Greed ain’t good! Occupy Brooklyn partly fills Grand Army Plaza

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More than 100 people — including the borough’s top elected official in a quietly supportive role — ushered Brooklyn into the Occupy Wall Street movement with a three-hour rally for economic justice on Saturday in Grand Army Plaza.

Dozens of cops were on hand, but the protest was entirely peaceful.

There were signs, there were props and there were speeches — all urging America to wake up to the nation’s growing economic disparity, the government’s too-close connections with banks, and a tax structure that favors the wealthy.

“Why join Occupy Wall Street?” one speaker asked rhetorically. “Because income disparity in the United States is worse than Iran and India.”

Nearby, a protester surrounded by police held a sign reading, “S—t is f—ked and I’m not LOL-ing anymore.” Another toted a huge “Occu-pus,” whose tentacles represented corporate America’s supposed hold on the political system.

“It just hit me that we needed to represent the problem so there’d be something directly to boo at,” said Kate Hibbard, one of the Occu-pus’s architects.

Borough President Markowitz mingled with the crowd — albeit also with the police — to offer qualified support for the larger point of the protesters, who were confined to the sidewalk just south of the fabled archway.

“They have a message which I agree with in many ways,” he said. “The disparity in income growth in this country is not a positive thing for the future of America — and it’s a great concern.”

Markowitz and the protesters echoed a growing body of evidence that the income gap is widening to historic levels. Since the mid-1980s, the chasm has widened by 20 percent, more than in most developed countries.

The richest one percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from almost nine percent in 1976.

Many economists believe that growing income inequality prolongs recessions and makes recoveries much shallower — creating a cycle of economic downturn.

Markowitz is one highest-profile politicians to embrace the message — despite the fact that it has been criticized by media commentators as purposeless and mocked by the right wing as naive.

“I’m hoping that it will raise the consciousness of those who are scared away, particularly the working class, the union members, and all the working people that are supporting the Tea party,” he said.

Markowitz’s presence was a good sign, said one of the organizers.

“It’s a sign that the movement’s gaining steam and that it’s not going to be ignored,” said Brian Merchant. “It shows that Occupy Brooklyn is something that politicians don’t want to ignore any more.”

The NYPD certainly did not ignore the rally, though given the large number of officers on hand, it is likely that the police expected more people or anticipated violence.

Or maybe the NYPD was sending a message of its own, some protesters said.

“They sent out an excessive police force for a nonviolent protest,” said Michael Sternfeld, an organizer. “It’s for intimidati­on.”

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Reader Feedback

Bill from Town says:
We have been mislead by Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, and nearly every other public figure. Economic growth, job creation, and actual prosperity are not necessarily a package deal. In fact, the first two are horribly misunderstood. Economic growth/loss (GDP) is little more than a measure of wealth changing hands. A transfer of currency from one party to another. The rate at which it is traded. This was up until mid '07' however, has never been a measure of actual prosperity. Neither has job creation. The phrase itself has been thrown around so often, and in such a generic political manner, that it has come to mean nothing. Of course, we need to have certain things done for the benefit of society as a whole. We need farmers, builders, manufacturers, transporters, teachers, cops, firefighters, soldiers, mechanics, sanitation workers, doctors, managers, and visionaries. Their work is vital. I'll even go out on a limb and say that we need politicians, attorneys, bankers, investors, and entertainers. In order to keep them productive, we must provide reasonable incentives. We need to compensate each by a fair measure for their actual contributions to society. We need to provide a reasonable scale of income opportunity for every independent adult, every provider, and share responsibility for those who have a legitimate need for aid. In order to achieve and sustain this, we must also address the cost of living and the distribution of wealth. Here, we have failed miserably. The majority have already lost their home equity, their financial security, and their relative buying power. The middle class have actually lost much of their ability to make ends meet, re-pay loans, pay taxes, and support their own economy. The lower class have gone nearly bankrupt. In all, its a multi-trillion dollar loss taken over about 30 years. Millions are under the impression that we need to create more jobs simply to provide more opportunity. as if that would solve the problem. It won't. Not by a longshot. Jobs don't necessarily create wealth. In fact, they almost never do. For the mostpart, they only transfer wealth from one party to another. A gain here. A loss there. Appreciation in one community. Depreciation in another. In order to create net wealth, you must harvest a new resource or make more efficient use of one. Either way you must have a reliable and ethical system in place to distribute that newly created wealth in order to benefit society as a whole and prevent a lagging downside. The 'free market' just doesn't cut it. Its a farce. Many of the jobs created are nothing but filler. The promises empty. Sure, unemployment reached an all-time low under Bush. GDP reached an all-time high. But those are both shallow and misleading indicators. In order to gauge actual prosperity, you must consider the economy in human terms. As of '08' the average American was working more hours than the previous generation with far less equity to show for it. Consumer debt, forclosure, and bankruptcy were also at all-time highs. As of '08', every major American city was riddled with depressed communities, neglected neighborhoods, failing infrastructures, lost revenue, and gang activity. All of this has coincided with massive economic growth and job production. Meanwhile, the rich have been getting richer and richer and richer even after taxes. Our nation's wealth has been concentrated. Again, this represents a multi-trillion dollar loss taken by the majority. Its an absolute deal breaker. Bottom line: With or without economic growth or job production, you must have a system in place to prevent too much wealth from being concentrated at the top. Unfortunately, we don't. Our economy has become nothing but a giant game of Monopoly. The richest one percent already own nearly 1/2 of all United States wealth. More than double their share before Reagan took office. Still, they want more. They absolutely will not stop. Now, our society as a whole is in serious jeapordy. Greed kills.
Oct. 16, 2011, 1:28 pm
Bill from Town says:
Good will has become big business.

