The Costs of Occupy LA

December 24, 2011 at 2:38 am Leave a comment

As much as the Occupy movement brought attention to the corporate malfeasance,  it had an cost to the taxpayer.

The aggregate cost was $2.3 million as reported by the LA Times and that is a drop in the bucket for Los Angeles taxpayer, but since LA is almost bankrupt, it will result in more financial peril.

In budgeting, this is an unexpected contingency cost that the city did not plan to have.  No one expect to the Occupy movement to happen.  No city budget planner could place a line item in the budget for Occupy.  It was a completely spontaneous movement that came out of nowhere.

In the end, the benefit of the Occupy movement for exposing economic injustice exceeded the cost to the city.  A $2.3 million dollar loss for the city was worth what the Occupy movement did.  We have not had a social movement in the last ten years that has successfully pointed  towards the economic injustices to the level that Occupy movement

Less money could have been placed into putting less law enforcement resource to police Occupy.  It did not require the large police presence as it did.

A long-term occupation that would last for months and months would cost the city too much.  There is a point where the Occupy movement moves beyond just an extraordinary expense and becomes a liability to cities precious financial statement.  If Occupy went on for more than a year and cost $10 million dollars, then it would have drawn money away from parks, libraries, and other city resources that needed the funding.  

In conclusion, a one year occupation would have made little sense.  The Occupy movement would had to move its energy to different forms of protest outside of occupying a piece of the lawn in cityhall.

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