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Don’t condemn private enterprise

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations appeared to start out as an “old-fashioned” use of the First Amendment to express frustration and anger.

Exactly what they are frustrated and angry about … is a matter of debate.

Some are angry at Wall Street excesses, and the lack of criminal punishment for what led to the 2008 economic meltdown and the current recession.

The fact that nobody went to jail for those crimes is quite troubling, and needs to be addressed by law enforcement and Congress. But it is not a license to condemn our entire private enterprise system, which has created a standard of living our great-grandparents could never have dreamed of.

Unfortunately, as it is played out, Occupy Wall Street has degenerated into a protest of everything leftists and socialists can imagine.

(It’s worth pointing out that wealth and privilege are not unique to bankers. Supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement include well-known billionaires and rich, spoiled and pampered Hollywood celebrities, whose lifestyles make most Wall Street workers, and many executives, look like coal miners by comparison.)

What’s worse is that the disturbing images of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators relieving themselves on the American flag and on police cars undermines the message they are attempting to send — whatever that message is.

Most say that their outrage and anger is the result of disappointment in the man they elected president three years ago. President Obama and his abject failures have disillusioned them, and these protests are their only way of expressing it. That he raised so much of his 2008 campaign’s funds from Wall Street executives only adds insult to their injury.

The sad thing is that many astute people believe it is the guiding hand of Obama’s advisers that are behind the leadership of these protesters. So for the second time in their young lives, they are being used by Obama’s presidential campaign.

Craig Eaton is chairman of the Kings County Republican Party.

Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
Boy do you miss the point. No one is against free enterprise. Its an issue of fairness and that the disparity between the rest of us and the super wealthy has gotten to. As good jobs are sent over seas, as Unions and fair wages and taxes are trashed. The tax structure has changed so that the heirs of George Steinbrenner who didn't do a thing to obtain the money saved over a billion dollars are taxes. Yes I know its called death taxes but those estate taxes were originally put in by Calvinist republicans who didn't want nonworking heirs to get the money. They needed to work for it...the good old capitalistic way. If you count social taxes, which the investing free enterprise people getting dividends don't pay, the people in the lower brackets pay much more as a percentage of income than the super wealthy.

The message is they want good paying jobs not to be saddled with debt when they leave college....its not hard to hear if you are listening with your head and not your parochial view of your pocket book.
Nov. 3, 2011, 2:25 am
Joe from Brooklyn Heights says:
What is happening here is the fiscal abuse that Wall St has learned and managed so well and to hide the real flow of money that in reality are "gifts" in the form of subsidies and tax breaks. The 99% "s tax money used to subsidize large projects such as the Barclay Stadium to the benefit of the people hired to build it. In turn we have the priveledge of watching basketball games by buying overpriced seats and other expensive souvenirs to much the delight of people like Ratner who ask for help from Albany to make his "dream" come true. All tax breaks and tax cuts flow to the top. Other jobs not in real estate such as manufacuring have been outsourced years ago and now we (the 99%) feel the pain. The 1% begin to feel irritated with the complaints because naturally they don't feel the economic crises that they have c reated.
Nov. 3, 2011, 6:48 am
ty from pps says:
WOW... this is just so off-the-mark. I could just repeat what the previous commentors have already said, but let me latch onto one sentence...

"Occupy Wall Street has degenerated into a protest of everything leftists and socialists can imagine."

Really?!

Yes, there is a socialist element. Isn't there always?! Is it by any stretch of the imagination a majority voice?! No. Simple as that.

Is "leftists" just a convenient way to dismiss a point of view that you disagree with? Yes. If you, sir, are truly the chair of the Kings County Republican Party, this makes me sad. I know it's a lot easier for you to hear a completely unified (right-wing) talking point, but that's not what a society is. It's a mix of people, it's a blending of disparate viewpoints, it's a muddled message.

