POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Krugman … the real extremists are not the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but rather America’s financial oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 10, 2011


Occupy Wall Street protesters


Paul Krugman writes in the NYT (10/9/11) …

  • It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America’s direction.
  • Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.
  • The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which …

… wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor

react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.

  • 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 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. 
    • 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.

  •  Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage.
  • 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.




It was right to bail out Wall Street and the banks, because failure to do so would have caused irreparable harm to America and the world.

HOWEVER, it is not right to fail to extract a price – fines, criminal prosecution, strongly enhanced regulation – on those who perpetrated the financial meltdown we are still suffering from.

It is not clear if President Obama really wants to do what’s right. It is entirely clear that Republicans are fanatically opposed to any such measures.



4 Responses to “* Krugman … the real extremists are not the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but rather America’s financial oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth.”

  1. Chris said

    If Wall Street was not kept solvent there would have terrible upset world wide. It would not have been terminal. The economic problems we put off are growing and the next bust will be even worse. Time for accountability passed in 2009.

  2. Chris said

    How can you say it was right to bail out Wall Street?
    Wall Street went to the federal government and demanded that their losses be covered or they would let the financial markets imploded.
    The federal government paid them with the people’s money.
    How did this make America better off?

    • Lew Weinstein said

      What do you think would have happened if Wall Street was not kept solvent? It is all well and good to argue that Wall Street caused the problem and should be held accountable. I agree with that position. But it is also important to consider the consequences. We would have had an economic disaster far beyond the problems we are now encountering. Now, however, as Elizabeth Warren says, it’s time for the accountability to begin. Who has the guts to make it happen? So far, not Obama and surely not Congress, although some would do so (Barney Frank) if they could get the votes.

  3. I am sorry the so called “Melt-down” was scare tactic, we would have had a terrible recession but it would have been over now, instead these swill-suckers have taken the money and run. They accumulate Billions and clam that THEY “earned” it but in reality all wealth is gained by exploiting someone else, or we would all get paid like UAW workers.
    Taxing is too good for them!
    The wealthy just do not want to have any of their’ ill-gotten gains from the financial rape of this country to pay for universal health care. We really do need a non-partisan group of experts need to come up with a plan that can be arbitrated by both sides… (Dummies and Rapeies).

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