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Michael,

The biographical information was very interesting. Thanks for that.

I agree with you on your overall assessment of adolescent psychology. You also note a positive side to it in terms of reproduction. I would say that the idealism itself, however naive, can also be a positive (and a negative, depending on the case).

I disagree with you on everything else, though. :)

1. First, what are the exact demos of the OWS protesters. I think your overall argument needs this if it's to be successful. I see a lot of people in the pictures who appear to be in their late 20s, 30s, and older.

2. Am I to understand that you believe the status quo in this country is good and acceptable? Things are hunky-dory? You don't really say, but you should, since the value and necessity of the protest hinges on that (even though you don't think they have any good points to make, if there is something to protest about, then they are not just out there because they are frustrated kids).

3. Personally, I think this country is broken, and I totally side with the message of the protesters. The fact that they don't have a concrete prescription for fixing things is fine with me. First, we need to get national consensus that there is a problem; then we can work on the problem.

Further, I don't think we *know* how to run a modern economy in the year 2011. No one does. Neither the right nor the left. If we had the concepts and laws and technologies we needed, we wouldn't be in this mess right now. We will stumble through a solution, but first we need at least to get our vision and goals straight. The protests can help in this regard.

4. You seem to take for granted a world in which youth just aren't needed. Graduate from school, and *of course* it's hard to get a job. All the slots are filled. Pay your dues for 20 years and then we'll talk.

But the world doesn't have to be that way and shouldn't be that way. The staggering waste of the muscle and brainpower of young people is a systematic flaw in our economic system that does crush dreams and fill young people with rage.

I've been on both sides of this. Like you, I submitted a bunch of writing when I was young, and it was all rejected. This was annoying, but I did a smart thing: I gave up. Not writing, but submitting. :) (Now in the age of self-publishing, I will never "submit" again.)

One key experience was serving as a summer camp counselor at age 20. The pay was atrocious (it was like less than $700 for 8 weeks of brutal full-time work!), but the work was challenging. It was a *big* experience for a young person.

I graduated college in three years and went to Japan to teach English, where I had a job that was genuinely challenging and actually paid pretty well.

I went back to the States after a year and had a hard time finding a job. I finally got one where I was basically treated like crap. This was the most bitter and depressed time in my life--the time when I was most like the rage-filled you you described. But I busted ass looking for a job in Japan and found one, and--lo and behold--a young person (now 24) had a challenging job again.

When there are challenges to be met and work to be done, young people can accomplish a lot. I read that after WWII, owing to the demographics and the fact that a bunch of young people had been killed, people in their late 20s were becoming bank presidents, and so on.

So you say life is tough. It is. But our economic and social system is truly screwing young people over right now--it's indeed screwing the 99% over right now. And I say this as someone who is doing better in life jobwise than ever (but I'm still in the 99%!).

So, to summarize, they indeed are correct in what they are saying about the 1%/99%, and they also have genuine grievances as young people.

Hey Michael,

I totally get where you're coming from. I'm 25 years old, I also have a degree related to film, and it's not extraordinary. Although, my focus is on carving my own business and doing what I enjoy. Hopefully I'm not too much of a victim of narcissism, something that does not necessarily go away in your 20s.

But here's where you're quite wrong. I'm making a short documentary about this movement, and participated in the Tucson rally with about 500 demonstrators.

The MAJORITY were between the ages of 50-90. In my interviews, the older folk knew EXACTLY why they were protesting: government bailouts, corporate / government infusion, and corruption on Wall Street.

As we waited anxiously for the police to come and bust all of us, the protesters set up the film 'Inside Job' on an outdoor projector. That film does a marvelous job of demonstrating what the movement is REALLY about.

Mixed in with these people who have a solid goal in their protest, are plenty of college-aged kids who suffer from the same insecurity, and a dawning realization their college degree is not a replacement for the uphill struggle of self-promotion and making it in the professional world.

One girl I interviewed, maybe 21 or 22, believed we should remove currency altogether. This just feels like people who are fed up with 'real life' but provide no clear alternative.

The way I feel now is that the kids at these protests are being quite naive. You can't blame Wall Street for the facts of life: that you have to pick yourself up by your boot-straps to either find good work, or create your own career. There is no cabal holding anyone back. I've seen people achieve amazing potential through dedication. I've seen musicians get on MTV and make tons of dough, from what started as a pipe dream.

These kids are allowed to protest, though. But, they're not delivering the primary message, which is supported by those people with a clearer understanding of what this is about.

