Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where the Occupy Protests and the Tea Party Meet

With the Occupy Protests perhaps reaching their tipping point in Oakland last week, it seems as though two disparate groups are active in American politics and discourse today.  The Occupiers blame Wall Street and the so-called "1%," the uppermost group of wealthy people, for the ills of our economy.  The Tea Party, though growing more mainstream and accepted by the minute, blames the government for the same.  Though both groups want very different things, they are very similar to each other, and in my opinion, simply form the complete picture of the true problem with the economy.

Capitalism's PR image has taken a beating in the last few years because of the declining economy.  Most people argue that the problems of our economy are due to a market failure or an intrinsic problem in capitalism.  Here the thing, though: we do not live in a capitalist system right now.

What both the Occupiers and Tea Party have danced around is the notion that we actually live in a corporatist society, where business and government have elected to become bedfellows.  The so-called "crony capitalism" is exactly this.  The 1% thrives upon its ability to wield influence in Congress and with the White House.  The government has extrapolated the Commerce clause to obscene lengths.  Both are guilty of establishing a definite system of winners and losers.  The only problem is that, at last, the losers figured out the game.

All of this is to say that the Occupiers and the Tea Party, along with any other Americans tired of the 1% and of the notion of companies being "too big to fail," can come together pretty easily.  Supporting one and bashing the other is likely evidence of someone not seeing the big picture.  Whether this nearsightedness is deliberate or accidental is a far more telling question to answer.

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