OWS is about freeing our political system from the grip of a narrow economic elite so that the system can benefit us all once again. (More)


Showing his usual clueless conservatism masquerading as earnest reasonableness, David Brooks had a column last week attacking the Occupy Wall Street for purportedly having no ideas for how the problems facing our country should be solved. In Mr. Brook’s mind, OWS’s ideas are “milquetoast” and “marginal” because:

A group that divides the world between the pure 99 percent and the evil 1 percent will have nothing to say about education reform, Medicare reform, tax reform, wage stagnation or polarization. They will have nothing to say about the way Americans have overconsumed and overborrowed. These are problems that implicate a much broader swath of society than the top 1 percent. They will have no realistic proposal to reduce the debt or sustain the welfare state.

As usual with Mr. Brooks, however, this argument misses the point. No, the Occupy Wall Street movement does not have Mr. Brooks’ desired list of policy positions for “tax reform, fiscal reform, education reform, and political reform.” Instead, what OWS is calling for is freeing our political and economic system from the grip of a narrow economic elite so that we can address the myriad problems we face in ways that benefit all of us.

The overarching challenge facing our country right now is that our political and economic system is paralyzed by the control of the top 1%. Because of a campaign finance system that makes far too many politicians little more than glorified prostitutes, we have a system that is incapable of tackling the major problems we face. For example, the financial meltdown of 2008 made clear that we need to restore Glass-Steagall and other financial regulations. But the bankers said no, and so instead what we got were bailouts with too little in the way of reform to accompany them. Similarly, we all know that additional stimulus is needed to jump start our economy. But instead of getting that, Koch Brother funded Tea Party activists in the GOP are doing everything they can to prevent job creation in order to defeat President Obama. And we all know that we need to put a price on carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change. But we cannot get that because the moneyed interests in the coal, oil, and other polluting industries have said no.

The point of the Occupy Wall Street movement is to try to break that stranglehold so that our political and economic system can get back to governing in the best interests of we the people. If Mr. Brooks really would like to see a system that is responsive to the needs we face as a nation, a good place for him to start would be by joining the OWS effort, not by continuing to shill for a failed conservatism that got us into these problems to begin with.