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The New York Times Editorial page takes a look at the Wall Street protesters. It seems their message is not too defused or confused that it has not made it's way through to them.

So, what is it about, confused punditry? The Times spells it out quite clearly.

It's about income inequality:

At this point, protest is the message: income inequality is grinding down that middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people. On one level, the protesters, most of them young, are giving voice to a generation of lost opportunity.

It's about creating opportunities for the young:
The jobless rate for college graduates under age 25 has averaged 9.6 percent over the past year; for young high school graduates, the average is 21.6 percent. Those figures do not reflect graduates who are working but in low-paying jobs that do not even require diplomas. Such poor prospects in the early years of a career portend a lifetime of diminished prospects and lower earnings — the very definition of downward mobility.

It's about government complicity:
Extreme inequality is the hallmark of a dysfunctional economy, dominated by a financial sector that is driven as much by speculation, gouging and government backing as by productive investment.

And more government complicity:
The initial outrage has been compounded by bailouts and by elected officials’ hunger for campaign cash from Wall Street, a toxic combination that has reaffirmed the economic and political power of banks and bankers, while ordinary Americans suffer.

It isn't just that the rich are getting ever more rich:
Income gains at the top would not be as worrisome as they are if the middle class and the poor were also gaining. But working-age households saw their real income decline in the first decade of this century. The recession and its aftermath have only accelerated the decline.

And more government complicity:
[Lack of upward mobility] also skews political power, because policy almost invariably reflects the views of upper-income Americans versus those of lower-income Americans.
I would add policy is also drafted, proposed, voted and passed by the upper-class, almost exclusively.

And it isn't up to the Occupiers to solve the problem they are pointing to:

It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.

How quickly these kids have affected the public dialogue. So proud of them.

Originally posted to Scott Wooledge on Sun Oct 09, 2011 at 09:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone and Occupy Wall Street.

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