They Wouldn’t Occupy if They Had the Votes

October 18th, 2011 at 4:42 pm | 49 Comments |

| Print

If the Occupy Wall Street protestors represent ‘the 99%’ then why don’t they already dominate our government?

Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street protests should create some concern. These are not the products of healthy politics.

The tagline of the OWS protest sheds some light on where these kinds of movements really come from and why they struggle to accomplish anything useful. OWS calls itself ‘the 99%’ in reference to the concentration of wealth in this country. Yet, if the OWS protesters genuinely represent the 99%, why aren’t they in office instead of sleeping in a park?

The Occupy Wall Street protestors point to the Arab Spring as an inspiration, but there’s a crucial problem with that analogy. You can’t create a ‘Tahrir Square’ moment in a broadly representative democracy. We already have what the Egyptians were fighting for. Something else is happening here.

In our system of government such mass events tend to cut in the opposite direction, as a reaction against the will of the people. When you see thousands of people gather in a grand protest in America they are doing it because they don’t represent very many voters. If they did, they would just vote.

The actual direction of OWS was laid out rather coldly by a former Alan Grayson staffer who is working with the movement. He claimed in his op-ed for Politico that citizens are “exercising power outside of the ballot box” and he explained why:

Many of them saw an uprising in Madison, Wis., over Gov. Scott Walker’s collective-bargaining and privatization initiatives; and they understand the choice to initiate recall elections rather than strikes resulted in a crushing loss for workers.

They saw that the electorate is solidly against them. Now they are shopping for alternatives to the democratic process.

America’s last great wave of mass protest was the anti-war movement of the ‘60’s. When you look beneath the haze of marijuana and tear gas you can see what that movement gave America – the Nixon Administration. Both OWS and the Tea Party should take that as a sober warning. Over the long term, Americans who actually vote are relatively hostile to the costumed and/or unwashed mobs that take to the streets to lengthen their commute and tell them what to think.

It seems as though the reasonable American center took the fall of the Berlin Wall as their cue to tune out. We won the great war of political ideas. There was nothing left for politics but the drudgery of administration. Now our political sphere has descended into entertainment, degraded by the antics of cartoon characters.

The message of both movements can be boiled down to this sentiment – Running a superpower is haaaard. We want to be it easier. We want a political system that has less reading and more parties. Not political parties, but the fun kind. Send pizzas to Zuccotti Park and we’ll figure it all out at some point.

Our political system channels the public will into the political process through elections. We may not like the direction America has taken over the past decade, but we can’t hide behind supposed villains like the Koch brothers or the Federal Reserve. Any of us who wants to see the dark forces driving America need only borrow a mirror.

Recent Posts by Chris Ladd



49 Comments so far ↓

  • dugfromthearth

    If the president represents the majority of Americans why doesn’t congress simply approve anything he asks for? If there is a majority party in the senate why doesn’t it just pass every bill it wants to? If a candidate gets a majority of the popular vote why doesn’t he automatically become president?

    There are four answers to your question:
    1. they represent the 99%, they are not the 99%. Therefore they do not have the votes of the 99%.

    2. The goal of the 1% is to lie to the 99% and convince them that lower taxes on the rich, or giving money to the rich, or anything else that benefits the rich – will somehow benefit the 99%. Trickledown economics, claiming the estate tax hurts family farms, any lie will do as long as it persuades the 99% to act against their self interest. And it works.

    3. The system is set up to maintain power in the hands of those who already have it. Corporations can give unlimited money to buy politicians. Politicians who are re-elected are given more power in congress to get pork for their constituents. The system is not set up to give everyone an equal say based on the quality of their ideas, it is set up to continue giving power and money to those who already have power and money. Just try to get on the ballot in all 50 states, it is hard to do unless you are a Democrat or Republican.

    4. A lot of these people are young. They have not had the chance to vote before, or if so for few times. We are facing the tyranny of the old vs the young. The old stealing the money of those not yet able to vote by having the government borrow money to pay themselves.

    • Steve D

      “1. they represent the 99%, they are not the 99%. Therefore they do not have the votes of the 99%.”

      >>Then what makes you think they even represent the 99%?

      2. The goal of the 1% is to lie to the 99% and convince them that lower taxes on the rich, or giving money to the rich, or anything else that benefits the rich – will somehow benefit the 99%. Trickledown economics, claiming the estate tax hurts family farms, any lie will do as long as it persuades the 99% to act against their self interest. And it works.

