The Rich Have Gained $5.6 Trillion in the 'Recovery,' While the Rest of Us Have Lost $669 Billion
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9. The silencing of Occupy Wall Street.
For a few short months, the hundreds of Occupy Wall Street encampments dramatically shifted the national debate. Wall Street was in the crosshairs and "We are the 99 percent" spread into our consciousness. It's still there, but Occupy Wall Street isn't...at least not in the potent form that shook the rich and powerful. We don't have time here to discuss whether it was silenced by repressive authorities, or if it primarily caved in due to internal weaknesses in strategy and tactics. But this much is certain: a mass movement to take on Wall Street makes a difference.
The solutions are simple, but the fight is hard.
The Robin Hood Tax
The best way to move money from Wall Street to Main street is through a financial transaction tax -- a small charge on each and every sale of stocks, bonds and derivatives of all kinds. Consider it a sin tax on Wall Street's many vices. Such a tax could raise enough money so that every student in this country could go to a two- or four-year public college or university, tuition-free Just think what the elimination of increasing student debt would do to the lopsided wealth statistics. Just think of what that would do for jobs as colleges expanded to deal with the demand. It's not a wild-eyed demand: 11 countries are about to adopt such a tax. (See robinhoodtax.org)
Public State Banks
A second critical strategy to end Wall Street as we know it is to form 50 public state banks on the model of the Bank of North Dakota. These would function as real banks rather than the rigged casinos that pass for banks on Wall Street. State banks are designed to support community banks that, in turn, lend to local businesses. Most importantly, the public bankers would be paid reasonable salaries rather than gouging themselves at the trough. (See "Why is Socialism doing so darn well in Deep Red North Dakota?")
The Public Banking Institute is paving the way as its leaders (Ellen Brown and Marc Armstrong) help some 20 states explore the idea. They need and deserve our support. And for all you Fed haters, they also are formulating some very cool ideas about how to dramatically transform our central bank. (More on that in a future piece.) Most importantly, we all need to find a common way to protest Wall Street's rule over the economy and over Washington. This isn't about redistributing their wealth. It's about getting ours back.