The Daily Need

Occupy Wall Street: Unemployment is not going away, and neither are we

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators stand and cheer in front of the George Washington statue on Wall Street as they celebrate the protest's sixth month this past weekend in New York. Photo: AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Occupy Wall Street protesters, in what has by now become a familiar routine, were routed from their makeshift home in Union Square early Wednesday morning. The protesters, about 300 of them, had set up a new encampment there after being swiftly evicted from their original home in Zuccotti Park on Saturday, during a day of action designed to mark the movement’s six-month anniversary.

The latest eviction raises the same questions that the movement’s many previous evictions raised: What next? Cold temperatures forced Occupy’s rank-and-file into hibernation over the winter, and many were hoping for a resurgence in the spring. Indeed, the protesters showed some signs of life over the weekend, in their clashes with police and in the 73 arrests that ensued, both of which are crucial to generating media attention.

At the outset of the Occupy movement, however, the physical encampments and their forcible removal were only the sparks — the kindling, the central animating force behind the original Occupy Wall Street protests, was widespread economic discontent. With large majorities of Americans frustrated at the stalled economy and resentful of the do-nothing political class, Occupy easily became an outlet for a much deeper, simmering anger over economic injustice in America.

That, of course, raises the question: Now that the economic picture is getting (slightly) brighter, will those signs of improvement make it difficult for Occupy Wall Street to regain its footing and resonate with working and middle class Americans in the same way it did last year?

“No, I don’t think so,” said Michael Premo, an Occupy participant. Premo was standing amid a small crowd of roughly 100 or so protesters, whom he had helped corral for a press conference in front of police headquarters in downtown Manhattan Tuesday calling for the resignation of New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, after allegations of violence against Occupy protesters. The Occupy movement, Premo said in an interview after the press conference, won’t be diminished by recent gains in the economy. In fact, the uneven distribution of those gains — the fact that certain classes of Americans have benefited little from the economy’s nascent resurgence — may only bolster Occupy’s case.

In the interview, Premo articulated what may well be the manifesto of Occupy 2.0:

We’re experiencing a level of structural unemployment that’s not going to go away. The economy, for many people — most of America — is not getting better. In my community, the economy has been going down for decades, and there are people that will continually be effected. There is no real middle class anymore. The base of the middle class has been eroded, it’s a sort of political ruse that’s used to galvanize voters. This problem is not going away. This problem did not start with the housing crisis, and any minor fluctuations in the economy will not affect the movement to continue to grow.

The success of Occupy’s second wave, then, rests at least in part on two premises: That the recent economic gains achieved under President Obama have been meager, and that a small few have benefited from those gains while the rest of America languishes. And there’s strong empirical evidence to support both claims.

For one, a wide range of prominent economists — including Jeffrey Sachs, who spoke to the protesters last year and christened their movement the start of a “new progressive era” in America — have suggested that the flaws in our economy exposed by the financial crisis are systematic, and won’t easily be erased by short-term government spending alone.

The second and perhaps even more powerful point is this: Even as the jobs market has shown flickers of life in recent months, the vast majority of the wealth gains produced by the economic recovery have gone to the richest Americans. For example, a stunning analysis by Emmanuel Saez, a French economist at UC Berkeley, has found that, in the first part of the recovery from 2009 to 2010, 93 percent of the total growth in incomes went to the top one percent of earners.

If any number should send shockwaves of anger and disenchantment rippling through the heartland of America, it should be that. It shows concretely that the problems with our economy are structural, that inequality is built into the system, and that even a Keynesian agenda like the Obama stimulus, designed to breathe life into the economy, has ultimately enriched a relative few, while neglecting the bulk of working and middle class Americans.

That message could potentially be a powerful one for Occupy 2.0. The obstacles, of course, are great: Challenging the recent economic recovery will require, in part, a more direct confrontation with President Obama and entrenched Democratic power-brokers, like labor unions, which have lent credibility and organizational support to Occupy in the past. Already, unions have begun to take a much more cautious approach to the movement, with labor leaders dismissing a “general strike” planned by Occupy organizers for May 1.

Nonetheless, the protesters are determined to stage a comeback — and they have a potentially powerful message at their disposal, if only they can broadcast it effectively. “We hope to clarify our position,” Premo said after the press conference on Tuesday. Asked what that position was, he said, “That we’re not going away.”

 
SUGGESTED STORIES
  • thumb
    The admission arms race
    From ProPublica, an in-depth look at the ways in which colleges can pump up their stats.
  • thumb
    Home-grown terrorism
    The story of the Boston bombers is still unfolding at high speed, but counterterror officials believe the brothers were Islamic extremists.
  • thumb
    Boston reading guide
    Need to play catch up? Here's a full list of resources for more on what's going on in Boston.

