A plurality of the American people don’t have an opinion about the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but, of those who do, slightly more have a favorable view than an unfavorable view of them, according to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports.
Thirty-three percent of those polled said they look favorably on the protesters, while just 27 percent said they look unfavorably at them. Forty percent said they had no opinion.
The overarching theme of the protests, far more than any specific demands or proposed solutions, seems to be driving what approval the protesters enjoy. An overwhelming majority of Americans — 79 percent — agree with what has come to be the slogan of the movement: “The big banks got bailed out, while we got left behind.” But while many of the protesters seem to favor the idea of increased government regulation, the American people understand that less regulation, rather than more, is essential to the elimination of government favors to preferred companies:
Many of the protesters seem to want a larger government presence in the economy. But when it comes to helping the middle class, just 20 percent of Americans believe that more government regulation will do the trick. In fact, three times as many (60 percent) believe that free market competition would do more to help the middle class. Many look to Washington and see a system where regulators make favorable rulings for companies and then walk through a revolving door to get a big paycheck from those same companies. Voters overwhelmingly want to see such behavior outlawed.
Regulation is also a key way the federal government punishes the industries it doesn’t favor. Take a look at what’s happened in the Gulf ever since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last April, for example.
Almost always, tightened federal oversight of industry results in unintended consequences that hurt consumers.
Clearly, the American people understand the problem of crony capitalism better than the protesters themselves. While the protesters fall for the populist spirit the administration professes, the American people recognize the crony capitalistic spirit it actually possesses. Apparently, the protesters are unable to see through the president’s class warfare rhetoric to glimpse his own commitment to Big Business, perhaps best exemplified by his continued defense of the federal government’s risky loan to solar company Solyndra.
Townhall.com’s Erika Johnsen pointed this out the minute the protests broke out: The way to eliminate the sort of Big Business that sticks it to consumers is to eliminate Big Government. Ordinary Business serves consumers as it seeks to make a profit — because the surest way to make a profit is to please customers. When the government interferes, business becomes more concerned about currying favors with those in power than with providing a worthwhile product to meet an actual market demand.
The raging anti-capitalists occupying Wall Street have repeatedly been compared to the Tea Party. What’s sad is, the two groups actually do want the same thing: A thriving, prosperous economy. But whereas the Tea Party did its due diligence to discover the true cause of the country’s current economic troubles (a.k.a. out-of-control government spending), the Occupy Wall Street protesters took to the street without discerning the source of the nation’s economic anxiety. Consequently, the solutions the two groups propose could not be more different. Unfortunately, whereas the Tea Party’s solutions would actually please the Tea Party, the Occupy Wall Street protesters are destined to be dissatisfied — because the very solutions they propose will only exacerbate the problem they oppose.