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  • The Conservative's Guide to the 'Occupy Wall Street' Protests

    Protesters set up camp in New York City more than a month ago and have spread to other cities around the country, prompting many Americans to ask: What exactly do they want? The decentralized nature of the protests makes official demands difficult to come by, but the movement has released a number of positions that are fairly representative of the left-wing, anti-capitalist tenor of the protests.

    We decided to examine one such list of demands, and to give readers a sense of the conservative approach on the varied goals of the movement. To that end, we have gathered together a roundup of reactions from a number of Heritage experts on the demands put forth in one document, created by a collection of New York City protesters calling themselves “the Working Group on the 99% Declaration.”

    Readers should approach this post not as a response to a concrete political platform, but rather as part of a dialogue between the largely left-wing individuals “occupying” cities nationwide, and the conservative movement — which, polls show, actually does represent a plurality of politically interested Americans (though we hesitate to ascribe those views to 99% of the country, as OWS is wont to do).

    Here is the (paraphrased) list of demands. Click on one to jump right to the Heritage response.

    1. Complete bans on federal political contributions, replaced by public campaign financing.
    2. Reversal of the “Citizens United v. FEC” Supreme Court decision.
    3. Combating Washington’s “revolving door.”
    4. Bans on gifts to federal officials.
    5. Tax reform – eliminating special carve-outs and increasing progressiveness.
    6. Single-payer health care.
    7. Increased environmental regulation.
    8. Reduction of the national debt through a progressive income tax and elimination of corporate handouts.
    9. Federal job-training programs.
    10. Student loan debt forgiveness.
    11. Immigration policy, including amnesty for illegals.
    12. Recalling the U.S. military globally.
    13. Education mandates and teacher pay.
    14. Massive expansion of public works projects.
    15. Spurring China to end currency manipulation.
    16. Reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act.
    17. Refinance all underwater mortgages at 1% interest rate.
    18. One-year freeze on all foreclosures.
    19. Free air time for all political candidates who gather sufficient signatures.
    20. Immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    1. Implementing an immediate ban on all private contributions of money and gifts, to all politicians in federal office, from Individuals, Corporations, Political Action Committees, Super Political Action Committees, Lobbyists, Unions and all other private sources of money to be replaced by the fair and equal public financing of all federal political campaigns. We categorically REJECT the concept that money is equal to free speech because if that were so, then only the wealthiest would have a voice. These actions must be taken because it has become clear that politicians in the United States cannot regulate themselves and have become the exclusive representatives of corporations, unions and the very wealthy who spend vast sums of money on political campaigns to influence the candidates’ decisions and ensure their reelection year after year.

    Hans Von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at the Civil Justice Reform Initiative:

    All of these demands show a woeful ignorance and virtual contempt for rights protected by the Bill of Rights.  The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech” or “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  That includes the ability to not only speak out on political issues and the merits of candidates for public office, but to spend money on persuading others about the merits of those candidates or helping them get elected through campaign contributions.

    Americans have the right to associate with others who share their beliefs, and thus freedom of speech is not limited to just individuals, but also to the many other forms in which American associate from unions to corporations to organizations like the NAACP, the Sierra Club, or the National Rifle Association.  These proposals are unconstitutional attempts to limit the ability of Americans to associate with others or to petition and otherwise lobby the government on many important public policy issues.  The OWS protesters are themselves benefiting from the right to associate that they now seek to deny to others.

    A public funding program for all candidates for Congress and the Presidency also would violate basic First Amendment associational protections.  The high costs of modern congressional and presidential campaigns that are national in scope are such that they could only be funded through taxation.  It would be a basic violation of the associational rights of individual Americans for the government to force them through taxation to fund political candidates with whom those American disagree or do not support.  The federal government does not have the power to force American citizens to fund the campaigns of political candidates anymore than the government has the power to force them to vote for particular candidates.

    The framers of the Constitution were right to protect political and other forms of speech from government censorship, since they understood from history that freedom of speech, as well as the right to associate and the ability to petition the government, are key anchors of liberty.  For some reason, the OWS protestors despise these First Amendment rights, wanting to deny them to those with whom they disagree politically.  We wonder what other constitutional rights they would try to eliminate as soon as they get rid of the First Amendment

    2. The immediate reversal, even if it requires a Constitutional Amendment, of the outrageous and anti-democratic holding in the “Citizens United” case by the Supreme Court, which equates the payment of money by corporations, wealthy individuals and unions to politicians with free speech. We, the People, demand that institutional bribery and corruption not be deemed protected speech.

    Von Spakovsky:

    The claim that the Citizens United decision allows payment of “money by corporations” and unions to politicians is patently false.  Corporations and unions are prohibited from making campaign contributions to politicians by federal law and that law has not been overturned by the Supreme Court.  Citizens United held that the First Amendment prohibits Congress from censoring the political speech of any entity, and that includes independent expenditures that fund political speech.  That decision is in the greatest traditions of liberty and free speech, the most fundamental principles upon which this country was founded.

    3. Prohibiting all federal public officials and their immediate family members, whether elected or appointed, from EVER being employed by any corporation they regulate while in office and/or holding any stock or shares in any corporation they regulate while in office until a full 5 years after their term is completed.

    Brian Darling, Senior Fellow in Government Studies:

    This sounds like a common sense solution to the perception that federal employees who have worked in a regulatory capacity for the federal government will then go out and profit by working for a corporation that they regulate.  A lifetime ban would clearly be overbroad and a five year ban might also be too much.

    The most efficient way to solve this problem is not to put forth employment restrictions on federal employees, but to reduce regulations.  The Heritage Foundation report Red Tape Rising documents the massive burden that regulations place in the form of higher prices and limited product choices.  “There is no official accounting of total regulatory costs, and estimates vary. Unlike the budgetary accounting of direct tax revenues, Washington does not track the total burdens imposed by its expansive rulemaking. An oft-quoted estimate of $1.75 trillion annually represents nearly twice the amount of individual income taxes collected last year.”

    Instead of making more regulations to place on regulators, it would be a better idea to get rid of regulations that are slowing economic growth.  It is very unlikely that the advocates of big government within the Occupy Wall Street movement would ever advocate for lowering the regulatory burden on corporations that impacts the average American citizen.

    4. A complete lifetime ban on accepting all gifts, services, money, directly or indirectly, to any elected or appointed federal officials or their immediate family members, from any person, corporation, union or other entity that the public official was charged to regulate while in office.

    Darling:

    Again, the issue should not be addressed with yet more restrictions on the private sector. Instead, the federal government should work to reduce its involvement in private business practices, thereby eliminating the incentive for companies affected by regulations to hire the individuals who designed them.

