Letter to the Editor: Occupy Response

Parker’s article concerning the Occupy Movement is a typical opinion based entirely inside the mind of someone that has been inculcated by our current technocratic society, without regard for a historical reference as to why “the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%” are behaving as they are. The following comes from page 580 of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States:

“In America: Who really pays the taxes, two investigative reporters with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Donald Barlett and James Steele, traced the path by which tax rates for the very rich got lower and lower. It was not the Republicans but the Democrats – the Kennedy-Johnson administrations-who under the guise of tax reform first lowered the World War II era rate of 91% on incomes over $400,000 a year to 70%. During the Carter administration (though over his objections) Democrats and Republicans in congress joined to give even more tax breaks to the rich. The Reagan administration with the help of Democrats in congress lowered the tax rate on the very rich to 50% and in 1986 a coalition of Republicans and Democrats sponsored another “tax reform” bill that lowered the top rate to 28%. Barlett and Steele noted that a schoolteacher, a factory worker, and a billionaire could all pay 28 percent. The idea of a progressive income in which the rich paid at higher rates than everyone else was now almost dead. As a result of all the tax bills from 1978 to 1990 the net worth of Forbes 400, chosen as the richest in the country by Forbes magazine was tripled. About 70 billion dollars year was lost in government revenue, so that in those thirteen years the wealthiest 1 percent of the country gained a trillion dollars.”

Note that these statistics were obtained well over 20 years ago. I cannot fathom how dire the situation has gotten since. I can safely assure you that most people involved in the Occupy Movement have not read Howard Zinn. The answer to that is that they do not have to in order to feel the impacts in their lives that stems from a governmental effect. The fact that they are influencing commerce by impeding it is a consequence of a government that has failed to provide for our basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which is what it says supposedly in that silly document called the Declaration of Independence).

The movement may not have a defined purpose simply because our government has wronged us in countless/undefined ways, such as restricted our independent access to food, water, shelter and placing them inside something called a wage economy or used the tax dollars of people in need to provide the rich with further resources (our occupation in the middle east) so that the economy will continuously expand at the expense of exploiting the nation’s poor.

Our government has long forgotten where their powers originate. Government does not precede the citizenry that comprises it. The government exists by way of a citizenry that supports a body of collective beliefs. If that government no longer supports its people’s original intentions and only supports the megalomaniacal agenda of the wealthy, then it is up to the people to decide a mode of action. The Occupy Movement may not have a specific agenda as of yet simply because there is no collective way to define the pervasive wrongs that have been placed upon the people of this nation by its own government.

Parker mentions that “the Occupy Movement will most likely turn into a bad dream”. I believe that this movement is a part of a common belief that revolution is a dream that can be realized through appropriate and necessary action. Maybe Thomas Jefferson would say “…that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”.

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