Posted by Michael A. Kamperman on October 6, 2011
Occupy Wall Street is now a wildfire spreading all over the country. The economy is not working for young college graduates with huge student loans and no jobs, it’s not working for the less educated, it’s not working for those trapped in underwater mortgages, it’s not working for seniors afraid of the stock market and trying to live off of interest payments, and it’s not working for small entrepreneurs who cannot find start-up capital. Those at the protests are right about one thing, it was Wall Street that got us into this mess and for the most part many of the ones involved in creating the crisis got off scot-free. How is it that the same person who ran Goldman Sachs when the AAA fraud was at its height is still running Goldman Sachs? How is it that the head of the New York Fed who failed to oversee Wall Street was rewarded with the job of Treasury Secretary? And how is it that no one has been indicted for the biggest fraud in the history of the planet? Those out on the streets are mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore! The banks deserve the scorn they are receiving. But if these people had jobs and opportunities they wouldn’t be out on the streets. And those out on the streets don’t have a clue as to what we should be doing, hence they don’t have concrete demands.
Today President Obama said the people were frustrated with the banks and that is why they are out on the streets. If those out on the streets understood why the economy is not turning around they would also be occupying Washington, which shares the blame with the banks for the mess we are in. The President oversold a too small stimulus plan, then spent months insisting it was just right, then spent more months arguing it saved jobs, then dropped altogether the concept of more stimulus and turned to deficit reduction. He never has put forward a serious effort to fix housing. Now he is wanting to put forward another too small Keynesian plan designed to create one million jobs when 25 million people cannot find full time work.
The President is not going to get re-elected if he doesn’t get those people off of the streets. And he is not going to get them off of the streets unless he goes for much bigger and much bolder plans to turn around the economy. And he cannot put forward plans that are truly bold as long as he accepts the current mantra that any new spending has to be paid for with offsetting spending cuts or tax increases. He needs to come out and say his plans will be paid for by creating economic growth and putting people back to work. Otherwise he is left with nothing but playing small-ball. And while there are plenty of good small-ball ideas, those ideas collectively are not going to create 25 million good paying new jobs with benefits. If the President doesn’t go big it won’t take that long for those occupying Wall Street to look to occupy Washington. At least the Bank of England announced a new round of quantitative easing today easing the way for our Federal Reserve to follow suit.