    5. A complete reformation of the United States Tax Code to require ALL citizens to pay a fair share of a progressive, graduated income tax by eliminating loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and deductions, subsidies (e.g. oil, gas and farm) and ending all other methods of evading taxes. The current system of taxation favors the wealthiest Americans, many of whom, pay fewer taxes to the United States Treasury than citizens who earn much less and pay a much higher percentage of income in taxes to the United States Treasury. We, like Warren Buffet, find this income tax disparity to be fundamentally unjust.

    Curtis Dubay, Senior Policy Analyst for tax policy:

    Heritage supports a complete overhaul of the tax code. The current system is a drag on the economy because it levies rates that are too high, taxes saving and investment too heavily, and encourages or discourages particular economic activities. An improved code would remedy these problems by eliminating many deductions and credits, lowering marginal tax rates for all taxpayers, and removing entirely taxes on saving and investment.

    Although the current tax system is a serious impediment to economic growth, it cannot be said that those individuals and businesses that take advantage of the many credits and deductions in the tax code are evading taxes. Congress put those provisions in the tax code for those individuals and businesses to lower their taxes. There is nothing illegal or untoward about taxpayers using those provisions.

    It is laughable that anyone would say the current tax code favors the wealthiest Americans when the top 1 percent of income earners pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes. Warren Buffett can continue saying he pays a higher rate than his secretary all day long but that doesn’t make it true. Mr. Buffett always forgets to mention that before he pays the capital gains tax on his gains from the sale of equities, the businesses that generated those gains paid the highest-in-the-world 35 percent corporate income tax. When properly added to Mr. Buffett’s tax rate it is clear his actual rate is much higher than his employees.

    6. Medicare for all American citizens or another single-payer healthcare system, adjusted by a means test (i.e. citizens who can afford it may opt-out and pay their own health insurance or opt-in and pay a means tested premium). The Medicaid program, fraught with corruption and fraud, will be eliminated except for the purpose of providing emergency room care to indigent non-citizens who will not be covered by the single-payer program.

    Kathryn Nix, Policy Analyst at the Center for Health Policy Studies:

    Before considering the notion of universalizing Medicare, Occupy Wall Street should explain how it would propose the United States finance the current Medicare debt. Today, Medicare has $36.8 trillion in long-term unfunded liabilities—promised benefits to current and future generations of seniors that it cannot pay for.  To highlight the sheer size of this fiscal mess, that number is more than twice the size of the current national debt. And we’re just talking about one of many federal programs.

    Its massive insolvency is just one of the reasons Medicare is proof that the federal government should not run a single-payer health care system. Its system of central planning through administratively-set price controls and statutory updates to provider payments does not reflect the actual costs providers incur to offer  their services and keep their doors open. The consequences include cost-shifting to the privately insured, reduced access to doctors and other providers, and decreased quality in the care seniors receive. Meanwhile, traditional Medicare’s fee for service system has no way to promote value in the health care goods and services seniors use, and consumer insulation from cost contributes to overutilization and unnecessary use of services.

    There are better options to save Medicare and expand access to affordable coverage among the nonelderly population. Transitioning Medicare to a premium support plan would allow seniors to purchase a health plan of their choice using a government contribution based on the cost of the plans available and retirement income. This transformation would unleash the power of the free market to improve the value seniors receive for the taxpayer dollars spent on their health benefit. It would encourage beneficiaries to seek out the highest quality for the lowest cost when purchasing a health plan and seeking out health care providers. Tying the government contribution to the cost of the lowest bid would reflect actual market conditions, meanwhile using competition among insurers to better meet demand and drive down costs. Adjusting the federal contribution according to income would ensure that Medicare dollars were directed to those with the most need, and though the wealthiest individuals would no longer receive a taxpayer-subsidized benefit, they would benefit from access to the same regulated marketplace.

    For the nonelderly population, the creation of tax credits and additional subsidies for low-income families, alongside other commonsense insurance market reforms, would expand access and encourage Americans to obtain and keep health coverage. The plan would pave the way for the creation of a competitive, consumer-driven health care system where insurance was affordable and portable.

    7. New comprehensive regulations to give the Environmental Protection Agency expanded powers to shut down corporations, businesses or any entities that intentionally or recklessly damage the environment and/or criminally prosecute individuals who intentionally damage the environment. We also demand the immediate adoption of the most recent international protocols, including the “Washington Declaration” to cap carbon emissions and implement new and existing programs to transition away from fossil fuels to reusable or carbon neutral sources of power.

    Nicolas Loris, Policy Analyst at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies:

    Pretending that companies pollute intentionally and recklessly or pretending that we do not have an existing regulatory and judicial system that protects private property rights and prevents against unchecked pollution  makes it difficult to take these demands seriously in the first place.  Setting aside that, let’s talk about capping carbon dioxide and the push to transition away from fossil fuels.  Since 85 percent of America’s energy needs come from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, capping carbon dioxide would be a massive tax on energy consumption that would have negligible impacts on the earth’s temperature.  A tax that increases energy prices would disproportionately eat into the income of the poorest American families since lower income families spend a larger percentage of their budget on energy use.   In fact, during the cap and trade debate, Roy Innis, President of the Congress of Racial Equality said, “that the civil rights challenge of our time is to stop extreme environmental policies that drive up the cost of energy and disproportionately hurt low income Americans and the working poor.”

    How is this demand supposed to help the 99 percent again?

    If Occupy Wall Street is sincere in its fight against crony capitalism, it would be arguing for less government intervention into the economy – not more.  Where’s the protest signs with regards to the crony capitalistic nature of the Solyndra loan guarantee?  I guess Occupy the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    8. Adoption of an immediate plan to reduce the national debt to a sustainable percentage of GDP by 2020. Reduction of the national debt to be achieved by BOTH a cut in spending to corporations engaged in perpetual war for profit, the “healthcare” industry, the pharmaceutical industry and all other sectors that use the federal budget as their income stream AND a truly progressive income tax code that does not allow the wealthy and corporations to evade taxes through excessive deductions, subsidies and loopholes. We agree that spending cuts are necessary but those cuts must be made to facilitate what is best for the People of the United States of America, not multinational and domestic corporations.

    Patrick Knudsen, Grover M. Hermann Senior Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies:

    Yes, we do need a plan to reduce the national debt, and it should focus on credible reductions in federal spending, using the right kinds of policies – specifically policies that reduce the incentives and drivers of higher spending, and bend down the trajectory of government spending growth. Contrary to the view of some “mainstream” economists and the current administration – who continue to assert that government spending is necessary to prop up the economy, despite the clear failure of this philosophy – spending reductions are the best way to ease the dead-weight burden of spending on the economy. This will help foster conditions conducive to long-term growth.

