Democrats in particular have managed their responses to the Occupy Wall Street movement, hoping to seize the protests’ organizing opportunities.
Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., said on ABC’s “Top Line” today that after attending an Occupy Raleigh event over the weekend, he’s convinced that the “Occupy” forces can help Democrats move legislation on Capitol Hill. He hopes that will start with his proposal to make it much easier for customers to move accounts between banks.
“I’ve been working on it with all the usual consumer groups that I’ve worked on other consumer financial protection issues with, and what we’ve lacked is a real popular movement behind it,” Miller said.
“If Occupy Wall Street will provide some of that energy coming up with a legislative agenda that accomplishes what they want to accomplish, [it] is not going to be that hard. We need both things. We need kind of a wonkish detail – attention to detail, policy detail – and then we need real energy, a real popular movement behind it. And that is what I think Occupy Wall Street offers, or promises.”
Of the rally he attended Sunday in his home state, Miller said, “I went unannounced and I wasn’t one of the organizers or anything, just to meet the people and see what they had to say. And I’m sure there were some people there who were kind of fringe, but I knew some of the people there and they were maybe kind of liberal.
“They certainly were Democrats, but they were certainly in the mainstream, and they had the same frustrations that I think most Americans feel,” he added.
The protesters, he said, believe ”there’s a great sense of injustice in what is going on in our economy in the last several years, really the last generation.
“The people who caused it and are really blameworthy for having caused it have not suffered. And the people who really have suffered – who’ve lost their jobs, who’ve lost their homes to foreclosure – they were entirely blameless. There’s a great sense of injustice and a sense that our economy is not working as it should, and it’s controlled by a handful of people who are running it for their own benefit,” Miller said.
Miller said his proposal, introduced amid customer anger at new fees being imposed by Bank of America, would allow customers to better take advantage of the free market.
“It needs to be easy, it should be easy to move your account. So the stickiness of banking relationships – of consumer banking – is very deliberate, and it’s entirely unnecessary,” he said. “It should be possible for you to walk into a new bank and say, ‘I’ve compared. You’re a better deal for me than my old bank.’”