Lou Brancaccio’s Oct. 15 column, “Let’s squeeze dis together,” proposes that the Tea Partiers and Wall Street Occupiers “squeeze back together” against mutually oppressive economic injustices. Both groups agree with Brancaccio’s observation that government — as currently conducted — is “compliant with the big boys,” giving bailouts, subsidies, and preferential regulations to politically-connected corporations and “too big to fail” banks. But Tea Partiers and Occupiers differ on this crucial question: What is to be done about this?
Tea Partiers believe government best promotes the general welfare by being limited and constitutionally constrained: No bailouts, subsidies, or regulations favoring particular business interests. Government should allow genuinely free, competitive markets, and punish theft and fraud. But government should stop meddling in markets. The resulting distortions cause malinvestment “bubbles,” reckless speculation, housing/stock market crashes, lost savings, and mass unemployment.
Most Occupiers seek instead to punish the richest 1 percent with higher taxes and further regulation, which they claim will somehow benefit the other 99 percent. More taxes and regulations discourage economic activity. This is bad social justice. It hurts everyone, especially the poor and the politically unconnected unsubsidized better-off. Nor does this correct the main problem recognized by both Tea Partiers and Occupiers: Government-contrived crony capitalism.