Morning Must Reads: Occupy Wall Street A Year Later

While media attention may have been slow at the start of the Occupy Wall Street Movement a year ago, coverage of the first anniversary of the movement has not been.

As someone who has spent much of his very short career (9 years) writing about the alarming growth of inequality in this country, I view the greatest achievement of the Occupy Movement as focusing the country's attention on income inequality in a way that no individual writer or economist was ever able to do. As a result, the movement has shaped public debate and policy in a way that is incalculable but deeply valuable.

Here is a sampling of this morning's Occupy Wall Street coverage.

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced a new round of expansionary monetary policy. Paul Krugman explains the Fed's intent and the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette correctly hails the move as a step in the right direction.

Sure enough, last week’s Fed announcement included another round of quantitative easing, this time involving mortgage-backed securities. The big news, however, was the Fed’s declaration that “a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens.” In plain English, the Fed is more or less promising that it won’t start raising interest rates as soon as the economy looks better, that it will hold off until the economy is actually booming and (perhaps) until inflation has gone significantly higher.

The idea here is that by indicating its willingness to let the economy rip for a while, the Fed can encourage more private-sector spending right away. Potential home buyers will be encouraged by the prospect of moderately higher inflation that will make their debt easier to repay; corporations will be encouraged by the prospect of higher future sales; stocks will rise, increasing wealth, and the dollar will fall, making U.S. exports more competitive.

In fact, its main effect will be to help Americans — Democrats, Republicans and independents who need jobs. On that basis it looks like just what the doctor ordered.


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