Occupy Wall Street

Jimmy Skaaland, Staff Writer


                A movement is taking place in this country.  It’s a movement claiming to represent “99%” of Americans that are tired of paying more in taxes then the top “1%.”  The marches and protests started in New York but have spread to Los Angeles, Chicago and even Tampa.  It’s called Occupy Wall Street and the movement feels that the wealthiest 1% of Americans continue to get richer at the cost of the rest of our nation.  The Tampa protest started with only a couple of people but has grown to several dozen who have gathered at Lykes Gaslight Square Park but lack any real leadership.

                This group has no goals set either, or even clear stands on many issues but claims to be seeking equality for the taxes of every American and to make Wall Street responsible for the recklessness that has caused our country to end up in this current economic crisis. New York has a “2% millionaires  tax” that is due to expire in December; many in this movement feel that voting to get rid of this tax that benefits people making over $250,000 annually will be the first true sign of the group’s strength.  Though it is unfair to say that the “top 1%” has put our country in this position, it is not easy to counter considering many of this 1% is made of bankers and stockbrokers who, after losing the life savings of many investors and leeching off the Federal Reserve System to keep their jobs, gave themselves record bonuses in the past few years.

                The power of this movement has swept the nation and everyone is taking notice, especially politicians.  President Barack Obama says he “understands the frustration.”  Yet Herman Cain, hopeful Republican presidential candidate, has attacked the movement, calling it “anti-American, anti-capitalist, and anti-free market.”  Democrat Nancy Pelosi seems to have gotten the point of many protesters saying “I support the message to the establishment, whether it’s Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, change has to happen.” 

                There are many mixed emotions about the subject even here at East Lake.  “”I feel that despising someone for being successful is asinine,” said senior Kevin Douglas.  In contrast fellow senior, Michelle Higbee, said, “This movement has really just begun, no one is completely sure of which way it might go because it’s not clear on what it is out to accomplish.  I feel that once it finds a strong leader who can serve as the face of the movement and establish its goals we may witness an evolution of American society that will make the history books.”  Many people seem to have already made up their mind with strong positions on this issue but I urge both sides not to judge too soon since this group really only stands for the desire of change at this point.