Saturday, after a long bike ride in the wind up to Holy Hill and back, I decided to take my camera downtown to witness "Occupy Milwaukee". What I saw was a group of people who were outraged... about many things:
There were also Ron Paul supporters, Che Guevara fans, Recall Walker supporters, and many others. From everything I saw, it was a very peaceful protest where the police mostly stood on the outskirts and watched what was happening. Mostly what I saw was a group of people who were angry at what happened to our economy. There were some with proposed solutions, like Taxing the Rich, but many were just pissed.
What's interesting here is the reaction by many of those who supported Tea Parties. Sometimes I think it can be hard to tell the difference between the two. It shouldn't be surprising either... for as much as neither side wants to admit it (and it seems like they really don't), the two were angry about many of the same things. TARP and bailouts of the banks by government? Check. Coercion of an entire industry to force people to use their product? Check... sort of. Lack of accountability by anyone for their actions? Double check.
The real difference between the two is where the two groups directed their anger, and who they blamed. The Tea Parties are angry at the government for bailing out industries that are failing, and running up huge taxpayer bills. The Occupy Wall Street folks are angry at failing industries for taking government money, and using their influence to continually ask for more. But those are really two sides of the same coin. Crony Capitalism using Government Power for personal profit. Everyone should be against that.
Now, there are some people who want to take punitive measures... and some people who instead of simply demanding that this corruption stop, want their bailout too. Now, I don't agree with them, but I can't necessarily blame them too. They're unemployed, or their house got foreclosed on... why can't they get bailed out too? Two wrongs don't make a right... but that doesn't mean that people don't think it feels good.
What I have a difficult time understanding is the lack of willingness on both sides to find that common cause. Members of the Tea Party are angrier at the government for Crony Capitalism than they are at companies that collude with the government. When ObamaCare was being debated, how many Tea Party groups did anything to show anger at the insurance companies that were lobbying the government for the individual mandate? I often times hear people talking about how corporations are just responding to the market distortions that government creates... but I hear very little about how many companies actually lobby to create those distortions!
And likewise, the folks involved with the Occupy *blank* movement are angrier at various corporations for taking the money, than they are at the government for giving it out. In fact, they want the government to get more involved in the economy, and somehow through magic, or unicorns with special powers, they think that the cronyism will stop this time. The Occupy *blank* crowd seem to be keen on getting corporate money out of politics, but have been pretty quiet on the fact that Obama has taken more of it than any President in history.
Can Tea Partiers look at ways to hold companies responsible for cronyism? Can Occupy Wall Street look at ways to hold government accountable for misspent funds? I feel like there is a common ground to be found, if we can look at the common problem... crony capitalism... before looking for solutions.
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent
my employer's view in anyway.