    Likewise, crony capitalism should be eliminated; it distorts market functions and diminishes productivity. Today some of the biggest beneficiaries are the health care industry – largely feeding off the government’s medical entitlement programs – and politically favored “green” industries.

    Yes, the tax code should be reformed to eliminate “excessive subsidies, deductions and loopholes”, but also to lower marginal income tax rates – which will promote work, saving, and investment – so that the tax code does not raise more revenue.

    9. Passage of a comprehensive job and job-training act like the American Jobs Act to employ our citizens in jobs that are available with specialized training and by putting People to work now by repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure. We also recommend the establishment of an online international job exchange to match employers with skilled workers or employers willing to train workers in 21st century skills.

    James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at the Center for Data Analysis:

    Public works projects will not reduce unemployment. Government spending does not create new wealth in the economy, it reallocates existing spending. Some workers get jobs on the public works project, at the expense of jobs that do not get created elsewhere in the economy. The government could, after all, pay every unemployed worker in America to excavate the foundations of new buildings—with teaspoons. Existing construction projects would easily need millions of teaspoon-diggers. But this would not boost the economy. Building even more bridges to nowhere will not boost the economy either. Want proof? How well did Obama’s construction spending spree in the stimulus work?

    Sadly, government job training programs also do not live up to their hype. Studies show that many federal job training programs do little to help their participants find new jobs. New reports from the Inspector General at the Department of Labor show that Obama has not changed this. Investigations of the new “green job” training initiatives and the youth-oriented Job Corps show that both of them struggle to place workers into new jobs. The government has not learned how to do effective job training. Fortunately, OWS do not have to wait for the government to act. Private sector online job exchanges like Monster.com already match millions of employers with workers every year.

    10. Student loan debt relief. Our young People and students are more than $830 billion in debt from education loans alone. Payment and interest on these debts should be deferred for periods of unemployment and the principal on these loans reduced using a corporate tax surcharge.

    Lindsey Burke, Senior Policy Analyst for Domestic Policy Studies:

    Taxpayers who have worked hard to pay off their own student loan debt – and who are still making payments – should not be penalized by having to pay-off the student loan debt of those who irresponsibly took out more of a loan burden than they can handle, to earn a degree of questionable value. Raising taxes to pay down the principal on loans that students took out on their own volition penalizes Americans who paid their way through college by working during school, or who now live a modest lifestyle in order to responsibly make their loan payments. And it also penalizes the three quarters of American workers who chose not to attend college at all. Why should the three quarters of workers who did not to go to college – waitresses, construction workers, mechanics and other average Americans – have to finance the college student who took out $100,000 in student loans to finance a degree in, say, women’s studies?

    11. Immediate passage of the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration and border security reform including offering visas, lawful permanent resident status and citizenship to the world’s brightest People to stay and work in our industries and schools after they obtain their education and training in the United States.

    James Carafano, Deputy Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies:

    Encouraging people to break US immigration laws by offering them rewards is not the best way to foster respect for the rule of law and fixing our broken borders.

    12. Recalling all military personnel at all non-essential bases and refocusing national defense goals to address threats posed by the geopolitics of the 21st century, including terrorism and limiting the large scale deployment of military forces to instances where Congressional approval has been granted to counter the Military Industrial Complex’s goal of perpetual war for profit.

    Carafano:

    This is great! In fact, the Pentagon has already done this! The military has no interest in keeping bases that are not essential. Congress funds all military deployments. If they don’t want the military to go somewhere they just don’t have to fund it.

    And if we were ever fighting wars for profit, looking at the national debt, we were not doing a very good job.

    13. Mandating new educational goals to train the American public to perform jobs in a 21st Century economy, particularly in the areas of technology and green energy, taking into consideration the redundancy caused by technology and the inexpensive cost of labor in China, India and other countries and paying our teachers a competitive salary commensurate with the salaries of employees in the private sector with similar skills.

    Burke:

    Federal mandates on education aren’t going to get us anywhere near the excellence we all desire for American schools. Where are system is great is where it’s decentralized and people have choice. The “Occupy Wall Street” crowd wants teachers to be paid a “competitive salary commensurate with the salaries of employees in the private sector with similar skills.” But public education employees already receive total compensation above what they would otherwise earn in the private sector. If we really wanted to ensure high quality teachers were well-paid, we should push for policies that allow mid-career professionals easier access to the classroom through alternative teacher certification, and we would reward highly effective teachers based on student performance. When you have salaries based on performance, as is the case in most every other sector in America, and you can reward people for excellence, you attract high quality teachers into the classroom and can keep the best and the brightest in America’s schools.

    14. Subject to the elimination of corporate tax loopholes and exploited exemptions and deductions stated above, offering tax incentives to businesses to remain in the United States and hire its citizens rather than outsource jobs and reconstruct the manufacturing capacity of the United States.  In conjunction with a new jobs act, reinstitution of the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps or a similar emergency governmental agency tasked with creating new public works projects to provide jobs to the 46 million People living in poverty, the 9.1% unemployed and 10% underemployed.

    J.D. Foster, Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies:

    These demands demonstrate an encouraging focus on the real problem in tax policy combined with an unfortunate failure to understand the solution.  The authors suggest the elimination of corporate tax loopholes, which is all to the good if they could properly define these corporate tax loopholes, and then suggest the creation of a new slate of corporate tax loopholes for what may or may not be other purposes.

    The apparent intentions of the occupy tax reforms to improve the economy and increase jobs and wages at home are precisely correct.  The tax system is an unaffordable and systemic source of serious economic weakness.  However, correcting this problem and reversing this weakness does not involve replacing one set of tax loopholes with another, but rather eliminating all loopholes as measured against a rigorous economic standard, and lowering tax rates for businesses and individuals alike.   Doing so will naturally encourage businesses to come to and remain in the United States, to hire, to “reconstruct the manufacturing capacity of the United States”.

    In contrast, nothing good can be said of the secondary suggestion to create yet another jobs program.  These programs do not create jobs, on net, because government cannot create purchasing power on net by first subtracting funds from the private sector by borrowing to re-inject those funds by spending.

    15. Implementing of immediate legislation to encourage China and our other trading partners to end currency manipulation and reduce the trade deficit.

    Derek Scissors, Research Fellow at the Asian Studies Center:

    From 2005 to 2008, China’s currency rose 20% against the dollar, as many in Congress wanted, and the bilateral trade deficit rose more than 30%. In 2009, the yuan did not budget against the dollar and the bilateral trade deficit fell more than 15%. China’s currency policy has little to do with the trade deficit.

