The trash generated by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests keeps piling up. So do the bills. Liberal media outlets claim the anarchic, anti-capitalist movement is more popular than the Tea Party. But wait until Americans across the country get a full picture of the costs of the aimless occupiers.
In New York City, government officials estimate the month-long siege of Zuccotti Park has now imposed $3.2 million in overtime police costs on the public. On Thursday, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office pressured left-wing activists to vacate the park for cleaning, Occupy Wall Street urged sympathizers to flood the city’s customer-services lines: “Call 311 and tell Bloomberg not to evict us!”
In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter told the press that demonstrators outside City Hall have incurred $164,000 in overtime public-employee costs and $237,000 in regular time. “At the current rate, if Occupy Philly continues to the end of the month, the city would spend another nearly $690,000 on police overtime alone,” the local NBC affiliate reported. “Besides the extra police presence being dedicated to the Occupy Philly protests, other city departments have also incurred costs.”
In Seattle, police have so far billed $30,000 in overtime, and the parks department racked up nearly $4,000 in additional costs related to the protests there. Occupiers have blocked traffic, assaulted an officer, and pitched illegal tents. Merchants in the area have been hurt as the riff-raff deter customers. One business owner in Westlake Park, where hundreds of protesters remain camped out, told Seattle TV station KIRO: “There’s definitely fewer people you can identify as people out, just walking through the area.”
Seattle’s pushover mayor, Democrat Mike McGinn, now faces even greater demands from the insatiable mob — which wants a “guaranteed parking space near City Hall Plaza that allows for around-the-clock parking,” “24-hour access to the first floor of City Hall for restroom access, and a written statement from the mayor approving the protesters’ long-term occupancy of City Hall Plaza.”
In Boston, city-council president Stephen Murphy anticipates a $2 million hit to taxpayers if the protests refuse to disband by the end of October. The local Fox affiliate notes the tab represents 8 percent of the yearly budget for police overtime. “While we’re all sympathetic with our protesters down there,” Murphy said, “Wall Street isn’t picking up the tab on this thing. It’s the Boston taxpayers.”
When fiscally conservative tea-party activists held protests over the past two years, they filed for all the required permits and paid for their own power. Occupy Boston, by contrast, neither sought nor obtained any proper permits at any level, according to the Boston Globe. Instead, city and park officials have been cowed into providing them gratis electricity and camp space lest there be “conflict.”
Many of these occupiers are primarily occupied as paid rent-a-mobsters for unions, left-wing think tanks, and the radical Working Families Party. While one collective hand soaks the taxpayers, the other hand is busy soliciting free stuff. Occupy Los Angeles activists took to Skype on their laptops to solicit donations of iPhones and iPads.
Occupy Wall Street members on Twitter organized an ongoing “#needsoftheoccupiers” drive for everything from batteries and tarps to “gently used” coats and sweaters, wool socks, sleeping bags, and energy bars. Occupy Austin organizers publicized their wish list, including a free barbecue grill, portable toilets, extension cords, a Bobcat forestry cutter for clearing brush, and network cameras for a livestream.
These are not principled advocates of fiscal responsibility. They are professional freeloaders.