Audio: Howard Stern’s crew interviews Occupy Wall Street protesters
posted at 8:49 pm on October 17, 2011 by Allahpundit
Via Breitbart TV. Given Stern’s reach and the otherwise adoring coverage of OWS, this may well be the biggest PR hit the movement’s taken so far. People are buzzing about this Quinnipiac poll out today showing that a heavy majority of New Yorkers agree with “the protesters’ views” — whatever those might be — but the numbers are a fait accompli. In the 2008 election, Brooklyn broke 79/20 for Obama; Manhattan 85/14; and the Bronx 88/11. So long as the protesters babble feelgood platitudes about “economic justice” and take care to ruin the quality of life only for those residents/businesses around Zuccotti Park, most of the City will be happy to attaboy ’em. If they turn more aggressive and, heaven forbid, start to disrupt New Yorkers’ commutes, that’ll be endgame. The enlightened of NYC are all for toppling the system, please understand, but they don’t like to be inconvenienced while going about their business of running the system.
We’re still waiting for a list of demands, so in a pinch I guess this sample from Occupy Boston will have to do:
Asked what needs to happen to make them pack up their tents, declare victory and leave, many protesters in the loosely organized, purportedly leaderless nationwide anti-corporate movement differed sharply on the end game — if they even see one at all.
“When we see our world leaders step down from their power and give it back to the people of this country or the world, then we will say that we no longer need to do this,” said James McBride of Malden, who has been protesting for a week. “But as long as that doesn’t happen, we will still be here. … We’re already planning for winter.”…
“Basically until I have to stop working three jobs at $8.50 to pay my rent and not get to eat,” said John Nai. How long did he think that would be?
“That’s the question they’re going to have to answer — the one percent,” Nai said, referring to the nation’s wealthy power brokers.
Defying The Man and eliminating economic hardship: That’s fairly well in line with what you’ll hear from the barely-coherents interviewed by Stern’s crew.
The most amazing thing to me about OWS thus far isn’t that they lack specific demands, it’s that they seem to lack even general demands when it comes to the two pressing economic crises of the age, i.e. creating jobs/growing the economy in the short-term and reducing the national debt in the medium-term. Tea partiers are all about the latter when they call for dramatically reducing spending; Keynesians hate that because spending cuts are one of the two big no-nos during an economic downturn, but it’s a bona fide attempt to grapple with a universally-acknowledged problem.
You might think OWS would be interested in the other half of the equation, how to generate jobs/growth, but that’s never a major theme in the scores of articles I’ve read about them. The major themes typically involve debt forgiveness and redistributing wealth from bankers to “the people” and/or the government, typically in the form of new taxes — which, of course, is the other big no-no during an economic slowdown. New tax revenue from “the one percent” would help solve our other major economic problem by reducing deficits over time, but that’s only if the revenue is applied to offsetting current expenditures. The vibe I get from OWS is that they want to take the tax windfall from those darned “banksters” and either distribute it among “the 99 percent” or let the government apply it towards new spending programs. Case in point: Remember the cheery woman in OWS’s official online commercial who called for taxing the rich to fund education? That’s super, but it does little to help us cope with the explosion in mandatory spending that will eventually cannibalize the budget: Medicare, Social Security, interest on the debt, and whatever’s left over for defense. In essence, these people seem to want to build Great Society II just as the government’s begun to crumble in earnest from the weight of Great Society I.
That’s why, as much as I goof on them, I can’t get as worked up about OWS as some of my friends on the right. Despite their alarming radical overtones, they’re basically committed to preserving (and expanding upon) the same unsustainable status quo we have now. Even after the great tea-party revolution of 2010, federal spending went up this year by five percent; despite endless warnings about the catastrophe to come if we don’t reform entitlements to hold down the debt, polls show that even many fiscal conservatives still get cold feet at the idea. (There’s a reason Romney’s forever blathering about Perry’s “Ponzi scheme” rhetoric.) Who cares if we drive over the cliff at our current speed of 55 mph or OWS’s speed of 75 mph? So, on that note, here’s the Stern clip plus a video bonus beneath it of Oakland occupiers endorsing the wealth-generating, job-growing, deficit-reducing magic of hard socialism as a solution to America’s problems. Evidently, there’s a lot of that happening downtown at Zuccotti Park too. I’ll leave you with this from Jonah Goldberg, who’s also feeling a bit sentimental about the new heroes of the revolution today:
It’s also useful (as I argue in the current issue) to be reminded of the fact that given the flimsiest of excuses a great number of mainstream liberals will drop their apparently feigned resolve against leftwing radicalism and leap at the opportunity to express solidarity with the crazies. So far, except for one honorable dissent from the editors of The New Republic, I haven’t seen any prominent liberals expressing any serious concern about what the occupiers are actually saying. And what significant reluctance we have seen from liberal politicians, starting with Obama, is quite transparently motivated not by principle but by strategy. If the Occupy Wall Street mob swept the country, I’m sure some of these liberals would, eventually, find a backbone — particularly when it came time to redistribute their stock portfolios or seize their McMansions. But until then, most of them seem perfectly happy to encourage the rabble and treat their ideas as legitimate.
Indeed. Content warning on the first clip, needless to say.