    What does? First, the strength of American demand. A growing economy 2005-2008 drove the bilateral trade deficit higher; a shrinking economy in 2009 brought it lower. There are also a series of Chinese actions that are more important and more harmful than their currency policy. The OWS protesters are falling for a political con game.

    16. Immediate reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act and increased regulation of Wall Street and the financial industry by the SEC, FINRA and the other financial regulators, and the commencement of a Justice Department criminal investigations into the Securities and Banking industries practices that led to the collapse of markets, $700 billion bail-out, and financial firm failures in 2007-2008.

    James Gattuso, Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies:

    This call for regulation has a bit of Rip Van Winkle about it.  Where have the authors been the last two years?   The Dodd-Frank Act enacted last year increased regulation of the financial industry across the board.  But it hardly has had the effect the authors of the manifesto want.  In many cases, the new rules have hurt, not helped, consumers – such as the misguided price controls on debit card charges that stores pay to banks that have shifted costs directly to consumers.  Nor has the law ended the prospect of future bailouts.  In many ways, it has institutionalized “too big to fail.”  If ending bailouts and irresponsible behavior in the financial world is the goal, the authors would be well-advised to scrap the new rules that have been imposed, and instead focus on establishing better mechanisms, such as improved bankruptcy laws, that allow corporate miscreants to be punished in the marketplace without collateral damage to the economy.

    17. Adoption of a plan similar to President Clinton’s proposal to end the mortgage crisis and instead of the Federal Reserve continuing to lower interest rates for loans to banks who are refusing to loan to small businesses and consumers, the Federal Reserve shall buy all underwater or foreclosed mortgages and refinance these debts at 1% or less to be managed by the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (and foreclosure task force described below) because 1% or less is the interest rate the Federal Reserve loans to the banks directly who hoard the cash rather than loan it to the People and small businesses.

    David John, Senior Research Fellow in Retirement Security and Financial Institutions at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies:

    This solution is both logistically impossible and probably would take years to implement.  First off, the Federal Reserve is not a commercial bank and the CFPB is not a mortgage servicer.  These are complex functions that they don’t have the ability to handle.  Second, an unemployed individual who has no income cannot afford to pay a refinanced loan no matter what the interest rate.  Third, what home valuation would be refinanced?  If it is the original face value, then the Fed would be making a huge profit on a loan that has a value well in excess of the current home value.  If it is the current value of the home, then the Fed would be taking a huge loss that would result in taxpayers having to bear the cost of the difference between the original loan and the refinanced loan.  Also, loans are made one by one, and would be refinanced the same way.  A mass refinancing would take years. Then there is the question of what happens if the mortgage holders refuse to sell the loans to the Fed.  They cannot be forced to do so.

    18. An immediate one year freeze on all foreclosures to be reviewed by an independent foreclosure task force appointed by Congress and the Executive Branch to (in conjunction with the  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ) determine, on a case by case basis, whether foreclosure proceedings should continue based on the circumstances of each homeowner and propriety of the financial institution’s conduct.

    John:

    An immediate one-year freeze on foreclosures would hurt homeowners while doing little or nothing for those who are unable to pay their mortgages.  It is also much easier to talk about than to actually do.  Recovery in housing has been crippled by the overhang of homes that are either in foreclosure or are inevitably going to come onto the market once they are foreclosed.  Until these homes are actually available, it will be very difficult for new market prices to be established.  Continued delay will just prolong the problem.

    For those subject to foreclosure, a moratorium will not change the reality that they are in homes that they cannot – often through no fault of their own – afford.  Until they can move on and start to rebuild their credit and savings, they will remain shunned by lenders and facing the eventual disruption of having to move.  Delay just prolongs their pain.

    Finally, foreclosures are subject to state law, and it is very doubtful that any federal effort to establish a moratorium would have the effect that proponents of a moratorium hope.  It is much more likely that such a law would fall in court challenges.

    19. Subject to the above ban on all private money and gifts in politics, to enact additional campaign finance reform requiring free air time and public campaign finances to all candidates who obtain sufficient petition signatures and/or votes to participate in the primaries and/or electoral process, to shorten the campaign season and to allow voting on weekends and holidays.

    Von Spakovsky:

    The government has no right to force television stations and other media outlets to provide free airtime for candidates.  This is a clear taking of private property without compensation from owners, shareholders, and employees of those media entities.

    20. An immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and a substantial increase in the amount of funding needed for veteran job placement and the treatment of the physical and emotional injuries sustained by veterans in these wars. Our veterans are committing suicide at an unprecedented rate and we must help now.

    Carafano:

    It would probably be best to both defend America’s interest and take care of veterans, rather than suggesting Congress chose between its Congressional responsibility of providing for the common defense and taking care of our men and women in uniform, their families and our veterans.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    62 Responses to The Conservative's Guide to the 'Occupy Wall Street' Protests

    1. zff says:

      My God, but that list is hilarious. Half of what they want done can't be done unless you expand and do more of the other things they claim they don't want done.

      Anyone who claims they want to cut government spending but also wants to pay teachers even more, expand the already huge EPA, expand Medicare to make it "universal" and create some massive federal "jobs training" program, etc. etc. isn't worthy of taking seriously. Anyone who demands we 'restructure" the military to face the challenges of the 21st Century but at the same time refers to said military as an "Military Industrial Complex" wanting endless war and also demands we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan does not deserve to be taken seriously. One gets the feeling that by demanding the shutdown of all "non-essential" military bases they really mean all of them. Anyone who demands we simply the tax code, yet demands we make it more burdensome and expansive and unwieldy at the same time can't be taken seriously. They only want a simpler tax code so taxes can be used even more effectively in milking the taxpayers to build a repressive socialist "utopia."

      As illuminating as the list is of how unfocused and contradictory this certain set of 'occupy' demands is, I wish Heritage hadn't responded as it gives it a air of legitimacy and respect that it doesn't deserve.

      These people are not truly for what they claim to be for. What they really want is not an end to crony capitalism or a simpler tax code or smaller government, but for those things to be expanded and shaped exclusively for their benefit.

      • Jack says:

        ZFF:

        Your response was well written and correct.

        The actions of the OWS crowd makes me more concerned with those who are dedicated Libertarians. When the Libertarian Party first came into being I was initially attracted to some of what they communicated. However, the more I looked into this philosophy the more I recognized the end result of Libertarianism would be anarchy. That is what we are getting from the OWS crowd–anarchy. I am for freedom and liberty but within the bounds of reasonable regulation.

