BLOG VIEW: The Occupy Wall Street movement has been running in New York City for nearly six weeks, and the ruckus created by the movement's followers has spread to cities across the U.S. and around the world. While it is easy to admire the zeal and passion that the demonstrators are bringing to their protests, it is difficult not to acknowledge that their efforts represent one of the greatest wastes of time in modern history.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, who claim to represent the 99% of Americans who are not Warren Buffett-level wealthy, are sincere in their concern about the national economy and their place within this financially fragile environment. But if they are expecting anyone in a position of political power to take their concerns seriously, they are in for a rude surprise.
The Republican Party leadership, of course, is not interested in Occupy Wall Street. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House Majority Leader, dismissed the demonstrators as ‘mobs’ who were ‘pitting Americans against Americans.’ Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed the protestors were ‘dangerous’ individuals engaged in ‘class warfare.’ Then, perhaps to confirm that he lacks of a sense of humor, Romney added, ‘I'm just trying to get myself to occupy the White House.’
In any event, the Republican elite has its hands full with another strident political faction – and a good deal of unintentional amusement can be found in watching the GOP leadership try to curry favor with the ultra-right-wing voters while shooing away extremist Tea Party would-be candidates that want a spot on next year's election ballots.
On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats give the impression of being sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement. In an Oct. 6 press conference, President Obama stated that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators reflected a ‘broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.’
But what is the president doing about the 1% Wall Street crowd that Occupy Wall Street insists has ruined the country with their ‘corporate greed’? According to an Oct. 18 article in the Washington Post, Obama is shaking them down for campaign donations for his 2012 re-election campaign.
‘Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined,’ said the Washington Post.
Unlike the Occupy Wall Street crowd, Obama clearly understands ‘how our financial system works.’ Hey, running for national office is expensive, and the money for such an endeavor has to come from somewhere!
And what is Wall Street getting in return for its money? For starters, there is the conspicuous lack of prosecutions by the Obama Department of Justice against the architects of the 2008 financial crash. There was also the White House's stubborn refusal to acknowledge the extremely loud pleas of its political base to nominate Elizabeth Warren to become director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And let's not forget the total lack of leadership by the Department of Justice in addressing the robo-signing scandal – that effort was spearheaded and is still being helmed by the state attorneys general, not the administration.Â
In his Oct. 6 press conference, Obama stated, ‘The financial sector is very creative, and they are always looking for ways to make money.’ Yes, and one way they will continue to make money is by stuffing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of hypocritical politicians who speak to crowds and television cameras in populist slogans while casually winking at the 1% fat cats whose deep pockets keep them in power.
If the Occupy Wall Street protestors are expecting a modern-day Robin Hood to redistribute the wealth and bring miscreants to justice, they are hopelessly naive. Both Democrats and Republicans have heard the protestors, and they really don't give a damn. And all of the placard-waving, rhyme-chanting and drum-banging will not put a dollar into anyone's pocket or a lawbreaking Wall Street tycoon into jail.
My advice to Occupy Wall Street is simple, direct and (perhaps) cruel: Go home. You are wasting your time and accomplishing absolutely nothing.
– Phil Hall, editor, Secondary Marketing Executive
(Please address all comments regarding this opinion column to firstname.lastname@example.org.)