      >>If the 99% are that dumb, democracy is doomed to fail. Is that why leftists want power to be in the hands of “the people,” because they can be easily manipulated? Instead of assuming the voters “act against their self interest,” as if you personally know what their self interest is better than they do, why not ask people what they actually perceive as their self interest? (Hint: it may have to do with social issues)

      3. … The system is not set up to give everyone an equal say based on the quality of their ideas.

      >>Maybe it is, to a much greater extent than you think. Quality is not democratic.

      4. A lot of these people are young. They have not had the chance to vote before, or if so for few times. We are facing the tyranny of the old vs the young. The old stealing the money of those not yet able to vote by having the government borrow money to pay themselves.

      >>Old vs. young? Well, you just lost 50% of the 99%. You know, the time to do something about the borrowing problem was before Reagan got elected.

      • dugfromthearth

        1. I am not actually claiming they represent 99%, I was refuting his logic that if they are not in elected office they must not represent them.

        2. The people are that dumb. We know that buy the debt they acquire, the terrible health choices they make, the people they elect, etc. The goal of “leftists” is to educate people so they can make better decisions, unlike the goal of theocrats whose goal is to scare people and lie to them so they make bad choices.

        3. Nope. The people selected by the elites to be “serious” candidates are based on their money and connections, not their ideas or ability. This is not even in question.

        4. I agree. The 99% is a slogan not a real figure. Just like the Tea Party is undoubtedly not composed of people who want to destroy merchandise when taxes are lowered because it will interfere with their smuggling (which is what happened in the real Boston Tea Party).

      • COProgressive

        Steve D wrote;
        “If the 99% are that dumb, democracy is doomed to fail.”

        That’s why the Occupy movement member are protesting. OUR democracy is failing for the 99%. It’s a simple concept to understand.

        I just read today that Citigroup had to pay $285 Million dollars as a result of selling CDO’s rated AAA that were full of sub-prime mortgages to customers then betting against those same CDO’s and collecting on their bets when they did fail.

        The first thing that came to my mind was, “Did Citigroup pay the fines with money that American Taxpayers “gave” to AIG when they couldn’t cover the investment bank’s “bets”. Did Citigroup pay back the SEC $285 million dollars with American Taxpayer dollars?

        It’s that kind of fraud and manipulation of the system that has people who pay attention in a rage and protesting Wall Street.

    • djmeph

      Here are some more points to expand on this.

      The two-party system in this country creates an illusion that trite differences and petty problems are what separate us as Americans, and because of this, we have to choose between two ideologies in order to prevent the other “evil” from gaining power. Instead of having a fair, representative government that proportionally represents the values of the people, we have to pull a partisan lever to prevent the other side from reining in doom and ultimate destruction. The one thing the parties agree on is that by polarizing us, it keeps them in power and prevents us from looking at a third option.

      A recent poll suggests that a simple majority of people in this country support the Occupy Wall Street movement. It not only showed a 54% favorable rating among those polled, it also showed that the movement is twice as strong as the Tea Party. The problem is not that the movement doesn’t have the numbers to be successful, just that the movement hasn’t mobilized enough around candidates that they can collectively agree upon, not to mention that the Democrats can always count on a certain percentage of the population voting for them, and the Republicans an always count on a certain percentage of the vote as well, no matter what. Mobilizing the rest of those people becomes just as difficult a task as clearing through the cloud of smoke that politicians, wall street and the media are creating to hold on to their power structure.

      Lastly, while we do have a representative government, and it ultimately comes down to the fact that the people will always get the government they deserve, we have allowed politicians to set things in motion that gradually erodes our representative rights as voters. The demands to “End the Fed” are a great example of this, because the fed is a private corporation with absolutely no representation in our political system. Democratizing the fed would be a great start to bring about the change that is needed, but that is the last thing that’s going to happen in a government comprised of politicians that are bought and paid for by Wall Street.

