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Astonishingly, some Wall Streeters continue to be clueless about what the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is protesting. Yoo-hoo, Streeters: note that the movement’s name has the term “Wall Street” in it.
While there is a plethora of particular issues being raised by the protesters, the unifying theme is a protest against the rising tide of economic inequality that’s enriching the most privileged few by knocking down America’s workaday majority. And guess who is the most powerful perpetrators of this greed-fueled disparity. Yes, Wall Street.
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For example, even as the protest was spreading in mid-October to hundreds of cities, executives at Bank of America announced three moves: one, to goose up their own extravagant pay, they’re socking financially-stressed debit card users with a new $5 a month fee. Second, they’re dumping 30,000 of the bank’s workerbees onto America’s already-swollen unemployment rolls – goodbye and good luck finding another job. Third, two top executives who’re departing the bank are being handed golden parachutes totaling $11 million.
In the midst of this, Steve Bartlett opened his mouth. A former congress critter who’s now Wall Street’s top Washington lobbyist, he is a perfect symbol of the infuriating corrupt coziness between financial elites and lawmakers. Yet, Bartlett blithely says that “We [don’t] see ourselves as the target [of the protests]. After all, he explains, Wall Street “has to be well capitalized and well financed for the economy to recover.”
Golly, Steve, what part of the public’s multitrillion-dollar bailout of the Street’s elite did you not see? We the People see every glaring dime of it. And we also see that rather than helping our economy recover, you’re now lobbying in Congress to kill Wall Street reforms so banksters can grab even more at our expense.
“In Private, Wall St. Bankers Dismiss Protesters as Unsophisticated,” The New York Times, October 15, 2011.
“A Golden Touch Turns Leaden,” The New York Times, October 15, 2011.