Comments

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org Steve Banicki

    It is time OWS stopped marching and took some action.

    1. Prohibit Corporations and Unions From Financing Political Campaigns by Amending The Constitution 
    2. Enforce Anti-Trust Laws against Oligopolies & Monopolies!
    3. Bring Our Deficit Under Control and amend tax code! 

    The above are long term goals that will eventually bring more equally to the economy. The above goals will not be accomplished overnight and we need to do something that will bring the unemployment rate down now. A good start is President Obama’s jobs bill with some modifications brought about by sound ideas brought about by members of Congress and the Senate.
    The purpose of a jobs bill, or any stimulus package, is not to directly create jobs that will be long lasting. Instead, its purpose is to  create temporary jobs that will increase demand for goods and services. This in turn will create an atmosphere where the private sector will create jobs to meet the new demand created by the stimulus. Businesses will add to their work force because their profits will increase because they can sell more products.  More:  http://goo.gl/yFYDb

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk Firozali A.Mulla

    What do these Banking people actually do, I mean do they build ships, cars, planes, Aircraft carriers, Spacecraft, TVs, Washing machines, Incubators.No, they provide funding for such, but how come then the guy who does all this work drives around in a banger.The world is completely upside down, Banking, ought to be a tiny amount of our National debate.We say we can’t build Ships, TVs, Washing machines, Fridges, Harrier Jump Jets, Carriers, Cruise ships, Computers, because we don’t have the money.Well, where do bankers get the money from, well, they just print it out of thin air, ten lend it to Governments, and us.Well, we can do that just easily as the Bankers, and if we did it ourselves, there would be no Govt Borrowing and we wouldn’t be paying £40 Billion each year just in interest on this debt, which has been conjured out of thin air.So we could print this money ourselves, just like the bankers do, and afford to have all these industries.Paper money, is simply a means of greasing the wheels of barter, the farmer makes our food, we in turn make him a nice car, money just makes that process easier, we could just as easily deliver him a new car,or fridge, instead, we use money, so he can go buy that Car or fridge if he wishes, money itself, has no value other than it is legal tender.We decide, that £20,000 = 1 shiny new car.It is the Goods and services that are the most important assets for our society, not the thing that lubricates the transactions. We worked out money thousands of years ago, it should be a given, something that just is, like the ability to speak, or write.There should be no discussion on money, or very little, instead, it has become our obsession, yet our obsession ought to be with technoloy, industry, science, art, music, innovation.We have decided almost to shut down our society, simply because there is ‘not enough money’ What do you mean there’s not enough money, we just print it. ( NB Im not suggesting printing trillions, just the same amount we borrow each yea.IE we print it instead of borrowing it.We can just print the money, all it is is a means of lubricating, assisting aiding the process of bartering goods and services, yet they’ve turned money into a subject that is the be all and end all of our society.All the banking sector is.is a repository for worthless bits of paper, they are not worth anything, they simply allow a transaction to go ahead.These bits of paper that LaGarde is discussing are not worth anything of themselves, they are worthless bits of paper. Conjured up out of thin air by bankers, and lent out to businesses and Governments at full face value and at 
    interest.Govt should be printing that money, not borrowing it interest and GIVING that money away into society for FREE, to pay for Soldiers, police, nurses, etc, who in turn use it to buy potatoes and cars and TVs and Washing machines.It’s simply a means of making payment easier, otherwise we’d have to pay the dentist in potatoes or with a car, instead we give him a few bits of paper, so he can buy potatoes if he wishes.our technology, computers, washing machines, aircraft should be what’s important, the Bankers have turned something that is worthless into the most important asset, it’s all on it’s head. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA 

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    How is the election of the pope connected to 9/11? And how is it legal?

    The NSA apparently didn’t get the point – missing dots? – that their PR lacks any credibility whatsoever. How is the election of the pope connected to 9/11? And how is it legal?

    The NSA apparently didn’t get the point – missing dots? – that their PR lacks any credibility whatsoever.

    What about the Boston bomber – why did they not catch that? For the same reason that they didn’t catch 9/11? The reason there is simple: the government knew it was coming because the entire incident was designed with the CIA making sure it would work. Americans have every reason to fear another 9/11 – not because the NSA can’t put the dots together or prefers not to see them – but because it means that the government will not hesitate to kill Americans to rationalize an illegal and criminal agenda in interior and foreign policy. Internally it is the militarization of the police and the surveillance of every American. In foreign policy it is the complete failure of consecutive US admins to come up with something a bit more creative than to destabilize the entire world in order to make the US the only superpower. Now they go as far as to reproach Germany and China because the are export driven – i.e. because they actually pay for what they import.

