COLBY, Kan. - It takes radical demonstrations in the street, sometimes, to focus public attention on police brutality. It took radical demonstrations in the streets to bring the civil rights issues into public scrutiny in the late fifties and sixties of the 20th century. Those demonstrators didn't have the power to enact legislation or laws, but they had the power to wake up a nation to the inequities of our social structures.
Taken from an editorial published in the New York Times, Oct 8.
It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That's the job of the nation's leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.
We, the voting public sat on our hands and kept quiet when our legislators agreed to bail out the big banks, investment firms, and failing auto manufacturers. It appears to me that the bail out benefited poor management and allowed bonuses to be honored, even though management and investment strategists were the initial cause of their financial straits. Blaming government programs for their failures is a cop out. The CEOs and high powered salesmen were not suffering, yet. Stockholders were definitely at risk with their investments, but as yet were not in fear of losing their homes or medical care. They were all still able to meet their basic needs of shelter, food, and health costs.
Had those bail out measures been directed toward the debtors instead of the lien holders, the banks would have survived.
If those bail outs had been offered to the unemployed or underemployed, those people would have been able to pay their mortgages and bought goods and services that would have revitalized manufacturing and retail service organizations. If government funds had been directed toward educational programs instead of decreasing educational funding and social welfare programs, the economy would have been strengthened for the lower income segment of society.
The lower 50% of our population in the economic measures are the first ones to suffer and the last ones to recover from any economic downturn. The upper 10% of our population in the economic measures are still increasing their net worth and actually taking advantage of fire sales and the opportunity to buy out failing businesses. (I cannot statistically verify my percentages and there are certainly exceptions to my analysis.)