      The emphasis of the movement does need to shift more towards supporting candidates that represent the views of the movement, rather than trying to effect policy through an already corrupt system. This is where the Tea Party movement failed, because they were able to effect primary elections to nominate candidates with extreme, radical views that were not generally supported by the populace. Not to say that Occupy Wall Street isn’t a radical, extreme movement, but the polls show that there is enough support for the movement to elect the people that are needed to make the desired changes happen. It all depends on mobilization of the effort. The movement is on the right track by taking to the internet and crowdsourcing solutions, as opposed to the Tea Party which has depended mostly on a set of obsolete absolutes to define their political litmus test. That is why the comparison is being made to the revolution in Egypt. The differences in the end results are arbitrary.

      • LocalGroup

        Agree with most of your thinking.

        You don’t want to end the Fed, but just want to democratize it.

        With a world-wide double dip recession, the idea that all the central bankers are going to make policy without a powerful central banker from America included is hard to imagine. These bankers need to know that each of them can make policy decisions without having to go to their parliaments for approval.

        Without the cooperation of the central banks in the last 3 years, who knows how much worse things would be? They certainly wouldn’t be better.

        The global economic pastime today is a Central Banker’s Game. Nations change the rules at their own risk

  • wileedog

    Who exactly do I vote for to change the current system? The Republican who is bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists or the Democrat who is bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists?

    Look no further than how little of Frank Dodd has actually been implement – and indeed is already being attacked – to see where voting gets you.

    • baw1064

      +1

    • LocalGroup

      Actually, voting got us exactly to this point, no further, no less. If you’re having a little problem with your expectations, the Complaint Dept is closed now, but will open at 9am Wedenesday morning.

  • Ray_Harwick

    I looked at the linked page on the OWS site and one guy opines that the Arab Spring was the inspiration for OWS; then some shill says the protestors should use Arab Spring tactics and then one of the hundreds of anonymous commenters tells the tactics guy to stuff it.

    Then there’s the other 5,000 comments on that article that make not a peep about any Arab anything. The Arab Spring angle just doesn’t seem to be flying anywhere except here at Frum Land.

    Which reminds me: Every time someone holds up a protest sign, an army of cameras and reporters descends on the sign, gets the protestors name and web site and some sound bits.

    So along comes some guy wearing a green shirt holding up a sign saying how Hammas supports the OWSers. The picture hits the TV networks but nobody knows who was holding the sign and people at the protest then say they didn’t see any such sign.

    I can’t help but wonder if the Koch Brothers planted that picture. Considering how Mike Huckabee is now telling Republicans to lie to their neighbors and say their polling place was moved, and suggestions of cyber attacks by Tea Party members are cropping up from MSNBC news program, it’s a little speculative to say this “mob” is inspired by the Arab Spring waves, init?

    • paul_gs

      I can’t help but wonder if the Koch Brothers planted that picture.

      Enough with your guys Koch paranoia. It’s really way over the top the nonsense some of you believe.

      • LocalGroup

        paul — remember what that great political scientist, Mary Poppins, said:

        “A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
        The medicine go down-wown
        The medicine go down
        Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
        In a most delightful way.”

        just substitute paranoia for sugar and we have thinking that makes
        our lives today so much easier to take.

        See, it’s nothing we did that caused our problems;
        no, it it was the nasty Koch Bros.

  • benjismith

    I thought this was obvious.

    I voted for Democrats in the 2008 elections. So did the majority of voters. We won the presidency and a majority in both houses of congress. Bigger majorities than the Republicans have had in a long long time.

    According to lots of public policy polling, a majority of American citizens in the summer of 2009 supported “Medicare for All” or “The Public Option” or whatever verbiage you’d like to use for a large-scale overhaul of the health care system implementing single-payer accounting.

    But before negotiations even started, the president met behind closed doors to negotiate with insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors’ associations. He promised them that he wouldn’t sign a bill that included a public option.

    Of course, health care reform is just one issue. But it’s a prominent case where having majorities in the house and sentate (as well as the presidency and the will of the people) just didn’t matter. WE ARE THE 99%, but the people with the power refuse to listen to us. We vote them out, but then the next guys are exactly the same.

    • paul_gs

      Obamacare passed, which seriously dilutes your claims.

      • LK

        The public option, however, did not. The point of the post is that what you call “Obamacare” probably should be called “the insurance company protection act.”

        • paul_gs

          I don’t think most people who voted for Obama really expected a public option. That seems to be something only a minority wished for.

          Still, Obamacare, if it survives legal challenges, seems to be a major victory for those wanting to see (nearly) all Americans protected by health care. Do you disagree with that?

