Occupy This – Rebuttal to Nonsensical Occupy WallStreet Demands

by Darwin on October 5, 2011

Today, I came across a piece of screed published in the Occupy WallStreet forum that is both laughable and alarming.  It’s laughable because the demands are so absurd that it belongs on a Saturday Night Live skit.  It’s dangerous because it demonstrates the naivety and gullibility that so many Americans actually align themselves with.  I don’t know that the entire movement aligns itself with every demand here or what, since they don’t seem to have a cohesive message (or leader for that matter).  But by reading the front page of their site today, they are completely in favor of the Greeks (rioting and protesting while refusing to pay taxes and live off their government), welcoming of the influx of unions joining the fray (so this is clearly a left-wing socialist movement, not representative of 99% at all.  Maybe 20%) and going to the ole’ standby – student walkouts.  Hilarious, what the heck are students protesting who haven’t even looked for full-time work yet?  Everyone knows college students jump at an opportunity to walk out of class over any silly cause while their secretly smiling professors applaud their activism (reminding them of the 60s).

Disclosure: I don’t work on Wall Street, nor do any family members or close friends.  I just think the movement is misdirecting their discontent.  Why not occupy the White House?  Rather than dumb stimulus after stimulus spending that never worked, the economy would be much better off if Obama stopped tinkering, stopped vilifying the successful & American businesses and just fessed up that he was wrong all along – America DOES need business to create jobs and wants to work WITH them, not against them. (See 5 Ways Obama is Wrecking the Economy).

Here are the “demands” along with a dose of reality from yours truly (in red).

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr. Reply: Sure, tariffs work wonders. “level the playing field” is a political addage with no basis in reality.  Theory of comparative advantage. Look it up.  Let countries focus on what they do best.  In the US, that is no low-skill manufacturing.

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.  Reply: If the current health care reform didn’t already highlight the problems with going in that direction, perhaps taking a look at the governments in western europe that Michael Moore lionized years back which are now crumbling.  With an aging society, increasing life expectancies and strained budgets, providing universal free/unlimited healthcare for anyone who wants it is simply not feasible.  It’s not affordable, it’s not sustainable, and it just doesn’t work in the real world.  Sorry for the dose of reality.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment. This is as absurd as the rest.  First off, what is the “living wage” they recommend?  Let’s say it’s $25,000 in a typical region (since I’m sure they’d suggest it is adjust for cost of living, so we can all move to San Fran or NYC and get $50,000).  But even $25,000, right?  Regardless of employment kinda means, well, you don’t have to work right?  So, if the 99 weeks of unemployment wasn’t enough, now you can make $25,000 for life!  NO work required.  Just collect!  And to further magnetize leaches from all over the globe, see more below on open borders.

Demand four: Free college education. College is the great equalizer.  I can get behind initiatives tied to educating Americans.  But this isn’t practical.  It is totally vague and like usual, there’s no detail on how to pay for it, just that they WANT IT NOW.  So, is this a free Ivy League education?  Free state school?  Free trade school?  And what about the fact that college isn’t the right choice for millions of Americans?  Who pays?

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand. What the hell does this have to do with Wall Street?  Didn’t we learn from Spain?  Didn’t Obama’s Solyndra scandal teach us anything?  You can only subsidize and support so much, but if there’s no market support for an initiative, it’s pissing money down a rat hole.  Eventually, oil prices will rise enough (we’re already at peak oil but the economy is sputtering thus depressing oil prices) that it will force the market to gravitate toward alternative energy sources.  But for now, it’s gaining little traction and is an inefficient use of funds.

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now. Yeah, we saw how great the stimulus projects were.  First off, they years to spend the money and a good deal was pissed away on pet projects and nobody was “shovel-ready” with actual approved projects ready to go.  Why would it be any different this time around?  My town got a few million.  They spent it wisely.  The built a stupid bridge over a road that already has a crosswalk which is perfectly usable and they expanded a parking lot in a park where the lot’s always empty.  I drive by it every day.  Now there’s a HUGE empty parking lot.  Great job!

