December 01, 2011

What does #OWS want?

The AP has a long story on the idea of a "platform" for Occupy Wall Street and what it might entail.

It's interesting enough, but this short sidebar, quoted in full, is actually more important:
Some of the leading proposals to solve the country's economic and political problems, offered by members of the Occupy movement who were interviewed by The Associated Press:
— Impose a 1 percent “Robin Hood” tax on large financial transactions, and use the money to support social programs.
— Reinstate portions of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that were repealed in 1999. The act had prevented bank holding companies from getting into certain other types of financial ventures, effectively separating investment banking and commercial banking.
— Freeze all property foreclosures; cap interest charges at 6 percent or less.
— Reduce military spending; stop wars that drain financial resources.
— Reparations; make government payments to the descendants of African slaves to reset a broken, unbalanced economy.
— Ban big corporate donations to campaigns and set equal spending limits.
— Instill a fair conscience and a sense of morality into the minds of big decision makers.
— Revamp the tax code to take a higher percentage of multimillionaires’ earnings. Ensure that Wall Street and big companies pay higher business taxes.
— Equalize public education by paying fairly and proportionately for the entire U.S. population, regulating spending by student and not by school district.
— Pass congressional legislation that returns bankruptcy protection to student loans.
— End corporate personhood.
— Ensure equal-access health care for all Americans.
It's a mix of stuff, which I'm sure comes from a mix of the "reformer" and "utopian" wings that I blogged about earlier this week.

The first four I agree with.

After that, we get more dicey. And, I'll now pick out the less desirable ones.

Most major black civil rights groups have already moved beyond "reparations." And, there's no guarantee that such reparations would reset the economy anyway.

"Instill a fair conscience"? What is this, OWS is now Clockwork Orange?

Equality in public school education/spending? Now we're at Lake Wobegon. The rich, and not just the rich, the 2-20 percentile, would build private schools so fast it might actually stimulate the economy. And, the 20-plus percent of OWSers who have grad degrees probably benefited from unequal school spending. Besides, that much federal intervention in schooling would provoke other backlashes. Oh, it's a nice idea. (And a "pull the ladder up after me idea" to a degree.) Not close to realistic. And, how do you adjust for areas that have different standards of living?

And, ending corporate personhood? Rather, let's reform the corporate tax code, restore  more shareholder rights, and keep legitimate corporate protections.

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