The Social Costs of the “99%”

December 30th, 2011

What happens when the so-called “99%” are imposing significant social costs on the real 99% of society?

Megan McArdle opines:

And it highlights an inherent tension that Julian Sanchez wrote aboutwell in November: these protests are not simply about the protesters v. “the 1%”.  The protesters also impose costs, possibly significant costs, on the surrounding communities.  And the protesters themselves seem to refuse to acknowledge this–that they are not simply a representative of “the 99%”, but also often at odds with a significant portion of that larger population.
Now, I’m sure that the members of OccupyDC would contest the need for extra policing.  But the active protests certainly do–sometime before Thanksgiving, I spent about twenty minutes trapped behind a handful of people who had decided to march down K Street at rush hour.  They absolutely did need the large police escort that they had in order to keep angry drivers (not me) from running them over.  And even the passive part of the protest had, last time I was down there, become a magnet for homeless people, with the attendant worries about petty crime and acting out by the mentally ill.
It seems to me that a movement claiming to represent the 99% should consciously take these costs into account–particularly over the longer term.  A one day crime spike is not a big deal. A  three month increase is a pretty sizable cost, particularly in a city that already has a very high crime rate.
These people do not represent the 99% in any context.