Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Romney v. Bernanke

Two prominent Republicans have weighed in on the Occupy Wall Street protests. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney either does not get it or simply does not care:

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney on Tuesday compared the current anti-Wall Street protests to class warfare. “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” Romney said to an audience of about 50 people in response to a question about the protests over such issues as high unemployment, home foreclosures and the 2008 corporate bailouts.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke does get it:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned lawmakers Tuesday against cutting the budget too sharply with the U.S. economy still weak and facing new stresses from the European debt crisis. And the central bank chief expressed some empathy with protesters who have marched on Wall Street and in other cities in recent days complaining of the role of big financial institutions in creating the current economic mess. "Very generally I think people are quite unhappy with the state of the economy and what’s happening. They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess and they're dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington," Bernanke told Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "On some level I can’t blame them," he said. "Like everyone else, I’m dissatisfied with what the economy is doing right now." Bernanke noted the difficulty for Congress to rein in the long-term federal budget deficit while trying "to avoid fiscal actions that could impede the ongoing economic recovery." But he said that one factor weighing down the U.S. recovery is "the increasing drag" from cutbacks in government spending. "Notably, state and local governments continue to tighten their belts by cutting spending and employment in the face of ongoing budgetary pressures, while the future course of federal fiscal policies remains quite uncertain," Bernanke told the committee.

Of course the reason fiscal policy has not effectively dealt with the Great Recession comes from the power of two other Republicans – the Speaker of the House and Senator McConnell.

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