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?