By Lachlan Markay
Protesters set up camp in New York City more than a month ago and have spread to other cities around the country, prompting many Americans to ask: What exactly do they want? The decentralized nature of the protests makes official demands difficult to come by, but the movement has released a number of positions that are fairly representative of the left-wing, anti-capitalist tenor of the protests.
We decided to examine one such list of demands, and to give readers a sense of the conservative approach on the varied goals of the movement. To that end, we have gathered together a roundup of reactions from a number of Heritage experts on the demands put forth in one document, created by a collection of New York City protesters calling themselves “the Working Group on the 99% Declaration.”
Readers should approach this post not as a response to a concrete political platform, but rather as part of a dialogue between the largely left-wing individuals “occupying” cities nationwide, and the conservative movement — which, polls show, actually does represent a plurality of politically interested Americans (though we hesitate to ascribe those views to 99% of the country, as OWS is wont to do).
Here is the (paraphrased) list of demands. Click on one to jump right to the Heritage response.
1. Complete bans on federal political contributions, replaced by public campaign financing.
2. Reversal of the “Citizens United v. FEC” Supreme Court decision.
3. Combating Washington’s “revolving door.”
4. Bans on gifts to federal officials.
5. Tax reform – eliminating special carve-outs and increasing progressiveness.
6. Single-payer health care.
7. Increased environmental regulation.
8. Reduction of the national debt through a progressive income tax and elimination of corporate handouts.
9. Federal job-training programs.
10. Student loan debt forgiveness.
11. Immigration policy, including amnesty for illegals.
12. Recalling the U.S. military globally.
13. Education mandates and teacher pay.
14. Massive expansion of public works projects.
15. Spurring China to end currency manipulation.
16. Reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act.
17. Refinance all underwater mortgages at 1% interest rate.
18. One-year freeze on all foreclosures.
19. Free air time for all political candidates who gather sufficient signatures.
20. Immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read the Heritage response here: The Conservative’s Guide to the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests.