It's hard to speak in support of OWS without sounding like a socialist, which I most decidedly am not (except in the matter of health care. And police. And firefighters. And teachers. And soldiers...) On the other hand, because it's a deliberately disorganized crowd, a truly grassroots phenomenon (as opposed to Tea Party Nation, with its Koch-heads and Armey-troops), it's easy for the Foxobeckians to pick out the inevitable crazies and lampoon the whole thing. Which is exactly what they're doing.
Gee. Wonder why?
But isn't there a pretty obvious and obviously true point here? Do corporate interests have disproportionate influence on our political system, or do they not? Are corporate lobbyists writing critical legislation or are they not? Have major media companies become overt propaganda machines? Is the voice of the "average" voter actually being heard in Washington, are her interests fairly represented, or not? These are neither trivial nor difficult questions, and I think the answers ought to be clear to everyone. Which explains the concerted effort of the powerful to discredit the movement: unlike teabaggers, so willing to be duped into carrying water, the people out there now can see and think for themselves.
Teabaggers have been out there for a couple of years, demanding to take their country back. Ironically, they sprung from the Astroturf in reaction to the feeble attempts of Democrats and President Obama actually to give them a piece of the action and reduce inequity: health care, consumer protection, help with college expenses. Their response, astoundingly, to the extent that they've been successful -- electing single-mindless idiots who insist on doing everything to stop producing legislation people actually need -- has seen to it that their country remains in the hands of those very corporations whose interests are in direct conflict with the teabaggers they have in the bag. But they can't, they won't see it. They want their country back, and they keep giving it away.
It's Orwellian, except that Orwell was believable. The OWS people are pointing to the truth: our system has become skewed in favor of a very small group of very wealthy people who control nearly all the money and all the political influence in our country, whose goal is to keep it that way, by getting people like teabaggers lubed and screwed into bending the wrong way. And teabaggers, who are, in fact, among those most affected by the imbalance, are dumbly complicit, laughing off OWS at the urging of Fox "news" and the rest of the deceivers, despite the fact that OWS is singing their song, if only they could unplug their ears and open their eyes. Figure out who's getting them to laugh, and why.
The country, indeed, needs "taking back" if it's to survive as a capitalist democracy. The business of America is, to an undeniable degree, business. But not like it's become. It's not sustainable to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of so few. History, among other things, tells us that. People who wore tricorner hats for real told us that. Because here's the thing: businesses depend on people buying stuff. If you're a capitalist, you ought to want to see workers getting a decent wage; you ought to demand measures to increase employment. So people can buy your shit. Seems obvious.
TeabaggRs have it ass-backwards. They think companies hire if you cut taxes and deregulate. It's all they've ever said, forever. Hire people to do what? What company will hire people just because its taxes got lowered, if there's no demand for their stuff? Which ones will make more stuff after they're allowed to make it out of arsenic, if no one will buy it? Who invests in equipment to make unsellable widgets? And, for that matter, what capitalist would reject an opportunity to net more money, if raising taxes a little were the means to accomplish it? By, you know, getting more people across the threshold.
It's the OWS people who are right: for the system to work, you need people working and receiving decent pay, along with affordable health care. So -- get it? -- they have enough money, and they're not too dead to work. Or buy stuff.
Across the country, at the insistence of Republican legislators and voters who refuse to allow adequate taxation, teachers, cops, firefighters, road workers, librarians are being laid off. While corporate profits are at all-time highs
. It can't last. They're going all in to rake in as much as they can and run, not -- who can say otherwise? -- caring at all about the future of our country (let alone the planet). It's not that there's not money to pay for teachers; it's just that the money is sequestered with the upper echelons, who weep about class warfare when the class on whom they've
waged war scott-free and trickled up for decades is starting to cry foul.
Herman Cain, darling of the right, has a tax plan. Nein, nein, nein, it's called. Because it takes even more
from the poor and gives more still to the rich, breathtakingly
. Because the RWS™ have convinced teabaggers that poor people aren't paying their fair share, and that rich people are job-creators who need more tax breaks, those teabaggers love it. Evidently they can't read, either. Or do simple math. It's insane.
Teabaggers and "occupiers" are both right that things are out of whack, and that the country needs to be taken back if it's to survive. Sadly, teabaggers have been fed Foxocorporate shit for so long that it tastes like chocolate to them, and they can't see back from whom the country needs taking. They're being robbed blind, and they're responding by saying, "don't shoot, here's more bullets."
What's to be done? How can you make wealth more equitably distributed? What's fair? Well, for starters, over the objection of the people who'll never have to pay it, you need to raise taxes on upper income back to where they were a mere decade ago (lower than they ever were under Saint Ronnie), when everyone was doing just fine. Call it what you want. But it pays for those teachers, for infrastructure builders, who get a job, who have money to buy widgets, which is what makes rich people rich. Raise capital gains taxes a little; maybe, like Romney suggested before waffling again, just on income over a quarter mill. Use the money to give people health care. Corporate taxes? I admit to not knowing a lot about that. But I do know this: Bank of America just started charging to use check cards, and it reported six billion in profits last quarter.
It's gotta start with jobs, and with decent wages. Everything else flows from that. TeabaggR policies are costing jobs, eliminating bargaining rights, lowering wages, allowing toxic crap to hurt people, creating a few very rich people at the expense of everyone else. How does that make sense to a capitalist? Oligarchs? Sure. Fascists? Them, too. But democratic capitalists? Not for long.
The fact is, this isn't left or right, and it's sure as hell not communosocialism: it's the American dream, it's the American way. Fairness. A chance to get ahead. Buy a TV, a car, granite countertops. Materialize your life; it's what we do. But we can't do it when all the money is here
. That's not pitchforks and torches, it's not hammers and sickles. It's common sense.
Wake the fuck up, teabaggers, and head to that park by Wall Street, where you belong. Where the seeds of taking your country back could actually be sown, if you ever listen to someone other than a right-wing-screamer, and start realizing who really took it from you.