      • tomgrasso says:

        Don't take this so seriously. It's based on what the writer views are a "list" of demands that he "paraphrased" for us. What would be wonderful is if conservatives would see just how this movement should appeal to their common sense and patriotism.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Too many of these "demands" are driven by perception without a stick of evidence to support. Like the regulations that are hyped and distorted for confused, questionable, whacked reaction. The rest are personal responsibilities that proper education motivates the recognition. What does this tell us? All these minds have been cheated by expensive schooling at the peoples costs while the government capitalizes in various ways. Guiding the ows to give up matters within their personal control and capabilities and put them under the expense of government's control! What a slap in the face, shame to America!

    3. @McFrisch says:

      While I agree whole-heartily with the author and commentors, it should be pointed out that it is unreasonable to reason with unreasonable people. I doubt that any level of common sense rebuttal will convince these ideologues from continuing their Liberal Tantrum.

      • KruelHunter says:

        You've hit the nail on the head when you speak of a "tantrum". These tools of the exterme left wing are nothing more or less than angry children who believe that the same techniques effective against their parents should be equally effective against the taxpayers.

    4. NotPropagandized says:

      I opposed repeal of GlassSteagallAct at the beginning and think it SHOULD be reinstated. That question was not answered in #16, above. The high-beta risk profile of investment banking activities has predictably undermined the necessarily conservative nature of commercial banking/lending.

      It would be pleasing for Heritage to address this condition directly, that is the regulatory separation of investment banking from traditional commercial banking. Defaulting to a discussion of the pitfalls of over-regulation does not suffice.

      Please focus on and then elaborate on GlassSteagall !!

      • BillS says:

        NotPropagandize – You are 100% right.

      • KruelHunter says:

        The whole purpose of bills like the Glass Stegall and Dodd Frank acts is to extend federal authotiey into the finafcial sector in order to assure continued financial support of incumbent politicians, primarily Democrats if statistics are to be believed. This sort of legislation assures the continuance of bail outs for the largest, and most cooperative, businesses in bringing the U.S. economy under control of the state.

    5. Mort says:

      Well done!

    6. This is what I have been waiting for from the Heritage Foundation, this is outstanding. It seems to me that the OWS movement doesn't really grasp how our system works and how to fix it. I feel their pain on student loans and unemployment, but their views on how to fix things is straight of Marxist. Thanks, Heritage!

    7. Cindi Benson says:

      I was in NYC last week, and I visited the OWS protests sites, I was shocked at how similar the protesters were to the ones during the Veitnam War! A bunch of whiny hippies. I was also amused at their attempts at their own free enterprise capatalism with some selling jewerly, yoga classes, palm readings etc…

    8. exe says:

      These "rebuttals" are nothing but nationalist and supply-side idolatry. Not a rational, critical thought in the lot of it.

      • fredCPA says:

        perhaps. but the "demands" are nothing more than the drama club rejects adolescent tantrum ramblings wouldnt you say? of the two, the OWSers are not only childish but destructive and incoherent, intellectually vapid, and in some cases dangerous. borderline immoral, or amoral. i'll take the other thank you, if forced to choose.

      • tomgrasso says:

        Agreed. Conservatives are beginning to show themselves as nothing more than brainwashed sheep of the wealthy aristocracy. OWS is, if nothing more, causing SOME of them to awaken from their trance long enough to reflect on their own position versus what was "promised" them for all of their "hard work".

    9. accessiblemediaone says:

      This movement needs to turn inward and in turning inward can there be enough energy to overcome it all

    10. absolutetotalfreedom says:

      This a cause in the right direction with the wrong energy and actions behind it

    11. GlenC says:

      America is so screwed. Nobody even bothers to talk anymore. You're right, leave things alone. Nothing they say or claim is the way things should be because things are just awesome! Good luck. Failed state!

    12. lights on says:

      It was "America the beautiful" when people lived up to their rightful, personal responsibilities with the American self esteem that reflects persons "want" to be in control of their own!

    13. Jeff, Illinois says:

      . . and those claims are what most citizens of the United States want as well, once they get the facts . . HF and those addicted Faux News will never understand those demands, because they are part of the problem . . !!!!
      But I also like how HF distorts the truth behind #2. Yes contributions can't be made "DIRECTLY", but "Indirectly" like thru the Thinks Tanks including HF and others formed by Carl Rove . . have unlimited access to politicians . . Just do a little research . . History is on the side of fairness . . and ultimately the lies and deception of the GOP and their corporate masters will come out . . !

      • Doug says:

        You completely contradict this movement with your whining about the Heritage Foundation and FOXNews. More than 1% of the adult population watches FOX over the course of one week. So, by your logic(and atrocious grammar/punctuation), the +1% of American people who watch FOX are somehow NOT part of the 99%? Apparently in la-la-liberal-land there is more than 100% in a whole? I am what you term as a 99%er–but you do NOT speak for me.

        • TehForty says:

          ya but 99% of the people that watch FOX do it for the Simpsons.

        • Jeff, Illinois says:

          You may be part of the 99%, but apparently only when considering the income math. In spirit, if you align yourself with the points being made with the HF and / or Faux News, you are being duped, and will never understand the movement! Put most simply, the true 99%ers are sick and tired of the rules being determined by those who control the wealth in this country. Your so-called pejorative labeling of liberals will ultimately guarantee that you will be part of the wrong side of history after all is said and done. By the way, I do not care to speak for those who side with greed, self-centeredness and fear of those who do not think they way they do.

          • Bobbie says:

            "never understand the movement?" what understanding is being missed? according to what you wrote you want government to control the freedom to gain wealth? Even though it's the government that's always the governing authority! Obviously the government are the ones easily influenced by other peoples' wealth if you don't like the way your government is running the country suggesting it's wealthy people controlling us? Once government puts their tags on UNCONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS, freedom is compromised! PERIOD! You judge people you don't even know! You don't understand what you're supporting unless you're part of the agenda. Your desperation and envy is amazing…

      • Hoyt says:

        We understand them only too well & we understand the legal constitutional processes by which grievances are properly addressed in a civil society. Our Republic is founded on laws evolved over thousands of years through human interaction & trial and error. Fairness is a subjective emotional characteristic the enforcement of which can not be administered evenly by individuals or groups acting outside the law. Go home and study something besides your left-wing blogs.

        • Jeff, Illinois says:

          . . And what we learn from history time and again is that left unchecked (Unregulated) greed and exploitation will eventually be manifest. Now once again, the populace have had enough. What could be more obvious than that?

    14. patsw says:

      Lachlan, you left out the repeal of all drug laws, and the immediate release of people imprisoned for drug offenses.

    15. Thebes says:

      Long winded propaganda about how its your friends' right to all the money your friends' stole through fraud.

    16. fish says:

      Perhaps they should forward their petition to the North Pole. Maybe someone up there has the ability to fulfill their demands.

