As ThinkProgress reported on Saturday, GOP presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich childishly lashed out at Occupy Wall Street protesters, saying that the 99 Percent Movement is about “the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park they didn’t pay for to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for. To beg for food at places that they don’t want to pay for. To obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathroom to sustain the park so that they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything.” Watch it:
What Gingrich doesn’t seem to be willing to admit is that demonstrators are not simply demanding free things — they are demanding economic justice after Wall Street’s behavior destroyed trillions of dollars of wealth and plunged 60 million people into extreme poverty through no fault of their own.
But when it comes to the issue of “self-righteously” taking free things for themselves, Gingrich is a much more serious offender than any of the 99 Percenters. While he was speaker in the 1990s, he represented Cobb County, Georgia. Thanks to Gingrich, Cobb ranked “third among suburban counties in federal dollars returned per resident. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the federal government spent $4.4 billion in Cobb County in 1994, some $10,000 per resident, or nearly twice as much per capita as it spent in New York City.”
Filmmaker Michael Moore, noting the hypocrisy of Gingrich lavishing taxpayer subsidies on his home district while cutting safety net programs for the poor, visited the speaker’s district and asked him if he wanted to cut any of this spending. Gingrich refused to commit to cutting any of it. Watch it:
The media should not allow Gingrich to hurl insults at the 99 Percent while failing to point out that he was one of Congress’s biggest spenders, who apparently believed that taxpayers owed “everything” to his district.