You should think about *listening* to the voices in the various "Occupy" demonstrations. You might learn something. I know it's easier to just devise your own message that's consistent with yourself, but it's actually BETTER and HEALTHIER to devise a message and policy that reflects the complex society around you.
Nov. 3, 2011, 9:03 am
Stan LS from Gravesend says:
Frank, unions are one of the reasons why the jobs are getting sent overseas. Instead of being paid market wages, they collectively bargain (extort) their employers for wages that are not in line with what a free market supports. Hence, they price themselves out of the market and see their jobs shipped out. Then they have the nerve to complain. They are the ones who made their labor too expensive! What's a "fair" wage? Imagine if a company started to sell a product at a price it deemed "fair", instead of selling it at a market price. You think it would be in business for much longer? As for the college debt - why aren't they protesting colleges? Tuition has sky rocketed faster than the real estate during the bubble! Why aren't they protesting on campus?
Nov. 3, 2011, 12:57 pm
Stan LS from Gravesend says:
ty, "Is "leftists" just a convenient way..." - to label people who espouse leftists views? Why, yes! If the shoe fits...
Nov. 3, 2011, 1:02 pm
H.L. Mencken from Brooklyn, Md. says:
Somebody who claims to be "Chairman" of something called the "Kings County Republican Party" has re-cycled a piece from the " ...Courier" (Oct.20-26,2011, Courier Life). It remains not "critism" simply because it remains not
"plausible". As a result, Mr. Eaton's scribling continues to be merely an exhibition of PREJUDICE, and a Republican Party Chairman's prejudice, at that.

Rather than waste time with each and every prejudiced premise in the "Republican ...Chairman['s]" screed (leaving that for reseach by those who might wish to investigate how his mind malfunctions), I'll again "cut to the chase" --- that part in which Mr. Eaton presents what seems to be a conclusion.

I'll present the man's view in his own words, unvarnished:
"The sad thing is that many astute people believe it is the guiding hand of Obama's advisors that are behind the leadership of these [OWS] prostesters. So for the second time in their young lives, they are being used by Obama's presidential campaign." Craig Eaton, Chairman...Republican...

The thought that OWS is merely a wing of the Obama Campaign is more than a prejudiced view of a lone "Republican
... Chairman"; it's a clear demonstration of some commentators have referred to as "Obama derangement syndrome".

If something like Mr. Eaton's prejudiced view is how the Republican Party plans to characterize the "anger and frustration" expressed in things like the OSW demonstrations going forward, then President Obama will not only be re-elected, he will be re-elected easily.
Nov. 3, 2011, 8:05 pm
Tony from Park Slope says:
Please post the evidence of protesters relieving themselves on flags and police cars.
Nov. 3, 2011, 9:16 pm
Claire Hood from PPS says:
@ Tony -

I have collected the urine soaked flags and police cars, and am keeping them for you inspection.
I would also like to report that protesters have been observed relieving themselves on puppies, baseball, and old fashioned American apple pie.

I think that it would not be unreasonable to change the name from occupy wall street, to urinate on dreams.

Are you a member of the Park Slope branch of urinate?
Nov. 4, 2011, 4:22 am
Frank from Furter says:
yes its all the Union fault that the CEO makes 1000 times what the lowest paid person gets paid. In the 1950's there was a social contract that it was no more than about 100. and btw I have no problem paying the CEO that through stock when when they perform. the problem is paying that when its not performing. As I said there have been Union excesses but that pales in what the 1% has done to the rest of us...
Nov. 4, 2011, 8:29 am
Stan LS from Gravesend says:
Frank, who cares what the CEO is paid? The shareholders are the ones paying his salary - not the other employees. If the shareholders feel that the management is overpaid - they'll sell the stock. His compensation has nothing to do with the other employees.
Nov. 4, 2011, 2:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Stan, jobs would be sent overseas even if unions aren't involved. The whole point of outsourcing was to avoid laws that exist here, so they place them where they don't exist. The reason is that those that are skilled to do the jobs will ask for more, while those that are unskilled will take whatever they are given even if it's for less. CEOs had one of two choices and that was to either comply with the laws or go somewhere where they don't already exist. For the most part, there are many who go for the latter rather than the former. OWS is just asking them to pay their fair share and nothing more. I have never heard any of them saying that they were against capitalism, so don't try to use a few for all.
Nov. 4, 2011, 3:44 pm
Stan LS from Gravesend says:
Tal, the whole point of outsourcing is getting cheaper labor. You can thank unions for that. You have never heard them say they are against capitalism? Want to bet I can find a few photos with signs or statements given to the press?
Nov. 5, 2011, 6:44 pm

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