Why Occupy Wall Street is Not the Tea Party of the Left
Occupy Wall Street's anger is mostly directed at the ruling economic class. But the movement is gaining traction because it is exposing a larger failure of democratic representation.
Increasing inequality in the United States has long been attributed to unstoppable market forces. In fact, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson show, it is the direct result of congressional policies that have consciously -- and sometimes inadvertently -- skewed the playing field toward the rich.
Rather than dousing large corporations with vinegar -- as the Occupy Wall Street protesters urge -- Washington should smother them with honey. Doing so would loosen their purse strings to fund new investment, bolster the economy, and create jobs.
"There's a difference between an emotional outcry and a movement," former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young said recently of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. "This is an emotional outcry," he went on. "The difference is organization and articulation." Young knows something about social movements: as a young pastor in the South, he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was jailed for participating in demonstrations in Alabama and Florida. But his suggestion that what is happening today in lower Manhattan lacks real momentum rings false -- the civil rights movement is not a precedent one can use to understand Occupy Wall Street. Neither is this movement a Tea Party of the left, as some observers have suggested. Occupy Wall Street is a movement of a completely new type...