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Why I Marched

By Jeff Wilson · October 12th, 2011 · Editorial
guesteditDavid Sorcher
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I was one of those people who marched Oct. 8 as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests taking place across the nation. We were blessed with a sunny autumn day, and I don’t think I’ve ever been on a march where the esprit de corps was better.

Overall, we looked like a pretty mainstream bunch, just average middle-class Americans, from young to old, and I wondered at first if we’d be able to whoop it up the way marchers are supposed to. Tells you what I know: The marchers held their signs high and chanted enthusiastically throughout. The police, by the way, weren’t just polite, they were downright sweet, like when they handed out free bottles of water to people in Over-the-Rhine.

I thought the march would take us straight from Lytle Park to Fountain Square but instead we got a workout, zigzagging through downtown and Over-the-Rhine, ultimately reaching Liberty Street before heading to the square. The people who planned the event should be commended for highlighting two neighborhoods that are bouncing back impressively and that represent everything that is good about Cincinnati. Over-the-Rhine, in particular, portrays the entrepreneurial spirit that this nation needs to embrace but the Far Right fails to understand.

The march, it seems, had to do with something called “Occupy Wall Street,” but our signs and our chants indicated that the complaints were varied. My guess is that the right-wing media will interpret this and other events taking place recently to mean that the 99 percent are waiting for handouts from the 1 percent.

That wasn’t what the march was about, and I’ll tell you what it was about for me: I marched as a capitalist who believes in a vigorous private sector and who is incensed that the right wing is adamant about squelching that sector.

For example, when Bill Clinton was president I saw far and away the most dynamic economy that I have witnessed since I reached voting age (hint: when I was born a guy named Ike was in the White House). If the Democrats were who the Republicans say they are, they would have squelched that economic growth, but instead they helped foster it.

The increase in income crossed race, gender and age boundaries, proving groups that have been characterized as loafers want to work as hard as everyone else. 

This growth occurred even though taxes were higher than they have been since George W. Bush cut taxes for the affluent. Lower taxes for the rich supposedly stimulate economic investment. And what happened? The billionaires who saw their incomes rise exponentially had 10 years to get it on; apparently, all that time they’ve been nervously biting their fingernails.

At this point all a person can do is ask how many more billions these whiners need before they decide to open up a hot dog stand somewhere.

Our governor, John Kasich, trumpeted the glories of the private sector and the evils of taxes and then, inexplicably and irrationally, held our future casino hostage in order to — get this — extract more tax money.

His actions threatened to derail the project permanently, but due to intense pressure from people who witnessed an ego out of control, he simply postponed the project significantly.

According to the original construction schedule, right now thousands of unskilled workers who desperately need jobs would be interviewing for high-paying positions in the heart of the city.

Rather than delay this process, the governor of our state should have done everything in his power to speed up the process. What Kasich didn’t realize in his ivory tower was that we needed those jobs to appear as quickly as possible.

Although health-insurance reform is portrayed on the Right as the public sector attacking the private sector, in actuality it provides an opportunity for enterprising souls to make a lot more money. President Obama plans to widen the pool of applicants exponentially. Among other things, he wants small businesses to link together in pools so the number of insurable employees will rival or surpass those of huge corporations. In what way is that socialism? Heck, if I were an insurance agent, I’d be doing cartwheels over it. 

It could also be extremely beneficial for existing or potential small businesses. Small businesses all around the nation have struggled to keep employees because they couldn’t offer them health insurance, or the rates would be ridiculously high and the coverage ridiculously minimal because there weren’t enough employees to absorb the costs.

That’s part of the story, and this is the part I feel most passionate about in regard to stimulating the economy. Last year I was laid off from a job that provided health insurance, and thus far I’ve been unable to find another job with benefits. The irony is that, if left to my own devices — in other words, if I ran my own business — I could make exponentially more than I did at a job where I work for someone else.

Running my own business isn’t an option at this point, however, because I have a preexisting condition and all my energy is going into finding a job that would include a group insurance plan, whereupon I could be insured.

If I had ObamaCare — which I would pay for out of my own pocket — I could launch a business that would make a hefty profit.

Don’t pity me for my dilemma, by the way. Rather, pity the American economy for missing an opportunity to have a willing participant embrace the opportunity to help drive the economic engine and put more money in your pocket.

Vigorous private sector? Bring it on, but you’ll need the Democrats to do it, because Republicans clearly have other things on their mind. Since the day Obama took office, they’ve proven this by battling an agenda that could breathe life back into our economy.


Check out our continuing coverage of Occupy Cincinnati here.


 
 
 
 

 

 
10.13.2011 at 03:33 Reply

You tell it like it is, brother. In fact, as I type this the Republicans in Congress, with 20 million Americans out of work and an unemployment rate of 9.1, are working on a bill that would prohibit any tax dollars from going to any institution or organization that provides abortions, EVEN IF they don't use public money for those abortions, with the women paying themselves. So if a clinic or hospital performs an abortion that is necessary to save the life of the mother, they will lose all public funding. So tell me people, how many jobs is that going to create? Supposing you were a doctor and you knew your patient was going to die if her pregnancy isn't terminated? What happened to the Republicans' promise to focus on jobs like a laser when they were campaigning for the 2010 election? Last time I checked this was the United States of America, not the United States of the Extreme Right. Has that changed?

Thanks for a well-written piece, Jeff Wilson. May the fight for sanity continue.

 

10.17.2011 at 09:34

I was appauled at this article. Why didn't CityBeat send a real reporter. I'm glad Mr. Wilson attneded and had a good time, but he missed the point completely. This was no Obama or Democratic Party rally! It is precisely because both corporate owned parties have failed to represent the American People for too long.