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants. What’s another Trillion between friends?  Who pays?  Who cares!

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment. Again, now Wall Street is racist?  I dunno, of the people I know that work on Wall Street through old college buddies and such, many are women and minorities.  In fact, I’ve been seeing quite a bit of anti-Semitism directed TOWARD Wall Street from bloggers, pundits and people who should know better.  I guess it’s OK to leave out religious bigotry to suit their agenda.

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.  This will work wonders for national security.  Oh, and all those freebies you want to give everyone.  Free Healthcare for anyone on earth then.  If you can get there, it’s free everything!  Paradise!

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system. Still fuming over the Bush presidency?  Clearly a political charade here, not a true risk to democracy here in America.  Perhaps focus efforts on gerrymandering and union members being forced to pay dues which funnel to pockets of Democratic candidates?  That to me seems like more of an abuse of democracy than electric vs paper balloting!

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period. Again, ridiculous.  You borrowed money, pay it back.  That’s the real world.  Whether or not you lost the ability to pay isn’t the bank’s “fault”.  Forgive credit cards, forgive this, forgive that.  Boy, that doesn’t have any moral hazard issues for repeating the same behavior?  I can’t even believe I’m addressing that one.

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies. You’re right.  Assessing someone’s creditworthiness is evil.  You know, because since under the prior provision nobody needs to pay any debts anyway, I guess it wouldn’t make sense to assess someone’s ability to pay back a loan.  I have an idea; how about all the organizers and supporters of this nonsensical tirade lend me some money?  No questions asked.

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union. …And boom.  Of course.  Here is the real agenda, the Marxist movement.  We should all unionize.  Any time, any place, anyhow.  Workers unite!  Is it any wonder that businesses want to distance themselves from unions (like moving jobs overseas?).  They’re the antithesis of productivity.  A union is diametrically opposed to efficiency.  See, more workers, more hours, more overtime, higher costs, inflexibility – these are all the goals of union leadership to derive maximum benefit to their members.  And these things all kill business competitiveness.  To argue otherwise is insanity.  Sure, there’s something to be said for “worker’s rights” and who knows, maybe we all have it much better today than we would have otherwise if it weren’t for unions last century?  But to turn the entire country union?  Please.  Look at Greece today.  It is shut down completely right now and utterly broke.  Unions.

These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.  The ultimate absurdity.  They close by saying these demands will create so many jobs we’ll NEED open borders to accommodate all the workers.  I don’t really know what else to say.  It’s insane.

So, I don’t know if this is just some crazy in their movement or hundreds of these “disenfranchised” go along with this line of thinking, but it’s not something that seems credible to me.


Where Do You Stand on the “Occupation” of Wall Street, Colleges and Cities?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos October 6, 2011 at 5:26 am

Nice rant, Darwin.

The one about a “living wage” always makes me chortle a little. Why stop at 10 or 20 bucks, why not a hundred bucks an hour? $200k a year seems reasonable. We’ll just make those two-bit entrepreneurs pay higher salaries, and then pass laws that they can’t move those factories overseas…. err, if they still had factories. The Romans tried that, passing laws tying people to the land so that they couldn’t leave. Didn’t work. History may not repeat, but it sure rhymes, as they say.

On unions, I’m not completely against the idea. Just not in the adversarial way they function here in the US … and in most places, come to think of it. The German inclusive model works well enough for Germans. A guild of skilled tradespeople competing in a free market is another approach.

There’s a lot to protest on Wall Street. Shame that it’s taken on an emotional, politically charged bent.


Darwin October 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Germany is the sole economy that one can point to for favorable manufacturing output wrt unions. Wages are quite high, but the skill levels and complexity of operations are commensurate. Most other western european nations are burning, US is falling behind and most of the developing world doesn’t allow them in large degree. Granted, worker abuses abound in developing world, but in the US, there are plenty of successful models of large businesses that are non-unionized where everyone wins. And public sector unions? Don’t even get me started…


MoneyCone October 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Hey, pot-smoking hippies had a lot to do with the ending the Vietnam war! Maybe some good will come out of this.


