In a special event today at the Greene Space, Brian Lehrer hosted former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, Crain's business journalist Greg David, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City Kathryn Wylde, and Occupy Wall Street organizer Jesse LaGreca for a dialogue (not diatribe) about the direction of the Occupy protests and the country at large.

The discussion, held in front a live audience, often turned contentious between Spitzer and Wylde, as well as LaGreca and David, who disagreed about root causes of the financial crisis, the nature of Occupy as compared with the Tea Party, and what were the long-term solutions to our economic woes.

"The idea that if we cut wages to the bone, cut spending to the bone, if we just don't invest anything else and just trust these 'job creators' to do the jobs for us, it just hasn't happened," LaGreca said. "It's not going to happen, and we really need to shift away from that paradigm."

LaGreca's bottom line was that trickle-down economics, as he saw it, hadn't served the country well for the past 25 years. Concessions made to "job creators" in the form of bailouts, deregulation, and lower taxes have not done much to create jobs.

Occupy Wall Street sees corporate greed, but Greg David is hesitant to call it that.

"The purpose of a corporation is to make a lot of money," David said, "and by making a lot of money, by maximizing its profits, many good things happen in the economy."

Eliot Spitzer agreed that the purpose of a corporation is profit, but pointed out that government policy over the past few decades, which has been heavily influenced by business interests, often favors the profit margins of those interests above all else. "When we also let corporations then dictate the rules of society by which they operate, then crisis occurs," Spitzer said.

 more ...