Congressmen Ami Bera, David Cicilline, Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger talk problem solving.
by Michael De Los Santos
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a series of blog posts from PolicyMic.com, a content partner with No Labels that provides next generation news and commentary.
Occupy Wall Street has taken off. The movement is quickly spreading across the world, with new Occupy movements surfacing seemingly daily. The movement is not without its critics, who point to the vast number of messages coming out of the protests as a sign the movement does not have a singular voice.
While there may be many messages out there from the participants, it is not hard to find some central themes from the movement. People on Wall Street can’t be the only ones listening. Congress can and should learn a lot from the Occupy movement, using the protests as motivation to end America’s partisan gridlock and do what is best for the country.
Neither Congress nor Wall Street is innocent when it comes to causes of the current crisis, and because of this, neither has been good at finding solutions. The OWS movement has some clear asks listed on its website as a series of complaints against the industry.
Here are some that Congress should pay particular attention to: stop illegal foreclosures; no more bank bailouts; and create jobs.
All of these have direct links to actions Congress can take. People are angry that despite the robo-signing scandal, big banks are still trying to foreclose on homes with fraudulent paperwork and/or without being able to produce the note. Congress can pass legislation making this illegal, which would force banks to clean up their paperwork. The robo-signing scandal has banks like Bank of America facing lawsuits that could cripple them.
This leads to another ask of the movement, no more bank bailouts. Congress should listen, stop fighting the provisions in the Dodd/Frank Act that stop too big to fail, and provide a path to winding a bank down instead of bailing banks out.
The biggest grievance of the movement is the lack of jobs in America. Neither side can agree on how to create jobs, but everyone in Congress should take the growing anger as a sign to put aside partisanship and get some legislation passed. Getting people back to work is the single most important demand. Jobs can help homeowners pay their mortgages and avoid foreclosures, help recent grads pay their student loans, get people spending money to boost the economy and create a bigger tax base to generate more tax revenue.
To me, the message is pretty clear: People are clearly angry about the direction of this country. Even though the brunt of the anger is being directed at Wall Street, Congress is not shielded. The messages should not only be heard by the big banks on Wall Street, but also through the halls of Congress. There are specific asks that Congress can act on, and it should listen carefully to the occupiers. Congress and OWS are made up of varying people with different mindsets, yet OWS protesters have managed to find a way to work together.
Here’s to hoping that Congress is not only listening, but learning from OWS on how to work together so it can end the gridlock and do what is best for the country.