Barry’s post on the Occupy Wall Street movement was meant to run in the Washington Post this weekend but didn’t make publication. He’s republished it at The Big Picture this morning and it’s really must-read stuff, a taste before I send you over…
There is an unfocused financial rage in the United States.
It was born in the late 1990s on an unholy trinity of accounting swindles, the dotcom collapse and analyst scandals. It grew on a housing boom and bust that created 5 million (and counting) foreclosures, leaving more than a quarter of bank financed homes worth less than their mortgages. It matured on a growing wealth disparity that eviscerated the middle class, and brought back the plutocracy of the 1920s. It reached its peak with the bailout of reckless bankers, who were rewarded for their irresponsibility with the greatest wealth transfer in human history.
And now, it seems to be finding a new voice with the movement known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS).
Like the Tea Party, OWS began as a loose collection of people who knew they were getting a raw economic deal — but were unsure as to precisely why. They both started with a surge of grassroots politics. Both tapped into the national zeitgeist, feeding on an unfocused economic angst. When the Tea Party first burst onto the national stage, I had high hopes they might address some of the persistent economic problems our two-party political system was ignoring. But the Tea Party tilted to the right, shifting from the economic to the partisan. Obamacare and taxes – neither of which were responsible for a laundry list of economic woes facing the nation – became their focus.
That move created a vacuum. Since then, we have been waiting for a group of angry Americans to fill the void. It did not look like OWS was going to be the ones to do so. Especially with the way the Media was either ignoring them, or portraying them as a group of slacker hippies, fringe dwellers and kooks.
Read the rest: