How can our do-nothing Congress respond to the needs of the 99 percent? The first step is to do nothing and let the Bush-Obama tax cuts expire.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters could not have picked a better target.
The U.S. financial industry, symbolically headquartered around that Lower Manhattan street named for a "earthen wall" in 17th century New Amsterdam, epitomizes everything that is wrong with America today. For years, bankers got spectacularly rich manufacturing toxic securities and passing them off onto unsuspecting customers. Then they blew up their own banks, forcing the federal government to bail them out. Now, with long-term unemployment at a record high, the financial sector has not only returned to record profitability, but also, its twenty-somethings are publicly complaining about making less than $500,000 per year.
Wall Street is not the source of all evil, of course, and better financial regulation would not solve all the problems of inequality that Occupy Wall Street has brought to the public's attention. Look at the photos on the We Are the 99 Percent blog, and you can see that the problems are more complicated and diverse: no health insurance; unemployment or underemployment; high levels of debt, often because of student loans; houses in foreclosure; and, because of all that, a lack of funds to pay for housing, food, transportation, and health care. This is blog, not an official Census. But with 24 million people out of work or underemployed and 50 million people without health insurance, it seems like a fair cross-section of a troubled nation.