Billion-dollar brawl

“Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer,” according to a Rolling Stone post about OWS. “This isn’t disappointment at having lost. It’s anger because those other guys didn’t really win.”

Banks have been rescued multiple times in the past few decades, but they keep coming back to drink from the Fountain of Bailout. And the government keeps refilling the aquifers.

The article argues that 99 percent of us live in a country with rules and taxes and no free help from the government.

OWS, then, stems from the desire for the simplest of American values: an equal playing field.

From the opposite side of the country comes a Vanity Fair profile of California’s situation:

• The average resident has debts of $78,000 against an income of $43,000.

• The state’s highest-paid public employee made $839,000 in 2010. He’s the head parole psychologist for the prisons.

• California spent $6 billion on those prisons, a complex with fewer than 30,000 employees. It spent $4.7 billion for higher education: 33 campuses with 670,000 students.

Analyst Meredith Whitney, who made waves with her predictions on 60 Minutes, predicted the U.S. could divide into regional powers, those in the black and those in the red. 

“Indiana is going to be like, ‘N.F.W. I’m bailing out New Jersey.’”

VF brought up a far scarier picture: closed libraries, closed community centers, closed after-school programs. “Cultural bankruptcy.”

We might have perfected how we measure things around us — the kilogram, the stock index, crime rates — but did we forget how to measure ourselves?

When our priorities become so wrapped in greed and money, we lose track of those cultural touchstones evaporating before our eyes.

It is our job as journalists to not only write about the corruption, to stir the hearts of a public unknowingly attacked and swindled from behind bank doors and finance corporation schemes, but also to write about those culturally important locations and events.

In short, it is our job to remind our readers why they must stand up and fight.

It is also our job to remind our readers what they’re fighting for.

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