The real issue is that we have no health insurance, congress is purchased by corporations, everybody is shouldering massive debt, and unemployment continues to rise. College kids have reason to be upset about these things, but it's natural for them to be upset about being thrust into such a grim landscape post-college.

You listen too much to the right-wing propaganda about this movement. It's not carried on the backs of delusional college kids and weird hippies. While there is a percentage of these people at the protests, they're not the real representatives. Many people have a clear idea about what needs to change. Corporate controlled media outlets, and bloggers who listen to them and buy the shit, are afraid of this movement because it means their power could eventually be usurped. Don't carry their flag.

Michael, there are so many problems with this post I hardly know where to begin.

For now, I'll just say this: if you think this is about a bunch of "college-age or slightly older kids" then you haven't been following the story as it's continued to evolve.

And if you can say that "what little of substance they are saying doesn't interest me" then you're undoubtedly in that segment of the population who's enjoying a measure of financial security.

Myself, I'm struggling a bit, particularly when I think about my so-called retirement years (I'm now 64). So yeah--I find what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are saying to be of great interest indeed.

And that message, as I understand it, is that a society in which a tiny portion of the population controls most of the wealth has a serious problem.

Of course, maybe I just need to grow up.

Matt, Cyrus: right on!

On a less serious note, the girl in the picture is seriously hot, and I kinda wish her shirt were pulled down more (but for her sake am glad it's not).

Whilst I wouldn't disagree that the world's governments don't 'work', at least for the majority of the planets occupants, I do wonder what on earth should replace it.

We must have tried just about every form of society, structure and government and I can't recall any that have really worked fairly or would on a global scale. I'd be interested to hear what the alternatives are (seriously).

I apologize for ending my 4:13 PM post with a bit of sarcasm. That always lowers the level of the conversation, and I wish I hadn't.

Paul,

For my $0.02, neither idealistic libertarianism nor idealistic socialism is going to work, and I don't think we need a new ideology.

Conservatism in particular has nothing to offer. We can't go *back* to anything. I do think what we'll end up with is a blend of capitalism and socialism--which is what we already have--but with more socialism.

Rather, we must slowly but surely rebuild the structures of our society and economy.

But in order to rebuild, we must have a vision we agree on (or at least enough of us to push it through).

The thing is that the system is breaking down of its own accord, so if we don't change, things will only get worse. My guess is that it's breaking down because capitalism only "works" when growth can stay above a certain level. Once the returns everyone is depending on don't come in, there is a chain reaction in the system as we saw in 2008 and so on.

Here's a key concept:

Link:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fakliman.squarespace.com%2Fstorage%2FKliman%2520Destruction%2520of%2520Capital%2520web%25201.31.09.doc&ei=DXCbTpyAPOn1sQLG6N2VBg&usg=AFQjCNEAK8EQwEG4wr8CgLXGIC2mVNpxSg&sig2=hezPnh1mhCLT-KgRtC7GmQ

Karl Marx clearly speaks of the “destruction of capital” through crises (Marx, Part II, [1861-3]1978, pp. 495-96) and distinguishes two different meanings of capital destruction during crises, namely destruction of real capital (use-value and exchange value) and destruction of capital defined as depreciation of exchange values. Destruction of capital through crises constitutes a necessary moment of the capitalist reproduction process. In this respect, destruction of values is an integral part of value-creation. Nonetheless, the destructive power of crises is a “spontaneous” or an “unintended” destruction which does not result from strategic decisions of individuals or social groups.

We are going to have to build an economy in which we don't have to keep going through this over and over.

Here is a better link on economic crises:

http://massline.org/PolitEcon/crises/Crises03.htm

I think the kids are right to protest. They were suckered by the conventional wisdom and cheated by poor government which is responsible for the poor economy. However I think they are misinformed about who is responsible for the bad economy and how to fix it.

High unemployment will lead to protests. The free marketers think it is only natural for successful people to be allowed to reap the benefits of their superior talents. However it is also natural for the strong to take from the weak. It is also natural for the poor to loot the rich. So if the free marketers want to keep the benefits of their superior talents, they better consider how to protect themseves from looters. I think the best way would be to educate people on the fact that the most people benefit the most from an expanding economy not from redistribution of wealth and that low taxes and less regulation will lead to an expanding economy. Hopefully a properly educated public will lead to better government through elections.


"Beyond all this, I also felt alienated from mainstream society for ideological reasons. In college I'd become infatuated with the writings of Ayn Rand and had adopted a radical libertarian political perspective. "

I can relate to that. I am in general a fiscal conservative. I'm split on social issues so I am not a social conservative, nor a social liberal. I am a foreign policy hawk. But none of those labels really fit me exactly. I suppose libertarian is the closest description but I would never support LaRouch or Ron Paul so I don't like to call myself a libertarian. I don't think you can find two people who will agree on every issue so I don't really like labels.

