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We Demand a List of Your Demands

Posted by: Dan Beucke on October 21, 2011 at 1:33 PM

A recurring theme of OWS coverage and commentary is the search for the movement’s demands. In the absence of specifics, Paul Krugman suggested, “it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details.” Which many have been happy to do. (For some, the protests are a kind of Rorschach test, upon which they imprint their own agenda. My favorite: the gold investing site whose “7 Core Demands from the Occupy Wall Street Movement” include a “return to sound money.”)

The latest demand offerings come from Michael Kinsley. His plan would support jobs — “a really humongous jobs bill. Big enough to shut up even Paul Krugman” — while abolishing the capital gains tax break and the Bush tax cuts, for everyone, and expanding the estate tax:

For now, estates worth more than $5 million are taxed. Any expanded estate tax will undoubtedly have generous exemptions so that people can help their children. And anyone who doesn’t want the government to get any of his or her money can bequeath it instead to one of thousands of tax-deductible organizations, and pay no taxes on the amount donated. Anyone who can’t find some tax-deductible charitable cause that suits his or her prejudices is a nasty old coot.

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October 22, 2011 3:22 PM

What I consider the beauty of OWS is that if you (meaning the policy makers, the elite) want to know what the OWS people want, they actually need to talk to them!

Especially with policy makers the idea has been to box people into a neat package and then let the 'free market' of lobbying decide which package is the one to listen to.

What we have now in the protest is the need to actually listen to the ideas, which are more than just one, and consider them. Knowing what people want is hard work. If it's your job to know what people do you need to actually do the work.


October 25, 2011 8:02 AM

“it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details.”

I agree completely, but whistle blower type reporting isn't exactly career enhancing for a banker, politicians on any financially relevant committee know opposing banks is suicide and most voters don't know CDS from CDO's or who there congress person is, how their reps vote or have any idea how totally gamed the system actually is.

If true, it would appear that the problem isn't so much the banks or the bankers but the system itself.

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"The Wealth Debate" is a running discussion of wealth, poverty, the economy and income inequality in the U.S. and the world. It was started shortly after the Occupy Wall Street movement sparked a global protest about the fallout from the financial crisis and money in politics. You can reach the editors, Dan Beucke and Mark Gimein, by email, or follow BloombergNow on Twitter to keep up with posts.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the author and or commentators, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

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