Friday, October 7, 2011

Signs of the times

Paul Krugman, who has turned into one of the foremost advocates for consumer rights and for the Occupy Wall St. movement, recently wrote a piece for the NYT, in which he commends the OWS movement for their complaints about banks being the instigators of our economic woes. I've also been listening to a lot of conservative talk radio personalities, who have been cherry-picking sound bites in order to convey the idea that the whole group is a bunch of Marxist, anti-American, and anti-Semitic hooligans.

The problem with this argument is not how blatantly incorrect it is, but that people will believe this wholeheartedly. It's amazing how we so deeply demonize the people we don't agree with even as we glorify those we do who do the same things. The OWS movement is very like the early and even current Tea Party. Yet when the Tea Party has a rally, conservatives praise them as patriots.

To be sure, there are Marxists, Anarchists, and anti-Semites in and among the OWS population. However, it's equally assured that there are racists, Anarchists, and xenophobes in and among the TP. If you are going to criticize one group with vaguely representative and specifically chosen sound bites, you really should do the same with the other.

Another article, this one in the New Republic, describes how our private sector kingpins are trying to keep our reforms and consumer protections from being put in place. The article points out that some commodities have had rampant speculation causing major price jumps. It really shouldn't surprise anyone, I guess, that business lobbyists are trying to push regulations in their favor.

Laws and limitations that positively effect the markets as a whole are important, In some ways, business tycoons look for loose regulations and volatile markets. In places like that, it's easier to make a lot of money quickly, especially if you have no problem with major consequences. But these kinds of practices destroy people. They rob them of their life savings, their jobs, their homes, and their protections. Should we be giving more power to the people directly responsible for our economic woes? I don't think so.

The point of these articles is that it comes down to the people and common sense. If the people are oppressed, the nation will die and be replaced by a shadow of its former self. If common sense is lacking, we can kiss our freedom and influence goodbye, as more and more money flows into the pockets of the wealthy and powerful. The only thing we can do to secure our liberty is to block the interests of those who will be limited by the law, and give power back to the people with reforms and representation in the government. When that happens, we can start piecing our economy back together and rebuild America to be better than it was before.

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