A big problem with society is that people identify with a label of a philosophy and then try to defend that philosophy blindly. Reality is much more complicated. The most successful economic system that has lifted the most people out of poverty is capitalism. However human nature has its flaws. You need government to protect the environment, workers, consumers, and business from exploitation and abuse from some corporations. But government suffers from the same flawed human nature and unrestrained government is as big a problem as unrestrained capitalism.

Capitalism may be the best system that we know of, but I think it is still is not a very good system. I hope some day we will find a better economic system.

The mutilations and maimings inflicted on these characters are described in voluptuous detail.

I never understood why authors resort to graphic violence or sex. I suppose it just leads to greater sales. Personally I prefer fiction from the "old days" let's say of 100 years ago. I read fiction for entertainment, to pass the time. A good writer can write an interesting and important story about human nature. Graphic sex and violence are crutches that indicate writting of lesser quality but higher profitability. I understand, a writer has to make a living so I am not condemning it - just criticizing it.

" I didn't know that most people really are doing the best they can, and that if society is unsatisfactory, it's because human nature is imperfect."

Okay but I think you can identify specific individuals that have a particularly bad influence on society and it is right to try identify who they are so you can understand what went wrong - to prevent a recurrence in the future.

"Narcissism is, I think, a perfectly normal stage of emotional development. It is actually healthy, because it allows young people to exhibit the self-confidence necessary to attract their mates. "

I had a horrible time in grad school. It led to change in careers. On the positive side, it did give me practice and confidence in my ability to do independent research which has been an imporant asset in life, However, the most important result was that the hardship did cure me of narcissism. Studying Buddhism a few years later complemented that lesson.

I think people who are highly talented, have unusual talents, and who have great success sometime don't get a lesson to shake the narcissism out of them. One of the greatest curses of being strongly psychic is that it can lead to egotism. There are a lot of selfish, self centered, idiots who are psychic - but for some reason the public and psychics seem to think being psychic is sign of being an advanced soul. It isn't.


"They are finding those first steps difficult–perhaps unusually difficult right now, because of the bad economy, but let's not kid ourselves; those first steps are always difficult, even in a good economy. "

Also consider that the movement astro turfed (as opposed to grass roots), it is organized by professional liberals and liberal organizations. The protesters are lied to by the organizers about the source of their problem and the solution. The source is not wall street it is bad government policy. The solution is not wealth redistribution and more government regulation. The solution is lower taxes and less government regulation which will lead to greater economic activity and more job opportunities.


" It is the ignorance and stupidity of the young, who simply don't know better, because they haven't experienced much of life, and because they're relying on information obtained in books and lectures safely removed from the real world."

No, it is the stupidity of the misinformed. They have been lied to by the mainstream liberal media, liberal academia, liberal politicians and liberal philosophers.


"So yes, I do understand these people. I understand their fears, their frustrations, and their rage. And I understand that since most of them have no creative outlet, they can find relief only in mob action, in screaming and running amok and acting like idiots. They're young; they're supposed to be idiots. That's what youth is for."

I understand their grievences but education is supposed to prevent that type of idiocy. They have been failed by politicians whose poor policy have damaged the economy and by educators whose own ignorance had given these kids a completely idiotic understanding of economics.

"They were suckered by the conventional wisdom and cheated by poor government which is responsible for the poor economy"

Poor government policy (easy credit) is also the cause of the absurdly high cost of higher education that leaves so many kids deeply in debit - debt that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.

"Thirty years ago I graduated from college, having earned a not-very-marketable degree in Film Studies. "

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/129816/

"WHERE IS “OCCUPY HOLLYWOOD?” "


http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=46697


"Hollywood accounting is crooked on a scale that would make any Wall Street firm blush. David Prowse, the very tall actor who wore the Darth Vader costume in the original Star Wars trilogy, recently remarked in an interview that according to the studio, Return of the Jedi has never made a nickel of profit, so Prowse has never been paid any residuals.

As I expected, the comments so far are mostly about ideology, which is largely irrelevant to my post. But I do agree with jsh that there is a lot of behind-the-scenes organizing, agitating, and astroturfing going on. And of course the crowds have attracted hangers-on beyond the core audience of the young and the clueless - homeless people, the mentally ill, aging Vietnam-era hippies, and the usual loudmouthed leftists who show up at these things. But it's still mostly kids. Maybe in Tucson it's different; I'm talking about New York.

