Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wall Street's recession vs cost of securing Occupy Protests


The Associated Press has a story where it estimates the costs of police securing for the various ongoing protest occupations across the country. The AP roughly estimates that these occupations over two months in eighteen major cities cost taxpayers $13 million. Right-wing media outlets are already using this number to claim that the protests are too costly to maintain.

However, context is neccessary to put this number into perspective.

• The 2004 Republican National Committee protests, which lasted for a single week and took place in a single location, cost $50 million to secure.
• A small tea party rally in November 2010 that attracted only a few dozen people cost $14,000, paid for by official congressional money.
• The recession caused by Wall Street’s misdeeds destroyed $50 trillion of wealth globally by 2009, $20 trillion of that wealth in the United States alone.

Additionally, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $13 million every 40 minutes this year, and the multibillionaire magnate Koch Brothers increase their wealth by $13 million every eleven hours.

None of this invalidates a discussion about the costs of securing the protests, but it does put it in context.

Additionally, if the Associated Press wants to probe the costs of the demonstrations, it might also ask why police are using such expensive and heavy-handed tactics against demonstrators.

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