Friday, November 18, 2011

Why Occupy Amador?

Originally published in the Ledger-Dispatch by David Roddy

Occupy Amador, Nov. 17 2011. Photo Courtesy of Alan Willard
Reckless Wall Street speculation and deregulation gave California some of the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country. This disaster exacerbates the strain already placed on working families by three decades of neoliberalism. I believe our political and economic system must fundamentally change to ensure prosperity, equality, and freedom for future generations, and the Occupy Wall Street movement is a positive first step towards building a brighter future. The recession hit the Mother Lode particularly hard. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Amador, Calaveras, and Tuolumne average an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent, significantly higher than California’s 11.9 percent as well as the U.S. rate of 9.1 percent. Foreclosure rates in the tri-county area average every one in 864 homes, a drastic increase from previous years. Moreover, the slashing of public funds by zealous right-wing politicians steals the essential services needed to care for those most at risk in our community.

Our local governments have done little to challenge this toxic agenda. Unfortunately, start-up businesses cannot absorb these numbers, and with the diminished consumer demand associated with lower wages and high unemployment, there is little incentive to supply services anyways. A national jobs program aimed full employment would significantly increase demand and relieve the millions unemployed. On a local level, community owned enterprises could anchor capital in our region by selling shares only to residents. The solutions to the problems facing our economy must work on multiple levels, and the Occupy movement is opening the dialogue around them. As I write this, police are swarming Zuccotti Park in New York, but I have little doubt that the perseverance of the American people will overcome this setback. In Amador, residents are rallying in support of the movement, and will engage in protests in weeks to come.

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1 comment:

  1. This needed to be said. Thank you.