Takethe5th has been advancing the idea that the US, in a major departure from its democratic roots, has been in the process of becoming a Bautocracy. This is the process of the very wealthiest replacing one-man-one-vote with bought political access and therefore power. This buying of influence has been accomplished through unprecedented political access and power due to unlimited campaign financing and lobbying expenditures. This is an old and very new power. Old because its influence in the past had been curtailed; but new because the US Supreme Court in January 2010 in the Citizens United case made it Supreme Court legal to be a Bautocrat.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is protesting the 30 year accretion of power by the Bautocrats who have accumulated particularly on Wall Street in New York and K Street in Washington. It is a protest against the consequences of a bautocratic take over of power in America. This takeover of power is reflected in the following trends:
1)Wall Street banks and financial institutions were instrumental in creating the Financial Meltdown
2)Wall Street banks and institutions have received the lions share of the $3.3 trillion dollar and continuing public bailout;
3)Wall Street and Financial Institutions have nonetheless failed to provide either mortgage relief or funding to small businesses;
4)Wall Street banks and financial institutions have almost completely avoided any prosecution and effective regulation;
5)The big banks are now even bigger, have not been broken up, and despite Dodd-Frank regulation bill could yet again draw on public money in the case of any large bank in danger of bankruptcy.
And Wall Street continues to act negligently with Fiduciary Trust not earning an afterthought. Martketwatch’s Brett Arends cites the latest case – How Wall Street Scammed Mom and Pop — Again.
The question isn’t why some people are “occupying Wall Street” in protest right now.
It’s why so many others aren’t.
Among those missing? How about all those investors who got suckered by Wall Street this year in the disastrous initial public offerings of closed-end mutual funds. Their investments have been absolutely massacred by fees and poor performance.
Their total losses — hard to believe — total about $1 billion. Many of these investors are regular Moms and Pops.
Thomas Herzfeld, who’s been following closed-end funds for decades, says the losses are the worst he can ever remember.
Of course this is not the only recent Wall Street negligence as evidenced by continued small business loan scarcity, forclosure robo-signings, increasing banking fees to cite only 3 cases.
NYTimes Paul Krugman also catches the tenor of the Occupy Wall Street protests and why the protest has spread to 25 cities across the US. In Panic of the Plutocrats, Krugman argues
What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.
Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.
This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.
So who’s really being un-American here? Not the protesters, who are simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth.
And so the Occupy Wall Street movement is focusing national attention on the Bautocray and the resulting growing disparity in annual income, accumulated wealth and now political influence. Now all the Occupy Wall Street group needs is a logical manifesto that the country can embrace.