    What the US needs is not a bloated surveillance to protect the government in power, but a government who actually has the power to create a USA worth its name. So far that is sadly missing. Because it is missing, the US now spies on heads of state, corporations, national enterprises like Petrobraz – apparently they are fishing for ideas on how you make idea work, not just with words, but as a real product. No wonder they were howling so loud the Chinese were doing that – we don’t do that, they are doing it also.
    What about the Boston bomber – why did they not catch that? For the same reason that they didn’t catch 9/11? The reason there is simple: the government knew it was coming because the entire incident was designed with the CIA making sure it would work. Americans have every reason to fear another 9/11 – not because the NSA can’t put the dots together or prefers not to see them – but because it means that the government will not hesitate to kill Americans to rationalize an illegal and criminal agenda in interior and foreign policy. Internally it is the militarization of the police and the surveillance of every American. In foreign policy it is the complete failure of consecutive US admins to come up with something a bit more creative than to destabilize the entire world in order to make the US the only superpower. Now they go as far as to reproach Germany and China because the are export driven – i.e. because they actually pay for what they import. There is so much going on daily that we are at time we are lost as to who is selling the right IT and who is selling the wrong It or the pirated copies of anything from the mother board to the disc. When we had the Y2K we never believed this . Now we have plethora of all and still we wonder where we are I have no idea personally as I live in sub Sahara state and care more for the bread on the plate then the It but we cannot be left behind in the world to be called the backyard folks . We need personnel . By the time the CV comes in the software had changed . CRM has failed we still try to struggle and live. How far only economy will tell as now the economy has taken a lot of beating I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA
    What the US needs is not a bloated surveillance to protect the government in power, but a government who actually has the power to create a USA worth its name. So far that is sadly missing. Because it is missing, the US now spies on heads of state, corporations, national enterprises like Petrobraz – apparently they are fishing for ideas on how you make idea work, not just with words, but as a real product. No wonder they were howling so loud the Chinese were doing that – we don’t do that, they are doing it also.

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    I generally don’t think it’s a good idea to ever rely on just one index. One thing that has really changed over time is that most companies listed in the DJIA are large multi-nationals that derive the bulk of their earnings from overseas markets versus domestically – as in the past.

    With all the OPEC producers rolling in cash, it seems unlikely that they will ever again let the price of crude drop significantly from here by adjusting output. And no amount of hand-holding and steamy embraces by Bush to middle east leaders is going to change that.

    America’s energy policy over the last 50 years has been to import cheap oil. Now we’re going to pay the price. And we deserve no mercy whatsoever IMHO. I thank you Firozali A. Mulla DBA

