What Occupy Wall Street is really about

An article at AlterNet explains the facts that are driving the Occupy Wall street movement.

Since Reagan’s time, we’ve been led to believe free market “conventional wisdom” that is fundamentally wrong. Some of the more significant points:

  • The “trickle down” theory (also known as “Voodo economics”): if you give enough money to the already-rich eventually some of that money will trickle down to the rest of us. This has been proven wrong beyond a doubt, yet the Republicans stubbornly cling to this belief.

    They say that if wealthy people have more money they will use that money to start businesses and hire people. But anyone with a real business will tell you that people coming in the door and buying things is what creates jobs. In a real economy, people wanting to buy things – demand – is what causes businesses to form and people to be hired.

    History – and a quick look around us today – shows that when all the money goes to a few at the top demand from the rest of us dries up and everything breaks down. Taxing the people at the top and reinvesting the money into the democratic society is fundamental to keeping things going.

    This chart proves the point. While corporate profits are up, employment is down. Corporations aren’t reinvesting their tax breaks to create new jobs, so nothing “trickles down”.

  • Government and taxes take money out of the economy: Also wrong. In reality the taxes that government collects are invested in the “public structures” that create the prosperity and lifestyle we enjoy – or at least did before taxes were cut. Tax revenue builds the infrastructure of transportation, courts, schools, universities, research facilities and other institutions that enable our businesses to grow and prosper and the consumer protection, safety inspection, water and sewer, health, parks and arts that help us live and enjoy our lives.

    The government needs taxes to operate. Our tax rate is among the lowest in the world, and is much lower than it was during Reagan’s era. As a result, the government is deprived of the funds it needs just for normal operation, which forces it to cut back needed services and has allowed our infrastructure to crumble. Our roads and bridges are in unsafe and deplorable condition for that reason.

    Raising taxes on the 1% and corporate taxes to more reasonable levels, and reinvesting that tax income on infrastructure development would do more to create jobs than any more tax cuts and would boost the overall economy.

Supply-side economics is fundamentally wrong and has never worked. What does work is “demand-side” economics: give the people more spending power (lower taxes at the bottom rather than the top), which will encourage them to buy more, which will drive business and create more jobs, therefore benefiting everyone.

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