By Ralph Nader
The frustration seen in the protests on Wall Street over the past few weeks demonstrates a widespread and growing citizen discontent with the two political parties in Washington, D.C. and with a political system that is dominated by corporate interests.
It is time for citizens to push their elected officials to break the corporate stranglehold on our economy. Congress should start by enacting a financial speculation tax that would help curb the wheeling and dealing on Wall Street and that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue to help with the our country’s economic recovery.
Congress has done more to bail out Wall Street than Main Street. Wall Street crooks have avoided penalties and prosecution and continued to receive bonuses and excessive compensation while pensions and savings have been looted.
Wages have remained stagnant while the largest corporations and executives have seen record profits and bonuses year after year. Congress has done little in the face of a staggering – and growing – income inequality in this country, where the top 1 percent of the population has financial wealth equal to the combined financial wealth of the bottom 95 percent of the people.
And Congress has done nothing either to disclose or stem the flow of millions of corporate dollars into the electoral process. Corporate Political Action Committees are corrupting the electoral process and blocking the voices and concerns of millions of people.
These are not the signs of a healthy democracy. Those taking part in the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and in similar protests cropping up across the country are working hard to make their voices heard. It is way overdue for the President and Congress to listen.