    17. Tesp says:

      What a joke. Automatically from your discussion of the first item, this is a complete turn off. Its clear 99% is asking for equality in terms of political funding. Hardly equal when you throw funding in the pile, while the most of us middle low class have to focus in making meet ends and sacrifice the potential funding for a voice that actually represent us. BUT Not surprising from the foundation that claims in their reports that every middle low class household has 3 TVs and at least a car and that the solution to poverty is marriage and two-income household. Not even worth reading the rest.

      • Bobbie says:

        when you're that confused, it's understandable…

      • Liz says:

        But I thought that was what the hope and change slogan from the last presidential election was all about. He was someone that was going to represent you. I guess it was just a slogan and now everyone that voted for the president has got their feelings hurt and are throwing tantrums. They didn't get a big enough piece of the "stash". This 99% thing sounds just like the corporations that they are ranting against. They are very greedy and then throw in multitudes of envy.

    18. John says:

      there are many conservative/libertarian principles guiding the OWS movement, above all, corporate accountability and the end of corporate and political cronyism which is in fact has proven detrimental to the market economy.

      • Beth says:

        John,

        It may be true that there are glimmers of con/lib principles like corporate accountability, but the "solutions" and demands to fix these are what are unsustainable and counter productive. The solutions touted by OWS will only make the problems worse. They are essentially asking for the government to fix the government.

    19. Lee says:

      OWS seems to have one thing in mind: The world owes them (and everybody else) a living, which should be paid for by the evil rich. The lack of any serious economic understanding here is horrifying. If they actually got what they asked for it would be the most oppressive dictatorship the world has ever seen, including North Korea, and most of the things they are asking for would never come to pass anyway, because they are unworkable.

      Socialist Utopias don't work — except for the guys in charge. They are the ones eating Kobe beef and caviar. The serfs are lucky if they can scrape together a little bread and water to keep body and soul together.

      In the end, the laws of economics always win out. Those who would defy them are always the losers. If one of my children were attending one of these OWS-whatevers, they would come home to find the locks changed, their college tuition cut off and their remaining possessions sitting in the front yard — those that hadn't already been taken by other free-lance Socialists eager to share the wealth.

    20. Aaron Kreider says:

      That list of demands has not been endorsed by any of the occupations. It is a *proposal* by a working group in NYC. There are tons of proposals. Many of them are not accepted.

    21. Maggie's Daughter says:

      Delta is ready when they are.

    22. Afghan Susie says:

      Burke's response in rebuttal to Demand #13 was: "When you have salaries based on performance, as is the case in most every other sector in America, and you can reward people for excellence, you attract high quality teachers into the classroom and can keep the best and the brightest in America’s schools." I taught 15 years between a city school and a rural school. I was a very good teacher according to my supervisors, parents and students. My performance records were very good. While it would be great to be compensated for performance there are many other factors that can get in the way. Contrary to popular belief of so many politicians, schools ARE a reflection of society and its values!! Teachers teach what they are dictated to teach. And God forbid if we're able to teach the values of self-responsibility. My husband finally put his foot down; I quit because the salary could not compensate for the time I spent away from my family and the 60-70 hours I was putting in most weeks. I have since had the opportunity to work on a State Department contract for a large corporate company. I was dumbfounded with the incompetencies and the promotions of unqualified people both within the corporation and the State Department. That is one organization that needs to be eliminated immediately!! Rather than fire someone they just move them to another position so they don't have to worry about law suits. The State Dept trying to be PC hired minorities that were far from being qualified for the high management positions they were given wasting MILLIONS of dollars. Within both the corporation and the the State Dept I saw extremely qualified people fired and demoted for political gain and just for spite. So much for rewarding people for excellence!! Working in the private sector was a rude awakening for this lady. Burke, you're wrong on this rebuttal. Give schools the ability to fire teachers who don't do a good job and let teachers teach without all the ridiculous bureaucratic paper work that is demanded of us all. BTW, I'm quite conservative but teachers, firemen, policeman and social workers need more compensation for the extremely vital contributions we make to our country!!

      • Bobbie says:

        Pay for performance is the only way. That way immigrants will be inspired to do better or make another choice in careers. As a parent I know for a fact immigrants are made exception to even when their lack of effort to pronounce English in an understandable way interferes with the child's ability to learn and learning abilities. If a person really wants to teach, they'd do everything they could at their expense so not to retard those they're teaching. It shows true sincerity. Through the grapevine I've heard the ignorance of government calls it racism? I call it a failure to properly communicate that can be corrected immediately by requiring all educators to speak clear English. Or speak clearly in whatever language they're teaching. Government protects their own at high monetary tax payers expense and the expense of the minds of CHILDREN!

      • Fara says:

        I have held a strong belief that the value of the role of our teachers has long been grossly lower than what is accurate. I spent 8 years in college and earned two degrees, and worked very successfully as an occupational therapist. But it was during my college years that I came to understand what a beautifully, profound contribution teachers of all ages make. With the structure of many families suffering or even falling apart due to the pressure on both parents having to work long hours to support the family financially, not to mention additional stressors such dysfunctional dynamics, mental illness, and drug addiction, it leaves little energy and time left for the parents to actually parent their children. This puts the burden on teachers as the only hope children have to become educated, well adjusted adults. That is one heck of a burden alone, adding to it the fact that funding, appropriate pay for teachers, and strict adherence to acceptable standards for the students are falling the cracks, like dust in the wind. The only result is truly disturbing. Millions of poorly educated and maladjusted adults who aren't able to maintain basic independence in their own lives. That alone is an unacceptable and horrific injustice to innocent children brought into this world completely dependent on those who created him or her to fulfill their responsibility of making sure they provide the proper parenting to allow them to be able to be successful adults.

        And, the injustice that so many teachers are having to endure is an absolute outrage that I simply cannot comprehend how it is allowed to happen. The magnitude of the importance of fixing this situation as soon as possible at all costs seems to elude those who have the power to initiate such change. It's as if people really don't care. That is sad, and makes feel disappointed in the people of our country.

    23. Hauptman says:

      The fact remains that our system is overregulated and controlled by persons not educated in the system that has given the American people the highest standard of living in the history of civilization. If any of the child like minds demanding the intervention of Government in their lives could go to some of the Socialist workers paradise countries, they would be screaming for NO Gov intervention in their lives at all. The fact that their OWS movement would be brutaly and violently supressed in most countries (outside of europe) is apparently lost on their thought processes.

    24. Angel Barron says:

      RE: #2, Relating to the Supreme Court decision that, in essence, a corporation has the same legal rights as an individual to free speech because, by definition, a corporation is a legal person—duh—I learned that my first year in college. And I did not go to Harvard, Yale or Princeton. That reminds me, we have a man in the White House today who actually went to Harvard, but he does not know that a corporation is a legal entity. I think he is even a lawyer.

