Occupy Wall Street protest is an omen of future action against corporate greed

The Occupy Wall Street protest is continuing today in New York. But according to the Bikya Masr indie news site, there are only about 1,000 people present.

The demonstrators descended on the main artery of the U.S. capitalist system this weekend to try to replicate the citizens' protests in Tahrir Square, which brought down Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.


The protest is being promoted on YouTube.

The mainstream media mostly ignored the event, but if I were a Wall Street banker, I wouldn't be feeling too complacent.

That's because there's growing awareness and outrage over corporate greed. Even uber-capitalist Warren Buffett acknowledged the problem, writing in the New York Times that it was time for billionaires to start paying more taxes.

(Of course, the Sage of Omaha's investment powerhouse, Berkshire Hathaway, has been trying to avoid paying taxes for years.)

The Institute for Policy Studies published a damning report chronicling the extent of greed. It noted:

• Twenty-five major U.S. corporations paid their CEOs more than they paid the federal government in taxes.

• In 2010, major corporate CEOs "earned" (there's a euphemism) 325 times as much pay as the average worker. That was a sharp rise over the 263-1 ratio in 2009.

• For companies listed in the S&P 500 stock index, the average CEO pay was $10,762,304 last year. That's a whopping 27.8 percent higher than the previous year!

As the CEOs pocket more money, the corporations are paying less tax. According to the Institute for Policy Studies, a group called Citizens for Tax Justice will soon produce a study showing that 12 corporations paid a "negative 1.5 percent" on $171 billion in profits.

"No tax-dodging strategy over recent years has filled U.S. corporate coffers more rapidly than the offshoring of corporate activity to tax havens in low- or no-tax jurisdictions," the institute for Policy Study authors wrote in their report. "Eighteen of the 25 firms highlighted in this study operate subsidiaries in offshore tax haven jurisdictions. The firms, all combined, had 556 tax haven subsidiaries last year."

These offshore tax havens are costing the U.S. treasury on the order of $100 billion per year.

The Institute for Policy Studies and the Citizens for Tax Justice aren't the only ones raising the alarm.

In 2010, former U.S. secretary of labor Robert Reich wrote a book, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, which chronicled how the super-wealthy are getting richer, and why that's causing economic decline.

He noted that the top one percent of U.S. earners collect 24 percent of the national income. The last time this occurred was in 1928, shortly before the bubble burst on Wall Street, leading to the Great Depression.

What the greedy bankers don't realize is that when they pay themselves so much and drive down government revenues, they actually create real-estate and stock-market bubbles, which trigger economic calamities.

They're too busy counting their money to learn some basic economic history. And most politicians and journalists are too gutless to call them out on this.

That's why we can expect to see more Occupy Wall Street–style demonstrations in the future—and don't be surprised if they grow larger. This is just the beginning. As Bob Dylan so famously wrote in 1964 before one of the most titanic transformations in American history, "The times, they are a-changin'."

Here's a verse in the song that's particularly relevant to this weekend's protest over corporate greed:

Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don't stand in the doorway

Don't block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There's a battle outside

And it is ragin'

It'll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin'.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

Comments

25 Comments

El_Pinguino

Sep 18, 2011 at 10:10am

Only 1000? In a area of how many million? I don't think revolution is in the air. And sadly, revolution is urgently needed.

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markm

Sep 18, 2011 at 10:27am

Speaking as an American....

I am glad the protestors are advocating 'nonviolence'...and even the tem 'revolution' they have been using, my unintentionally suggest violence.

However, there is no question that this activism, will continue, nationwide. The reason: The 'powers that be' simply aren't responding to the needs of Americans. They failed completely, in their responsibilities...and as such are 'un-patriotic' and 'anti-American.' Millions of Americans are destitute...and even dying. The 'patritotic' thing to do...is to stand up for America...a country 'Of the People, By the People, and For the People'.....

