The two movements have a lot more in common than they’d want to believe, and Tom Matlack thinks they can come together to fix our country.
As much as I personally wanted to admire and like President Obama (and still do, to some extent, as a father and husband), our country is broken and not getting any better. Foreign wars, debt, and income disparity have ravaged what was left of the American way. Our economy is in shambles, our education system a joke, and the prison system is no better than the countries we have been invading. The vast majority of Americans are hurting. Poverty is at an all-time high, as is unemployment, especially among men.
Meanwhile, our politicians bicker with one another over policies that to any normal guy are rounding error. Is raising taxes on millionaires a point or two really going to change the fundamental problem? Is changing the way that inflation is calculated for social security going to keep the whole system from going broke?
Pretty much everyone I know has the same response: give me an f’ing break!
To their great credit, activism started on the right with the Tea Party. They want less government, and they want it now. They see how corrupt the system is and want to wholesale replace the entire Congress with men and women who have taken an oath of honesty.
The Occupy Wall Street crowd is hard to pin down, but it seems to be reacting most strongly to the inequity of wealth that has been created by Wall Street. They have been joined by the labor unions in calling for intervention that will rectify the dominance of financial institutions and big business.
As painful as it is to watch our country in upheaval, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party are both large groups of normal people who are attempting to recapture the democratic ideal of our founding fathers that has somehow been lost in the shuffle as we made our way into the 21st century. Both political parties have been bought off by the wealthy and left the majority of voters behind to rot in a purgatory of bad schools, unemployment, and prison.
So how about a grand meeting of the minds amongst the civilian leaders of populace movements of both sides to some guiding principals that frame a new American party aimed at forcing both the Democrats and Republicans either straight or out of existences. Here are some issues that working people from both groups could quickly agree to.
Get money out of politics completely. As Sara Palin has suggested, “Do you want to know why nothing ever really gets done?” she said, referring to politicians. “It’s because there’s nothing in it for them. They’ve got a lot of mouths to feed — a lot of corporate lobbyists and a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along.”
Reward innovation not financial criminals. We all love Steve Jobs because he almost single-handedly kept America cool and at the forefront of world technologically. He also didn’t seem to care much for money, living in a modest home and owning far less of Apple than he probably should have. Contrast Steve Jobs with investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and mortgage lenders who have crippled our economy while getting rich.
Cut taxes for everyone. Blow up the IRS. Institute a flat tax of 22.5% on all income above the poverty line. No payroll taxes. No deductions. One form with one line on it. Income times rate equals tax. While we are at make all illegal aliens pay income tax. Go after them for tax evasion, not their legal status.
Make education the #1 national security issue. The Taliban has killed a few thousand Americans. Our education system threatens to decimate a whole generation of our children. The key is not only to completely revamp our education system but to eliminate a separate-but-unequal system whereby access is granted exclusively to the rich. Having one brilliant student for every thousand who can’t read is not a civilized nation.
Get real about entitlements. Unless we want to end up like Greece, our government is too big. The elephant in the room is government programs we can no longer afford, like Medicare and Social Security, along with bankrupt pensions at every level of government.
These are the five core issues that face our country and, surprisingly, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements largely agree on what should be done.
Then let’s join hands and do it.
Read Matt Salesses response to this article: Occupy Versus the Tea Party: Reconsidered