Monday, October 10, 2011

Wall Street Freaks Out

You can tell how much impact the Occupy Wall Street people are having by how twitterpated the targets and the defenders of the marches and chants are. Paul Krugman:

What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.

What’s especially ironic is that if the police and the plutocrats hadn’t overreacted to the demonstrators, not a lot of people outside of the e-mail chains and twitter-feeds of the the people in the streets would have been noticed. It wasn’t until the massive arrests and the shrill attacks from CNBC and Fox News that the marches got any traction. And that inspired marches and demonstrations in other cities, including Miami.

If Wall Street had done what it’s recently done to the plight of the middle class — ignored it completely — they wouldn’t be having these meltdowns and tantrums in the first place. All they’re doing is proving the Occupiers’ point.