The Millionaires March is a bit of theater, a hook to keep the interest of the media and the public – a hook more provocative and relevant, if less funny, than the march of the "corporate zombies" the Occupation staged last week with protesters made up like movie zombies shuffling through the afterlife in search of money to eat.
Although most people get the intent of the Occupation movement, grievances against economic conditions or policies are usually too abstract to catch the imagination of most voters who, again ironically, are usually too busty making a living in a tough economy to pay much attention to new political movements.
Despite the odds, OccupyWallStreet has become a semi-coherent voice for what has been a diffuse and largely silent sense of dissatisfaction with the economy and distribution of wealth in America, at least among non-billionaires who resent being taken advantage of by companies they have to do business with, but don't know what to do about it.
Quixote dresses financiers in windmill costumes
Having a horde of angry, shouting untouchables wash up on the doorstep of billionaires does more than give a voice to dissatisfaction. It gives substance to what is becoming a substantive and potentially dangerous point: The global economy is a mess because financial deregulation, rampant greed and a sense of infallibility and of entitlement gave even previously respectable Wall Street companies permission to openly plan to fleece their customers and gut the economy for their own benefit.
Wall Street's economy bounced back pretty quickly after the first big crash in 2008, with the help of billions in rescue funds from the U.S. government and taxpayers.
Neither brokerages nor banks have done much since then to either renegotiate usurous loans, reinvest in communities that found themselves on the rocks after a tide of money from bad investment opportunities, deceptive loan practices and corruption raised all boats, but only let a few sail away before evaporating and letting everything else fall where it may.
Walking around a millionaire's building and shouting is an intimidating thing for a mob to do. Under other circumstances it would look more like too much of a personal attack to be legimate political protest.
That's the problem with economic problems, though. "The rich" may be the ones benefitting from the economy, but "the rich" don't have a face or a name, any more than does "the economy" when businesses use it as an excuse to ramp up demands on existing workers to avoid hiring new ones at the risk of slowing the growth rate in their profit margins.
Source: live picture, OccupyWallSt.org