cross-posted from Dagblog
It's become disturbingly clear that the people occupying Wall Street, and the centers of several other major American cities, have no plan for the future. No vision. No coherent ideas. No sense at all of what to do next.
I'm not talking about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Expecting a protest movement to have a shovel-ready legislative agenda is silly. If there were a bill in Congress or an existing major-party platform that would make these people happy, they wouldn't be a protest movement. They'd be a lobbying movement. I'm talking about the people who occupy Wall Street on normal days. They have been entrusted with a huge influence over our national economy, and heavily subsidized by our taxes. And three years into our economic crisis, they're just plugging along as if nothing had happened, doing the same things they used to do in the boom times. They have no plan at all.
The people occupying the Federal Reserve have no coherent plan. Most of them realize that something is badly wrong with the economy, but they have no actionable agenda for fixing it, and a few of them actually worry that workers' incomes will grow too high. That's just fantasy land.
The people occupying the Treasury Department are callow idlers, more dedicated to maintaining a certain kind of lifestyle than to addressing our structural economic problems. Timothy Geithner expresses his desires for the economy, but has no plan that could actually be put into practice. Geithner apparently has no idea of what to do.
The people occupying Washington, DC have no practical grasp of the situation. They have some incoherent sound bites, they have a grab-bag of small-bore proposals that don't address the big problems, and they have deeply impractical ideological commitments to ideas that would make things worse. They have allowed their encampments to generate into chaotic, directionless debates between people who want to do too little about our problems and people who want to do nothing about our problems. They are not putting forward any sensible or workable program.
The people occupying major newspapers and news channels have an unrealistic and immature grasp of basic realities. They are incapable of articulating solutions to our national problems, or of talking about them in anything but the most emotional and incoherent terms. They don't even know what it is they're asking for.
The people who occupy positions of our power in our society do not have a coherent plan for the nation's future or any idea how to address our economic woes. They have emotional attachments to a certain way of doing things, but no serious or concrete plan for making things better. Some of the people who occupy those positions of power, wealth and privilege fault the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators for not providing the kinds of workable proposals that the leadership class has failed to provide. But the obligation to provide those plans is on the people who occupy the positions of leadership. Angry crowds without a specific plan are understandable. A leadership class without a specific plan is an abdication of duty. And the angry crowds are the natural result of leaders who offer no solutions.
The message of Occupy Wall Street is messy and multivocal and muddled. Different protestors say different things. Of course. But when you step back a little from all those angry voices, you can hear a pretty clear set of demands:
THIS IS NOT WORKING.
STOP PRETENDING THAT THIS IS OKAY.
WE CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS.
If you occupy a place of power or influence in our country, if you want to preserve that place for yourself, then you would do well to start your to-do list with those items. Nothing else is going to work.
Monday Morning Open Thread: That NYTimes Endorsement
17 minutes ago