    25. Joseph McKennan says:

      The OWS crowd is actually achieving some of its ends. The dizzy press is making it an issue whether thinking people are interested or not. One headline that made me almost ill was the one where Michael Moore is sitting with them. If that toad wants me to take him seriously he should get rid of his … how many hundred million? He is representative of the movement. Blind leading blind. They are catching a lot of attention so they think they are making a difference. If any of them show up at my door after dark wanting me to donate to a cause… I won't answer.

    26. John Smith says:

      These guys ACTUALLY think that they have 99% of the population on their side?! I'm cracking up here! LOL!!!

      I would make a PowerPoint presentation that would describe to liberals like this just how exactly a business functions, but I don't have that software. It would have included the basics like how one is usually started, as well as expenses that some of that "profit" has to be used for. This includes payment for raw materials used in the creation of the product, water/electric bills, property and other taxes, employee paychecks, and all the extra expenses that they have to pay the government for regulations and etc.

      Also, I would make one for explaining stocks. I have a few stocks and know a little bit about it. Most people think that the stock market is influenced mainly by confidence, but this is far from the truth. It IS true that confidence can have a small effect in an indirect way (in reference to the cost to buy a stock back from a holder) and probably would effect it at 10% tops. However, a stock is more like a direct indication if the company is making profit or losing money. I consider stocks to be the most truthful way to measure a company's success because a stock is literally a legal piece of ownership of the company itself. What I mean is that, when you buy a stock, you are buying a tiny fraction of the company itself.

      It would be nice if HF (or a radio talk show host) would make a web site that explains this stuff in a way that grade school students would understand. It is possible and would help.

      • Andy says:

        Regarding your comments about stock being a "direct indication if the company is making profit or losing money", I'm afraid this is wrong. Consider the fact that in February 2000, the stock market was valuing internet companies at $943 billion despite the fact that they were collectively reporting losses of $6 billion per year. The sad fact is that the excessive rewards in the form of stock packages for executives who do well often encourages them to embellish reports and exaggerate profits, and in the end it all becomes one collective lie where nobody wants to admit that their stock is vastly overpriced because they'd lose out.

    27. chatmandu002 says:

      This list is a result of our liberal/progressive/socialist brainwashing that has been occurring in our schools and universities.

      For the demands of the OWS/99%ers to be accomplished they would have to shred the Constitution. We the 53% would not let that happen.

    28. Pete Wyman says:

      Thanks, Heritage. Having missed the domonstrations of the 1960's due to being in uniform and having never been closer to a popular uprising than chanting "Read the Bill" at two Tea Party rallies in WDC; I wondered what folks want. Your aggregation of their demands is helpful. But the scope and ambiguity of the demands strikes me as being a device designed to keep the largest possible number of demonstrators connected, enthused and active. It suggests some focused movement is orchestrating the "spontaneity" and executing a strategy to keep the "useful idiots" engaged. Makes me wonder: Cui bono?

    29. @kgardnr says:

      These comments are really disturbing… "Liberal Tantrum"? "Whiny hippies" like at the Vietnam protests? Those who defy the laws of economics are always the losers?

      You're missing the point of OWS completely. The movement is aimed at changing the corruption and fraud that exist in finance and in our government that favor the 1%, while making it impossible for the 99% to have a fair chance. Isn't that the point of capitalism and a free market? Everyone has a fair chance to work hard and succeed in some way. But that's becoming more and more impossible when honest hardworking people lose their homes, owe everything to credit card debt, and to student debt, and their jobs are shipped overseas.

      Because it's the issue closest to my heart, I'll focus on student debt. I have a great degree from a great school, and have been working in fantastic web and tech jobs since 2005 when I graduated. I started with 77,000 in debt, and have paid nearly 30,000 of it – yet I haven't been able to reduce my total student debt by a penny – instead it's actually grown. How is this possible? It's a flawed system – there is no way for people who are not already well off or happen to hit it big to pay down the debt that individuals are facing. Because Sallie Mae spends more money than I could ever imagine lobbying the people we elect into office, the laws and regulations will never change. I've followed all the rules of the system, but I will probably default on my loans because I cannot ever seem to pay them off. If that's American capitalism, if that's the free market, then it's broken.

      I am proud to be part of OWS and a movement that is proposing a better way and better systems to support our right to the pursuit of happiness. Because I don't see that possibly from the Republicans or the Democrats at all anymore. It's time for a real revolution, a change in mindset, and a new chance for everyone.

      America is supposed to be the greatest country in the world, but it clearly no longer is. Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution in such a way that it can be amended – I think we need to start realizing this approach to our entire government and the entire financial system – it's not working, so it needs to be changed. I support OWS because I still believe we have the opportunity to make our country great again.

      The saddest thing to me in reading this article and all your comments, is that I bet a lot of you are part of the 99% but don't realize it. Think about it – are you really happy with how everything is going? Are you tired of all the debt you're burdened with while white collar criminals make unimaginable amounts of money by screwing you over? Do you want to take a second mortgage on your home to send your children to get a good education? How much do you spend on healthcare a month? What would happen if you got sick, will you be a burden to your children someday? Have you ever struggled to make mortgage payments? Are you stuck in a job you hate because you can't afford to go and do something you love to do and contribute in the ways you want to? Are you sick of the people you vote for just doing the bare minimum, when they're supposed to represent you and your needs?

      If you really think about it, let go of the "facts" you've been force-fed your whole life, stop living in fear of change and real freedom, you just might realize that there are improvements that could be made. If you think there are, then come join us, let your voice be heard too – you can be part of this amazing movement.

      GIve it some thought — and just know, we're not "whiny hippies" like they'll have you believe on the news, we're all around you. We're your children, your neighbors, your husband, your wife, your ministers, your friends, your community members, the people who farm your food, build your houses, make your websites, we're your co-workers, we're even celebrities and well-known people you look up to. And soon enough you'll realize you're one of us too.

    30. Les says:

      There is a typo in the answer to #13. It says:

      "Where are system is great is where it’s decentralized and people have choice."

      But the "are" should be "our".

    31. desu says:

      This is not an official list of demands. OWS tries to get people talking about solutions, and you are reading some of the solutions that have been proposed. No, OWS as a whole does not agree on most of those proposals! The problem with representing "the 99%", is that many of them might say things that are… silly. But they are still up and trying to figure out how to fix this country, which is more than I can say about most of YOU guys…

      Trying to discredit the WHOLE group because of PROPOSED ideas!! You need to take off the blinders and quit scraping for anything you can find to discredit these guys.

