I keep hearing talking heads act dumbfounded by the current Occupy Wall Street protests/sit-ins. Really? Is it truly that much of a mystery?
Some of the nit picking is due to the lack of a simple, easily packaged mission statement that will fit in a headline. After all, that's the only thing most news shows and pundit parades have time for. They want a one sentence description they can wrap their pea brains around so they can then pontificate.
You want to know what it's all about? Try this little exercise. Google (or Bing, if you like) US unemployment statistics for the last few years. National deficit estimates, mortgage foreclosure statistics and personal bankruptcies for the last year, just as a start. After you've spent a little time with those happy articles, search for US corporate earnings, middle class earnings of the last decade and earnings of the top few percent over the same period. Does anything strike you as strange about all this? Notice a trend?
Well, it sure seems odd to me and the crowds of people meeting for the Occupy Wall Street protests! It's odd that many of the companies who caused the economy to implode, and were then bailed out by American taxpayers, are doing great! Earnings as high or higher than before they mugged the economy and bonuses hitting record levels. Now compare that to the financial status of the bulk of Americans.
What are they protesting? They, and I, are watching as the top tier is slowly sucking dry the real engine of the economy, the middle class. We see a financial system guilty of massive greed and corruption yet, with few exceptions, puttering along as if nothing happened. What are the Occupy protesters looking for? How about Justice for those who don't make 6 or 7 figure salaries? How about making those who do take responsibility for their actions? Or is that too much to ask?
2011-10-30: Matt Taibbi has a good piece on this subject over at Rolling Stone. I encourage you to give it a read.