Want to know what the Occupy Wall Street protests are all about? Look no further than the shocking statistic below.
The 400 wealthiest people in America are worth more than the bottom 150 million people combined.
I must have seen this statistic a hundred times, but each time I read it, it continues to stun me. The top 1 percent in this country – the corporate CEOs and the Wall Street bankers – are doing just fine. Collectively, they control a staggering 40 percent of the wealth in the United States.
Like me after reading that, you may be asking yourself: who’s looking out for the 99 percent of Americans? Not the GOP, that’s for sure.
The GOP and Wall Street, Kissing In A Tree
Republicans in Congress are like puppets, except the scary part is their corporate buddies on Wall Street are pulling the strings – the same people the Occupy movement is protesting. They are lavishing campaign cash on them and padding their pockets to protect their special interest loopholes and corporate tax breaks.
Take Congressman Dave Camp for example. As a member of the supercommittee, Camp has raked in more than $475,000 in contributions since his appointment. But it’s not ordinary individuals cutting checks – it’s corporations. In the third quarter of this year, the healthcare industry has given Camp over $97,000, in addition to the $30,500 from insurance special interests. As if that wasn’t enough, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, and Comcast all wrote Camp $5,000 checks days after his appointment.
When push comes to shove, whose interests do you think Congressman Camp will vote for? The 1 percent showering him in corporate cash or the 99 percent of Americans pinching every penny to make ends meet? I’m not much of a gambling man, but I know where I’d place my chips.
Americans are beyond frustrated with politicians who pander to Wall Street and big corporations while so many American families are struggling. The Occupy movement stands for the principle of our elected officials like Dave Camp representing all of us, not just the richest 1 percent.
First New York City, Now The World
Last week, my co-worker Dawn and I traveled to New York City to witness the Occupy Wall Street protests firsthand. If I had to sum up what we witnessed, there’s only one word that really describes my feelings.
What began as a small protest in New York City about Americans’ frustration with Wall Street is now spreading across the nation. Throughout Michigan in recent days, Occupy camps have sprung up in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Flint, Detroit and Lansing. What I love about the Occupy movement is that it’s made up of Americans from all walks of life – men and women, young and old. Many have lost jobs, had their houses foreclosed on or lost their health insurance because they couldn’t afford it. If it didn’t happen to them personally, they certainly knew of a friend or family member facing hard times.
Meet Donna and Debra, from Madison, Wisc. They traveled to NYC not because of their own circumstances, but rather to stand in solidarity with those who were struggling. As Debra put it, “these are issues that affect everybody we need to step up and express ourselves and lend ourselves to the movement here.”
The growing chorus of people in Zuccotti Park and across the nation, as Donna and Debra so eloquently said, have played by the rules, believing the mantra that capitalism would reward their hard work. Yet through no fault of their own, these hardworking Americans – and everyone they are representing who may not have a voice – are being punished by a system that rewards the top 1 percent and Wall Street with bailouts while Main Street continues to suffer.
If you haven’t already, I hope you join an Occupy movement in your area. Democracy is an amazing thing, and the Occupy Wall Street movement is certainly democracy in action. Republicans have been calling these protests un-American. The fact is that these protests are peaceful and made up of people who are speaking out for what they believe in. To my Republican friends – it doesn’t get more American than that.