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    GEE grameen Bank in Begladesh did this a long time back I thank you FirozaliA.Mulla DBAThe big blunder like the car deal comes on us again and we sit quite as we cannot do anything else People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It’s a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis Previous generations got a much better bargain, mainly because payroll taxes were very low when Social Security was enacted in the 1930s and remained so for decades. “For the early generations, it was an incredibly good deal,” said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy Social Security commissioner who is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “The government gave you free money and getting free money is popular.” If you retired in 1960, you could expect to get back seven times more in benefits than you paid in Social Security taxes, and more if you were a low-income worker, as long you made it to age 78 for men and 81 for women. As recently as 1985, workers at every income level could retire and expect to get more in benefits than they paid in Social Security taxes, though they didn’t do quite as well as their parents and grandparents. Not anymore. A married couple retiring last year after both spouses earned average lifetime wages paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits, if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85, according to a 2011 study by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. Social Security benefits are progressive, so most low-income workers retiring today still will get slightly more in benefits than they paid in taxes. Most high-income workers started getting less in benefits than they paid in taxes in the 1990s, according to data from the Social Security Administration. The shift among middle-income workers is happening just as millions of baby boomers are reaching retirement, leaving relatively fewer workers behind to pay into the system. It’s coming at a critical time for Social Security, the federal government’s largest program. The trustees who oversee Social Security say its funds, which have been built up over the past 30 years with surplus payroll taxes, will run dry in 2033 unless Congress acts. At that point, payroll taxes would provide enough revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits. To cover the shortfall, future retirees probably will have to pay higher taxes while they are working, accept lower benefits after they retire, or some combination of both. A man doesn’t know what he knows until he knows what he doesn’t know.I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBAThe big blunder like the car deal comes on us again and we sit quite as we cannot do anything else People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It’s a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis Previous generations got a much better bargain, mainly because payroll taxes were very low when Social Security was enacted in the 1930s and remained so for decades. “For the early generations, it was an incredibly good deal,” said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy Social Security commissioner who is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “The government gave you free money and getting free money is popular.” If you retired in 1960, you could expect to get back seven times more in benefits than you paid in Social Security taxes, and more if you were a low-income worker, as long you made it to age 78 for men and 81 for women. As recently as 1985, workers at every income level could retire and expect to get more in benefits than they paid in Social Security taxes, though they didn’t do quite as well as their parents and grandparents. Not anymore. A married couple retiring last year after both spouses earned average lifetime wages paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits, if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85, according to a 2011 study by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. Social Security benefits are progressive, so most low-income workers retiring today still will get slightly more in benefits than they paid in taxes. Most high-income workers started getting less in benefits than they paid in taxes in the 1990s, according to data from the Social Security Administration. The shift among middle-income workers is happening just as millions of baby boomers are reaching retirement, leaving relatively fewer workers behind to pay into the system. It’s coming at a critical time for Social Security, the federal government’s largest program. The trustees who oversee Social Security say its funds, which have been built up over the past 30 years with surplus payroll taxes, will run dry in 2033 unless Congress acts. At that point, payroll taxes would provide enough revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits. To cover the shortfall, future retirees probably will have to pay higher taxes while they are working, accept lower benefits after they retire, or some combination of both. A man doesn’t know what he knows until he knows what he doesn’t know.I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBAThe big blunder like the car deal comes on us again and we sit quite as we cannot do anything else People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It’s a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis Previous generations got a much better bargain, mainly because payroll taxes were very low when Social Security was enacted in the 1930s and remained so for decades. “For the early generations, it was an incredibly good deal,” said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy Social Security commissioner who is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “The government gave you free money and getting free money is popular.” If you retired in 1960, you could expect to get back seven times more in benefits than you paid in Social Security taxes, and more if you were a low-income worker, as long you made it to age 78 for men and 81 for women. As recently as 1985, workers at every income level could retire and expect to get more in benefits than they paid in Social Security taxes, though they didn’t do quite as well as their parents and grandparents. Not anymore. A married couple retiring last year after both spouses earned average lifetime wages paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits, if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85, according to a 2011 study by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. Social Security benefits are progressive, so most low-income workers retiring today still will get slightly more in benefits than they paid in taxes. Most high-income workers started getting less in benefits than they paid in taxes in the 1990s, according to data from the Social Security Administration. The shift among middle-income workers is happening just as millions of baby boomers are reaching retirement, leaving relatively fewer workers behind to pay into the system. It’s coming at a critical time for Social Security, the federal government’s largest program. The trustees who oversee Social Security say its funds, which have been built up over the past 30 years with surplus payroll taxes, will run dry in 2033 unless Congress acts. At that point, payroll taxes would provide enough revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits. To cover the shortfall, future retirees probably will have to pay higher taxes while they are working, accept lower benefits after they retire, or some combination of both. A man doesn’t know what he knows until he knows what he doesn’t know.I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    The US gets away with being “appalled” that Syria has chemical weapons, despite having the second biggest un-destroyed stockpile of chemical weapons in the world, and despite being the only nation that has ever used a nuclear “weapon of mass destruction.”

    Now, to add to the irony, we have Syria meeting it’s deadline within weeks of declaring the would, while both Russia and the US have missed their’s repeatedly and asked for (and been granted) extensions. According to the NYT article this month — “The United States estimates it will be at least another decade before it completes destruction of the remaining 10% of its chemical weapons, estimated at more than 3,100 tons.” That’s 2023, just to clarify…

    Are we appalled? Does the US need sanctions? No, because the powerful only issue them, they never are subject to them. Principles don’t guide us; power does.

    Which is not to say that Syria is some angel, or to imply that Assad is not a dictator. But it is to imply that there should not be double standards on WMD. Either we’re “appalled” and “horrified” at their use and their possession, or we’re not. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    Is that mayor speaking Bllomberg
    They’ll be the goose steppers regulating the national dietary mandates which should start being batted about in the halls of congress within a few years now I would expect. You know, being that the cost to ensure each of us will soon fall solely to the state thus making everything we eat and drink as well as many activities we may or may not choose to participate in, our entire lives will be seen by them as falling under their direct jurisdiction. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    That’s exactly what many well-respected economists, billionaires, and noted authors are telling you to do — experts such as Marc Faber, Peter Schiff, Donald Trump, and Robert Wiedemer. According to them, we are on the verge of another recession, and this one will be far worse than what we experienced during the last financial crisis.

