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The Insiders
Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 11/16/2011

OWS hasn’t played itself out yet

Is it RIP for OWS? I don't think so. It is possible even that the evictions could make the movement stronger. Generally, protests grow stronger when they encounter resistance. 

The more interesting question is whether Occupy Wall Street matters. Here, I bet Ed will disagree with me. I think the movement has already raised the important issue of income disparity and put it on the political agenda. Americans are now much more alert to the fact that the top 1 percent of our society has seen its income and wealth explode, while so much of the rest of society has seen incomes stagnate or fall.

What’s less clear is who the protesters hold responsible for this inequality or which policies they might embrace to remedy it. Historically, America's growth has been more evenly distributed under Democratic administrations, although those statistics are little-known. Obama has played footsie with the movement, but he has not fully embraced it because it seems flaky and he’s uncertain about how to talk about the issue of income disparity. 

Americans are very ambivalent about wealth and always have been. They admire its creation and believe that the ability for people to do well is an essential American characteristic. But more and more are beginning to believe that the economy is rigged for the connected and already comfortable. This is perhaps the most volatile mindset swirling around our politics today. It challenges the very foundation of the American dream myth: that if you work hard and play by the rules, you have a good chance to advance and live well. OWS deserves credit for raising a very uncomfortable truth. They have created a disturbance in the political force field that hasn’t played itself out yet.

By  |  01:36 PM ET, 11/16/2011

 
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