OWS’s Roots: Downward Mobility In The Regulatory Class

Bradley J. Fikes Bradley J. Fikes Leave a Comment


I’m cheerfully stealing this meme from Patterico, which has an insightful roundup of opinions about the social motivations of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. The trigger for their rage isn’t really the banking industry, but the increasingly bleak job prospects of the lower rung of the would-be regulators and do-gooders.

These types did everything dutiful big government left-liberals should do; they went to school and racked up huge debts, got involved in the right left-wing causes. But when they looked for jobs to pay off the bills and save humanity, the cupboard was bare.

Solyndra -- Crony capitalism at its finest

Solyndra -- Crony capitalism at its finest

And their chief anger is directed at others of the leftist persuasion who are far more successful than they are.

Although the OWS rank-and-file appears mostly unaware of the fact, those elite 1 Percenters in Wall Street they hate are in large part crony capitalists who profit from their Democratic party connections, such as those behind the Solyndra debacle and various ventures at building electric cars for the 1 Percenters who can afford them. Ditto for the financial industry, which the New York Times called “one of his (Obama’s) most vital sources of campaign cash”.

Patterico writer Karl in turn stole this meme from some trenchant commentaries about the OWS movement. Kenneth Anderson at the Volokh Conspiracy writes:

“In social theory, OWS is best understood not as a populist movement against the bankers, but instead as the breakdown of the New Class into its two increasingly disconnected parts.  The upper tier, the bankers-government bankers-super credentialed elites.  But also the lower tier, those who saw themselves entitled to a white collar job in the Virtue Industries of government and non-profits — the helping professions, the culture industry, the virtueocracies, the industries of therapeutic social control…”

And Walter Russell Mead writes:

The good government upper middle class, the entrenched groups with a solid stake in the status quo and the marginalized working or non-working poor with no prospects for advancement apart from the patronage of the state: this is the mass base of the blue electoral coalition — and the groups in the coalition don’t seem to like each other very much.

These discordant elements are bound together mainly by a desire for higher taxes to pay for their entitlements, Mead writes.

For more discussion of the blue-on-blue smashup that is Occupy Wall Street, hie over to Patterico.


(DISCLAIMER: Opinions I express here are not necessarily those of my employer, the North County Times.)


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