Are The Tea Party & Occupy Wall Street Movements Opposite Sides Of The Same Coin?

by Jesse Zanger, Deputy Managing Editor,

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It seems every which way you look these days, the one consistent theme in the political arena is dissatisfaction with the status quo. A CBS News poll released on Oct. 3 showed just 1 in 5 Americans thought the nation is on the right track. According to the poll, that was the lowest percentage of Americans who thought the nation was on the right track since President Barack Obama took office.

This dissatisfaction, it could be argued, began with the economic calamity that hit the financial system in September of 2008 and the Great Recession that followed, with millions being thrown out of work.

Photos: Occupy Wall Street | Day Of Rage

One of the first signs of popular upset with the exasperating economic condition was the rise of the Tea Party movement. While the Tea Party has emerged, effectively, as a branch or rebranded version of the Republican party (a recent CNN-Tea Party debate contained only Republican candidates), it began as a popular movement decrying the level of taxation, government waste and the exploding federal budget deficit.

According to the website, their goals are fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. “Such runaway deficit spending as we now see in Washington D.C. compels us to take action as the increasing national debt is a grave threat to our national sovereignty and the personal and economic liberty of future generations.”

“The American people will no longer stand for promises of the future,” says a statement on the site. “We demand real cuts and real action now!”

The Tea Party Express succinctly sums up dissatisfaction with the current economic climate with their six principles on its website, which are “No more bailouts, reduce the size and intrusiveness of government, stop raising our taxes, repeal Obamacare, cease out-of-control spending, bring back American prosperity.”

Those goals suggest that what is holding back American prosperity – what is preventing the economy from getting back on track – is government interference, taxation, bailouts, deficit spending and so forth.

New York, being a stalwart bastion for Democrats, may not have felt much of the impact of the Tea Party movement locally. But we haven’t been spared by what seems to be their emerging opposite number: The Occupy Wall Street movement.

According to the Occupy Wall Street website, the movement began because “We can longer afford to let corporate greed and corrupt politics set the policies of our nation.”

The Occupy Wall Street effort – now in its third week – seems to be gathering momentum instead of fizzling out. They are gaining celebrity support, and more significantly, support from unions and other large organizations. Protests sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement have broken out in other cities.

“The participation of every person, and every organization, that has an interest in returning the U.S. back into the hands of its individual citizens is required,” was part of the call the magazine Adbusters put out that formed the Occupy Wall Street movement.

So on the one hand, you have a right-leaning organization positing that governmental interference and burgeoning debt has strangled the economy. On the other, a left-leaning organization that seems to suggest America has become a corporatocracy that is simply out to squeeze as much profit as possible out of the little guy.

Are they just opposite sides of the same coin? Are they both essentially motivated by the recent economic downturn? Tell us what you think in our comments section.

  • Mack F. Barnes

    Term limits is the only way to curtail the power of special interest. Twelve years for members of the Senate and the House and term limits for members of the Supreme Court, alone can restore the civic and economic rights of .Americans; death ought not be the only limit of the outrageous decisions that ensue from the bench.

  • redheadwrites

    I think that there is a general yearning on both sides for what they perceive as freedom. The Tea Party wants the freedom that comes from less government intrusion in individual lives, and less money taken from their pockets to fuel some politician’s flavor of the month, be it a social issue or a business issue. They want to be free to get more on their own, with less government interference. I have read the Occupy Wall Street site & they seem to want freedom, but with a less personal accountability to get there. Anything that comes from a source other than your own two hands will be a temporary thing.

    The Tea Party is just as frustrated with the crony capitalism as the OWS groups is, however, the difference is this: their ire is directed at the correct place, the government, which sanctioned such crony capitalism as the bailouts in the first place. Protesting Wall Street will not stop the ballooning debt, deficits, or crony capitalism. Electing men and women of honor and integrity will.

    You cannot legislate away greed, any more than you can legislate away human nature. Wanting something others have is still greed, no matter who does the asking. This is revealed in the very list of demands by the folks on OWS – they want, want, want. How is this not a form of the very greed they are protesting? The only way to reign in greed that harms our fellow Americans is to stop electing those that perpetuate it via legislation, those that steal from the public purse, and those who have not shown themselves to be people of virtue.