The top 1% or political donor class owns two major political parties and the 99% or everybody else has no representation in Congress, the White House or even City Hall. The game is rigged, but the jig is up. 

Obama, like Bill Clinton, has continued the Bush presidency and agenda. We are in 8 unconstitutional wars and the banksters have looted the public treasury. The people want an end to corporate control of our government and we shall overcome! 

 

10.17.2011 at 09:55

The Obama health care plan is really a Republican health care plan. We should call Dole or Romney care. It is a huge give away to the health insurance and drug companies which should really be called vultures or criminals. The march through OTR showed how much extreme poverty we have in Cincinnati and how the fortune 500 corporations with all of their wealth are pushing poor people out and gentrifying that area. Forget about the private sector, people's movement's for justice is what created a middle class and this one is the best hope of recreating a middle class. I expect more out of CityBeat!

 

10.14.2011 at 02:28 Reply

Bill Clinton was an OK president...certainly better than any of the other post-Reagan presidents. NAFTA was good. Welfare reform was good. He worked with Newt Gingrich to get the budget in order. However, the additional tax revenues in the late 1990s were caused by the capital-gains tax cut which was initiated by a Republican Congress.

Just sayin'.

 

10.14.2011 at 10:44

biff: According the the Congressional Budget Office capital gains makes up 2-3% of total federal tax revenues. Individual Federal income taxes make up 45.3% of total federal tax revenues. Clinton raised income tax rates on the wealthiest Americans in 1993 by 8.6% and revenues went up. So by your logic we should conclude that raising taxes increases tax revenues since the increase on income tax rates certainly had a much greater affect on revenue outcomes than the 8% tax decrease on capital gains that took place in the late 1990s. 

However, the truth is that there are many aspects about our economy and taxation that determine the amount of revenue the federal government takes in.

But it's critical that you understand that tax revenues almost always go up because of long-term economic growth, population growth, and inflation. Since 1959 federal tax revenues have gone up every year (with the exception of 1983 under the Reagan Presidency) until we get to 2001 when revenues began to decline until 2005. As you may recall, Bush cut taxes during that time.

The more revelant way to exam federal revenue increases and decreases is to compare them as a percentage of GDP. Only then does it become obvious that federal revenues fell under Reagan when he implement his tax cuts. Federal revenue as a percentage of GDP declined from 19.6% in 1981 to 17.3% in 1984. It rose back up to 18.4% by 1989. Reagan slashed taxes on the wealthy from 70% to 28%. He also sharply increased defense spending and debt rose from 26.1% of the GDP in 1980 to 41.0% by 1988.

Reaganomics, like free trade agreements, are policies that tend to work well in the short run and lead to high debt, high unemployment, and a grossly disproportionate distribution of wealth in the long run, a confluence of factors we're now suffering from following 30 years of trickle-down Reaganomics. Incidentally, federal revenues, as a share of GDP, were down to 14.9 in 2010, and yet Republicans want to cut taxes even further. GOP candidate Herman Cain wants to shift a greater tax burden on to the Middle Class with his 999 plan, a plan Michele Bachmann calls the mark of the beast turned upside down. Is our country really better off today than we were 30 years ago? No more space flights; no more Hoover Dams; no more Federal highway systems; no more major bridges; the GOP doesn't even want to spend money taking care of what we DO have. The only spending they're interested in is to build more weapons. Besides that, they prefer to funnel all our nation's money to the affluent so they can sit on it or invest it in China.

I understand the challenge in trying to defend rightwing ideology, but stick with the facts rather than prevarications.

 

10.17.2011 at 04:21

You're right James,I vote Republican and I wish they'd raise taxes on the rich too.  But this is basically a two party democracy and one is forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.  And I tend to side with the growing number of middle class Americans who think their pocketbooks are more imperiled by the left's apparent inablility to ever say no to this nation's and the world's millions and billions of poor than the right's phobia about taxing the rich.

 

10.18.2011 at 09:01

James, you are confusing facts with "rightwing ideology".  Like Kennedy and Reagan before him, Clinton cut taxes. Those tax cuts caused capital investment to more than double over the next two years. Look it up.


 

10.18.2011 at 03:26

"Where it's true that Clinton lowered some taxes for some groups" 

So...you agree that he lowered taxes. Again, historical facts to you are "rightwing idealogy".

Is everything right wing and left wing with you?

 

10.18.2011 at 03:43

biff: I'm not confusing anything. I stated facts, FACTS, as clearly and accessibly as can be done with this subject matter. If you're confused, don't blame me. And sorry if the facts don't fit with what you want to believe. I'm sure you'll go on believing it anyway.

Where it's true that Clinton lowered some taxes for some groups, the greater impact of Clinton's taxation policies by far was to raise taxes primarily on the wealthy resulting in a balanced budget. Since you didn't appreciate all my effort I put into researching my last post, I'll leave the research on Clinton's tax policies up to you. Let me be clear, Clinton raised taxes, though they were still much lower than tax rates were under Kennedy.

The problem with your rightwing ideology is that it is based on the delusional premise that the lower the taxes, the better. It's true that taxes can be too high, but they can also be too low, and that sweet spot does change depending on the nation's needs, like a war or if we're burdened with too much debt. Today we have both of those conditions and taxes need to come up. This is not the time for keeping tax rates near historical lows. Bush was just stupid to take the country to war--I could stop there--and not ask the country to pay for it. But what's unconscionable is that the Republicans continue to refuse to pay for it. It's just reckless greed.

 

 
 
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