    Marc Faber, the noted Swiss economist and investor, has voiced his concerns for the U.S. economy numerous times during recent media appearances, stating, “I think somewhere down the line we will have a massive wealth destruction. I would say that well-to-do people may lose up to 50 percent of their total wealth.”

    When he was asked what sort of odds he put on a global recession happening, the economist famous for his ominous predictions quickly answered . . . “100 percent.”

    Faber points out that this bleak outlook stems directly from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s policy decisions, and the continuous printing of new money, referred to as “quantitative easing” in the media.

    Faber’s pessimism is matched by well-respected economist and investor Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital. Schiff remarks that the stock market collapse we experienced in 2008 “wasn’t the real crash. The real crash is coming.”

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    The child always wanted to have his way. And if he did not get what he wanted he blew the house down. One day the parent took him to the doctor. The child cried and told the doctor, “I want to eat mosquitoes”. The doctor asked the nurse to get some mosquitoes. Child said, “Please boil these” They were boiled; He picked all except one and threw the rest. In the plate there was one only. He told the doctor to eat the half. Doctor wanting the fees, ate half and. The child screamed, “You ate my half” ooooo Well, that is what our politicians are. Give they ask for more. Science is hard, and the real world is not waiting for these students with open arms. However, this article was eye opening and has encouraged me to provide a more supportive environment for my undergraduate engineers while they are learning the ropes. No question self-motivation trumps what we as educators do in the classroom or lab, but self-motivation isn’t always enough when the challenges are hard and there is no positive feedback. Yes, our priorities as a country are warped with many of the best and brightest going into money laundering/ finance, following the dollars available. Regardless we do need to do a better job keeping those that remain in engineering/science because the house of cards that is finance is going to crumble eventually and we as a country won’t be left with much else when it does if we don’t do something to help prop up the technology infrastructure. The country as a whole may be willing to throw away a generation of scientists by redirecting dollars elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean we as educators have to be complicit in aiding and abetting this, albeit unintentionally. I for one am going to rethink how I interact with my students because this tough love approach may not be doing us any favours. And to all the perpetual postdoc PhDs out there, I do understand why you feel you were sold a bill of goods to join the academic science pyramid scheme. However, realize for most of you there are jobs out there, and in science, just not the ones you’ve spent 10+ years training yourself for (i.e. running your own lab), nor at the pay your deserve for the level of training and education you have. While that is by no means fair, the reward for all of us that stay in this endeavour, despite the pull of dollars elsewhere, is that you are doing something more meaningful for yourself, the US, and the world, than all the professional gamblers/money changers out there combined. Remember, a meaningful life is more than the $ amount in your bank account

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    “”"Research shows that a great leader exudes charisma, ensures inspirational and intellectual stimulation, pays individual attention to the people below him and does not manage by exception or adopt a laissez-faire leadership. Close your eyes and recall a time when you worked with a leader you rank among the best in your life. The chances are that you will think of them as leaders because they had charisma, inspirational and intellectual stimulation, individualised consideration, contingent rewards, and did not manage by exception or adopt a laissez-faire leadership. The work of Bernard M Bass and Bruce J Avolio of the Centre for Leadership Studies at the School of Management in State University of New York Birmingham deserves special mention. The duo’s seminal model on leadership factors-enlisted in their work Improving Organizational Effectiveness Through Transformational Leadership-has since been used by many researchers to either drill deeper or aim for a higher abstraction. This article summarises the evidence of a new set of studies done on the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire that Bass and Avolio created to measure the six factors that help describe a person’s leadership style. Some key points, the definitions of the components of The Full Range Leadership Model the authors described are important. The definitions are: Charisma Provides followers with a clear sense of purpose that is energising, role model for ethical conduct and builds identification with the leader and his/her articulated views Intellectual stimulation Gets followers to question the tried and tested ways of solving problems and encourages them to question the methods they use to improve upon them Individual attention
    Focus on understanding the individualised needs of the followers and works continuously to get them to develop to their full potential Contingent reward Clarifies what is expected from followers and what they will get if they meet expected levels of performance Active management Focus on monitoring task execution for any problems Avoidant leadership Tends to react only after problems have become serious to take corrective action and often avoids making any decision at all. This has some sub factors. The authors found that the best leaders seemed to have a mix of both transactional and transformational leadership. Languages, like our bodies, are in a perpetual flux, and stand in need of recruits to supply those words that are continually falling through disuse. -Cornelius Conway Felton, educator (1807-1862) that may arise and correcting those problems to maintain current performance levels