  • Martholomew

    if the OWS protesters genuinely represent the 99%, why aren’t they in office instead of sleeping in a park?

    Well, there’s your answer right there… they are sleeping in a park for a reason. They have no political power because they have no money. That’s the point they are trying to make, that political power is concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people who have most of the money.

    Do you even read the things you write before you post them?

  • armstp1

    I think the author does not get it. Has the author even been out to one of these protests to see what they are all about? Or is he just talking out of his ass?

    Of course these protestors have votes, but one of the things they are complaining about is even if they vote their politicians in, the politicians are not doing what the voters want, they do what the lobbyists want. They are pissed at the system. A vote has begun to mean nothing.

  • thatguy

    ‘If the Occupy Wall Street protestors represent ‘the 99%’ then why don’t they already dominate our government?”

    Partly because politicians don’t represent the demographics of America. Granted, politics is extremely complex. We elect these officials because they have similar views and ideas to our own, and because national politics is a tough job. I am a performing artist, but am working my way into my local Manhattan Community Board. Want to start changing things? Be involved in government besides just elections, I encourage 99%ers to do the same.

    Members of the 111th Congress (the previous congress):
    225 (168 Representatives and 57 Senators) list law <—– 57% of Americans are not lawyers
    214 members (182 Representatives and 33 Senators) list their occupation as public service/politics (some of them hold JDs or come from "law")
    201 (175 Representatives and 27 Senators) also list business

    • Rob_654

      Thank you for posting that.

      Do you think that this “Chris Ladd” is a clueless about how government works as his post suggests?

  • Houndentenor

    Why are people freaking out about OWS?

    They are exercising their right to free speech. A lot of people agree with them. Even more are sympathetic to parts of what they say and not others (I would be one of those.).

    Why does that upset so many people in the corporate media and in Washington? Could it be because they pretend to represent the citizens but really just represent the large corporate donors? Could it be that they don’t talk to people who aren’t in that top 1% often enough to know what the economy is like for the rest of us.

    Like the Tea Party or not, they represented a segment of society that felt they weren’t being heard. This is similar. Not exactly the same, obviously, but similar enough in concept. If you think it’s so insignificant, why are we all talking about it?

  • Bobby McGee

    “When you see thousands of people gather in a grand protest in America they are doing it because they don’t represent very many voters. If they did, they would just vote.”

    Remind me again, what election is there this year for them to vote in?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    Even if you want to point to past years it doesn’t work. Obama stomped the GOP in 2008, with a 6% margin over McCain. After a resounding victory there, how much got done, and how much was stopped at every turn by the GOP, despite massive support? Partisans want to claim 2010 was a refutation of Obama’s agenda, but the GOP only garnered 44 million votes there. That’s a lot less than the 63 million that backed said agenda when it was on the table.

    So an agenda overwhelmingly supported by the public, (which goes even further in supporting such things as cutting military spending, raising taxes, and public options for health care according to polls) has had to battle through and been gutted every step of the way by a radicalized minority.

    Look, aside from the blindingly obvious fact that there isn’t an election for them to vote in, and the state of affairs that shows that the tepid gruel they do vote in doesn’t get acted on, who is there for them to support? Obama has largely ignored them, and the GOP’s response is to call them class warfare and then have Cantor give a speech on “how we can make sure the people at the top stay there.”*

    Of course, what does it all matter, you guys have been telling us all along this is nothing and going nowhere.

    * http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/233241/20111018/eric-cantor-income-inequality-speech-eric-cantor-income-disparity-occupy-wall-street-protests.htm

  • baw1064

    I don’t know where to start with this column. First of all, the column seems to blithely dismiss all protests as having no legitimate grievances whatsoever. If the framers of the Constitution believed that, we wouldn’t have the First Amendment as it exists today. The author doesn’t even try to understand why people are protesting. Given that in some sense the past couple of years have brought the first significant protest in decades, you can do a little better than that.

    I’m probably the furthest thing from the Tea Party demographic, but I can appreciate that they feel that the country they’ve lived in all their life is changing in ways that they find uncomfortable and threatening. Likewise, I probably don’t have much in common with the OWS people; I have quite a bit in investments, am doing reasonably well, and think that capitalism is a good thing (provided the government adequately fulfills its role as a referee and that both gains and losses are privatized). Still, they have a point. The benefits of economic growth the past decade or two have overwhelmingly gone to a small slice of the population. BTW, “the 99%” doesn’t make the claim that 99% of the people are participating or even support OWS, but rather that the OWS people see themselves as part of the 99% of the U.S. population that has gained little, if at all, in recent decades.

