Mr. Obama Shares the “Frustration” of Wall Street Protestors


(The President evidently sees political profit in siding with anti-American  demonstrators)

Encouraging anarchy is a risky proposition, especially for one who owes his position to an orderly political process. And yet, there was President Obama on Thursday, telling reporters he has empathy for the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests: “I think part of people’s frustrations, part of my frustration, was a lot of (lending) practices that should not have been allowed – weren’t necessarily against the law, but they had a huge destructive impact.” Mr. Obama was referring to sub-prime mortgage loans, blamed as a prime factor in 2008’s housing implosion. Maybe the President should know many of the protestors whose frustration he shares don’t believe in any loans; they think an all-powerful government should give the money away, after confiscating it from “the rich”. Then again, maybe he agrees with them.

The demonstrations began around three weeks ago in lower Manhattan’s financial district. A crowd of protestors, most of them young people, gathered to shout, chant and carry signs condemning “corporate greed”. A small core group of perhaps a few hundred camped out in Zuccotti park near the New York Stock Exchange, their numbers growing on weekends. In the past week, however, some labor unions have leant their support to the protest, supplying marchers and financial support. Copycat demonstrations have been held in other major cities, including Los Angeles. Clashes with police, as protestors blocked traffic or trespassed, have resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Organized labor, which has lost much of its clout in recent years, sees a natural ally in ‘Occupy Wall Street’. A local leader of the Service Employees International Union said, “We are here to support this movement against Wall Street’s greed. We support the idea that the rich should pay their fair share.” Hmmm, that rhetoric has a familiar ring. It’s the language of class warfare that President Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats have been repeating ad nauseam. It has no more substance coming from the mouths of demonstrators than it does when uttered by politicians, but it’s just as polarizing and dangerous.

Some of the Wall Street protestors, who have no cohesive leadership and whose goals remain hazy, have adopted the slogan, “We are the other 99%!”, suggesting top earners are getting off too easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The one percent to whom the demonstrators refer pay close to 40 percent of all federal income taxes, while nearly 50 percent of Americans pay nothing. So, how’s that “progressive taxation” scheme working? It’s elementary that, as taxes and regulations depress economic expansion, fewer and fewer people will be paying more and more until nearly all of us qualify as pay-not’s. Then what? Policies that are not aimed at broadening the tax base, but simply punish success, will self-destruct, along with the entire economy.

Several days ago, I posted an article pointing up a lack of concrete solutions being offered in the sound and fury of ‘Occupy Wall Street’. Since then, a variety of left-wing groups have been busy superimposing an agenda that calls for eliminating capitalism and redistributing wealth. Since the demonstrators are fundamentally disorganized and are sympathetic to Socialism anyway, the Old Guard Left has found it childishly simple to hijack whatever movement they represent. For example, President Obama’s former “green jobs” czar Van Jones, forced to resign over his ties to a communist group and his allegation of U.S. complicity in the 9/11 attacks, envisions a sort of progressive Tea Party. As if liberals were somehow underrepresented in politics and the media.

When I was 16, I attended a “Peace Rally” in southeastern New York State. The air was redolent of marijuana smoke in the Bedford Village town square, where a few hundred of us gathered to hear prominent defense attorney William Kunstler speak out against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. I knew nothing about geo-politics, but accepted as gospel that our troops should be brought home. What I wasn’t expecting, on that warm Spring day, was to be handed a pamphlet that included instructions for making pipe bombs, kindly supplied by members of the ‘Black Panthers’ who showed up at Kunstler’s invitation. I was disillusioned, to put it mildly, and angry. I was there to support “giving peace a chance”, not to learn how to blow up things and people. The lesson was clear: radical elements will move to fill any perceived vacuum of leadership in a populist movement.

In his apocalyptic poem “The Second Coming”, W.B. Yeats invoked a situation in which “mere anarchy is loosed upon the world“, because “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. Those of us who believe in the great American experiment in liberty had better develop some passion about our convictions, as the Tea Party groups have done. The people who wait always in the wings to foment chaos as a path to power have an intensity that must be matched by the majority.

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One Comment on “Mr. Obama Shares the “Frustration” of Wall Street Protestors”


  1. Hi, I used this article as a reference in my blog post, I hope you don’t mind.

    If you would like me to take it down I will. You can check it here: http://bit.ly/qNONK3 (even used a url shortener there so it didn’t look like I was spamming my url)

    Thanks,
    Paul


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