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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 13, 2011 at 9:40 AM

The problem with Occupy

The mainstream media have discovered Occupy Wall Street and similar protests emerging around the U.S. and Canada, including in Seattle. Comparisons are being made with the Tea Party. My prediction: Occupy goes nowhere.

It’s not that the movement’s grievances aren’t just: the political and business elite’s ignoring the unemployment crisis, the banksters that drove the economy into a ditch escaping justice (I’m talking to you, Kerry Killinger), income inequality not seen since the eve of the Great Depression, downward mobility for the middle class, a new Gilded Age. Banks were bailed out. Homeowners were left to drown. CEO compensation is outrageous, even when the CEO is an abject failure. Most Americans’ wages have stagnated.

But Occupy lacks the big corporate and top 1 percent money that backed the Tea Party, as well as Rupert Murdoch’s media machine. The oligarchs like the Tea Party’s opposition to any taxes and regulation. The Occupy platform is anathema to them. Also, the Tea Party was adopted completely by the Republicans, who are highly disciplined and effective. Most Democrats don’t know what to do with Occupy (the oligarchs fund most Dems elected to national office, too). The Democrats can’t even unite behind their president’s jobs bill. Not for nothing did Will Rogers say he wasn’t a member of an organized political party, he was a Democrat.

Sooner or later, Occupy will fizzle. Outside of New York and a few other cities, its numbers of protesters are only in the hundreds (just like the Tea Party’s). Soon these will dwindle and fade. I hope I’m wrong. But Americans have a three-decade history of voting against their economic interests.

Still, no justice, no peace. Occupy may go away, but as long as millions are hurting these kinds of movements will continue. But without an eloquent, charismatic leader to articulate the grievances and show a way forward, without a more informed electorate, the ones from “the left” will be consigned to the margins.

And Don’t Miss: Why Obama’s $30 b. small-business program has flopped || Slate

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Raising Herman Cain

A pizza in every pot

Pizza chain wages

Comments | More in Occupy, Occupy Seattle, Occupy Wall Street

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