    The fact is, there’s only so high the Gini coefficient can get before a country becomes unstable–and ours is very high compared to any other industrialized country, and keeps going up.

    The political aspect of the problem is not so much one of policy (which can be addressed by simply voting for candidates who advocate different policies) as of process, which doesn’t have any obvious ways to address. If you think that the Senate is using the filibuster excessively, how do you vote to change that? Or how do you get Congress to stop writing legislation that contains all sorts of giveaways to special interests?

    The fact is, people without a lot of money and/or a powerful lobbying organization behind them are pretty much shut out of the political process.

    The Onion outlined one strategy last year:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/american-people-hire-highpowered-lobbyist-to-push,18204/

  • Graychin

    “If the Occupy Wall Street protestors represent ‘the 99%’ then why don’t they already dominate our government?”

    Why? Because too many of the 99% have been too lazy to get off their butts and vote. Participation at the polls in our American democracy is shamefully low. People have come to believe (accurately) that the system is rigged, and that Big Money controls the process. You can even look around at what some of the states are doing and see efforts to make it harder to vote. To prevent ineligible voters from voting, so they say. Never mind that an eligible voter who is prevented from voting distorts the outcome just as much. And that there is no evidence that ineligible voters actually vote.

    People who take the trouble to demonstrate just MIGHT show up at the polls next fall. Be afraid, Mr. Ladd. Be VERY afraid.

    • Steve D

      “People have come to believe (accurately) that the system is rigged, and that Big Money controls the process.”

      There are actually people who think it made no difference whether Obama or McCain won? Bush or Gore? How can it benefit society in the least if people like that vote? The tragedy is not that so many stay home on election day, but so few do. I thank all the stay at homes for doubling the value of my vote.

      You nailed it by calling them lazy. The facade of cynicism is simply an excuse not to be bothered.

      • LocalGroup

        It’s not just laziness that keeps them home. Some are worried that the jury pool is drawn from voter registration, so shirking civic responsibility keeps them at home, too.

        But with those types not voting and getting the results we got, it’s hard to believe that it could have been much worse if they had voted.

      • baw1064

        I always make sure I vote, even if I don’t like any of the candidates, just so I can complain in good conscience. :)

    • LauraNo

      He is.

  • _will_

    ok so when Obama wins re-election you aren’t going to oppose a single thing he does, right? the people will have spoken, right?

  • althing7

    The premise of this article–that the (vast) majority always rules in a democracy–is absurd. Well organized minorities frequently exercise disproportionate influence in every political system, including ours. Increasing taxes on the wealthy, for example, is extremely popular with the public as a whole, but isn’t even being seriously considered by our government. Job creation is a far more pressing concern than immediate debt reduction for most Americans, yet the government’s priorities clearly don’t reflect this. For that matter, the creation of the United States itself wasn’t the will of the majority of Americans, as only about one third supported independence.

  • Redrabbit

    What so many of them are angry about is that voting seems to not matter anymore. There is a growing, and mostly correct, perception that politicians only respond to the desires of the top 1%, and tend to ignore what everyone else wants. That all candidates are controlled by the same big money donors and those they represent.

    It’s the reason that some of the OWS people and supporters scoff at the Teabaggers and their obsession with Washington and Big Government. They know that D.C. is not the real seat of power, and the people they vote for are not the ones really in charge.

  • chephren

    Another commentary that resolutely, willfully ignores what the majority of Americans want:

    - less, not more, corporate funding of the electoral process
    - a more equitable and progressive tax system, with significantly higher rates for those at the top
    - an affordable public option for health care insurance
    - re-regulation of the US financial system
    - investigation and prosecution of the executives, traders and rating agencies who destroyed the stability of the US financial system
    - stronger, not weaker, environmental laws

    This what The People want. Their bought-and-sold legislators serve other masters. What’s left but to march in the streets?

    • Redrabbit

      This is all true, but the American people, the same American people, also want..

