Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nudging the hapless Obama Administration and our dysfunctional Congress

Wall Street protestors, photo courtesy of

In 2008 Naomi Klein tried to break through the mindless euphoria of the Obama campaign with a sharp dose of economic realism, but here we are three years later, slogging through our prolonged recession.   

You’d think the support the Occupy Wall Street protestors received yesterday from Klein in the Guardian and this morning from the NY Times editorial board would nudge the hapless Obama Administration and our dysfunctional Congress into taking seriously the wakeup call that Elizabeth  Warren has been sounding for months now.

But at least some of us out here are paying attention. Klein’s Guardian piece begins:

If there is one thing I know, it's that the 1% loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate, that is the ideal time to push through their wishlist of pro-corporate policies: privatising education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

There is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it's a very big thing: the 99%. And that 99% is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say: "No. We will not pay for your crisis."

The Times editorial board doesn’t mince words in this one:

As the Occupy Wall Street protests spread from Lower Manhattan to Washington and other cities, the chattering classes keep complaining that the marchers lack a clear message and specific policy prescriptions. The message — and the solutions — should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention since the economy went into a recession that continues to sock the middle class while the rich have recovered and prospered. The problem is that no one in Washington has been listening.

At this point, protest is the message: income inequality is grinding down that middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people. On one level, the protesters, most of them young, are giving voice to a generation of lost opportunity.

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