My favorite piece on the Occupy Wall Street movement thus far is a commentary by John Gapper in last Thursday’s Financial Times. (In good capitalist fashion, FT puts articles behind a paywall, so I can’t link to the commentary here). For Gapper, there’s nothing wrong with the movement’s confused messages—the mostly young protesters are angry at Wall Street and worried about the future, and appropriately so. He would be much more disappointed if the movement devolved into violence, as has occurred in Greece and London.
If OWS is like a Tea Party movement from the left-- I agree with commentators like Gapper who have suggested it is-- Democratic politicians should hesitate to assume that OWS is wind in their sails. Much as the mostly Republican Tea Party criticized President Bush’s spending and bailouts, the mostly Democratic OWS may indict President Obama for underestimating the seriousness of the economic crisis and failing to rein in the largest banks.
I don’t think a massive new stimulus would solve the economic malaise. Continuing to rely on government funding, and keeping the market at bay, seems more likely to prolong than to end this period of low growth and few jobs. If OWS is as varied and multi-faceted as it seems, perhaps one or two of the protestors might even agree.