The Tea Party movement faces its greatest danger right now. The future of this country, therefore, straddles a sharp and angry line. One wrong move and everything that we’ve built over the past two and half years will collapse around us.
Occupy Wall Street is a communist idea built on the very same factors that inspired the Tea Party movement. If Tea Partiers let their disdain for the messenger distort our message, the American experiment will end.
Occupy Wall Street is recognizing some of the same problems that we recognized 3 years ago. But the occupiers are missing the biggest problem: government.
Still, the key distinction between Tea Party and Occupy is in the solution we propose, not the problems that animated us.
* Occupy wants more government regulation; Tea Party wants less government * Occupy wants wealth destroyed; Tea Party wants wealth created * Occupy wants America diminished; Tea Party wants America restored * Occupy wants liberty rationed; Tea Party wants liberty expanded * Occupy wants everyone on the dole; Tea Party wants everyone rich * Occupy wants equal outcomes; Tea Party wants equal opportunity * Occupy wants perpetual childhood; Tea Party wants to be treated like grown-ups
The desired ends could not be more perfectly opposed. But both movements result from the same problem: Government’s perverted relationship with business has distorted and damaged markets, concentrated wealth, and reduced serious competition of ideas.
Do you believe that the government has rewarded the very people who nearly pancaked the economy? If you do, then you’re in good company. According to a brand new Rasmussen poll:
Overall, 68% believe that most of the bailout money went to the very people who created the nation’s ongoing economic crisis. Twelve percent (12%) disagree, and 21% aren’t sure. This level of skepticism hasn’t changed in two-and-a-half years.
Do you believe that more government regulation is the answer? If so, then you’re in a small minority. Again, according to Rasmussen:
But when it comes to helping the middle class, just 20% of Americans believe that more government regulation will do the trick. In fact, three times as many (60%) believe that free market competition would do more to help the middle class.
But here’s where it gets tricky for Tea Partiers. Overwhelming numbers of Americans agree with a chant raised by Occupy Wall Street:
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Americans agree with the statement that the “The big banks got bailed but the middle class got left behind.”
If the Tea Party comes to be seen as defenders of Big Banks and bad businesses out of its opposition to Occupy Wall Street’s communist goals, we will lose our credibility. The Unknowing Believers will look toward the collectivists.
Be careful. More than three-quarters of Americans are ready to take sides. They will look for consistency of purpose, viability of solutions, and feasibility of systems.
The ideas proposed by Occupy Wall Street failed in the Soviet Union and everywhere else they were tried. Our ideas of free markets and free men and women have been tested satisfactorily for 240 years. Occupy Wall Street believes private business is wrong to accept government money; we believe government is wrong to offer it.
Despite having 180-degree different solutions, both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street recognize some common problems of crony capitalism and corporate executives who put their own wealth ahead of the country, their employees, and their customers. Denying the problem after two and a half years won’t fix the problem; it will make us look like fools.
We have the message. We have the solution. We have the numbers.
**UPDATE: It seems that Peggy Noonan and I notice similar things a lot. And Occupy Wall Street includes protesters paid by the hour (h/t @dloesch.
***UPDATE: Whoa! Check out this brilliance from The Freeman’s Sheldon Richman: Wall Street Couldn’t Have Done It Alone