      • @Pundit_Pete says:

        My friend, Practical Pete, has some advice for the OWS groups that might help clean up their image and spread their message to include all 99% of us. I think his advice is really helpful. As an example, he suggests renaming the movement "Occupy Every Street". That way we (the 99%) could all be included and sleep in our own beds at night – especially good advice with the onset of winter. http://punditpete.blogspot.com/
        Check out the Oct 13 post at "Pundit Pete" – you might even find some good protest sign ideas.

    32. Doug Roper says:

      I first want to start out with number 19 which occupy says "Free air time for all political candidates who gather sufficient signatures" and the HF says "The government has no right to force television stations and other media outlets to provide free airtime for candidates. This is a clear taking of private property without compensation from owners, shareholders, and employees of those media entities."

      The Heritage Foundation is wrong. The stations are owned by companies but the channels they broadcast on are owned by the American public. They are licensed by the FCC and as such are suppose "to serve the public interest". If the people demand through our government that these stations give equal air time to candidates and the FCC which is suppose to act in the best interest of the American people demands it then they will do it or they can hand over their license. They are still free to own the studios, towers, transmitters but they will not broadcast on airwaves owned by the American people.

    33. Hernando says:

      This is the main issue with conservative and liberal media alike, please get your facts straight the 99 Declaration folk are not affiliated nor recognized by the "general assembly" that makes the #ows movement.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99_Percent_Declarati
      This #ows movement is about empowering communities to form their own general assemblies, to fight back against the tyranny of the 1%. Our collective struggles cannot be co-opted.” The New York General Assembly has denied claims by the "Demand Working group" that they speak for the movement.
      http://www.occupyr.com/General/thread.php?id=211

      Simple google search could have clarified this. You are doing your readers a disservice by not researching your information properly. You should be ashamed.

    34. Auna Lochlan says:

      The fact that so many conservative groups are up in arms about this warms my heart and makes me absolutely certain that we are making a difference. The world is changed through the language we use and the dissemination of ideas that turn into reality through hard work. Thanks for the encouragement Heritage. This movement is in its infancy, and the "demands" that you just posted as facts are ridiculously premature. The fact that your readers need a "guide" to figure out Occupy Wall Street is beyond sad; but many people aren't able to differentiate a factual research site from Fox News.

    35. US Free Elections says:

      Re # 1
      What a joke. The world now looks at the US with pity, where once it looked at with a sense of inspiration. The Citizens United Case is the undoing of any last shred of faith in the US legal system. Decisions like these are the anarchist's dream.

      "The massive amount of money spent is astonishing and serves only to cement the commonly held belief that our elections are no more than auctions and that out politicians are for sale." – Sen. Ernest Hollings, 1997.
      :
      "The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order (elites), ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention." – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

    36. harvey says:

      re: fighting wars for profit.
      wars aren't fought for the profit of the government. sooooo, the national debt really wouldn't reflect that
      would it now? no. didn't think so.

      • Andy says:

        The US has basically had a constant deficit since the Vietnam war. Deficits can be good for the economy in short doses if based on an increase in public spending as they drive up demand by increasing the public's ability to spend, and because investors know there will be a surplus again once the economy picks up because of the deficit, it really has little effect on growth. Of course, that is how it should work in an ideal Keynesian system, which did more or less exist before the 1970s- at least in Britain. Constant deficit, however, means this cannot work as investors won't believe a surplus is coming- and if you go to the route cause of it all, the very start of America's continual deficit, it happened because of the US government's expenditure on Vietnam.

    37. Stretch says:

      Geez, I want to eliminate all taxes, and get free vacations every year. I'll get a sign, walk around a public building all day, then go home. I know it's not reasonable or even feasible, but I have a right to vocalize my wishes under the first amendment. They've exercised their first amendment rights, so now go home. Or do they plan to view this as a "hold out" and won't go home until their demands are met? What planet do they live on? I think most of these people simply want to spend time as a group and socialize with others. Now that media attention is gaining traction, they won't leave less the lose their opportunity to be seen on tv and want their five minutes of fame!

    38. Obama FTW says:

      “Before considering the notion of universalizing Medicare, Occupy Wall Street should explain how it would propose the United States finance the current Medicare debt.”

      By putting everyone on the same system thereby increasing proactive treatment aimed at reducing later-in-life issues. Private sector health insurance companies know that Medicare will foot the bill for later-in-life illnesses and therefore simply kick these health problems down the field.
      http://www.obamaftw.com/blog/health-care-obamacar

      "It is laughable that anyone would say the current tax code favors the wealthiest Americans when the top 1 percent of income earners pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes."

      The top 1% also takes in the bulk of the income. The payroll tax taxes anyone making 106K or less at a higher rate than anyone making above this amount. The capital gains tax is only 15%. The comment about Warren Buffett doesn’t address the issue. Warren Buffett pays 15% regardless of what corporations did or didn’t pay.
      http://www.obamaftw.com/blog/tea-party/occupy-wal

    39. Will says:

      the 99% do not believe that all but 1% agree with them. they KNOW for a fact that all but 1% have zero wealth, and that they and anyone else without billions in their bank account share that.

    40. Kit says:

      The central demand of the "occupy" movement much like the Tea Party is putting an end to bank bailouts and justices for those hurt by "loans designed to fail" which the banks sold to investors as AAA while betting they would fail and collecting the insurance when they did fail. Not one of the "too big to fail" bankers has" been prosecuted rather they have been rewarded with record bonus'. Much of our current government debts are the result of bailing out these banks and the solution being offered is raiding the social security. More importantly the real tangible economy is shrinking so fast the trillions flickering on computer screens are essentially non-redeemable fantasies doomed to be revealed as essentially worthless.

      One might blame individuals hurt by the collapse for their actions and make reasonable sounding arguments that the bailout was for the greater good. However, any honest person remembers brokers pushing sub-prime loans on anyone dumb enough to sign on the bottom line. 10 millions homes have been foreclose to date. The average size of an American household is 4.5 people. Multiplied together equals 45 million displaced and bitter citizens, many of whom are seething with hate. The solution offered for this looming social apocalypse seems to be prisons for profit slave labor camps, a surveillance society complete with gun confiscation, a press that is little more than a propaganda machine, militarized police, TSA highway check points etc.

      Anyone familiar with Agenda 21 could easily be suspicious that all of this has been planed and executed by elites who openly admire the Chinese brand of "capitalism" as their parents had admired the "wonders" of Hitlers Germany. Sadly, I believe it may be too late to save our republic and we soon will face a very violent and destructive meltdown of the social order similar to the reign of Pol Pot. My hope is we will fix the cancer that is destroying our nation be it is too late. Current public policy is delusional insanity which will destroy us all.

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