What Occupy Wall Street Should Demand

Movement needs clear demands to fix financial system
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2011 6:41 AM CDT
A large group of protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement attempt to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, effectively shutting parts of it down, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 in New York.   (AP Photo/Rose Bookbinder)
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(Newser) – The biggest problem with the Occupy Wall Street movement is its demands: "It doesn’t really have any," writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. While he's not anti-market like many of the protesters, Kristof does think America's financial institutions have grown out of control—"In effect, the banks socialized risk and privatized profits"—so he offers up some suggested demands to the protesters:

  • A small financial transactions tax, not enough to stop investing, but big enough to quell rank speculation.
  • Close loopholes that allow the super-wealthy to disguise their income as capital gains.
  • Limit banks' ability to engage in risk, and create a bank tax so that, in the future, the banks can pay for their own bailouts.
"Much of the sloganeering at 'Occupy Wall Street' is pretty silly," concludes Kristof, "but so is the self-righteous sloganeering of Wall Street itself. And if a ragtag band of youthful protesters can help bring a dose of accountability and equity to our financial system, more power to them."

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