The “Occupy Wall Street” protests in New York and similar ones springing up around the country have given the mainstream media great joy and have provided a grateful Obama administration with much-needed distraction from the country’s continuing economic woes. We are provided with breathless coverage of the events, but actual reporting on what their point or aims are is scanty, vague, often downright silly.
“Wall Street can’t you see we want a fair economy,” reads a sign in New York. In Tampa, a student explains “We’re not here to protest a single act, or a politician or media outlet, we’re here to protest inequities and people at the top deciding what we get.” A sign there reads “Being greedy is not the key to goodness.” Meanwhile out in California, “Occupy Sacramento” organizer Anthony Bondi informed a local TV station that there was a “message team” that was working on primary goals that were “kind of vague” at the moment. The reporter asked, “So you guys are in the process of forming the reasons why you are here?” Bondi replied, “Exactly correct!” These are surely the same kids whose hearts leapt for joy upon hearing candidate Obama proclaim, “We are the change we’ve been waiting for!”
You would be well-justified in identifying most of the participants in these events as students or labor union representatives, with students of elite New York universities such as Columbia and NYU marching about with signs labeling themselves “the 99%.” I saw a news clip in which one young man replied to the Viet Nam era exhortation – Get a job! – with an indignant, “I have one. I’m a student.” I got the distinct impression that the biggest part of his grievance was that he wasn’t getting paid for it, but he didn’t actually say so, as his predecessors from the ‘60’s often did.
President Obama took the opportunity to make several of his trademark muddled remarks. “I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works,” he said, and on another occasion, “They are frustrated by it and will continue to be frustrated by it until they get a sense that everyone is playing by the same rules.”
Obama is right in sensing frustration out there, and hopeful that he might deflect it elsewhere, a tough job since he and a heavily Democratic Congress bailed out the banks in the first place. The obvious should also be pointed out, that the denizens of Wall Street and those occupying corporate bank offices high off the street are political hermaphrodites and gladly contribute heavily to both of the parties. They support Obama and he supports them.
Their contribution to “wrecking the world’s financial system” consisted in following the orders of Washington by issuing bad mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, so that poor people might own homes. The private banks were fine with that since the government banks, Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac, stood behind the loans and bought them up. This, apparently, is what we are supposed to be indignant about, as “corporate greed.”
Complicating and worsening the current predicament of the U.S., is our financial system’s exposure to the looming failure of European banks who have financed the debt of various Euro-socialist countries which cannot be repaid. The root of these nations’ problems are a welfare state and parasitic public sector which are no longer affordable. Greece is the worst offender, with Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland not far behind.
Obama is betting his reelection on conservative opposition to another half-trillion dollars in stimulus, which he represents as somehow spurring job creation now, unlike the original near-trillion sitting on the debit side of the government’s books. The example of the European PIIGS somehow escapes him.