Sunday, February 12, 2012
Occupy Wall Street: Half Right
It would be unfair the speak of an Occupy Wall Street platform, because it is a diverse, decentralized movement, with more opinions than members. But, there are some commonly held beliefs of the protesters, which can roughly be divided into two categories: freedom from undue corporate influence in political life and an expansion of entitlements. I share the former set of grievances; tax payer funded government bailouts of politically connected corporations forced us to reckon with the extent to which powerful financial interests and their lobbyists control national policy. But, the protesters who believe that this an example of a "free market gone amok" are painfully mistaken, the socialization of private, corporate loss is a toxic examples of excessive government intervention in the economy. But, rather than simply protest the bailout of reckless Wall Street firms, a notable segment of protesters declare that bailouts and entitlements should be vastly expanded. They call for "free" education, including the forgiveness of all billions in student debt, "free" health care, "free" transportation and the creation of 25 million jobs via a New Deal Style program. They fail to see the inherent moral and economic hazards in a system that usurps wealth from one sector to subsidize another. And the more obvious question that eludes them is: "What part of broke don't you understand?" A nation already buried in debt cannot expand the largess of the state, it must embark on the path of austerity.