Paul Krugman was on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS today where how Occupy Wall Street is refocusing America on the issues that caused the stock market to crash and the economy to collapse in 2008.
Here is the video from CNN:
We are just three years after the greatest banking crisis since the 1930s. I think it was brought on by excesses on the part of the financial industry and the financial industry was bailed out at the public’s expense and risk and yet we’re still in an economic crisis. And somehow the discussion of who are these guys, why are we supporting them, why haven’t they paid more for this, what are the reforms that’s going to stop this from happening again, all that disappeared from the debate.
We have been arguing about who’s going to cut Social Security and what about that budget deficit? And we lost the whole thread of the core issue in our society right now. And these protesters, who are a mix of all sorts of people, suddenly brought that back into the center of our national debate. And that’s an enormously positive contribution.
Krugman is correct. Republicans and corporatist Democrats were successful in distracting all of America away from the big issue. Instead of dealing with the culture of greed and corruption that created the perfect environment for an economic collapse, the American people have been treated to Astroturf protests over healthcare reform, a ginned up political standoff over the Bush tax cuts, and a completely manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling. Republicans and the pro-corporate counterparts have been successful at creating issues to distract the public while they quietly gut any attempt at real regulation and reform. For three years, the lobbying money and campaign contributions have flooded Washington in order to make sure that no real reform or changes would ever occur.
Occupy Wall Street has made a gigantic contribution to our society by putting our attention back where it belongs. Because of Occupy Wall Street, people are talking about Wall Street again. The financial giants and big banks have spent a lot of money trying to make sure that they aren’t talked about. Their plan was to take the taxpayers’ money for the bailout, but maintain business as usual.
Occupy Wall Street is ruining that plan. A year ahead of a presidential election, the corrupt Wall Street criminals find themselves exactly where they didn’t want to be. They are back in the public spotlight, except this time they can’t buy their way back into the shadows. The people are going to do what the government wouldn’t. The people have taken to the streets all across America to hold Wall Street accountable for their crimes.
Krugman spoke about how Occupy Wall Street has refocused the debate in this country, but even more importantly, if it keeps growing this movement may have a chance to change America. Not since the Civil Rights era has this country seen a movement of the people so strong that it forces change. Occupy Wall Street may not be there yet, but it has a chance to be the kind of movement that only occurs once every few generations.
Their positive contribution has been enormous already, but I have a feeling that what we have seen is just the beginning of Occupy Wall Street could potentially accomplish.