3:45 PM EDT, September 25, 2012
In his recent column ("'Occupy movement got America wrong," Sept. 23), Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. illustrates the denial of economic reality in America that is continually propagated by the 1 percent. At the heart of his argument is the idea that the American Dream is alive and well, the happy meritocracy is humming along nicely, and that Occupy Wall Street is a group of slackers who devote their energies to trying to derail this bedrock concept upon which he and the 1 percent perch. Either he wasn't paying attention and completely missed what Occupy is about, or simply will not admit that he does know. In any event, Occupy got America right!
The legacy of the Occupy movement is that the wealth created by the economic output of the country (say the workers, or the 99 percent) has been extracted by the 1 percent, and that the game is rigged. Mr. Ehrlich and the crony capitalists he so strongly advocates for know that the only way for them to maintain the status quo is for them to continue propagation of the American Dream fantasy which keeps the workers anesthetized. The very word "redistribution" sends chills down their backbones because it illustrates that there is a hole in the dike and water is leaking. Once the dam breaks and the Wizard of Oz curtain is pulled back, everyone will see that the 1 percent are no different than everyone else. At this point, the belief that everyone wants to be in the 1 percent is astonishing!
Earth to Mr. Ehrlich: Americans, in general, are not motivated by uncontrolled greed and understand that for this country to re-establish a strong, solid economy, we must make the American Dream a reality again. Simply put, the American Dream is the vision of prosperity shared by all of the people of the hardest working country on the planet. It's the ability to retire with financial and health security after a lifetime of hard work, having provided a foundation for one's children and a secure future for the country.
Occupy brought the attention of the country to the picture which had been portrayed with frightening accuracy a couple of years ago by Michael Moore in his movie, "Capitalism — A Love Story." The moral of the story was that capitalism controlled by unbridled greed does not work and has resulted in what we have today in our country — a stunning concentration of the wealth produced by the whole in the hands of a few with a broken down middle class and incredible level of poverty. Our economic system has finally run out of steam, and consumers do not have the ability to consume at a level that will allow it to function properly. It wasn't until Occupy focused attention on our current situation that we began to read the disheartening statistics.
Occupy is an idea that isn't going away. It's the water leaking through the dam, and there are structural cracks throughout. It's a group of people who represent the economic and cultural diversity of this country, who each want to do something constructive and choose to focus on a wide variety of issues. The list of positive accomplishments is too long for this commentary. Mr. Ehrlich may pride himself on his expertise on the subject, but I don't remember seeing him at any of the Occupy Baltimore meetings at McKeldin Square last fall (maybe he had his own tight-knit group in Annapolis). Mr. Ehrlich, or if you prefer, "Walmart Bob," get the yacht moored nearby. It's likely to get a little wet.
Gary Moyer, Baltimore
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