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Occupiers partly right, but mostly wrong

Benjamin Powell at Huffington Post: “Thousands of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters were camped out in New York and other cities across the country one year ago. Their central complaint was that crony capitalism benefited the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Unfortunately, a year later, it appears that cronyism is on the rise while capitalism is waning in America. … Government bailouts and subsidies enrich established economic interest groups at the expense of society. The protesters were right to oppose TARP and Fed-engineered subsidies to big banks and financial firms. Unfortunately they were all too silent when it came to green energy subsidies like Solyndra received. … The occupy movement wanted to throw the baby out with the bathwater. They identified ‘capitalism’ and ‘the rich’ as the problem as much as they blamed cronyism. … The government’s vast economic power is the real source of the problems the occupy movement was upset about. Capitalists don’t make society poorer when they have to win your voluntary purchase of their products. These wealthy people are only a problem when they get government to act on their behalf. If the government didn’t have such vast spending and regulatory powers there would be nothing for crony capitalists to hijack. Unfortunately, the size and scope of the U.S. government has continued to grow at the expense of our economic freedom. Too bad the occupy movement didn’t slow that trend.”

Occupy Wall Street: A One Year Retrospective