Protesters should occy Capitol Hill


Inspired by the recent protests in the Middle East, a movement called “Occy Wall Street” started.

On September 17 thousands gathered near the New York Stock Exchange to protest the inequality of wealth in the United States, blaming the highest-paid executives for the recession of 2008. The movement feels that these top executives are not only responsible for the recession, but that they are also responsible for how poor the rest of America is.

Occy Wall Street wants the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to be taxed more so these funds can be redistributed to the other 99 percent of Americans.

Basically, the Occy Wall Street movement counts on the federal government to cure the ills of corporate greed.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2008 the federal government spent what would amount to more than 24 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP, or all the money the country earns in one year). That same year, the federal government earned just over 14.5 percent of the nation’s GDP. In that year, the federal government had a deficit that equaled 10.5 percent of our country’s GDP for that year.

According to United States Treasury Department, the federal government’s debt has reached $14.9 trillion, which is 99 percent of our current GDP. Spose we paid off the national debt with this year’s GDP and the remaining funds were divided equally among all of United States citizens. This would allow each citizen $355.67 to live on for an entire year.

Though this plan is not exactly feasible, neither is trusting the federal government with such a huge project as redistribution of wealth when it can’t even balance its budget year to year.

There are many greedy people on Wall Street, of that there is no doubt, but to place the blame for the economic recession squarely on executives while ignoring the policymakers in D.C. is a terrible mistake.

Though Wall Street Occiers may contend that capitalism is a failed system, they should realize that the flaws in the American economic system that led us to the recession are not capitalistic.

Government-sponsored enterprises (like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) that force banks to give loans to people who can’t pay for them is not capitalistic.

Spending $800 billion you don’t have to bail out companies that are “too big to fail” is not capitalistic.

Complicating the tax code so top earners “pay more” when a flat tax rate across the board would do the same thing is also not capitalistic.

The Occy Wall Street movement should call the economic system they’re protesting by its true name: socialism.

Instead of confronting the people who are primarily responsible for the recession—like the federal government for causing the recession, or other citizens for not working or giving to people in need—Occy Wall Street protestors have decided to fight against faceless entities that are only part of
the problem.

If Wall Street protestors were truly invested in taking money out of the pockets of the rich executives of the world, they’d stop shopping at Walmart and eating at McDonalds and they’d occy D.C. instead of Wall Street.

Since overregulation has caused this problem, the only way to fix it is deregulation. A good example would be implementing a flat tax over a graduated income tax. Because rich executives are currently expected to pay more, they look for loopholes in the tax code, like offshore accounts. If it costs more for them to secure those accounts than to just pay a flat tax, the federal government could actually earn more money.

Admittedly, there is no single solution that will solve all of the problems with the economy. Since truly fixing the economy requires trusting the federal government to make wiser legislation, citizens must stage protests on Capitol Hill and vote in representatives who will institute term limits and salary cuts on federal positions.