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OWS represents inevitable circumstances

Americans continue to be disappointed with political gridlock in Washington D.C. In 2009, frustrated right-wing activists created the Tea Party movement to protest Congress’ overspending. As a balance, on Sept. 17, leftist activists created the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to protest economic conditions and the distribution of wealth.

OWS protesters claim to represent the common man against the supposed greed of big business. Their goal is to identify and protest corporate influence in government. Currently, OWS is active in over 100 cities in the U.S., including Fresno, CA.

Occupiers tend to support efforts to reduce the political power of corporations and fight income inequality.

Special interest groups can be a difficult topic to approach. While many are glad to demonize large corporations that lobby for tax subsidies to increase profits, not all special interest groups are of this nature. AARP, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the U.S., fights for issues important to seniors such as Medicare.

As for income inequality, Robert Frank writes in the Wall Street Journal that according to a study by Ronald M. Schmidt of the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration University of Rochester, most inequality growth occurred in the 1980s. The gap might have even decreased during the 2000s.

While there are certain corporations that acted in ways which hurt America’s economy, the government shares a larger portion of the blame.

Most corporations act in a predictable manner, seeking to maximize profit for their shareholders. Thus, when Federal policies seek to over-regulate or over-tax these institutions, that burden is simply passed on to the consumer.

For example, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2010 to increase regulation of the banking industry. As a result, Bank of America was going to increase debit card fees, though it later backed down. However, it is still important to note that increasing the costs of corporations, whether through taxes or regulations, will merely be passed on to the consumer.

The one issue that I agree with OWS supporters on is the corporate bailouts. Congress tried to justify the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) by reasoning that these banks were too big to fail and could drag down the entire economy.

They forget that America has suffered through multiple bank failures and yet has somehow survived. It is inevitable that every single corporation will eventually fail. Even the East India Company, one of the largest companies to ever exist, eventually went bankrupt.

However, these banks were only in the need of a bailout due to the collapse of the housing market, which was caused by sub-prime mortgage lending sponsored by the federal government.

If OWS supporters try to use government intervention to control the private sector, it will only end up hurting the middle class. The key to protecting the middle class is promoting free market policies that are indifferent to private corporations and promote innovation.

For more political opinions, read the Nov. 4 article, Premature polling plays into primaries

*Editor’s note: These photos by Mike Fleshman (Flickr user Sunset Parkerpix) is used in accordance with its Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

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    Jeff RosethJan 7, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Scott, you are an animal dude keep it up!

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