The Occupy Movement’s Wrong Target

Now that the Occupy Wall Street movement has gone national, Pennsylvania is seeing its fair share of protests. While they’re still a ragtag, oddly camera-shy bunch with ill-defined (if passionate) purpose, the most noteworthy state-wide development is the support of the AFL-CIO. Michael Fedor, the union’s central Pennsylvania director, told Occupy Harrisburg protestors:”The President of the AFL-CIO…[is] directing local labor movements to put resources on the ground to help, including lawyers, including meeting spaces, including whatever we need.”

Nationally, the protestors are angry at Wall Street for not paying enough taxes (though the lion’s share of New York City’s revenues comes from Wall Street). But if the demonstrators are mad about Corporate America’s power, they should really be mad at the interventionist big government that empowers big business by picking corporate winners and losers.

As Duquesne University economist Antony Davies notes:

(Occupy Wall Street) doesn’t seem to have a set of demands. There is this general statement, with people feeling that they’ve been plundered, and that’s, in my opinion, pretty fair. But they’re protesting the wrong street…

Instead, Davies pointed to government intervention in the banking and housing industry in recent years.

‘It’s kind of like blaming the kid because he got into the paint and painted the television, but the problem is, you shouldn’t have left the paint on the floor to begin with,’ Davies said.

Reason and Internet sensation Remy does a great job of summing up the movement’s feelings of betrayal while pointing out the irony in blaming capitalism: The economic system that has made us the richest country on earth.