Think ‘Securing’ OWS Protests is Expensive? Wall Street’s Recession Cost 1.5 Million Times More

Posted on November 23, 2011


To say that protests cost “too much” to maintain is absolutely absurd. First, protesting the government is a Constitutional right, no matter what it costs. Second, most of those costs weren’t even necessary in the first place. If the police didn’t view protesting as a “dangerous” activity that they need to stop, then we wouldn’t have the excess police costs for “securing” the protests. Third, we’re protesting the loss of TRILLIONS of dollars from corporate greed; what’s a meager $1.5 million? AlterNet puts it in perspective:

Think ‘Securing’ OWS Protests is Expensive? Wall Street’s Recession Cost 1.5 Million Times More

 Today, the Associated Press (AP) has a story where it estimates the costs of police securing for the various ongoing protest occupations across the country. The AP roughly estimates that these occupations over two months in eighteen major cities cost taxpayers $13 million. Right-wing media outlets are already using this number to claim that the protests are too costly to maintain.

But the AP piece does not provide the necessary context to put this number into perspective. $13 million for policing of ongoing protests all over the country for two months is not a particularly large sum. For example, the 2004 Republican National Committee protests, which lasted for a single week and took place in a single location,cost $50 million to secure. A small tea party rally in November 2010 that attracted only a few dozen people cost $14,000, paid for by official congressional money.

The cost of securing these protests against economic inequality and political corruption also pales in comparison to one large figure: the wealth destroyed by Wall Street’s recession. The recession caused by Wall Street’s misdeeds destroyed $50 trillion of wealth globally by 2009, $20 trillion of that wealth in the United States alone. ThinkProgress has assembled the following chart to visualize these comparative costs:

Additionally, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $13 million every 40 minutes this year, and the multibillionaire magnate Koch Brothers increase their wealth by $13 million every eleven hours.

None of this invalidates a discussion about the costs of securing the protests, but it does put it in context. Additionally, if the Associated Press wants to probe the costs of the demonstrations, it might also ask why police are using such expensive and heavy-handed tactics against demonstrators.

By Zaid Jilani and Brad Johnson | Sourced from Think Progress 

Posted at November 23, 2011, 11:47 am