Its all a sham. Nothing but tax deductible PR crap. Make the people love you. Take their money. Convince them that you're making the world a better place. Take more of their money. Be nothing but a greedy sell-out hypocrite pig with a fake commercial personality and a fake cause to pose for. Concentrate even more of the world's wealth and resources and lead the ignorant masses to believe that you're doing the opposite. I can't stop them and I can't punish them but I can tell you that their bogus promises to make the world a better place will not be kept. Any 'humanitarian' progress made in one area will always be lost in another with a net loss for the majority. There will be more poverty. More starvation. More conflict. Meanwhile the rich will keep getting richer and richer and richer. They will always dumb us down and divert our attention from one area to another. Just like they have been for at least 25 years. Ethipoia (still bad), Darfur (even worse), Malawi (still bad). As they concentrate more and more of the world's wealth and resources, they will cause more inflation, more poverty, more starvation, and more conflict on a global scale. In order to divert our attention, they will adopt another cause to pose for. and another. and another. and another. Each time, putting their fake humanitarian stamp on it and jet-setting the world in the name of 'humanity'. Actually charging their private jet rides and 5 star hotel accomodations to their own bogus 'foundations'. Pleading with us to buy more of their products and support more of their 'good will'. Taking more of our money and throwing a few crumbs back to the poor along the way. With another photo-op and worldwide publicity for each and every crumb. Like I said, its all a sham. Nothing but a giant marketing gimmick and a cheap excuse to keep getting richer and richer and richer. These people are actually causing the same problems they pretend to care about. It is the greatest scam of all time. I will not forgive them for it. I will expose as many as possible for the hypocrite pigs that they are. Thats my cause. Its the ugly truth. Someone has to tell it.
Oct. 16, 2011, 1:31 pm
Vincenzo from Bay Ridge says:
Marty M can fight creed by resigning his useless office.
Oct. 17, 2011, 9:40 pm
Greeza from Nc says:
Is greed really good? 

Doctor discovers cure and prevention of AIDS. Sells discovery for $5,000,000,000,000. Same doctor discovers cure and prevention of heart disease. Sells discovery for another $5,000,000,000,000. Same doctor discovers cure and prevention of Alzheimer. Sells discovery for another $1,000,000,000,000. Breast cancer. Brain cancer. Skin cancer. Bone cancer. Colon cancer. Pancreatic cancer. Cervical cancer. Ovarian cancer. Testicular cancer. Banks cover all related investments by the health care industry. Nobody stops to consider that the lower 99 percent combined could never afford such expensive cures. The richest one percent agree to purchase the bulk of material assets along with millions of unsold homes for ten percent of market value. After a two year spike in revenue, the health care industry tanks. The vast majority have gone bankrupt in a desperate attempt to cover those incredibly expensive cures. The profits made in the first two years were nowhere near enough to cover the $20,000,000,000,000 doctor payoff. The largest debts in world history go unpaid. All major banks fail miserably. Followed by every major industry. Unemployment spikes to 90 percent in all of the G20. The global economy tanks. Chaos breaks out worldwide. Meanwhile, the richest man in the world by far, buys an island and hires a small army to protect his $20,000,000,000,000 fortune. 5000 jobs are created. More as the richest one percent worldwide hire additional security. Unemployment drops to 80 percent across the developed world. Widespread chaos remains. Entire cities burn to the ground. The masses finally converge on the richest one percent in every corner of the world. As the bodies pile up, disease breaks out worldwide. When the dust settles, and the bodies rot away, only a few hundred million remain worldwide. Those few hundred million survivors must find a way to get along and rebuild. Hopefully, with a more reliable and ethical system of economics.       

The answer is hell no. Greed kills..
Oct. 17, 2011, 10:12 pm

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