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Can Liberals And Libertarians Find Common Ground?

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The Occupy Wall Street movement has the potential to turn into a political firestorm. Everyday Americans are not too happy with their government, or the conduct of the finance industry. I say, good on them. It's about time. The problem, however, is that we have become so divided as a nation that it is very difficult to prognosticate if anything good will come out of these protests from a political perspective.

The two major parties, and their mainstream media propaganda apparatuses, have created a level of divisiveness and hostility among the people that is designed to protect the Establishment status quo. It is a divide and conquer strategy. The powers that be on Wall Street and Washington D.C. have been able to neutralize public anger by simply re-directing it at one or the other ideology and proclaiming "it's all their fault!" As a result, great swaths of this country blame all of the problems on either the "Red Team," or the "Blue Team."

This of course, is sheer, media propagated ignorance. The left/right paradigm in the context of American politics is nothing but a scam. Both parties ensure the continuation of the welfare/warfare state which keeps the bankers rich and the gravy train in Washington D.C. running. The fact that so many Americans are convinced that Democratic and Republican policies are so different from eachother is a testament to the prevailing ignorance in this country. Hey Democrats, how are you feeling about Obama these days? Is he really that different than George W. Bush? How is all that "Hope and Change" going? Exactly.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, along with the Tea Party, however, may be a sign that the people are waking up to the false left/right paradigm and the entrenched Establishment interests which dominate politics on both sides of the aisle. But is there some common ground for the various "movements" of fed up citizens to stand on? I would propose that there is quite a bit of it actually. Let's examine a number of issues that have been raised by Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party and liberals and libertarians and see where there is agreement.

Get Corporate Money Out Of Politics - This is the issue that really kick started Occupy Wall Street. Americans are sick and tired of mega-corporations and Wall Street banks being in bed with our politicians in Washington D.C. In many cases, as a result of lobbying efforts and political contributions, the people writing the legislation may as well be the corporations and banks themselves. This is an issue where surely a large number of constituencies can come together and advocate for real reform. What Tea Partier, Occupy Wall Streeter, liberal or libertarian is going to advocate for a government bought off by corporations, banks, and special interests?

End the Federal Reserve - This issue also crosses quite a few political lines. The Federal Reserve is directly responsible for the Too Big To Fail banking cartel, the U.S. debt, the perpetual deficits, and the advancement of the welfare/warfare state. The Fed has also robbed the poor and working class blind as a result of their inflationary policies. The Fed, which is privately owned by the mega-banks, has a monopoly on printing our money. When the politicians want to run up ridiculous deficits, they are assisted by the Fed, which prints up the money out of thin air and lends it to the U.S. Treasury - at interest of course. This has made it vastly easier for the United States to rack up its extraordinary near $15 trillion national debt.

The Fed's ability to just print OUR money out of thin air has also subsidized reckless risk taking on Wall Street and created the monster that is Too Big To Fail. The Fed is owned by private mega-banks, although it is "controlled" by the Board of Governors which is appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Given the control that the finance industry exerts over Washington D.C., however, the Fed is essentially the head of the Wall Street snake. This is why the major banks were bailed out by the Federal Reserve, which bought tremendous amounts of their toxic debt and provided them with massive liquidity injections through various programs. The Fed also backstopped a number of transactions during the financial crisis which allowed the Too Big To Fail banks to consolidate their power over the financial system, such as J.P. Morgan's acquisition of Bear Stearns.

The final grievous sin of the Fed is their perpetual robbery of the poor, working, and middle class through inflation. The value of the dollar has been falling ever since the creation of the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, inflation adjusted wages for most Americans have been stagnant for decades, while the wealthiest citizens have seen their income skyrocket. At the same time, prices for everything from gas to food to clothing have been steadily rising as a result of Fed-created inflation. As a result, the average citizen must allocate more and more of their income to cover basic necessities.

If you earn a dollar and then must spend that dollar right away to cover your living expenses, it is worth exactly one dollar. The wealthy, on the other hand, can cover their living expenses using a much lower percentage of their overall income (if they are smart) and then invest their left over dollars at a rate above the inflation rate. Thereby, they can beat the inflation tax that the preponderance of Americans are forced to pay, and also earn a return. In this way, one Fed created dollar is worth much more in absolute terms to a wealthy American than it is to someone who is merely middle class. This phenomenon, more than any other, is responsible for the massive gap between rich and poor in America.

End The Wars - This is another issue where there should be significant common ground between Occupy Wall Street, liberals, libertarians and many Tea Party members. The American people are fed up with these conflicts, and even large percentages of the military believe that the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting in the first place. It is time for our troops to come home. Libertarians, almost unanimously, have been saying this for years and most opposed the Iraq invasion from the beginning. Liberals are also tired of United States militarism, although their leader, President Obama, apparently has not gotten the message. The anti-war sentiment can be observed in many quarters of this country, including Occupy Wall Street, the political left, Ron Paul supporters and even quite a few Republicans appear to be coming around (although it is too early to tell if it is genuine.) The American people should make sure that the politicians get this message loud and clear - No More War!

End The Drug War This issue is a bit more controversial, but huge percentages of both liberals and libertarians would agree with it. The drug war is an absolute failed policy which has turned the United States of America into a police state and is the cause of a significant percentage of the violent crime in this country. The U.S. incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any country on Earth, yet we call ourselves "The Home of the Free." The statistics would certainly suggest otherwise, and it is a direct result of the "War on Drugs," which has turned a medical problem into a criminal one.

Furthermore, Prohibition has turned the drug business into one of the most lucrative enterprises on the planet due to the artificial profit margins created by the government's failed policy. For this reason alone, the drug war can never be won. Furthermore, it is not the drugs themselves that cause violence, but rather Prohibition and the accompanying profit margins that it creates which is responsible for the violence on our streets.

Repeal The Patriot Act - There is vast common ground between libertarians, liberals, Occupy Wall Street and many Tea Party elements with regard to this legislation. Ben Franklin said "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." I wonder what he would think of modern day America? Today, we have full pat downs at NFL games, TSA agents groping us at the airport, and a President who is assassinating Americans without even a hint of due process. What in the world is going on here? The assault on our civil liberties in the wake of 9/11 has been swift and draconian. These are the types of things that go on in totalitarian states, and now, apparently the United States as well. While it is nice to see that people can still organize freely, as witnessed by Occupy Wall Street, don't exercise that right without the foreknowledge that you might be beaten with a nightstick.

In sum, it appears that there is quite a bit of ideological common ground which can be identified in the American populace, but nothing will ever be accomplished if we continue to allow ourselves to be divided into "Red" and "Blue" teams. To be sure, there is a considerable opinion divide with regard to how we should resolve some of these problems, but that should be pushed into the background in the near term. The important thing is that Americans who agree with many of the issues which have been identified by Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, libertarian Ron Paul supporters and progressive liberals fight to make sure that the Establishment Republicans and Democrats in Washington D.C. and on Wall Street don't continue to marginalize us.

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