Posted on December 20, 2011Occupy This
A friend of mine gave me this report yesterday from the streets of DC:
“I take my kids out on the Martha’s Table trucks that feed the homeless sometimes and we went out last night. We stop at two places in DC and the second stop was a park right near the White House where there is currently a big Occupy DC tent encampment.
Probably a hundred and fifty of the Occupy DC protesters are feeding themselves each night with the food that is supposed to be for the homeless people there. They completely wiped us out of food. I have worked at that stop a lot and the number of homeless there varies, but the homeless folks were dwarfed by the protesters who just pulled up to get a free meal. They didn’t seem to see anything wrong with doing this, but it sure felt wrong to me.”
Ah, stealing from the poor to give to the protestors. Now that is a good story line.
The Occupy DC group has been a fairly benign presence in the nation’s Capitol. They have exceptionally nice tents, but beyond that fact, there has been nothing truly notable about them. Thus far, they have stormed the gates of the White House or the Capitol. They haven’t shut down traffic. They haven’t set fire to anything.
About all they have done is cost the District of Columbia a bunch of money (it takes money to pay the extra cops to keep an eye on them). They are a bunch of slobs, so cleaning up after them costs additional money. And, of course, they take free meals away from needy homeless people.
It is upon this rock that the Democrats are seeking to build their populist cause.
Good luck with that.
Congressional Republicans are trying to sort out what their collective position is on extending the payroll tax/unemployment insurance. House Republicans didn’t get everything they wanted from the Senate bill, although it is important to note that Senate Republicans won some huge victories in that bill. For example, they won a key Keystone pipeline provision. They won an important change in Senate rules, which will make it harder for the Senate to bust the budget by declaring everything an emergency. And they got some reforms of the Unemployment Insurance program, although not as far-reaching as the House wanted.
The Democrats now seem to have the upper hand, although appearances can be deceiving. It is now part of the mythology that the average tax cut put at risk by the House Republican rejection of the Senate bill is $1000 dollars. Umm, I don’t think so. For two months, it is more like 50 bucks or so. And even that thousand dollar number is a little bit misleading. We are talking two percent of a paycheck that would be at risk. If you make 40,000 dollars a year, that two percent equals 800 bucks. Divided by 52 weeks, that is about 15 bucks a paycheck. If you are making 20,000 a year, that equals about seven and half bucks a week. Democrats can try to make the case that this amounts to a huge tax cut, but my guess is that most people won’t notice very much.
There is a common connection between the Occupy Wall Street interlopers and the Democrats who run the Congress. Both are saying that they are helping the poor, but don’t believe a word of it. We aren’t talking Robin Hood here.