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Let’s take a look at where we are right now. There is battle royale underway between inhabitants of two entirely different universes over what’s wrong with our nation and what should be fixed.
On the one hand, the entire political establishment, blessed by Wall Street, wants the conversation to be all about debt and “entitlements.” We are told 24/7 that we’re living over our heads, that our social safety net is too expensive, and that we need to cut, cut, cut trillions of dollars from public budgets so we don’t become the next Greece.
In that framework the only question is how much to cut and how much we should sacrifice. The so-called liberal position is that the rich should pay a bit more while the rest of us suffer cuts in education, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (Please note that taxes on Wall Street are not on the table.) The “grand bargain” is all about how much we will have to pay for the economic collapse caused by Wall Street. It’s also a loser because the more we cut, the longer unemployment will last, and the more fiscal distress we’ll face as tax revenues stall.
On the other side is the framework that Occupy Wall Street successfully put into play. It argues that Wall Street should pay for the mess it created. It suggests that the issue is employment for the many, not debt repayments for the few. It also gets us to face up to myriad of ways that income inequality is hollowing out our society, destroying the middle-class and increasing poverty. It points the finger at those who crashed our economy and it demands reparations. And it does all this without making any specific demands. It doesn’t have to. It just needs to be the living embodiment of the many versus the few.