Michael,

You seem kinda angry about this whole thing. Never seen you like this on this blog before.

I'm not sure I get your point about ideology. You're not going to escape politics in talking about this topic. What here would you really like to focus on?

Cheers,

Matt

Hi Matt

I think you're right about rebuilding - I just can't see it happening because there are too many vested interests. I find it difficult to conceive of enough people agreeing on the right approach in a selfless manner.

How do you think it might be achieved?

From angry Libertarian to self-righteous authoritarian. How, uh. . . predictable!

I think most people reading about your post-graduate experience can relate to it. But I think you've totally missed the boat concerning Occupy Wall Street. First, these just aren't college kids, and they're not just protesting about how hard it is to get a job. They are protesting the systematic looting of the U.S. Treasury since 2008, and the wholescale scamming of the American people. There is no free market or capitalism in the U.S. anymore, it's become a system where those who contribute the most to the campaign coffers of both parties are rewarded with favors and bailouts, and corporate entities are obscenely given the rights of "persons." The general public may not understand how they were scammed, much of it is complex economics, but they certainly know they were scammed, and continue to be scammed. It's not just college kids unable to get a job, it's far more serious than that.

Paul,

I don't think it's going to happen unless this country experiences a lot more pain. Sadly, I don't think we've hit "rock bottom" as a nation yet, and--you're right--the vested interests are not going to give up their power until it is absolutely wrested from their hands by circumstances or other people.

Cheers,

Matt

Matt

Perhaps part of the problem is that a solution that works for one country may not for another, and being that we all seem to be connected financially these days, is therefore destined to fail.

I cannot see how the power can be wrested from all the hands which hold it around the world.

Paul,

I agree. Even the huge cataclysm of 2008 really didn't change anything. The same Masters of the Universe a la Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities are in control. The will not give up elite status until the entire system collapses.

Cheers,

Matt

"You seem kinda angry about this whole thing."

Well, I'm certainly not happy about the fact that we have a large crowd of increasingly violent people spouting Marxist slogans and making crudely anti-Semitic statements about "Hitler's bankers," while much of the media gives them a free pass. It worries me that the president is adopting some of their language.

If you want to talk about ideology, I'll briefly give it a go. I think the wealth disparity is problematic, but it's a feature of developed countries worldwide. It's not a matter of taxation, since the top 1% pays about 28% of federal income taxes. It seems to be a result of the information-based economy, which makes it possible for an individual to acquire vast wealth very quickly - look at the people behind Apple or Yahoo or Google or Facebook.

As for reckless behavior by banks, I think the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 was a huge mistake. Restoration of that law would largely solve the problem. Regarding derivatives and their misuse by hedge funds, etc., the only solution is tighter and smarter regulation. Dodd-Frank doesn't get it done and may actually be making things worse.

That's all I'll say about ideology, because a serious discussion of policy is largely irrelevant to the Occupy movement. These kids have never even heard of Glass-Steagall. They are driven by emotion, not thought. I think I've provided a fairly sympathetic analysis of their psychology, based on my own experience. I've been there, I know how they feel, and I also know that feelings aren't enough.

Michael,

I think you've using a broad brush for the tar here. They're not all kids, and the violent and anti-Semitic among them are surely tiny in number.

They are lefties to be sure, though, and that's OK with me, since I'm a lefty too.

If you think the wealth disparity is "problematic," then you in essence agree with their perspective, no? Or does your "but" mean that there's nothing we can do about it, and thus we should give up?

Cheers,

Matt

Michael,

I also don't think the wealth disparity is a result of the information economy, as the disparity was apparently just as bad back in the late 1920s.

I think the people in power have simply voted themselves more power and money. Compare the difference in CEO pay in the US vs. Japan and Europe.

Cheers,

Matt

Michael, I can assure they know about Glass-Steagall! Whatever your opinions of OCW are, I don't think it would be unwise to dismiss them at this point. Many of these non-violent social justice movements have made a huge difference throughout the world.

Hi, Michael, what you said is what was said in the Sixties and early Seventies with the civil rights protests and anti-war protests. Yes youth is rebellious, narcissistic and prone to temper tantrums. Even though I was of their age back then (first president I voted for was Richard Nixon) I felt superior and that they were childish. The problem was after I graduated from college and the war was over, the protesters were right. And was I ever glad my lottery number was high enough I wasn't drafted. Keep in mind, maybe these protesters are right. After all even Ayn Rand said "the root of money is production": Wall Street doesn't produce anything it manages money. Industry produces, business only make money. Ayn Rand said: "When laws are passed to protect those who produced nothing so they can take away from those who do, watch out." paraphrased here don't know if I have the exact wording.