    Only by relying on ourselves and our own efforts, and less on government, will we truly be free. Let us lay the blame at the feet of those that have truly caused all this.

    The fault lies not on Wall Street, nor Main Street. It lies on the Beltway Blvd…and because for the last few generations we elected the politicans that caused all this, perhaps the fault lies on our own street as well.

    I think the 1% that they should be protesting are those in elected office, and tell the remaining 99% of us to get off our butts, do our constitutional duty and vote.

    • james amberger

      your comment completely misses the point of the OWS and of the effect of the recent supreme court ruling governing political contributions. when is the last time you or anybody voted for someone who was actually a member of the majority of this country, specifically the middle class. the downfall of this country is due to politicians representing and legislating laws for the people that funded their campaigns instead of the people that voted them into office. in other words you got the greed part right. the politicians are corrupt and so is the system of campaign finance that is just a legal way of bribes.

  • pugphan

    Wow! Everybody has an opinion but no answers to anything. Whining never got anybody a thing. Those cats on wall street remind of the whiners we had back in
    the 60’s in Hippyville…they didn’t contribute anything either. Socialism is not the answer. It is anti American, only one thing is for sure the greed must be handled.

    • Ashby B

      Ron Paul 2012 is the answer that both Tea partiers and OWS’ers can agree upon. No War, No Bailouts, and No Deficit Spending.

  • cntrlfrk

    Don’t even compare the T.E.A. Party with the ‘Occupiers on Wall Street’.

    The clowns on Wall Street don’t even know what they are protesting or have any idea how to fix what they are supposedly whining about!

    They are nothing but a democrat Astro-turf organization.

  • Kazoo

    i think both sides are nuts. How is it that in this country the 10% ultra right and the 10% ultra left get their way. While the 80% of us, whether you lean a little left or right are left holding the bag. The american dream started with a good family upbringing that made sure the children got a good education(studying and working hard for a grade). Then as a young person you got a job(delivering the newspaper, cutting lawns, etc) for a minimal wage. Needless to say you were proud to have a few dollars in your pocket. Then from there you worked you way up the ladder to a better paying job. You stayed out of trouble with the law because it would affect your ability to get a job. I don”t know but about you , but this has work for me. Yes coporate america is greedy but no more so than the unions. Also I must say that since this so called president of ours has been in office this country has been fragmented. We’ve had good and bad presidents(depending on your individual thinking) but never one who has divided the country like this. Let”s all take a step back and seek common ground and move on. Right now I can say that I have never been so embarrassed to be an American.

  • michaelfury
  • Non-union, New.Yorker

    Oct 5th 2011 at 5 p.m. E.S.T.
    Steve Jobs we’ll miss you.

  • The Realist

    Of course, these folks DON’T actually want jobs – what they want is to complain about being unemployed. Giving them jobs will deprive them of something to complain about.

    If they really wanted jobs, they would move out west…

  • Longdrycreek

    “Wall Street” is a flexible term that has many definitions. If some alert CBS or other news reporter or journalist asked, “What do you mean by ‘Wall Street’?” the answers would be revealing. Ask a student, ask a union member, ask an old foggy?
    I am curious as to the plethora of answers or responses.
    I guess that the organizers, Moveon.Org and union bosses, have not clearly defined the target for obvious reasons. A agreed upon definition would blow the cover of the gathering protest.


    Bud – don’t drag the gays into this – we think you’re all idiots.

  • Slim Pickens

    Here we go with the MSM spin. I believe part of thr reason for the occupation. MSM is on the ropes, people have become enlightened to their propaganda.

    • Mark Montgomery

      MS-NBC is the future of broadcasting and represents the occupy Wall Street movement. You whining Republicans are irrelevant and you’re being marginalized. Crawl back under the top richest 2% of Americans where you belong. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY

    • Alyson

      I agree Slim, the people have outed the MSM and their refusal to report real news. I hope America really wakes up to the fact that the mainstream news isnt news. Its propaganda. They would STILL be ignoring this movement if we the people had not been persistent and dedicated in our own spread of it via social media, and, even that is a struggle as Twitter and Facebook both seem the be doing their best to limit the spread of posts about this.

