The Occupy Wall Street protests have been spreading across America. Some are calling them Tea Party wannabes. Others are claiming it’s the American version of the Arab Spring. Many are claiming the movement is just like the hippie movement in the 60s. What is the movement all about? What chances does it have to turn into something big?
The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be focused on the ‘greed and corruption of the 1%’. They are focusing their effort on the system that has corporate loopholes throughout the tax code, which allows for companies like GE to not pay any federal income taxes and instead get money back. At the same time, the movement seems to be complaining that the system has forced them into a position that makes the American Dream just that, a dream. Corporate capitalism is the villain in this movement. What is corporate capitalism?
I would argue that the corporate capitalism is the same thing as the crony capitalism that Sarah Palin has been stumping about. Sarah Palin wrote in her Facebook page that General Electric “is now the poster child of corporate welfare and crony capitalism.” The Occupy Wall Street movement also cites GE as part of the problem on their page of demands for their DC protest. Number four on their list of demands states, “No more GE paying zero or negative taxes.” Even though many pundits will say the Occupy Wall Street movement and Sarah Palin have nothing in common, the facts show otherwise.
So if the corporate capitalism of the Occupy Wall Street movement is the same as the crony capitalism that Palin is fighting against why can’t both sides come together to fight against it? Both sides have identified the problem, but both sides do not have the same ideas for solving the problem. At least that is what it seems like. In fact, both sides want to eliminate subsidies for businesses across the board. Both sides want to implement a fairer tax code. Both sides want lobbyists out of Washington. So what’s the problem.
The devil is in the details. Though it seems that both sides want the same thing, the way to achieve it is riddled with details that many cannot stomach. Palin’s side wants to lower corporate taxes. The Occupy Wall Street side wants to raise corporate taxes by eliminating loopholes. Even though those two things are not mutually exclusive when you dig into the overall effect, both sides see that the other side wants the opposite of what they are fighting for, either raising taxes or lowering taxes.
Is the Occupy Wall Street movement Tea Party wannabes? You could definitely make that argument. The Tea Party has become a national movement that has moved election results and changed politics across the country. The Occupy Wall Street movement obviously would like to have the same results.
Is the Occupy Wall Street movement the American version of the Arab Spring? It is way too early to tell if this movement will turn into an American version of the Arab Spring, but it does share some similarities. The protesters in the Arab spring were motivated by many factors all of which included economic decline and unemployment. The same factors play into the Occupy Wall Street movement. The big difference is that the Arab Spring took place in countries ruled by dictators. Things are much different in this country, which may lead to a different outcome.
Is the Occupy Wall Street movement just like the hippie movement in the 60s? At first glance, you could easily say they are. Both movements involved the youth protesting the establishment. Both movements involved mass uprisings across the nation. Even though both movements seem similar, they could not be more different. The hippie movement was a counterculture movement that focused on exploring ones existence and rejecting preconceived institutions. Hippies criticized the values of the middle class and against commercialism. The Occupy Wall Street movement is more aligned to reestablishing the middle class that seems to be diminishing. Most are high achievers with college degrees and tens of thousands of student loan debt that cannot find a job, though they were taught to believe that all they needed to do to succeed in life was to go to college and graduate. The Occupy Wall Street movement is composed of people who actually want to succeed in life and want to work towards the American Dream, but think that it is impossible because of the way corporate capitalism is structured today. The hippies of the 60s were very different from the Occupy Wall Street movement of today.
Could the Occupy Wall Street movement turn into something big that changes things fundamentally? Right now it is very early to say, but it has a chance. With the uprising of the Tea Party and their ability to change things, which seemed impossible a couple of years ago, anything is possible. Comparisons to the Arab Spring also lead to the possibility that the Occupy Wall Street movement could have a dramatic impact. The fact is that things are heating up across the country. How long do you think it will take to boil over?