Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What the Occupy Movement is all about

Fifty percent of American workers earned under $26,364 in 2010.  Those making $1 million-plus skyrocketed more than 18 percent from 2009.  These are figures from the Social Security Administration, and the reason why people have taken to the streets to protest this economic inequity.  The Occupy Movement focuses on the individual, as compared to the Tea Party, which, although individually inspired, makes its case for less government, thus less regulation, thus more corporate greed.

Some of those TPers on TV don’t look like fat-cats to me so you might wonder if they are following a cause, or just have a radical conservative ring in their nose.  I vote for the latter.  When a movement openly admits it would rather shut down the government than give any ground in negotiation, that’s clearly a bunch of nutcase renegades that are out of control and anti-American.  Do these twits know that compensation for the CEOs of the country’s largest corporations is up 28 percent in 2011, while those at the bottom still struggle desperately?

The Economist says that the rage of the populists against government surpasses that toward Wall Street.  With the infrastructure of American business and government crumbling like it is, it almost mirrors the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.  In studying the Occupy Movement, the magazine says: “Populist anger, especially if it has no coherent agenda, can go anywhere in times of want.”  It mentions the 1930s as one example, but most recently, the Tea Party.

The number of Americans with jobs fell again last year with 5.2 million less jobs than in 2007 when the deep recession began.  According to the Census Bureau, 5 percent of national income has moved from the middle class to the most-wealthy households.  Who can blame the Occupiers if all they want is to balance the act by simply getting a job, having something to eat, and providing a roof over their heads.  This isn’t anarchy, this is survival. 

Forbes magazine says the Occupy protesters are at the wrong place.  Instead of Wall Street, where not one “bankster” is in the top ten paid CEOs, they should be camped outside companies like health-care systems provider McKesson or others sure to benefit from health reform like ExpressScripts and United Health Group.  Their CEOs are expected to earn $131 million, $51.5 million and $48.8 million respectively.


Then there’s Ralph Lauren of Polo at $66.7 million, Michael Fascitelli from Vornado Realty at $64.4 million and Bob Iger of Walt Disney raking in $53.3 million.  One you might have expected to be in the highest ranks of paid executives in the world actually came in at basement bargain rates.  That’s Big Oil chief Rex Tillerson who heads ExxonMobile who makes a paltry $13.9 million.  So what we find here is more economic inequity, even within the ranks of the millionaires.  Poor baby.

In European countries like Britain and France the Social Democrats have found bashing the banker and the wealthy too good to resist, according to The Economist.  They’re looking at tariffs and a supertax on the rich the magazine questions as possibly making things worse.  President Obama’s current situation is given as an example.

And if austerity always goes along with protest as TE states, are we in for yet more tightening of government purse strings and economic inequity?  Or is this all simply a part of the far-right conservatives’ plan to eliminate government control completely and set up an autocratic system?  Should that happen, will all the Occupy demonstrators simply go home or are we in for something much worse?

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