      -Less taxes
      -Smaller government
      -Less regulation
      -More military engagement and less military engagement

      And…on and on. The same old story. Yes, Americans do want the things you say, but many of them also want the exact opposite, at the same time.

      Right now, many Americans want mutually exclusive things. The country can’t decide what kind of country it wants to be, but it wants all the perceived benefits of being BOTH kinds of countries they are deciding on.

  • BarbD

    “Yet, if the OWS protesters genuinely represent the 99%, why aren’t they in office instead of sleeping in a park?”

    Think about it: for the many people participating in this movement, where are they going to get the money? Politics has become a “pay to play” proposition — that’s one of the reasons behind this movement. Those who run for office must either have deep pockets themselves — or powerful sponsors who provide for them. And that’s the crux of the problem: politicians beholden to their sponsors (corporate or otherwise).

  • kirk

    The ‘they are too few to change the outcome by voting’ trope has been demolished by the Tea Party. These people will change the business as usual, gerrymandered, incumbent for life style of governance. Electing somebody else – anybody else – means change. Having more money used to mean something. Not being the lazy incumbent who gleefully sold us all down the river will count for something again.

  • Occupy Wall Street: Should protesters have just voted instead? (The Week) | Cirklenews.com

    [...] to the costumed and/or unwashed mobs that take to the streets to lengthen their commute,” says Chris Ladd in FrumForum. Like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street is a vocal minority that can only make a scene, not win [...]

  • LFC

    “America’s last great wave of mass protest was the anti-war movement of the ‘60’s. When you look beneath the haze of marijuana and tear gas you can see what that movement gave America – the Nixon Administration.”

    The Nixon Administration. Yeah, those years were just full of horrible policy changes like:

    - Getting us out of Vietnam.

    - Normalizing relations with China.

    - Calming relations with Russia, including SALT I.

    - Helping negotiate agreements to reduce the conflict of Israel with Egypt and Syria.

    - Making huge steps forward in environmental regulations, establishing the EPA and improving the Clean Air Act.

    - Signing the Equal Rights Amendment which desegregated public schools.

    - Being the only President to have a balanced budget between 1961-1998.

    Absolutely he had enormous personal failings and he deserved to be tossed out of office for the Watergate scandal, but he also did a lot of good things for our nation. Given a choice between him and George W. Bush, I would take Nixon in a nanosecond.

    • LocalGroup

      Don’t forget this.

      “The Nixon Shock was a series of economic measures taken by U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1971 including unilaterally cancelling the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold that essentially ended the existing Bretton Woods system of international financial exchange.”

      “By the’ early 1970s, as the costs of the Vietnam War and increased domestic spending accelerated inflation,[1] the U.S. was running a balance-of-payments deficit and a trade deficit, the first in the 20th century. The year 1970 was the crucial turning point, because foreign arbitrage of the U.S. dollar caused governmental gold coverage of the paper dollar to decline from 55% to 22%. That, in the view of neoclassical economics and the Austrian School, represented the point where holders of the U.S. dollar lost faith in the U.S. government’s ability to cut its budget and trade deficits.”  [Wikipedia]

      I agree with you about taking Nixon over Bush, but isn’t that damning something with faint praise?

  • PracticalGirl

    They Wouldn’t Occupy if They Had the Votes

    I get your premise, but it’s far too simplistic of a view and absolves Republicans from any an all responsibility for their actions. Remember, Chris, a party that said “Jobs, jobs JOBS” was their only priority? And people were so thirsty, they drank the sand. Where ARE those elected officials who promised to make jobs their top priority…And then got the votes because of their promise? Hiding behind obstructionist actions that today pass as a legislative agenda, all in an effort to prolong the pain to make Obama look bad.

    “They” wouldn’t need to protest Wall Street if top Wall Street banks-Goldman Sachs, HSBC etc- weren’t at the top of the list of the top ten jobs killers in the country. US banks and investment firms are posting record profits-most of them real, not just one time accounting strokes like Citibank this quarter- and laying off people as well as shipping jobs overseas like mad to protect said profits.

    The real story, Chris? OWS is a natural outgrowth of elected officials who perpetrate myths and falsehoods, tell the electorate they can bank on it and then refuse to carry it out even when presented with their own ideas. “They” wouldn’t have time to hang out in a park if there was any truth to the meme that prosperity = investment = jobs. Although it hasn’t been articulated yet, the 99% is uncovering the truth: Prosperous businesses are NOT job creators. They are profit creators, and they’ll create their bottom line product with as few employees as possible and ship needed jobs overseas to save them buck.

