New York City

Commentary on Occupy Wall Street from The Nation

Why so many demands that the Occupy Wall Street movement create more specific demands? Betsy Reed writes for The Nation about the necessity of movement like Leftist OWS to create “a spark”:

“If you spend an hour or two down at Liberty Plaza, as I did with my eight-year-old daughter this past weekend, it’s clear enough. She got the point, at least: especially from the signs that read, ‘You should teach your kids to share,’ and, ‘Give my mom her money back!! A single working mom…not fair!’

It’s not that the demands being suggested by OWS’s volunteer policy advisors in the blogosphere are not worthy ideas. At a time when we desperately need to rein in financial speculation and change the incentives on Wall Street, a financial transactions tax is a terrific policy proposal.  Dean Baker has been talking about it for years.  The thing is, we on the left don’t have a scarcity of policy ideas. We are positively bursting with them. Create a housing trust fund!  A national infrastructure bank! And, yes, sure, eliminate the carried interest loophole so fat cats don’t get a bigger tax break than working people. (Some even have more radical ideas, which are quite sensible too.) But at best, we get a polite hearing for these ideas, which then fade away or are hopelessly watered down. We simply lack the power to put them into practice.”

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