Will Occupy Wall Street Fizzle or Flare?
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Occupy Wall Street is in decline, at least for the moment. Is it over, or has it generated the kind of energy that can make it rise again? If it has an impact on next year's elections, will it be good for Democrats or Republicans? Also, November US consumer confidence jumps much more than expected, and a federal judge denies a Securities and Exchange Commission settlement of fraud charges against Citigroup. What will that mean for Wall Street?
Banner image; An Occupy Philly protester holds a sign after the 5 pm deadline to clear the encampment expired November 27, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
November US Consumer Confidence Jumps More than Expected ()
Retailers have worried about the upcoming holiday season, but consumers are bullish, at least for the moment. The private research group called the Conference Board said today that consumer confidence rose from 40.9 to 56.0 in last month, the biggest gain in eight years. Kathleen Madigan is economics columnist at the Dow Jones Newswire.
- Kathleen Madigan: Dow Jones Newswires
Occupy Movement's Last Gasp or a New Beginning? ()
New York Police roughly ousted Occupy Wall Street campers in Zuccotti Park, and occupations in cities around the country had similar endings. The use of force gave the movement additional visibility, and even a kind of credibility. In Los Angeles, it's a different story. In October, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council endorsed Occupy LA and gave campers raincoats on a stormy day. Now the Mayor has declared the encampment around City Hall both "unsustainable" and illegal. But the LAPD has yet to make more than a few token arrests. In two months, occupiers have spread to 900 cities worldwide, created the "99%" catchphrase and made income inequality part of the national dialogue. Now there's talk of "occupying" next year's political party conventions, or maybe the Congress. But will Occupy Wall Street ever compare to the civil rights or anti-Vietnam movements? Is it the Tea Party of the Left? We get a range of opinions.
- Ian Thompson: ANSWER Coalition
- John Heilemann (@jheil): New York magazine, @jheil
- Frank Newport: Gallup Poll, @galluppoll
- Charles C.W. Cooke: National Review, @charlescwcooke
- Michael Kazin: Georgetown University
Judge Rejects Citigroup/SEC Settlement ()
In cases involving Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, UBS and other big corporations, the Securities and Exchange Commission has allowed fraud charges to be settled. Companies pay fines without admitting they've done anything wrong, even promising not to do again what they haven't admitted to in the past. Today, District Judge Jed Rakoff essentially said, "not in my courtroom." The SEC had accused Citigroup of selling a $1 billion mortgage fund to investors without telling them it was betting the deal would fail. When it did, Citi made $160 million while investors lost $700 million. Rakoff's refusal to approve a $285 million fine without admission of wrongdoing could make a difference on Wall Street says Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine.
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