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Monday, October 3, 2011

Wall Street Protests

The problem with the protest on Wall Street is that, like similar episodes, many of the protesters tend to be clueless on what the protest is about.  Leaders of the protests tend to be closet Marxists (Susan Sarandon) who feel left out of an economic system that rewards merit or feel guilty because they have an economically valuable talent (Susan Sarandon) and who never understood why Marx was wrong.

Leaders of the protest seek others who desperately want  to be part of something - anything.  They seek those who have spent their life on the outside and who feel they have been wronged by the economic system.  Easy to find in an economy with persistent unemployment and underemployment.  The mob grows and they chant inane sayings about the economy and wealth - and the ever-present anarchists who thrive on shock value incite the mob.  Shock value and economic understanding don't go hand in hand. Mobs are more about wealth destruction than wealth creation.

Some are frustrated because they have gotten college degrees that they believed were the key to a high paying job and now are saddled with a large student loan and have no job or a low-paying job.  Others bought houses they couldn't afford and have slowly seen their dreams dissipate.  Many had jobs they thought would afford them a productive life that were swept away to other countries.  These are the discontented that the protests will gather up as it spreads.

To be sure, there are economic injustices and policies to protest. Money controls politics to too great an extent.  Our leaders have enacted harmful economic policies.  Economists have led us down the wrong road with the never-ending prescription extolling the virtues of free trade.  The tax system is out of whack.  Wars are fought for economic purposes and their real purpose is obfuscated.  There is plenty to protest.

Part of the problem - which the protestors will never get - is that the country has too many "safety nets."  It is to easy to get part of what is produced without contributing to the productive process.

There also is much to celebrate.  In our system, people are free to choose their own path.  You can pursue wealth - or not.  Your choice.  One thing is for sure.  As long as people can keep a goodly part of what they earn, the best and brightest among us (in the U.S. and around the planet) will work hard to try and figure out what we want.  They will think hard and work hard to produce the music, clothes, computers, and autos we want.  They will work hard to cure our diseases and seek innovative ways to educate us.  As I've said before on this blog, IMHO, we should feel like kings and embrace the opportunities afforded us.

The economy they protest creates the laptops and the cell phones and even the pizza they eat as they protest.  Something to think about as the protest spreads is whether shutting down bridges is the best way to go about getting desired changes.  That is, once the desired changes have been figured out.


  1. I call these types of protests-- The War on Prosperity...... because, in essence, that is what they are advocating.... the destruction of the incentives to produce, innovate and push the human race forward. Today the average citizen lives better (has more amenities) than Kings and Queens did 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago.

  2. I think the underlying cause is simply an outrage. Maybe the protesters aren't eloquent in their message, but this is simply an outlet to how no one was held responsible for the mess that affects everyone today, not just those without a job or those with a loan.

    By the way, no protest, successful or unsuccessful, starts out very organized.

    Bailouts and then secret bailouts on top of that, bonuses with the bailout money, all with tax payers' money - that isn't a path to prosperity.

    Hey I don't like how irresponsible the Greeks were with finance. Shouldn't I not protest just because the concept of democracy, free speech and right to protest originated in Greece? :)

  3. I was wondering if anyone was going to discuss this. I will say that protests certainly can stimulate public dialog, much as @moneycone suggested. However, you points are so true, particularly: is this protest the best way to get what I want. Also, you are highlighting the underlying hypocrisy of condemning capitalism while at the same time enjoying all of its fruits, even if you do have less fruit than your neighbor.

  4. They are being hijacked by everything they are protesting!!

    1. George Soros is Wall Street. Soros is the 1% they are protesting!!

    2. Unions are organized lobbyist that donate to get politicians elected.

    3. Michael Moore is Mr. Capitalism. He sued to get more profits from his movie "Capitalism"!!!

    4. Susan Sarandon is a wealthy actress that invests MILLIONS in the Stock Market!

  5. MoneyCone,

    They are not 99%, they are just a minority, draining our resources and staying out of work - because they are over qualified.

    This is a free economy - no revolution should be allowed here. If the rich do not want to provide for the poor - so be it, no health care, no jobs - this how free economy works.

    I believe first thing they should go back to work, what is available out there. THere is a few countries out there building communism - China, Cuba, Sweeden, Venezuela.. perhaps they could travel there.

  6. People should be able to invest in our economy and appreciate our form of capitalism while still acknowledging that so many lost their jobs and homes while Wall Street was bailed out. If you earn money from investments, by working for a living, or a combination of the two, pay your fair share of taxes. My definition of a fair share is a similar tax rate as a middle class worker. That is not too much to ask.

    The protesters may be there for many reasons and may not yet be able to clearly state their goals, but there are others who can speak for them. Read today's article by Paul Krugman, "Losing Their Immunity" and the video of Elizabeth Warren The great disparities in income in our country that have developed since the 1980's are destroying the fabric of our society.