Sorry for the second post, not related to topic, I was wondering what your take is on the movie Anonymous coming out that promotes the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare's plays?

Glad to see that at least one Prescott is making sense in this thread. :o)

For a moment, Patrick, I was afraid you were a family member come to defend your flesh and blood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient

Ha! How syncronistic. I had just copied and pasted the link (above) on a different site. I come here for the first time in a while and ....voila! Just click "paste". The wealth disparity in this country (as measured by the gini coefficient - a good metric) is greater than many industrialized nations and has been growing. There is no question that the 1% here who have so much are getting more and the other 99% are getting less. The system is rigged and people have a right to be up in arms over that fact.

It is apparent to many that despite following all of the rules, gaining an education and all of that, there will not be decent paying jobs or a chance at the American dream - and no remedy can be seen on the horizon. The free market concept has reached its logical conclusion. It takes money to make money and those who have the money are consolidating political power and other resources and making more and those that don't have the money and connections, cannot. Greed run rampant. I fail to see how anyone can honestly be an apologist for the system.

That coupled with trillion dollar bailouts by political cronies of the banking system (a truly free market would have demanded that the banks fail just like so many mom and pop retail stores have done), traditional manufacturing jobs endlessly flowing over seas, two unending expensive wars whose purpose has been forgotten if there ever was one, bizarro fascist-like policies that erode civil liberties up to and including the presidentially approved assassinations - without trial - of even American citizens (The Sopranos in the White House?)..........no folks. This country is totally screwed. It is not the greatest country on the planet - not any more. Europeans report much higher quality of life and sense of economic security.

Are some of these protestors the classic angry disenfranchised youth described in MP's post. Sure. Bound to be. It is a common malady of the young and energetic. I was one of those myself. But that doesn't make them wrong either. It doesn't diminish the truth or importance of the cause.

And I do agree with others here that, from what I have seen, there is a good mix of older working class folks (now jobless) as well.

No one's rant part 2 ;-)...."As for reckless behavior by banks, I think the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 was a huge mistake. Restoration of that law would largely solve the problem. Regarding derivatives and their misuse by hedge funds, etc., the only solution is tighter and smarter regulation. Dodd-Frank doesn't get it done and may actually be making things worse."

Uh huh.

Just why do you think Glass-Steagall was repealed? Answer: Because Wall St owns Wahington.

That is the sort of thing that has the protesters so upset (me too btw). It's not our gov't any more. It is the gov't for the few who can pay the biggest bucks.

"while much of the media gives them a free pass. "

I agree the news media is not a good source of information about who the protesters are, what their grievances are, or what solutions they propose.


http://bigjournalism.com/dloesch/2011/10/16/journolist-2-0-occupydc-emails-show-msm-dylan-ratigan-working-with-protesters-to-craft-message/

OccupyDC Emails Show MSM, Dylan Ratigan, Working With Protesters To Craft Message

the Occupy Washington DC movement is working with well-known media members to craft its demands and messaging while these media members report on the movement.


We know that the original movement was kicked off by a Soros-funded group called Adbusters; that union groups and radicals routinely overthrow leadership unfriendly to an occupation of the occupation (check out how Occupy St. Louis was hijacked by ACORN off-shoot MORE); and now we know that media, including MSNBC itself, is apparently helping occupiers better influence the public by both writing their messages and giving them a platform.

This doesn't mean that people aren't truly demanding change. It means that the opinions on who is to blame and what to do about it that you see in the news are not necessarily the opinions of the genuine protesters.

People claim the banks are the big culprit. But, I see other sectors using this movement to grab more power and money for themselves. Cynically, hypocritically inventing a conspiracy to further the ends of their own conspiracy.

The problem is not wall street it is how wall street is regulated:

First the government forces banks to make mortgage loans to people who can't afford to pay them back.

Then some politicians warn that a financial crisis is looming and the regulatory environment has to be changed.

Other politicians call RACISM! and refuse to fix the system.

Then the banks lose a ton of money.

Then the government gives (loans?) the banks money to prevent them from going bankrupt and bringing down the global financial system.

Then a bunch of highly educated geniuses protest, "Occupy Wall Street"! And this is the first step to fixing all the world's problems?

No.

The first step would be recognizing that bad government is the problem and reducing the amount of government interference in the economy.

The protesters should be outside the white house and congress not on wall street.


http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1990/09/how-poor-are-americas-poor

* 38 percent of the persons whom the Census Bureau identifies as "poor" own their own homes with a median value of $39,200.

