The OWSers hurt themselves every single day by blurting nonsensical claims; their movement would be stronger with a more fact-based set of statements.
Take a look at the signs they carry, this one from a gathering in New York:
“WAR, RECESSION, UNEMPLYMENT – WHO’S MAKING MONEY? WALL STREET!”
Actually, Wall Street has taken a big financial hit. According to a report by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, total Wall Street profits in 2011 will drop 70% from their peak in 2009, and job losses will total 22,000 since 2008. Mr. DiNapoli says another 10,000 jobs could be lost by the end of 2012.
What about Microsoft, Apple, AT&T, Intel, Google, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola? These firms combined in 2010 made $110 billion in profits, or more than six times what Wall Street firms as a whole are projected to make in 2011.
In 2010 Johnny Depp made an estimated $100 million, including $40 million from the film Alice in Wonderland. Tiger Woods made $91 million, LeBron James $46 million, and A-Rod $37 million. Rappers Jay-Z and P Diddy made $37 million and $35 million, collectively. Why aren’t the protesters in Beverly Hills or camped out in Tiger’s driveway?
Then there’s this sign:
“THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MOST OF THE POVERTY AND SUFFERING ON THIS PLANET”
On the contrary, most of the poverty and suffering on the planet is thousands of miles from Wall Street, in places like Zimbabwe, The Congo, and Somalia. Nine of the 10 poorest countries in the world are in Africa. In each of these countries – several ranked as having the lowest economic freedom in the world (Zimbabwe second to last, Republic of Congo 10th from last) the per capita income ranges from $300 to $900. In the United States, which ranks 9th in the world for economic freedom, the per capita income is $46,860.
Nearly all of the poorest countries in Africa also make the list of the most repressive and least free nations in the world.
Another sign says:
“IF ONLY THE WAR ON POVERTY WAS A REAL ONE, THEN WE WOULD ACTUALLY BE PUTTING MONEY INTO IT”
According to the Cato Institute, there are 122 federal anti-poverty programs that collectively cost just under $600 billion per year, or nearly $15,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. The Institute’s Michael D. Tanner writes that ‘given that the poverty line is just $10,830, we could have mailed every poor person in America a check big enough to lift them out of poverty – and still saved money.”
The history of the ‘war on poverty, launched in 1964 under President Johnson, is one of trillions of dollars spent, both at the national and state levels. Yet according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percent of the U.S. population in poverty is no lower than it was in 1964, and the number of people in poverty has grown from 30 million to 43.6 million.
But there is one sign I like — and might actually be a theme everyone can agree on:
“WALL STREET AND CORPORATIONS HAVE CORRUPTED THE POLITICAL PROCESS”
Anyone who has followed the bank, AIG, GM, and Chrysler bailouts can’t possibly deny that these actions have a corrupting influence on those we elect to govern. It’s time for moneyed influences and government officials to part ways. The unseemly relationship between the two has ruined Americans’ faith in nearly every form of government.