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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

There has been a growing movement in the US lately that calls itself the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement and just now the media has been finally covering them.  According to the group's website, they are "a horizontally organized resistance movement employing the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to restore democracy in America."  This is a pretty bland and general mission statement and in fact the group has been heavily criticized among many media members and politicians as not having a clear message which is the single biggest thing hurting them at the moment.  Right now the group has multiple messages and opinions of disgust at the current state of affairs in America politics and the economy.  They are against the big corporations and the tax breaks they receive. They are against the bank bailouts.  They are disappointed in the high unemployment numbers that exist in this country and that number of jobs that are being shipped overseas.  They are sick and tired of the wealthiest Americans not paying an equal percentage of taxes as the middle and lower income class families do.  There are a bunch of different opinions and messages from these people that I feel most Americans can identify with.

So why is it that so many members in the media (looking at you Fox News) and politicians are so quick to dismiss this group as a bunch of unemployed losers looking for government handouts when the Tea Party (another movement) was trumpeted and praised for their values and protests?  Many say that the Occupy crowd is more liberal leaning so maybe that is the difference. Conservative protesters are American patriots whereas liberal protesters are no good hippies and pot heads.  The Occupy crowd is a younger crowd than the Tea Party and is generally made up of recent college grads who have degrees and are saddles with crippling student loans and can't find work.  This is my generation.  I have great empathy for these people and can only imagine what I would be doing if after finishing college, finding out that my degree is worthless and there are no available jobs.  My case is slightly different than there's however. I graduated in 2005 which was right before the recession so jobs weren't as scarce then as they are now.  Also, I was EXTREMELY fortunate to have no debt after graduating because of my parents financing my tuition.  I owe them a great deal because of this because I know several of my peers that are STILL paying off their loans.  Regardless though, I think a lot of younger people who voted for the first time in 2008 feel disillusioned with the country and the candidate that they thought they were voting for.  Gone is the 'Hope' and 'Change' message.  Now its more apathy and despair.  The worst part about this is there doesn't seem to be any hope on the horizon either.

The current slate of Republican candidates all seem to think tax cuts are the solution despite the poor history of this being the case.  The Bush tax cuts helped put us into the biggest deficit we have ever had and then the bailouts plunged us further down.  The Republicans want nothing but tax cuts and spending cuts with no revenue increases and this is a recipe for failure.  The rich people in this country are hoarding their money and refuse to pay their fair share back to the government and this is absolutely killing this country.  These so called 'job creators' are NOT creating jobs. They are keeping their money and sitting on it.  Giving them more tax cuts are not incentives to hire workers.  To simply roll back the Bush cuts and raise the tax rates to what they were under Clinton is being equated with class warfare.  This is not class warfare! Punishing success? Please.

If these people were so patriotic, they should be happy to pay more taxes to the government. Isn't paying taxes one of the most patriotic things you can do? You're funding the country you love!