was one of those people who marched Oct. 8 as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests taking place across the nation. We were blessed with a sunny autumn day, and I don’t think I’ve ever been on a march where the esprit de corps was better.
Overall, we looked like a pretty mainstream bunch, just average middle-class Americans, from young to old, and I wondered at first if we’d be able to whoop it up the way marchers are supposed to. Tells you what I know: The marchers held their signs high and chanted enthusiastically throughout. The police, by the way, weren’t just polite, they were downright sweet, like when they handed out free bottles of water to people in Over-the-Rhine.
I thought the march would take us straight from Lytle Park to Fountain Square but instead we got a workout, zigzagging through downtown and Over-the-Rhine, ultimately reaching Liberty Street before heading to the square. The people who planned the event should be commended for highlighting two neighborhoods that are bouncing back impressively and that represent everything that is good about Cincinnati. Over-the-Rhine, in particular, portrays the entrepreneurial spirit that this nation needs to embrace but the Far Right fails to understand.
The march, it seems, had to do with something called “Occupy Wall Street,” but our signs and our chants indicated that the complaints were varied. My guess is that the right-wing media will interpret this and other events taking place recently to mean that the 99 percent are waiting for handouts from the 1 percent.
That wasn’t what the march was about, and I’ll tell you what it was about for me: I marched as a capitalist who believes in a vigorous private sector and who is incensed that the right wing is adamant about squelching that sector.
For example, when Bill Clinton was president I saw far and away the most dynamic economy that I have witnessed since I reached voting age (hint: when I was born a guy named Ike was in the White House). If the Democrats were who the Republicans say they are, they would have squelched that economic growth, but instead they helped foster it. The increase in income crossed race, gender and age boundaries, proving groups that have been characterized as loafers want to work as hard as everyone else.
This growth occurred even though taxes were higher than they have been since George W. Bush cut taxes for the affluent. Lower taxes for the rich supposedly stimulate economic investment. And what happened? The billionaires who saw their incomes rise exponentially had 10 years to get it on; apparently, all that time they’ve been nervously biting their fingernails.
At this point all a person can do is ask how many more billions these whiners need before they decide to open up a hot dog stand somewhere.
Our governor, John Kasich, trumpeted the glories of the private sector and the evils of taxes and then, inexplicably and irrationally, held our future casino hostage in order to — get this — extract more tax money.
His actions threatened to derail the project permanently, but due to intense pressure from people who witnessed an ego out of control, he simply postponed the project significantly.
According to the original construction schedule, right now thousands of unskilled workers who desperately need jobs would be interviewing for high-paying positions in the heart of the city.
Rather than delay this process, the governor of our state should have done everything in his power to speed up the process. What Kasich didn’t realize in his ivory tower was that we needed those jobs to appear as quickly as possible.
Although health-insurance reform is portrayed on the Right as the public sector attacking the private sector, in actuality it provides an opportunity for enterprising souls to make a lot more money. President Obama plans to widen the pool of applicants exponentially. Among other things, he wants small businesses to link together in pools so the number of insurable employees will rival or surpass those of huge corporations. In what way is that socialism? Heck, if I were an insurance agent, I’d be doing cartwheels over it.
It could also be extremely beneficial for existing or potential small businesses. Small businesses all around the nation have struggled to keep employees because they couldn’t offer them health insurance, or the rates would be ridiculously high and the coverage ridiculously minimal because there weren’t enough employees to absorb the costs.
That’s part of the story, and this is the part I feel most passionate about in regard to stimulating the economy. Last year I was laid off from a job that provided health insurance, and thus far I’ve been unable to find another job with benefits. The irony is that, if left to my own devices — in other words, if I ran my own business — I could make exponentially more than I did at a job where I work for someone else.
Running my own business isn’t an option at this point, however, because I have a preexisting condition and all my energy is going into finding a job that would include a group insurance plan, whereupon I could be insured.
If I had ObamaCare — which I would pay for out of my own pocket — I could launch a business that would make a hefty profit.
Don’t pity me for my dilemma, by the way. Rather, pity the American economy for missing an opportunity to have a willing participant embrace the opportunity to help drive the economic engine and put more money in your pocket.
Vigorous private sector? Bring it on, but you’ll need the Democrats to do it, because Republicans clearly have other things on their mind. Since the day Obama took office, they’ve proven this by battling an agenda that could breathe life back into our economy.
Check out our continuing coverage of Occupy Cincinnati here.