The Occupy Wall Street movement has extended far past New York City’s Zuccotti Park over the past few weeks. Even the White House has picked up the cause.
According to businessinsider.com, White House spokesman John Earnest said Sunday that President Barack Obama “will continue to acknowledge the frustration that he himself shares” with the protesters, as well as fight to ensure that the “interests of the 99 percent of Americans are well represented.”
It is good to know that the president is looking out for 99 percent of his constituents, though one would hope he would have the best interest of all at heart. However, the sincerity of Obama’s alliance must be called into question, as Obama’s advisers have ties to the financial industry, according to the Washington Post.
Though one can only speculate the collective aim of the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is clear that it is fueled by a general distrust of financial institutions and a desire to stop government cuts.
Obama has recently taken to targeting individual financial institutions, calling Bank of America’s $5 monthly debit card fee “exactly the sort of stuff that folks are frustrated by,” according to the Post.
However, those fees, according to investors.com, are a direct result of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which “President Obama signed and touted as one of the signature accomplishments of his presidency.”
The act, signed into law in 2009, will cost $2.9 billion over five years to implement and limits the fees “banks can collect from sellers when their customers make debit card purchases,” according to investors.com. Therefore, banks such as Bank of America have begun implementing monthly fees to make up for lost revenue.
Obama is well versed in hypocrisy.
In 2009, according to abcnews.com, Obama blasted failing insurer AIG, which received a $150 billion bailout in September 2008 yet gave out large bonuses to employees, by saying, “It makes you angry because you’re thinking, ‘I was responsible and these folks are irresponsible and somehow I’m paying for them.'”
Later, it was discovered that Obama’s own administration had secured AIG’s bailout and knew of the bonuses, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Obama’s presidency has been wrought with economic problems. As of September, the national unemployment rate was 9.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a far cry from the 7.6 percent that faced the president when he came into office in January 2009.
This month, the real estate market has seen the biggest drop in home ownership since the Great Depression, according to CNN, with “more than 4 million homes either in foreclosure or 90 days or more late with payments in August.”
In addition, 46 million now live in poverty, according to the Associated Press, the largest swell of Americans since the Census Bureau began tracking poverty levels in 1959.
Instead of pledging his allegiance to the Occupy Wall Street movement, Obama should begin to practice what he preaches. If he does not, he may be able to count himself among the 99 percent come Election Day.
Anastasia Dawson is a junior majoring mass communications.