As far as I can tell, the movement represents opposition to the political power of money. It has also come to be against corportate greed and corrupt corporate handling of finances.
Of those ideals, I think its a realisitic and noble goal to try to end the political power of money. The biggest problem in the way of this goal is that, in most cases, it takes politicians to make this change. Campaign Finance reform is something many politicians speak loudly about then act softly, but spin the soft actions as ‘reform’. Unfortunatly, one of the side effects of the primary principles of this nation, “Freedom of Speech” allows anyone to spend any amount they want to promote a candidate. Laws just restrict how much money we can give to candidates to advertise on their own. They don’t and can’t restrict how much we can promote them without their involvement. At this point it’s going to take a constitutional amendment to restrict private spending on political support advertising.
Corporate Greed: Protesting this is simply stupid. The point of business is to make money. That’s it. That’s all it is. Everything else that goes along with that is simply a corrolary effect. Employment, Taxes, Pollution, etc are all just side effects of business. No one will invest in a company that isn’t going to try to give them back some return on their investment. Greed drives people to invest and investment helps grow the economy. The Trickle down effect may not work as Bush Sr. Promised, but without people investing in business there really would not be jobs. Since we are getting more efficient in business everyday it takes fewer employees to make money for business. It is not the responsibility of business to forgoe a portion of their profits to employ people that won’t contribute to said profits. The only purpose of business is to make money. In an ideal world, we would be constantly developing new businesses to create new markets to employ the people that efficiency has displaced from their jobs.
In theory, the more money corporations make, the more they pay in taxes and the more they support the population as a whole. But, our tax laws are broken and riddled with loopholes that causes this to not always be true. Closing loopholes might be something we could get changed. There are political candidates who offer to make this change. It it’s important to you, find them and vote for them.
The alternative to corporate greed is government run business, aka Communism. The problem with communism is also the human greed factor. Though less definable in cash value, the power held by those in management in a Communisitic society grants material weath, and obviously, power. When Power is the primary currency, those with less power are the fuel and tend to suffer much worse than the unemployed in our country.
Banks and finanial reform: Again, it’s all about money. This one we can also do something about. If banks break the laws they should be punished. Punishing a bank, however, must be done carefully, lest the downfall crash and cause massive collateral damage.
Which brings us to what is the solution?
It should be obvious that we cannot outlaw corporate greed.
We already outlaw financial companies overextending their power or finances. We could probably stand to enforce this a little better.
Higher taxes on the rich? Actaully this is a solution, but in acknowledgeing that all political candidates rely on the rich to pay for their campaigns, we’re not likely to see this pass through congress any time soon. It is understandable to believe that people who earned more money should be allowed to have more money. Any reform in the tax structure should make sure that people who make more money still have more money after paying taxes than the people who make less money have after paying their taxes. Again, if we want to change the way things work, we must do so through legal channels such as Referendum. Protests only have value if they can point to what they support and how that will actually generate the required change. Organize a Referendum that may be able to pass into law or as an Amendment, then organize to support said change.
Also, it would help if all the people occupying Wall St were on the same page as to exacly what it is they are asking for. The fact that so many of the protesters appear to be street performers or crowd joiners and don’t really care about any cause doesn’t help any cause. The first rule about organizing to deliver a message is to actually have a message.
Throughout history it is always true that the rich get richer at the expense of the poor. Even when the currency is power, such as communistic states, we rarely see reform that returns the wealth and power to the population. The most traditional way to lose riches and/or power is to die. The wealth and power is then divided among people who don’t know how to keep hold of it and it returns to the population or to someone else who does know how to hold onto it. Occasionally, and the French Revolution is a prime example, the masses will revolt and take back the wealth for the people, which then quickly gets placed back in the hands of those who fill the power-void. In other words, the situation never changes, only the names. I don’t seem to recall Robespierre being an improvement over the royalty, but I’m no expert on French History.
The economic model of a compassionate state is: The population provides, through taxation, the basic needs of those who cannot contribute. This is our economic model in the United States with our social programs. Most European countries take this a more extreme level, enough to almost be called socialist states. The basic plan of this model tells us that as the need to provide for more people who can’t do so for themselves rises, the burdon on the population (taxes) should also rise–and I’m not just talking about on the rich.
But, as I’ve said several times, good luck with the raising of the taxes.