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ironboltbruce

Sep 18, 2011 at 10:29am

I hereby openly and before God and the Kleptocracy endorse and stand ready to support the "Occupy Wall Street" event:

https://occupywallst.org/users/ironboltbruce/

I also hereby reverse my previous position and guidance, and reinstate my support for the "Stop the Machine" event:

http://october2011.org/statement

I recognize that in so doing I am allying myself with people who do not share all of my political beliefs, that I will be standing side-by-side in protest with those of the Far Left - including Communists, Socialists and Anarchists - as well as those of the Far Right - including Libertarians, Tea Partyists and Ron Paulists - and that their race, ethnicity and name for the Almighty may differ from mine. But politics makes for strange bedfellows, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all who join this protest agree that our Ruling Omnipotent Fascist Kleptocracy is the enemy of all Mankind.

I ask those more closely associated with these events to consider me at their disposal to support to the limits of my resources and abilities any and all actions - including non-violent civil disobedience - aimed at toppling the Kleptocracy, exposing the truth about 9/11, repealing the Patriot Act, reversing Citizens United v. FEC, ending our perpetual wars for oil and profit, retrieving the trillions of dollars stolen from or made burden of the taxpayers, and restoring Jeffersonian Democracy and the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.

Lastly, I recognize that making this pledge public may have ramifications including and not limited to being placed on no-fly or other surveillance lists, and for that I say Big Brother be damned: I do this for my grandchildren, in hopes they can grow up as free citizens rather than indentured slaves.

WILL YOU JOIN ME?

https://occupywallst.org/signup/

"IronBolt Bruce" Arnold
ironboltbruce@gmail.com
http://ironboltbruce.com

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Lianne J

Sep 18, 2011 at 10:50am

Many of the major media companys are full of corporate board members. I think that is why there is little media coverage. I think there should be a federal law against sitting on a media board if the proposed member could benefit from manipulating the media. Arrrrrrrggggghhhh

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James Neenan

Sep 18, 2011 at 11:06am

This is completely what needs to happen. We need the ninety nine percent to stand up for what is right and stop living our life hoping to one day be a part of that one percent. Corporate greed has gone to far. Everyone should also watch Michael Moore's, Capitalism: A Love Story. Look into what Dead Peasants are. This has gone to far!

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aimee

Sep 18, 2011 at 11:27am

Actually, yesterday there were almost 10,000 people there.

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ANON2012

Sep 18, 2011 at 11:46am

There are a lot more than 50 people - notice the paid help that sews descent. It took fox news over 12 hours to write about this - WONDER WHY? Because they don't want you to notice that the numbers are higher, the dues will be paid and the PEOPLE ARE ANGRY. You can help! Donate for food!

Do you think this looks like "50 people"? I don't.

http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns

they are expecting crowds upward of 25000 by monday.

DO NOT SPEND TIME ARGUING - THOSE OF US THAT ARE ANGRY ARE NO MATCH FOR THE SHEEPLE!!!!!!!!! SPEND TIME SPREADING THESE LINKS AROUND - FINDING DONATIONS - FUNDING A FRIEND TO GET THERE - PAY FOR GAS/FOOD/SUPPLIES - GO YOURSELF!!!!!!!! DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN ARGUE WITH A SHEEPLE, IT'S A WASTE OF ENERGY BETTER USED ELSEWHERE!

be part of the solution, not part of the problem

MAKE HISTORY - BE PART OF IT - GO THERE!!!!!!!!!

Look around you and ask yourself if this is what you want for your children?

Birth - follow - consume - follow - death

Where is the time for love, for peace and tranquility, for quiet time and love and GENUINE happiness that isn't depending on material goods?????????

Don't let this opportunity slip by you. JOIN, DONATE and SUPPORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!

https://www.wepay.com/donate/99275

If you can't be there - support them through donation. This is our chance America........

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Dean Smith

Sep 18, 2011 at 12:02pm

Ignorant uninformed morons.

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jas77

Sep 18, 2011 at 12:06pm

Looooosers

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nonevent

Sep 18, 2011 at 12:15pm

how pathetic. 1000 hippy whores chanting nonscence. while the rest of amerika sits on its fat ass...

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