Occupy Wall St. and the Tea Party: A Tale of Two Protests

For all their contrived displays of independence and non-conformism, the Occupy Wall St. protesters can’t even properly be called original. For one thing, Communism, their preferred ideology, was thoroughly discredited more than two decades ago, while most of the occupiers were still in diapers. For another, virtually their entire list of grievances against crony capitalism and bank bailouts has been plagiarized straight from the tea party’s platform, which is now nearly three years old.

If they had such a principled opposition to bailouts and corporatism, where were these occupiers in 2008 and 2009? Where were they in 2010? Rather than waiting around for hope and change, perhaps Occupy Wall St. should have been on Main St. with the tea party protesting bailouts before their disastrous economic consequences became readily apparent.

These shallow, disenchanted hipsters have confused informed political activism with tweeting trite condemnations of “capitalism” from their iPhones. While I hardly expect intellectual consistency from such a group, much less an understanding of history, economics or human nature, it seems worth taking a moment to list just a few of the times FreedomWorks stood up against exactly the kind of cronyism the occupiers are now protesting.

  • In July of 2008, FreedomWorks opposed the taxpayer bailout of shareholders and executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  • In September of 2008, FreedomWorks opposed the $700 billion bailout of Wall St. banks.

  • In November of 2008, FreedomWorks opposed the bailout of large automobile manufacturers.

  • In July of 2010, FreedomWorks opposed Dodd-Frank, a bill that entrenched moral hazard in the banking system and has led to higher costs for consumers, including new fees on debit cards.

Notice the pattern?

Each of these horrible policies was implemented by the federal government, and each goes to the heart of Occupy Wall St.’s frustrations. Yet when FreedomWorks and millions of other Americans were fighting against them the occupiers were nowhere to be found.

Still, they’re here now and that’s fine. Those of us trying to restore the rule of law need all the help we can get. The problem is that the media seems intent on portraying Occupy Wall St. and their complaints as somehow unique. They are not.

Millions of us have been angry about bailouts for years. Not only that, but we’ve been proactively working within the political process to stop them. Occupy Wall St. is welcome to join the club, but please, do us all a favor and learn to clean up after yourselves.

          (The National Mall 9/12/09)                        (Zuccotti Park 10/10/11)