* 62 percent of "poor" households own a car; 14 percent own two or more cars.

* Nearly half of all "poor" households have air-conditioning; 31 percent have microwave ovens.

* Nationwide, some 22,000 "poor" households have heated swimming pools or Jacuzzis.

Better Off Than Europeans, Japanese
The average "poor" American lives in a larger house or apartment than does the average West European (This is the average West European, not poor West Europeans). Poor Americans eat far more meat, are more likely to own cars and dishwashers, and are more likely to have basic modern amenities such as indoor toilets than is the general West European population.


http://www.columbia.edu/~xs23/papers/worldistribution/NYT%20Article.htm

The rich did get richer faster than the poor did. But for the most part the poor did not get poorer. They got richer, too. In exchange for significantly rising living standards, a little more internal inequality is not such a bad thing.

Capitalism has lifted more poor people out of poverty than any other economic system.

Poverty is caused by bad government.

Here are some examples...

http://www.ij.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=557&Itemid=240

Arbitrary licensing and permitting laws foreclose many occupations that are ideally suited to people of modest means. The Institute for Justice challenges these laws to secure constitutional protection for the right to earn a living and to demonstrate the importance of entrepreneurship to inner-city revitalization.


http://theglitteringeye.com/?p=14089

From an interview with Las Vegas CEO Steve Wynn, who purportedly voted for Obama in 2008 (that his wife was an Obama supporter is a matter of record):

Well, here’s our problem. There are a host of opportunities for expansion in Las Vegas, a host of opportunities to create tens of thousands of jobs in Las Vegas. I know that I could do 10,000 more myself and according to the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Convention Bureau, if we hired 10,000 employees, it would create another 20,000 additional jobs for a grand total of 30,000.

...

And I’m saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it and I could spend the next 3 hours giving you examples of all of us in this market place that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right.

...

Everybody’s afraid of the government, and there’s no need to soft peddling it, it’s the truth. It is the truth. And that’s true of Democratic businessman and Republican businessman, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support Harry Reid. I support Democrats and Republicans. And I’m telling you that the business community in this company is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.

It isn't wall street that is the problem today. It is bad government.

It's easy to demonize corporations. Some regulation is necessary. But corporations and business create wealth. They create jobs and that funds the government.


http://www.davidmcelroy.org/?p=1586

After Bryant listened to all of the business-bashing, he finally stood to speak. He sounded a little bit shellshocked, a little bit angry — and a lot frustrated.

My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator…. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail — I have a different perspective — men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just … you know … what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys — I see them with tears in their eyes — looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting.

"We know that the original movement was kicked off by a Soros-funded group called Adbusters; that union groups and radicals routinely overthrow leadership unfriendly to an occupation of the occupation (check out how Occupy St. Louis was hijacked by ACORN off-shoot MORE); and now we know that media, including MSNBC itself, is apparently helping occupiers better influence the public by both writing their messages and giving them a platform."

Wall Street is being falsely blamed for the current economic crisis by other organizations to further their own agenda. These organizations are exploiting people with real grievances but they are misleading them about the causes of and solutions to those grievances.

http://thehill.com/polls/187837-the-hill-poll-voters-say-dc-worse-than-wall-street

"Voters say Washington is worse than Wall Street

The Hill poll found that only one in three likely voters blames Wall Street for the country’s financial troubles, whereas more than half — 56 percent — blame Washington."

jshgfcre98ijyds, one of the problems that tne protesters recognize and that you are avoiding is that Wall St and Wahington are one and the same. There is a virtual revolving door, Goldman Sachs, Fed, Goldman Sachs, Fed.......the Foxes are brought in as gaurdians of the chicken coop and then go back to the den only to send a new crew of fox kin down to DC.

Ditto other areas of regulatory responsibility. All staffed at the top by individuals that have worked in and go back to work the very private sector that they are supposed to be regulating.

Finally, there is no way to raise enough money and to get the media coverage necessary to be elected unless one becomes indebted to corporate interests.

So is it Wall St or is it bad government? It's both because they are the same thing.

Why should anyone patriotic be happy about that arrangement?

jshgfcre98ijyds,

You are not getting much support here that less government regulation is the answer. Even Michael is stating that Glass-Steagall needs to be brought back.

There was also virtually no government regulation in 1929 when the market crashed and the economy went to hell for a decade.

Cheers,

Matt

It is a fact that the majority of this country's greatest periods of prosperity ove the last hundred years occurred under greater regulation and higher taxes than what we have today.

