There seems to be some debate as to what Occupy Wall Street should be focused on.
I have 3 suggestions — excerpted from my Sunday column in the Washington Post. You will note that these three are issues that both the Left and the Right — Libertarians and Liberals — should be able to agree upon:
1. No more bailouts/Bring Back Real Capitalism! The United States used to be a capitalist system. Companies lived and died on their own successes. “Corporate Welfare” – the term coined by Wisconsin senator William Proxmire – came into being in 1971 with the bailout of Lockheed Aircraft. Thus began a run of corporatism, not capitalism. Some companies, less than successful in a competitive marketplace, chose instead to suckle at the teat of the public trough. Innovation, execution and hard work were replaced with lobbying, crony capitalism and bailouts of failure. All of this paid for by taxpayers.
2. End Too Big To Fail/Restore Competition As George Shultz once said, “If they’re too big to fail, make them smaller.”
The current economic approach of “Too Big to Fail” is itself a failure. It reduces economic competition, concentrates risk, and raises costs for consumers. University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) professor of Economics and Law William Black notes that the TBTF moniker is misleading. We should start calling these firms by the more accurate phrase “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” (SDIs). TBTF makes it sound like the size is the problem – in reality, the systemic risk, regardless of size, is what we should be focused on. SDI is an accurate phrase, and appropriately pejorative.
3. Take Congress back from Wall Street Whatever changes come, they will only be temporary if the current system of spoils is allowed to continue. The United States has become a “corporatocracy.” Campaign finance and lobbying money has so utterly corrupted Congress that we might as well put elected officials up for bid on eBay – that is how corrupted the system has become. We must become a democracy again, where one man one vote matters. To do that, Wall Street money must be taken out of the process.
The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly on campaign finance reform, finding against voters and in favor of corporate interests. The only way to take the government back is a Constitutional Amendment.
There is much more, but you get the flavor of the piece. We shall see what resonance it will have amongst the crowd and OWS leaders . . .