Occupy Everywhere & Economic News Round-Up

image of a crowd of protesters at Zuccotti Park witnessing and documenting an arrest
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) supporters witness an arrest of one of their fellow at Zuccotti Park decorated with Christmas lights, in New York, November 21, 2011. OWS said 32,500 gathered last week to mark the anti-capitalist movement's two-month anniversary at Foley Square in lower Manhattan before many marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. [Getty Images]
Here's some of what I've been reading this morning...

Tina Dupuy has an interesting piece in The Atlantic about the gender disparity at Occupy encampments. See also Echidne's take on Dupuy's piece.

Gallup finds that US support for the Occupy Movement remains unchanged from a month ago at about 25% in favor, about 20% opposed, and about 55% conflicted or indifferent. Respondents, however, are now slightly more critical of "the way the protests are being conducted."

In Supercommittee Failure news...

Greg Sargent plainly (and correctly) states that "both sides" are not equally to blame for the breakdown in negotiations: "This is the primary difference in a nutshell: The Dem offer involved both sides making roughly equivalent concessions; the GOP offer didn't. The main GOP concession—the additional revenues—would have come in exchange for Dems giving ground on two major fronts: On cuts to entitlements, and on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Putting aside whether the supercommittee failure matters at all, it's plainly true that one side was willing to concede far more than the other to make a deal possible. And anyone who pretends otherwise is just part of the problem."

And because our political system is irrevocably broken, both parties will look to exploit that failure for political gain: "[W]ith the [Bush tax cuts] due to expire at the end of 2012 and their fate left unresolved by the supercommittee, both parties are already positioning themselves to exploit the issue for maximum electoral advantage. President Obama, who campaigned on repealing the breaks for the wealthy, angered his base last year when he agreed to extend all the tax cuts beyond their original expiration, at the end of 2010. This time, the president has vowed to veto any effort to extend the tax breaks on upper-income Americans. ... Republicans vying to challenge Obama argue the tax cuts should be made permanent, not just for the wealthy but for middle-income Americans as well. And GOP strategists say the White House's position makes the president vulnerable to charges that he would impose what many Republicans are already calling the 'biggest tax increase in American history' if reelected."

Aside from political gamespersonship, what now? "Failure by the committee, evenly split between six Democrats and six Republicans from the House and Senate, sets in motion an alternative timetable for $1.2 trillion in spending reductions starting in January 2013. Leaders on both sides of the aisle are unhappy with the nature of the fallback plan, which cuts evenly from domestic and defense programs." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to hang the president with the responsibility for preventing the cuts: "Now it falls on the president to ensure that the defense cuts he insisted upon do not undermine national security." President Obama hangs the responsibility on Congress: "The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. That's exactly what they need to do. That's the job they promised to do. And they've still got a year to figure it out."

The only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on anymore is that it's not their fault and it's definitely the OTHER party's responsibility to fix everything.

In related news, trying to prove he is NOT BORING and can be, in fact, just as loathsomely incendiary and irresponsible as all the best Republicans, Mitt Romney [trigger warning for violent rhetoric] described the automatic defense spending cuts initiated by the supercommittee's failure would be "like holding a gun to your own head."

In other US domestic economic news...

Reuters: Third-quarter growth revised down to 2.0 percent.

Forbes: The Top 0.1% of the nation earn half of all capital gains.

CNN Money: Next congressional battle: Payroll taxes.

Reuters: MF Global trustee doubles estimates of shortfall: Says shortfall could be about $1.2 billion.

CNN Money: Gingrich: CBO a 'reactionary socialist institution'.

And in Eurozone news, The Guardian's live coverage is here. Also: The head of the Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, warns that "the global economy is at risk of a deflationary spiral as the private sector and governments seek to pay off their debts at the same time." Huzzah for austerity!

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