Consensus on the Occupy Wall Street reflects my earlier point

It’s nice to be right. It’s pleasant to see agreement with your thoughts. However you want to say it. Vice Presidenet Biden has said as well that the OWS people have something in common with the tea party people. He’s a man who speaks his mind if there ever was one—almost an Eyon Biddle.

Here’s another thing about the OWS/TP comparison. Nobody has really been able to say one fixed, certain thing the tea party movement is about, beyond a shrill cry of “smaller government!” Similarly, the Occupy Wall Street movement has many different rallying cries, albeit for the roughly common purpose of opposing massive corporate greed. That’s why the comparison is apt.

Never mind that the spokesmen for the tea partiers think the OWS is a tangle of disorganized, incoherent anarchists. (The latter they are certainly not.) So we rely on Jon Stewart to bring it home with a smack to the head of those who say it’s right for some but wrong for others to do virtually the same thing.

And now, back to the budget for me.


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

2 thoughts on “Consensus on the Occupy Wall Street reflects my earlier point”

  1. Oh, how we need our packages to be neat! And how often we are hearing that OWS is a rabble because they failed to hire a PR staff first.

    Both OWS and TPM are similar–both realize that the pie is being distributed unfairly. Both want more.

    But fairness is not necessarily justice. It is fair for the very rich to pay the same (although in fact they pay less) percentage of their income in taxes. Fair=same. The Tealiban like this principle: it is fair for everyone to pay less in taxes, ideally, zero taxes (a fantasy they cling to at all costs).

    A just tax system is not based on how much Taxpayers Buffett or Paul pay–this is resolved by the ‘fairness principle’. A just tax system is interested solely in funding the common good–and the more of it, the better. So if the amount my BFF Warren and I pay (as a percentage or as real dollars) is too little to fund public education, public health care, necessary public infrastructure, public transportation, access to safe and affordable housing, food, and safety, then the tax system is failing the justice test. Witness: US and WI (and MKE County and City) 2011.

    Now, if we need more real dollars, I certainly have a *civic* responsibility to pony up. So does Warren. So does GE and Ford and, since they often seem to do far more politicking than proselytizing, so do churches, mosques, and synagogues.

    How many real dollars can you get from me before I am not longer paying a net positive into the system compared to the real dollars you can get from Herb Kohl, the several WI Johnson members (and the rest of the 9 Wisconsinites who collectively hold $26,200,000,000 between them). Lots more.

    So what the OWS movement has noticed is the simple fact that things would be more sustainably livable for *every* American if the 1% paid a just share of their taxes. The highest median income in the US is in CT: It’s about $55,000/year. Divide $26,200,000,000 by $55,000–see the problem?

    In this richest of all nations, fairness demands that some folks will go hungry, some will live in unsafe and unhealthy housing, some will lose jobs because the bus line closes, some will die young and suffer much because of the cost of health care–these are all the results of economic injustice.

    So the OWS movement isn’t incohesive, incoherent, or messageless–the message is the same; the *manifestations* of the message are multifarious and that is what people access when someone says “Why are you out here?”

    One more thing that separates the OWS from the Tealiban: at least in this early phase, OWS is equally suspicious of BOTH Democrats and Republicans (the Tealiban were always largely disguised Republicans). So as the Unions join up (and this is good), they will push a Democratic Party platform forward. They may find a very strong push-back on this–and the longevity of their participation in the movement may be threatened by how Party-centric they are. Many OWS postings refer to a Democratic Party take-over of the Wisconsin Winter Movement–and we’ve seen no real changes in the State since, no *fundamental* attacks on the problems.

    The test of whether OWS is truly a movement will be met a year hence, when both Republican and Democratic Parties denounce it: that is proof enough that it has won.

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