Editorial comment

Think globally, protest locally



People are fed up.

That’s why they’re coming from around the country to occupy Wall Street. But one need not travel far to find the consequences of the greed that is eating average Americans alive.

The Bronx is the poorest borough in the city, with an average annual income of $45,625 — 40 percent below the city average of $76,000. Average household incomes have plunged by $1,000 a year since 2008.

Even in relatively affluent Riverdale, the hulks of unfinished apartment towers besmirch the sky, ready-for-occupancy condo complexes struggle to find buyers years after their completion and tenants worry how they’ll pay the rent and the next installment on their health insurance.

Today, the banks that brought us to the brink of a depression, as well as corporations that have reaped record profits throughout the nation’s economic recession, have grabbed the sympathy of the Republican Party for being “job creators.” Meanwhile national unemployment averages are above 9 percent and the number reaches between 12 and 16 percent in the Bronx.

Those profits have not created jobs — not in America, anyway. Instead, unemployment rates have climbed while profits have surged.

And now, even as one after another labor union joins the chorus of voices started by unaffiliated young people raising awareness about the disparities killing the American Dream, the greediest among us — none of whom are above asking for a handout from the American taxpayer — remain out of touch from within a comfortable cocoon of privilege.

Taxpayers bailed out “too big to fail” banks. And what do they turn around and do?

Last week Bank of America — which got more than $142 billion in public money in 2009, according to ProPublica — decided it would have to do something about the modest limits placed on how much it could charge merchants for debit card transactions.

The bank simply couldn’t contemplate having its profits reigned in, so it announced that it will be reaching into its customers’ pockets by charging them $5 a month to use their debit cards to access their own money.

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