Brummett on Wall Street Occupiers

Below is a portion of an article by John Brummett published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and my response to it.

Speaking for the occupiers

By John Brummett

…But it seems to me that, while they surely vary, these occupiers don’t necessarily protest anybody’s greed. That’s a personal flaw. Nor do they protest anyone’s success. That’s a personal victory.

Instead they rise against unfair and destructive governmental policy that inordinately favors the already-rich at the expense of everyone else, thus fashioning and exacerbating an unhealthy, unsustainable and undemocratic gap between the rich few and the other many.

How big a gap is too big? If the gap is bigger than it would be naturally, essentially and inevitably without political favoritism and artificial political enhancement—that’s when it is too big.

By wealth-favoring political practices and public policies, I cite:

Across-the-board tax cuts that lavish the richest with most of the manna.

Concessions to a global economy by which American corporations pay no price for abandoning American workers and by which corporations are judged by a stock price or dividend instead of local community responsibility. Many of our job losses result from a pattern by which corporations secure themselves against another American economic meltdown by hoarding record profits generated in partnership with compliant, moneyaddicted politicians.

An incestuous Washington culture in which you can hardly tell the elected politicians from the corporate policy advocates. The only thing voters accomplished by defeating Blanche Lincoln was to make her more money and perhaps more influential. Now she spouts her banal platitudes for pay from the National Association of Independent Business.

Campaign finance laws that enable the richest and the corporations to remain anonymous as they contribute unrestricted sums to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or other propagandizing front groups inundating us with cynical mailers and television advertising to perpetuate the pro-rich government.

Generally speaking, the occupiers’ complaint is not that there are spectacularly rich people in America. It is that some among these richest people can ruin the nation’s economy with irresponsible wagering on a scheme drawn from inflated American home mortgages. It is that these offenders can then get bailed out by the rest of us via the government, which permitted and even encouraged the abuse in the first place. It is that these offenders can then enjoy the government’s blessing as they traipse right back into their big-bonus bonanzas. It is that regular people, mere innocent pawns, find themselves paying the real price—foreclosed on and laid off.

It becomes tactically essential to the perpetuation of these pro-rich policies to miscast this uprising by portraying it in political terms as irresponsible poor people warring resentfully against noble rich people. So “class warfare” becomes the right wing’s hollow and dishonest charge.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Email him at jbrummett@arkansasonline.com and read his blog at brummett.arkansasonline.com.

This article was published November 15, 2011 at 5:25 a.m.

I think that unlike the Tea Party which is focused on just a full issues, the Occupy Wall Street crowd really is not sure about what direction is heading yet. Nevertheless, there are some statements and actions of their members that I would like to comment on.
 
First,  I wonder how peaceful this movement is. Jim Lendall is one of the organizers and back in April he stood on the steps of the state capitol at a “Make Them Pay Rally” and called for erecting guillotines and placing them in front of corporations like Bank of America to remind these business leaders that the rich leaders of the French government of the 1700’s were beheaded during the French Revolution because of their greed. Also the downtown branch of Bank of America reported that a large brick was thrown into a glass window near the first floor entrance of the bank.
 
Second, how big is this movement compared to conservative movements? Every year I take part in the “March for Life” which is a pro-life march that takes place every January. Last January we had over 5000 marchers, but the Occupy Little Rock March had only 300 marchers.
 
Third, both the Occupy Little Rock crowd and the Tea Party both are mad that the bailout was available because of cronyism. This is one area that I have in agreement with the Occupy Little Rock group, but we must take the next step. The Tea Party has done that by discouraging the larger role the federal government has been taking in recent years by controlling our lives with increases spending. The Tea Party has correctly condemned the federal deficit spending of the politicians in Washington D.C. as the primary problem. The Occupy Little Rock crowd never mentions that issue because their answer is to spend more money. If the USA is to avoid the fate of Greece.  Why does the federal government think it has the money to bail out anybody?
 
Fourth, the Occupy Little Rock crowd thinks we need more regulations and taxes on the big bad corporations.  There are two points here. If we raise taxes on those corporations then they will raise their prices on their products and we end up paying the higher prices at the retail stores. Also more regulations will hurt upstarts like Steve Jobs who started as a poor teenager in a garage with an idea. Steve Jobs later grew his company to over  350 billion dollars in sales and the  company  made a lot of money for lots of Americans who worked for him. Furthermore,  Steve Jobs also provided various products to the public that changed life for billions across the globe. Is that the type of progress that the Occupy Little Rock crowd is opposing?
 
Fifth, the Occupy Little Rock crowd talks about the system in our country that punishes the poor and helps the rich, but the facts clearly show that  the ability to move from poor to rich is more abundant here than any other country in the world.  Just consider Steve Jobs who was mentioned in the point above.
 
I have enjoyed Mr. Brummett’s articles, and they are very good at engaging the main issues of our day from the liberal perspective. As a conservative his articles have always challenged me to be able to defend my own views. His praise of the Occupy Little Rock crowd overlooks the fact that their answer is to tax the “rich” more, but  once the government is through with the rich then they come looking for you and me. I am not happy about them trying to occupy my wallet more than do now.  
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