Darwin October 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Sure, when hippies dumped buckets of piss and shit on my father’s ship as he went off to Vietnam to fight, that was honorable. I don’t have much admiration for that class of people. It’s one thing to petition your government to change policies. To vilify soldiers and veterans with chants of baby-killers and burn flags? That’s un-American.


Ash @ Sterling Effort October 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I’d heard of these guys but nothing about their policies really are crazy. It would be funny if it wasn’t so concerning. Great rant though 🙂


Darwin October 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

You agree with the demands above? They’re outrageous!


Ash @ Sterling Effort October 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Oh god no! Sorry, I was tired when I wrote that. It was supposed to say “I didn’t know anything about their policies. They really are crazy”


Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog October 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm

instead of sitting in the street blocking traffic of those actually working, maybe these protesters should try getting a job – then they’ll have a living wage!
Consider the SEIU just put weight behind this 2 days ago ,there are a lot of big labor goals…..hmmmm.


Darwin October 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm

It’s interesting (yet predictable) to see all the various interests slamming their meathooks into the movement to call it their own. Labor turning it into a union platform, Obama admin claiming it’s the young rallying to re-elect him, students who don’t want to pay off college loans, you name it.


Sass October 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

This whole movement is completely unbelievable — I don’t think I have ever in my life seen so many whiners (and that includes when I was teaching preschool!). People need to grow up and become accountable to and for themselves and not expect everyone else to take care of them. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a lot of advantages and I’m the first to admit that I squandered plenty of them and am paying the price for that now. However, its not my parents fault, its not my teachers fault, its not my former or current bosses’ fault, or the government’s fault. It is MY responsibility and my life is what I make of it. I just don’t understand how so many have failed to grasp that basic concept.

I understand that it is hard to find a job for many right now, however, I also know that it is not going to encourage any business to open up hiring if people they feel they are about to be saddled with unmeetable demands from those they are hiring. And quite honestly, who do they think is going to pay for all of these demands? Because apparently they aren’t willing to, they just want to take more. All of these “occupiers” need a strong dose of reality and a class on personal responsibility.


Invest It Wisely October 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm

It’s okay to have unions so long as they remain voluntary organizations — which they are decidedly not in the western world. See, in a way the Yakezie is a union, but one that must operate through peaceful means and in a way that adds value and benefits all, not just the narrow interest of a few.

Otherwise I find all the demands ridiculous, except for the open borders one. I am all for freedom of movement of both labour and capital. Afraid they’ll eat up the welfare? Well, maybe you shouldn’t have a welfare state then. 😉


Kevin @ Thousandaire.com October 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm

My favorite is the open borders policy. Let’s add a few lines to the Statue of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor, your drug lords, your terrorists, your lazy, and your unemployed.


Dave October 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

These demands are ridiculous. I keep expecting the movement leader to say “These are our demands. We will kill a hostage every hour if they are not met.”


george October 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I am not sure why everybody is focused on the demands that were raised by this particular user. I also saw a fox news article attacking the demands raised by this user. Anybody that has used Internet for even 1 year and is not stoned would know that any material that is listed in the forums of a website is not the authorized material. There is no point arguing that these demands are crazy just because they came from some single user and are not representative of what majority of Wall Street occupiers think.

My views against the wall street is that they have influenced policies in a way that is favorable to them by lobbying. Lobbying would actually be considered illegal and a form of corruption in a lot of countries but not USA where corporations occupy the same status as “people” which is obviously not only inethical but also absurd (People can’t buy their way out of criminal activities they do but corporations can buy their way out by paying some fines).


Squirrelers October 13, 2011 at 1:47 am

Thanks for the laugh and the rant. It’s actually too comical for me to get mad at such crazy ideas. I guess personal responsibility doen’t matter anymore 🙂


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