What is the basic narrative of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Is it Main Street vs. Wall Street? Is it the bailing out those financial institutions that are too big to fail? Is it exposing corruption in capitalism when powerful Wall Street lobbyists exert their influence into the political system? Do the Occupiers have a legitimate argument, or is it leftist propaganda?
After nearly four weeks of demonstrations and a growing grass roots movement, the Occupy Wall Street movement has yet to clearly define their agenda in terms of policy. However, the movement does exhibit the growing frustrations of most Americans with respect to corporate greed by Wall Street financial institutions and the lack of an effective economic policy by our government to fix the unemployment problem. These two issues alone have been the basis for these demonstrations, and I can fully understand the feelings of frustration by the Wall Street occupiers.
We are a nation that is hurting economically. The pains of such an economy are demonstrated by the Wall Street occupiers. For the past three years our economy has not grown. We have experienced a lackluster job growth. With 14 million people unemployed and a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, people are hurting. Don’t forget to take into account those 8.8 million part-timers (who want full-time work) and the 2.6 million who stopped looking are also feeling the pain. The Wall Street occupiers understand this and want something done to help get people back to work. We need governmental leadership that has a clear economic plan for job growth and not rhetoric or political posturing. We need political courage from both sides of the aisle to do what is best for our country. Our country needs to get back on the path to economic prosperity.
Our financial system plays a major role in the economy of business in America. As the finance industry has become a larger part of the economy over the last decades, the banking institution has grown bigger and bigger. Credit and debt now takes the task of eliminating the exchange of cash, thus creating a greater dependency on our financial institutions. Through commerce, the economy runs and thrives on these monetary means of exchange. So, what happens when the financial institutions become too big to fail? As experienced back in 2008, the government panicked because they were fearful of the economic ramifications of a failed banking intuition. With that fear, our hard-earned tax dollars were provided in the form of a bailout (TARP) to rescue the banks from failure. I believe that the government should not bail out any businesses. In order for capitalism to thrive, a business should be held accountable for their own success or failure based on their operations and business strategic decisions. This is the beauty of the free market enterprise system and capitalism. Do the Wall Street occupiers have a legitimate argument about the banks? Look at what Thomas Jefferson said in 1816 about banks: “And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”