There’s a nifty new meme floating around out there about the alleged “costs” to taxpayers because of the Occupy Wall Street protests occurring in cities and towns across the country. I won’t link to any of the stories, but do a google news search with the key terms, and you’ll see a fairly coordinated effort in both local and national news to paint the occupiers as costing taxpayers more and more every day that they occupy public spaces.
The costs, in larger economic terms, are actually fairly minimal, and I don’t dispute that they are occurring. On the other hand, I find it fascinating that the meme is gaining traction with the conservative set. This is for a couple of reasons.
First, this is classic concern troll behavior, where the trolls profess to have some sympathy for the goals of the protesters, but then say that the protesters are simply going about it all wrong, and what they need to do is simply stop doing what they’re doing.
Second, it is screamingly frustrating that none of the voices of “concern” over costs to the taxpayers appear to have any concern about the costs imposed on taxpayers by big business, Wall Street, corporations. Or, the 1%, for shorthand. As I discussed in an earlier post on the topic, the alleged earned “profit” by the 1% is just another word for robbery. The obscene amounts of money being pocketed by the 1% is outright theft, and it is made possible by the fact that our government is bought and paid for, and that the 1% has effectively externalized all normal costs of doing business onto the public and the government.
And finally, where is the outrage by the trolls over the costs of corporate-sponsered consumerism? Believe it or not, “Black Friday” sales have already cost people their lives. There is a pretense out there on the part of the anti-OWS crowd that they’re just concerned about law and order, and they fear the impact of a small criminal element inside the movement. This is bullshit. As a society, we are obviously comfortable with the idea that Black Friday sales crowds are going to trample people, including pregnant women, cause property damage, and shoot each other. This barely makes a splash in the national or local news, and then we go on about our business.
No, it’s the OWS message that’s the problem, and the 1% will do whatever they can to shut it down. Including hiring high-priced lobbyists to push negative messages about the movement. I think we can expect to see a lot more of this.
Updated to add:
You know, after thinking this over a little more, I think we should consider the additional costs to be a victory of sorts for OWS. If local park districts and police departments have to hire a few more people, or pay their regulars a little overtime to deal with this, that’s great. It puts a little more money back in the hands of the people who need it.