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Occupy Movement: Wrong Message, Wrong Tactics

PERSPECTIVE - Just as it is difficult to shoehorn voters into classifications of conservatives or liberals, stratifying the nation’s population into two segments – 99% or 1% – does not make sense. But that is what the occupy movement has been attempting.
It is reminiscent of George W. Bush’s proclamation after 9-11: “you are either with us, or against us.” The statement ignored international political and cultural complexities - while it may easy to define "against us,”  there are many degrees of “with us,” some of those straddling the vague line with “against.”

To establish a demarcation along the 99th percentile of wealth and income ignores the complexities of our nation.  The United States is as culturally, ethnically and politically diverse as the entire world.  The concept of wealth is in the eye of the beholder.

For some, the relevant benchmark in assessing economic democracy might be 49% versus 51%, the former representing the population segment that does not have any federal income tax liability. The fact that almost half the people are subsidized by the other may not appear to be very democratic to taxpayers filing their returns with the IRS.  That’s as simplistic as viewing 1% as unjustly enriched and every one of the 99% as victims.

Many Americans resent being pigeon-holed.  It might be the reason behind the diminishing levels of sympathy  for the occupy movement.

They also do not hold a grudge against those who accumulate wealth, as long as it was acquired legally and tax returns were properly filed. Those who have not played by the rules or cheated are held in contempt.

Unfortunately, too many cheaters and rogues have gotten away murder … and no one likes that.
So why are the occupiers wasting their time and drawing down municipal treasuries with their presence in downtown locations at a time when cities need every dime?

Why aren’t they demonstrating at the SEC, the Department of Justice, FNMA, FHLMC, Congress and the White House – the ones who let us down either through lax regulation or failure to punish those responsible for the housing crisis?

Why not target the reckless CEOs that drove the financial industry into the ground? I’m sure they are enjoying the good life - sipping fine wine and playing golf at their country clubs – and perhaps chuckling at the people camped out in the cold in city parks.

If the government does not want to indict these scoundrels, maybe the occupiers can demonstrate in front of their homes, clubs and other social venues.  Let them know their actions will not be forgotten.
In the process, the occupation movement would win the hearts and minds of the nation.

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at: )

Tags: Occupy Wall Street, Occupy LA, Occupy Movement, Americans, CEOs, SEC, FNMA, Congress, White House, Paul Hatfield

Vol 9 Issue 96
Pub: Dec 2, 2011