Herman (that’s Herb to Sarah Palin) Cain said today to the protestors on Wall Street that if you’re poor, it’s your own fault. There is a bit of truth in what he says, though of course not for the reasons he believes. In 2010, about 10 million fewer people between the ages of 18 and 30 voted than had voted in 2008. The age group voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008. In 2010, Republicans got overall about five million more votes than Democrats. If the young people had come out in the same numbers as in 2008, the Democrats would have kept greater control, and the Republicans would not have been able to block almost all of the efforts of the Obama administration to help them. In defense of the young people, it wasn’t all their fault. After the election, Obama did sort of abandon the issues he campaigned on that were most important to those young people–civil rights, closing Gitmo, ending Don’t Ask, etc. etc.–so they weren’t as enthused to come out and vote. There is plenty of blame to go around.It amuses me that so many in the pundit class are now complaining that the protests on Wall Street don’t have a specific agenda, or, I guess, specific bills they want passed in congress. As if it would matter if they did. As though congress would suddenly go, okay, we’ll take this bill up right away. Jon Stewart did another brilliant job (although it’s not all that brilliant; the hypocrisy is so readily apparent it really is like shooting ducks in a pond) of taking down the hypocrisy of the Fox News talking heads. See the Parks and Demonstration video on their website.
The message seems clear enough; the inequality in America has gone beyond the pale, and those who have stolen the country have not been held accountable. People finally get the absurdity of the fact that 400 Americans have the wealth of the bottom 150 million Americans. And that that top one percent of Americans has the wealth of the bottom 90 % of Americans. And they get that it isn’t fair and that there is nothing good about the situation for the country. They understand that we–they–bailed out the rich with TARP, and that it was the banks that screwed the people with the subprime mortgages and everything else they did in the financial crash. And yet we the 99% bailed out that one percent, and yet none of them have gone to jail or been held accountable, and indeed are again getting million dollar bonuses. And at the same time nothing, nada, zip, zilcho, has been done to give any assistance to the millions of people whose mortgages are underwater because of those very same rich bankers we bailed out.
The protestors recognize that the system is so broken there is no way to work within the system with “an agenda” to get anything real done or fixed. The only way is to stir things up, to make it clear that we realize we’ve been taken and the game is up. And I think people will continue to protest until they get jobs. What else can they do? What else should they do? When the powers that be start to listen and respond, then discussion of specific agenda or policy can usefully take place.
Watching Obama’s press conference. Overall very good, and it’s disappointing to see him continue to waffle on holding the banks accountable. It’s nice that he has full confidence in Holder and the Justice department, and simply repeating that doesn’t answer the questions he’s getting about why they haven’t looked into what are pretty clear cases of law breaking by the banks over the last few years. Of course, again, it’s not just him; despite his new populist message, he still needs the bankers money to get reelected, so maybe he’s playing the walking the wire game as well as possible. And therein of course lies the real problem we face; the moneyed interests have the power and control our politics. Our only hope is that the protests show they have finally overplayed their hand and woken up the country to what is really going on.