"You are not getting much support here"

Many more voters think the problem is caused by government not wall street:


http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2011/10/boys-and-girls-together.html?cid=6a00d83451574c69e2015436346ed8970c#comment-6a00d83451574c69e2015436346ed8970c


"It is a fact that the majority of this country's greatest periods of prosperity ove the last hundred years occurred under greater regulation and higher taxes than what we have today."

References please.

Above I've commented that I believe regulation is necessary. However I've also posted examples that show how too much can be bad for the economy.


"So is it Wall St or is it bad government? It's both because they are the same thing."

I 100% agree that corporate cronyism is a big problem. Who makes all those government regulations? They are often influenced by corporations to give them a competitive advantage against their competitors or to obtain a form of corporate welfare. The health care bill is a prime example. If you want to revoke the influence of corporations you have to repeal their custom designed regulations.

This is true on the local level with licensing regulations for trades and on the national level when you have health insurance companies helping to design the health care reform.

Q) How is protesting against wall street going to change anything? Wouldn't it be better to protest in washington? Government can be changed by voting or influencing elected representitives. Wall street is responsible to its customers or stock holders not to voters in general. Washington is responsible to the public, wall street isn't.

A) These protests are organized as a cynical, hypocritical ruse to deflect criticism of liberal politicians in washington. The protesters have legitimate grievances but they are being used like pawns. They are being misled into spending a lot of effort that will not lead to solutions to their problems. These protests are being organized now because of the election cycle, and to compensate for the republican presidential candidates debates which are publicizing a lot of criticism of liberal policies.

jshgfcre98ijyds: It wasn't government regulations that caused the crash of 2008, it was the lack of regulations for Wall Street and banks. You seem to think if only we got rid of government regulations, the U.S. economy would be booming. Can you argue with a straight face that all of a sudden in October 2008,the U.S. economy took a nosedive because of government regulations on business? (I also wouldn't use mining regulations as an example of onerous government regulations, considering the Massey Energy Company disaster last year - 29 miners died. Massey had repeatedly violated safety regulations.) And just because someone has a microwave oven (the poor do need to eat too you know) and an old beater car doesn't make them not poor. Obviously you can't stand OWS, but it remains their right to peacefully assemble and protest.

jshgfcre98ijyds,

I meant you were not getting much support *here*, in this forum.

As for whether there are a lot of people out there who are conservative and agree with you, I readily admit there are.

One question I ask conservatives that I think takes care of the whole shebang pretty quickly is this: What country is currently successfully implementing conservative policies? "Small government" and all that?

There is none. Because it's impossible to run a modern country under such principles.

Cheers,

Matt

One word and one old adage:

"Enron"

"Follow the money"

Michael, I feel you cringing as the debate over the state of society/government rages on your normally apolitical blog. I am cringing anyway. I know you were intending a commentary about the human psyche and its development in this ever complex and challenging world. Then, folks passion for politics took over.

I wonder if the blanket generalizations that drive these political movements or those above political comments isn't just more of the human psyche looking for the easy way out, and we're fooling ourselves in the process. To label big government or big business as "evil" or "the problem" or "the solution" is an obvious over-generalization, and yet it happens everyday in the news, in blogs, in conversation. The same goes for one person's defining of another's views, substance, essence, and experiences. The act of projecting one's self onto another seems like a better definition of "evil" in my book (evil with a little 'e', as in "ego"; it's a mistake, not a crime). I understand your current blog post to be your attempt to sort out the system of thought and experiences that are driving the current movement du jour ("OccupyWS"), and to make sense of it by relating it to your own experiences and I thank you for your candidness.

Perhaps this post is my attempt at sorting out why, as humans, we feel the need to snipe at each other over our differences of opinion or philosophy or experiences. What system of thought drives us to this end? Are the majority of us really "misguided", "idiotic", "racist", "angry", or "insert any pejorative label here"? Do we feel threatened by unknown entities and by labeling them we can feel more secure? Can we read minds? Regardless, why we do we feel the need to label others or groups of others that we don't even know? Is/Is not Politics a construct of the ego? I feel that my ego is far too often driving the bus into oncoming traffic...It is not a good feeling.

Cheers all,

Darren

I meant you were not getting much support *here*, in this forum.

I don't see why that is significant. Why should I care? Why do you care? Truth isn't a popularity contest. I'm just replying to your comment with the poll results, but I also try to explain my arguments with other information. Why did you bring up the question of support here in the first place?

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/poll-americans-rightly-place-econ-blame-govt

When asked whom they blame more for the poor economy, 64% of Americans name the federal government and 30% say big financial institutions.

