Thursday, October 6, 2011

If Occupy Wall Street Needs a Graphic ...

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 2:14 PM

A lot of folks in the media are reacting to the Occupy Wall Street movement, most of them predictably.

The conservative media — Fox News, Limbaugh, Townhall.com — say it's a ragtag bunch of jobless hippies with nothing better to do. Also, they are being supported and transported and fed by deep-pocketed socialist sympathizers.

The mainstream media is mostly trying to articulate how the movement can't articulate what it is all about. Lots of live shots and man-on-the-street interviews are the norm.

They're missing the big picture. Like the Tea Party before them in its early days, the Occupiers are mainly just pissed off at this point. It's a nascent movement, gaining momentum, flexing its new-found muscle, figuring out how strong it can get, how many people will step on board — either in the street or via financial and political support. The goal being, obviously, to impact politics by winning elections or scaring incumbents into changing their positions. The Tea Party got strong enough to take over the GOP with a similar strategy. No reason the Occupiers can't pull off a similar coup from the other side, if the movement can sustain itself and grow.

They say American Dream has been shanghaied and is no longer available to most Americans. They want financial payback for the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout giveaways to Wall Street under the Bush and Obama administrations. The best line I've read: "The middle-class is too big to fail." That works.

Here's something else that will work: Show the world this website. It's interactive, and it shows the growth in income of 90 percent of Americans versus the top 10 percent of Americans over the past century. In the screenshot below, I've set the sliders to show the results from 1970 to 2008. You can set your own parameters, if you'd like. The results, as you can see, are simply staggering. Bear in mind, that little blue flat-line across the bottom represents 90 percent of the U. S. population.

The obvious takeaway: The wealthiest Americans are getting richer while the vast majority of us are stagnating or losing ground. It's enough to make you want to occupy something.

Screen_shot_2011-10-06_at_2.28.47_PM.png

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