000

  5. NYP) — Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park battened down the hatches yesterday in early October snow but the close quarters also made easy pickings for predators.

    A sex fiend barged into a woman’s tent and sexually assaulted her at around 6 a.m., said protesters, who chased him from the park.

    “Pervert! Pervert! Get the f—k out!” said vigilante Occupiers, who never bothered to call the cops.

    “They were shining flashlights in his face and yelling at him to leave,” said a woman who called herself Leslie, but refused to give her real name.

    She said that weeks earlier another woman was raped.

    “We don’t tell anyone,” she said. “We handle it internally. I said too much already.”

    Really? She said too much already? To whom? Who is stuffing socks into the mouths of women in these Occupy Wall Street Protests? This is an outrage!

    What the hell is this all about? Do you mean to tell me, that these liberals, these OWS and the Democrat Party who clearly stand with them, are telling women to put up with rape and sexual assault, do not go to the cops, and take it and like it, or else?

    “We don’t tell anyone,” implies there are more of these stories. “We handle it internally,” implies that there will be no investigations or rape kits, or emergency room visits. Am I to understand that liberal women are to put out and shut up? “I said too much already,” implies she feels pressure to be quiet on the topic.

    So you disgusting liberals, you are telling the American People that the new way for American women to behave is to take it and like it.

    This is so filthy and vile and disgusting to me, and on top of everything else the OWS filthy protestors stand for with the Democrat Party right in there with them, this kind of putrid demoralization of women has no place in American society.

  6. Wow, glad your back.

  7. Certainly, I'm not condoning the actions of some OWS protesters. In fact, I criticized them in an earlier post. Telling women to keep quiet about rape is absolutely appalling (I say this as a friend of a rape survivor).

    And I'm sure that some of them are radicals who want to end capitalism. But all I'm saying is that with regard to crony capitalism and the bonus-bailout culture of Wall Street, I think they have a point, and those who want reform in Washington (including the Tea Party) should listen to that message.

  8. One of the worst examples of crony capitalism today is a company that use to be considered the best managed example of real capitalism - GE. All these crony deals, including GE and Solyndra,Wind Capital, Celgard, LightSquared and others depend on BIG Government. The Wall St. bonus/bailout culture also could not exist without BIG Government. The Tea Party is fundamentally against big government. Unfortunately the OWS want to fix the problem with a "better" form of Big G. that THEY will run. It's just like all new utopians, they think they will get socialism right this time - then before you know it another 10 million people are dead. Crony deals could not exist if we kept markets free and with government's role pared back to reasonable regulation, and without the power to pick winner and cronies.