.......


It wasn't government regulations that caused the crash of 2008, it was the lack of regulations for Wall Street and banks.

Well the business cycle isn't caused by government but the severity of the housing crisis was caused by poor government regulations. The government forced banks to lend to people who couldn't afford to pay back the loans. When told about a looming mortgage crisis liberal legislators thought it was a racist plot and refused to take preventative measures. Then we had a recession and people couldn't pay their mortgages and we had a housing crisis which made the recession longer and worser.

If the government hadn't forced banks to lend to people who were bad credit risks the housing crisis wouldn't have been so severe.


When you try to fix a bad regulations with more regulations you get a complicated mess like for example the current federal tax code. Often you just need to enforce existing regulations but politicians like to deal with a problem by making new laws. Every time you make a new law you make government more expensive because you have to enforce those regulations and that requires more tax revenues. At the extreme everyone will be working for the government and no one will be working for businesses. Who will pay the taxes then?


Here are some other government regulations I would like to see repealed:

Subsidies to turn corn into ethanol. Corn is a food, those subsidies are an incentive to use put food in your gas tank. This increases the cost of food that people want to eat. This hurts the poor.

You can't escape student debt by filing bankruptsy. Why is it right for bankrupt corporations to get out of paying their debts but not for bankrupt students?

I could go on and on and on.

Government programs are not the solution. They are the problem.

". Obviously you can't stand OWS"

I've repeatedly said I think the kids have legitimate grievances but they are being deluded by the organizers. I've tried to support my contentions with links to supporting information. I don't see how that translates into your assertion.


"And just because someone has a microwave oven (the poor do need to eat too you know) and an old beater car doesn't make them not poor. "

I didn't explain why I posted that bit about the poor. It was in response to this comment:

The wealth disparity in this country (as measured by the gini coefficient - a good metric) is greater than many industrialized nations and has been growing. There is no question that the 1% here who have so much are getting more and the other 99% are getting less. The system is rigged and people have a right to be up in arms over that fact.

The point I was trying to make is that it may be true that there is a greater disparity in wealth in the US than in europe, however our poor are actually living like the middle class in europe. Isn't it better to have a greater disparity in wealth if it means the poor have a better standard of living?


You got good grades Easy? Whats your IQ???

jshgfcre98ijyds,

I just was thinking you were providing some heavy-duty conservative data without perhaps a receptive audience to absorb it here. Like a lot of text.

But it's cool. My point was not all that major.

Cheers,

Matt

Darren,

I think this is a pretty civil discussion, all things considered.

But Michael's post was quite politically charged, and his tone toward the protesters was rather sarcastic and dismissive.

It's obvious that's going to invite political responses.

Cheers,

Matt

Paul:
”Whilst I wouldn't disagree that the world's governments don't 'work', at least for the majority of the planets occupants, I do wonder what on earth should replace it.

We must have tried just about every form of society, structure and government and I can't recall any that have really worked fairly or would on a global scale. I'd be interested to hear what the alternatives are (seriously).”

I don’t think that the problem can be solved by a new socioeconomic system. It lies with the values and beliefs that underpin it. If we were to change those, I think we’d find that some of the tried and failed socioeconomic systems can actually work pretty well.

This is why I have started the Self-Reflective Society project – to try to change the dominant social mentality so that these problems can be solved.

Michael Prescott:
”So yes, I do understand these people. I understand their fears, their frustrations, and their rage. And I understand that since most of them have no creative outlet, they can find relief only in mob action, in screaming and running amok and acting like idiots. They're young; they're supposed to be idiots. That's what youth is for.

But they also need to be corralled, controlled, disciplined, and—in cases of lawbreaking—roundly punished. Because, you see, that's what adulthood is for.

And we all have to grow up sometime.”

I’m curious what you mean by that last sentence, Michael. To me, it sounds like adulthood is being equated with disillusionment, where growing up amounts to giving up on your dreams and settling for the daily grind in order to get by.

To put things back on track, perhaps we should discuss what the possible After Life experiences of Wall Streeters and OWSers will be. Which one, upon going through their life review will say, "Damn, I can't believe how I got that whole life thing so wrong!"


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576637082965745362.html

Polling the Occupy Wall Street Crowd
In interviews, protesters show that they are leftists out of step with most American voters.
...
By DOUGLAS SCHOEN
...

On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.
...
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence.

...

The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).

...

What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.

....

Thus Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation. Among the general public, by contrast, 41% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 36% as moderate, and only 21% as liberal.

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