      As for the Tea Party vs Occupy Wall Street, thats propaganda too. If it werent for the media playing up our differences, we would be united in this. We BOTH want corporate money out of politics, we BOTH want the Fed out of the picture and the government in control of issuing money, we BOTH are opposed to bailing out banksters who FAILED our economy.

      The divide isnt real people. Its propaganda, like everything else put out by the MSM to divide We the People. We have some differences but we have more in common, join us.

      • citiZen

        The media is text book Nazi Goerbels propaganda machine…
        WE need to UNITE these two factions…

  • Laara24

    The goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement are clear for anyone who has ears to hear. We want an economy that works for all Americans, not the predatory system that only serves the 1 percent who can buy off the Democrats and Republicans.

    Anybody who thinks this is nothing more than a bunch of spoiled kids looking for a handout is either asleep or stupid. We want an end to the oligarchy in Washington D.C. We want democracy restored. We want the basic American promise of equal opportunity restored. We want an economy that works for people.

    The lazy mainstream media keeps repeating the refrain that “they have no demands.” This is simply not true.

    • KPMc

      The lazy mainstream media keeps repeating the refrain that “they have no demands.” This is simply not true.

      You have no ANSWERS!

      Complaining without a plan is just complaining

    • Joey the realist

      Laara24, I have a lot of wants too. I want a cheese puff. I want a beer. I want more time to spend with my kids. I want more job training. I want to be healthy. I want to ride my bike. You know what I do when I want something? I go make it happen. I don’t go whine to my family why things are not happenning. Every individual can make a difference and rise to the occassion to stand out to make a different. Unfortunately a protest like this is just full of whining and giving people excuses to go make trouble. This protest is full of lazy people looking for handouts and I’m happy mainstream media gives you no attention for 3 whole weeks.

      Please just go home and make a real difference where it counts.

  • Citizen

    God Bless The Tea Party… The only one’s talking about real change

    • Non-union, New.Yorker

      Tea party members must not have Mothers that are in their 70’s
      Cut spending Medicare, H.E.A.P. for winter heating help.
      Home health aides these people aren’t thinking with care.

      Thu Oct 6, 2011 5:06 AM EDT

      Folks stop the bitterness these Wall Street protesters have valid points that’s affecting every American.

      Let’s bottom line it, corporations can now pay-out or (off) any amount of money to politicians with no limit. There-by defeating your voting rights as a citizen.

      Corporations have been classified as a person.

      However Corporations don’t have citizenship!

      Corps are a artificial legal piece of paper that uses our money to hire lobbyists and use money now legally under “The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.” For their own greed; all the while outsourcing our jobs.

      Think what they have been doing even when the Corps don’t outsource your job you’ll be dismissed every so often so they can just replace you with a younger citizen for half the pay.

      All the while the Wall Street stock Corporation’s C.E.O.’s will receive multi millions in yearly bonuses for doing this.

      The Govt had to bail out the banks to stop a collapse of the financial system.

      With our tax money and now the banks support stocks on wall street buying sending it up and shorting so they profit when the send it down.

      It’s so bad that most brokers don’t even want to give you specific advice as they are afraid of people going postal after loosing 65% or more on their 401K’s run by wall Street managers. Mt fellow citizens wise up this is the fight for our livelihood here. All of us have to stand behind the demonstrators and give them backing winter is coming. I firmly believe they may have to move west for the winter and if not use large Malls where they can park large Winnebago’s to have rest places to stay warm in shifts. Folks we must support these courageous insightful people throughout their quest. After all they are our children.

      • Just the Facts

        Nobody HAD to bail out wall street. The Republicans and Democrats CHOSE to do it to bail out their buddies. A capitalist system would let the corrupt companies fail and then the stronger companies would have taken their place. Unfortunately our politicians are corrupt.

        • dave

          So my question is….Why are these people not BOYCOTTING the businesses they say are exploiting capitalism? Hmmmm, simple solution. Take the money out of the pocket of the ‘Capitalist” and then he has no power. Instead they just want to BITCH! Now is the time to move the protest to DC and protest to limit government involvement in business. Remember GOVERNMENT bailed out businesses, they could have let them fail. Prime example, BofA. They took bailout money, bought other failing banks, and now they are charging a new fee for debit card users (average Americans). Remove your money, and this bank WILL feel the effect!