    They Wouldn’t Occupy If They Had The Jobs. That’s your story. Why won’t you tell it?

  • valkayec

    Again, I’ll repeat what others have already stated: politics has become corrupted by money. Regardless of whichever party, the need to accumulate donations for the next election drives everything, from buying committee seats to selling legislation. 60% or more of a politician’s time is spent in seeking donations, rather than on solving the nation’s many problems. I’d bet that people here on this forum can create a list of Congressional members that in actuality represent a specific industry rather than the people.

    Wall St. only represents what average people believe. The system in total no longer works for them but for a privileged few. And only a mass uprising of The People can change the system because the current workings obviously benefits those in power.

  • attaboy

    Simple answer to that. Our two party political system is finely tuned to create artificial division. 30% accept right leaning propaganda as God’s truth and see liberals as a threat to America. 30% accept left leaning propaganda as truth and see conservatives as a threat to America. That leads 39% trying and desperately to tune out politics entirely (only occasionally getting riled up enough to participate).

    Meanwhile, the 1% just buys the votes/support for whatever it is they need. In that context, any persons making and accepting large campaign contributions are – by definition – not in the 99%.

    Ironically, conservatives and liberals have more similarities than differences. They are both gullible sheep, victims of party spin, unwilling to compromise, and who are constantly tricked into voting for candidates who promptly desert them for the “center” once they get a party nomination. If they were not both so blind, they could be united.

    • COProgressive

      I think our two party system has outlived it’s usefullness. On a national scale we have the Electorial College that seperates a true election for president from the people. It’s a winner-takes-all contest that’s rigged to say the least. It may have been of some value two hundred years ago, but it’s being “played” by both parties as they work through which are the “safe” states and what their numbers work out to be, leaving only the “Swing States” in play.

      Both parties focus around this national election and that’s were the BIG MONEY comes in. With the ridiculous Citizens United ruling from the corporatists SCOTUS allowing any amount of fund to enter OUR election process, those “Swing States”, and critical districts within those “Swing States”, can be targeted with “Money Bombs” to swing the election to one side or another influencing the nature of OUR government for years.

      We need to get BIG MONEY out of OUR election process if there is any hope of OUR democracy surviving, otherwise it will truly be “Sold to the Highest Bidder” and “We the People” will just be small actors in this game.

      • Rules of engagement

        The Republican wing of the Supreme Court is just as culpable for the demise of the American Democracy as the Republican Members of Congress.

        Citizens United doesn’t rise to the sensational level of the trial of Colonel Dreyfuss, the French officer falsely convicted of treason and sentenced to life on Devil’s Island, or even Plessy v Ferguson, a decision in 1896 that overturned the Union victory in the Civil War a 30 years earlier.

        No, the majority opinion of Citizens United, supported by the the greed and avarice of the Founding Fathers and their desire to create an aristocracy of wealth and privilege in the new Republic, found in 2009 that the separate but equal ruling 100 years earlier in Plessy still applied, not to the black and white races, but to the rich and poor classes.

        The constitution makes clear that every man has the right to vote for the candidate of his choice.  But Republican Justices found in Citizens United that while every citizen  has an equal vote, they have separate bank accounts and there are no restrictions in the constitution preventing the use of that money in those accounts.

        In the days the constitution was written, campaigning consisted of two candidates going to a town or village — a district  –  debating on a platform before a pub and buying the voters a pint or two after.

        I can understand Scalia,Thomas, Roberts, and Alito not being able to understand the difference between life then and now, but what the flack happened to Kennedy?

  • Occupy Wall Street: Should protesters have just voted instead? (The Week) | Breaking News Today

    [...] to the costumed and/or unwashed mobs that take to the streets to lengthen their commute,” says Chris Ladd in FrumForum. Like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street is a vocal minority that can only make a scene, not win [...]

  • bamboozer

    Scared, eh? What conservatives are really afraid of it that OWS becomes a legitimate grass roots movement and counter acts the Tea Party. You did it to us, seems we’re set to do it to you. Enjoy!

  • dittbub

    Approval of Congress is incredibly low! There are enough votes in congress to get stuff done, but republicans are obstructing!