Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's not Jealousy, it's Justice

Meant to post this yesterday, and thought I did, but I guess not. A great piece by Matt Taibbi that counters the rhetoric of OWS critics who say the poor are just jealous of the rich, and that's why they want the rich to pay more in taxes and want more of the wealth for themselves.

As Taibbi points out the reason people are angry is that it has become very clear that our system is controlled by our financial institutions, that the government gives away everything to banks and lenders, and that the people are left without any protections or support when the economy tanks.

The pervasive opinion being presented by conservatives, though, is that the poor and less-priveleged are jealous of those who have achieved wealth. They want some of that, and so they demand the rich pay more, that they themselves take more, and that wealth is "redistributed". As Taibbi points out, this doesn't explain why we are seeing riots and demonstrations now. Furthermore, and from a different perspective, when you look at just how many people say they support wealth being more equally distributed, you get the sense that this is not about greed, but about equality.

It's hard to describe just how royally screwed Taibbi's article makes us out to be. What's worse, a lot of people either don't see these issues or support this system. Look at the arguments of the current Republicans: they want deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, and to basically give the financial giants a pass. What really bothers me the most is that I can see the next President not even dealing with the pitfalls of the financial institutions. Not one of the GOP candidates has addressed these issues. They lay all the blame on Obama and have talked about undoing what he has apparently done to harm the economy. They don't address Wall St. reforms or regulations because they don't believe in them. That is a dangerous precedent.

There is a lot of work to do before we can safely say that our financial system is under control. The super-rich, the CEO's on Wall St, and the board members of the big banks must be held accountable for their actions, and must be given the same liabilities as an individual would. They wanted personhood under the law, and so they must abide by the same consequences. No person is too wealthy or too big to fail financially, and neither should any business or bank.

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