Last Friday, my college-age daughter was applying for a part time job at a retail outlet. In the meandering path job interviews sometimes take, the manager began talking about Occupy Wall Street. “They should get jobs,” said the manager, who said that he was the child of eastern European immigrants. “The world doesn’t owe them a living.”
Funny, then, to hear not 36 hours later that familiar trope (long one of my mother’s favorites) emerge from the lips of the multimillioniare corporate consultant Newt Gingrich. The Occupy Wall Street movement, he said at the Republican debate, “starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park they didn’t pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places they they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park so that they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything.” This sense of entitlement, he said, is a “symptom how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying, ‘Go get a job right after you take a bath.’”
You have to hand it to Gingrich; it’s kind of a bold move to try to protect the prerogatives of the Wall Street Banksters with 1960s-era culture war language. Once again, dirty, lazy, (and probably pot-smoking and free-loving hippies) are loose on the land, trying to get something for nothing from you, the hard-working, church-going, football-loving backbone of the nation. Meanwhile, avaricious, mendacious, venal Wall Street has been getting something for nothing from middle America, and somehow Barack Obama and the democrats have failed to rally the country to go after them. This failure has left the door open for the man who has a revolving credit account at Tiffany’s and his ilk to protect the plutocracy by making small retail store managers believe that they have more to fear from unemployed students than from the banksters whose practices and privileges continue to burden the economy.
[Cross-posted at JamieMalanowski.com]