Opinion

How the tea party can 'agree' with Occupy movement's demands

Given the somewhat amorphous slogans of the Occupy Wall Street movement, members of the tea party may be wondering if they should join the fray. University of Denver law professor Robert Hardaway suggests how the tea party might “agree” with five of the Occupy movement's top demands – in its own way:

5. Give us jobs

Stop throwing America’s unemployed under the bus by “outsourcing” over a million American jobs to illegal immigrants just so big corporations and millionaires can exploit them. Stop pushing down wages of the poor by flooding the market with cheap foreign labor in order to increase the profits of big corporations and lower the cost of maids and gardeners for millionaires.

Instead, prosecute greedy corporations and millionaires who hire illegal immigrants, letting wages rise to levels at which legal immigrants and other Americans can earn a decent standard of living. Stop claiming that Americans won’t do dirty work (like garbage collection or yard work) if wages for those jobs are allowed to rise to decent levels at which a worker can support a family.

Stop pricing the most vulnerable workers out of the job market by raising the minimum wage. (When companies get squeezed with having to pay employees higher government-mandates wages, they may either lay off workers, stop creating jobs, or send jobs oversees to cheaper labor. Finally, stop paying people not to work with extended unemployment benefits that curry favor with voters.

Depending on what the OWS slogans really mean, maybe Occupy Wall Street and the tea party could find some common ground.

Robert Hardaway is a professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the author of 16 books on law and public policy.

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