  • J.Q. Public

    Revolution is nigh. All current politicians need to be flushed away. Time for true ‘public servants’ to take over.

  • Eduardo Rey

    The Tea Party movement was co-opted by Dick Armey and the K Street lobbyists who do the bidding of corporate America. The Occupy Wall Street movement is the real grassroots movement. It arises from the common people who are sick and tired of our politicians selling them out to the interests of the corporations. It seems to me that the new American Revolution is starting and the Occupy Wall Street supporters are the new patriots looking out for the common good of all.

    • Just the Facts

      You mean the unions,, and other standard left wing groups. Don’t get your hopes up.

  • justamaz

    They both recognize the problems in the USA, but you have to know who your friend is and who your enemy is. There is Greed in Wall street, greedy CEO’s, greedy Unions. Greed should not be rewarded, but we need to make this capital system work otherwise we fall like the Greeks.

  • jagdish

    Tea Party is pro-Constitution and for all Americans. Wall Street thing stands for only those who want government to interfere and “even the score” because they feel entitlements of some sort.

    • Jennifer

      If you think big business is looking out for the constitution or all Americans, you are a fool. The Tea Party is just spouting rehashed Republican talking points. OWS is against people who stole and then gave the money to themselves. What jobs did they create? Are you telling me that the tea party is for letting businesses steal and add to the national debt? The nation as a whole should be upset and doing something about this. The Citizens United ruling has let Corporations run wild and pay off the people we elected to serve out country. Does the Tea Party think this is ok? I hope not.

      • jagdish

        Funny that your comment is the “Featured Comment” here since your comment is totally illogical and makes no sense. You read my comment and then said: “If you think big business is looking out for the constitution or all Americans, you are a fool”. What the hell are you smoking? I said the Tea Party is for the Constitution. Then your comment goes off even further – ‘are you telling me that the tea party is for letting businesses steal”. You don’t make any sense, so you get no respect.

        • Jennifer

          Go back to Uruguay, you…you foreigner!

          • Tricia

            Spoken like a TRUE BLUE LIBERAL

            • Jennifer

              You can kiss my Spanx, Trish.

              • springer

                when backed into a corner with no logical issue to stand on is when people pull out the personal attacks! Stay classy America!

      • RoboticAdvice

        Returning the American economy and political system to one that works well for the majority of people is not a left or right issue. The Tea Party and OWS actually have a fair amount in common – such as an anti-bailout stance and limited government in some circumstances (i.e., military affairs). But neither the Tea Party nor OWS will accomplish much of anything if media and political interests turn the two movements against each other. Everyone should be very wary of the corporate-controlled entities pushing this “opposing movements” narrative. The quickest way to render people power impotent is to provoke infighting. The Tea Party and OWS would be far more effective if they cooperated on that which they can agree.

      • A Sad American

        Folks this is what it is all about. Shame on you unpatriotic Americans. And George Soro’s burn.
        To All My Valued Employees,
        There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job.
        What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you whom to vote for – it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc.
        Please vote for who you think will serve your interests the best. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest. First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story.
        This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You saw my big home at last years Christmas party. I’m sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life. However, what you don’t see is the back story.
        I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.
        My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.
        Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s.
        My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business — with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.
        So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don’t. There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, ****, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to me like a 1 day old baby.
        You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations… You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made. Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail out all the people who didn’t.
        The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:
        I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.
        The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?
        Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country. The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy. Here is what many of you don’t understand … to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.
        When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.
        Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep. So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more. Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire.
        You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.
        While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don’t forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero. So, when you make decision to vote, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you “It’s the economy Stupid” I’m telling you it isn’t.
        If you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the Constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.
        Signed, Your boss,
        Michael A. Crowley, PE
        Crowley, Crisp & Associates, Inc.
        Professional Engineers
        1906 South Main Street, Suite 122
        Wake Forest, NC 27587
        Phone: 919.562.8860 x22
        Fax: 919.562.8872

        • DHarkins

          Totally agree with you!! We have a small business also and are really tired of being taxed to death.

      • littlefish

        Wall street protesters needed a place to go be stupid . . . and MSNBC feels right at home.

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