Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Redeeming Social Value of OWS

Last Sunday, famed Princeton Professor and world class bloviater Cornel West was arrested for protesting at the Supreme Court.

Last night, famed radical feminist Naomi Wolf was arrested for refusing to obey a police order on Wall Street. Dressed in her party clothes, Wolf seemed to be protesting a meeting that was honoring New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She was placed in handcuffs and removed from the site.

I may be late to the party, but I am beginning to see a redeeming social value to the Occupy movement.

Occasionally I have reported on Occupy Wall Street’s cognitive dissonance. The movement is protesting against a financial services industry that is financing, among other things, extremely generous government employee union contracts.

It is denouncing Wall Street greed at a time when the industry is not doing very well at all.

Steven Malanga provides an excellent analysis.

In his words: “… last week …I watched local New York union members head down to Zuccotti Park to provide support to Occupy Wall Street. Nothing that I've read coming from union leaders suggests that they understand the extent to which the supercharged, increasingly risk-taking Wall Street of the past 30 years has burnished their members' ranks and pay, giving local municipal and service union workers in New York among the highest levels of compensation anywhere. Those union leaders, protesting without a hint of irony against the gravy train that has brought them their supper, barely understand the extent to which the whole edifice of the New York economy and local government budgets depend on a Wall Street that may already be gone.”

A sobering assessment, indeed.

To top it off, yesterday Goldman Sachs reported its second quarterly loss since it went public. New government regulations, enacted by the people that union leaders and Goldman Sachs both supported, have crushed the most profitable side of the financial services business.

Good luck to the government employee unions!

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