Robert Reich writes: A combination of police crackdowns and bad weather are testing the young Occupy movement. But rumors of its demise are premature, to say the least. Although numbers are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests the movement is growing.
As importantly, the movement has already changed the public debate in America.
Consider, for example, last week’s Congressional Budget Office report on widening disparities of income in America. It was hardly news – it’s already well known that the top 1 percent now gets 20 percent of the nation’s income, up from 9 percent in the late 1970s.
But it’s the first time such news made the front page of the nation’s major newspapers.
Why? Because for the first time in more than half a century, a broad cross-section of the American public is talking about the concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the top.
Score a big one for the Occupiers.
Even more startling is the change in public opinion. Not since the 1930s has a majority of Americans called for redistribution of income or wealth. But according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, an astounding 66 percent of Americans said the nation’s wealth should be more evenly distributed.