Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting Attention may be a Good First Step

The good news is that, at least according to a story that just appeared on Al Jazeera English, President Barack Obama has “officially” recognized that Occupy Wall Street exists:

US President Barack Obama has said that the "Occupy Wall Street" protests in New York and other US cities reflect "broad-based frustration" among Americans with how the US financial system works.

Obama spoke on Thursday at the White House, adding that the protests were indicative of public anger that those who helped cause the financial crisis are fighting efforts to curb abuses.

"I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country ... and yet you're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place," he said at a news conference.

Obama also used the opportunity to push forward his $447bn jobs bill, the American Jobs Act, saying that it was designed to ensure tougher oversight of the financial industry.

"Any senator out there who's thinking about voting against this jobs bill when it comes up for a vote needs to explain exactly why they would oppose something we know would improve our economic situation at such an urgent time," Obama said.

Congress is to vote on the bill before the end of the month.

The bad news is that, politician that he still is, he may not see it as anything more than a source of political capital.  Nevertheless, he has lent a certain legitimacy, if not actual support, to the movement.  The real problem, however, is that, as I observed yesterday, the solution he is promoting may be too little and too late to satisfy the protestor’s needs.  Is he prepared for that eventuality?

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