Occupy Wall Street has become something so un-American yet American all at the same time. Mass demonstrations happen frequently in countries around the world but here in America, not so much.
In America we protest on talk shows, twitter, facebook, and for those “radicals”, letter writing campaigns and maybe a demonstration with a dozen others in front of an abortion clinic or government building.
But 20,000 people with tents and kitchens camped out in a public park in front of the world’s financial capital?
Not in our back yard. OccupyWallStreet has taken off and now the movement is “occupying” cities all over the nation. This just doesn’t happen in America anymore.
You may have heard about these campaigns but what do these people want? What is Occupy Wall Street?
Whatever it is that they’re so passionate about must be a big deal.
The movement is a loosely organized campaign that has one main demand. “We demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington.”
Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea does it?
They believe that money has become the driving force behind all policy making. They say that powerful corporate lobbyists are behind a lot of the political gridlock that is keeping Washington lawmakers from making large scale change and they want it stopped.
From this one demand, OccupyWallStreet loyalists took up other causes like the wealth divide in this country, Wall Street executives not held accountable for their crimes causing taxpayers billions of dollars, and much more as detailed in their manifesto.
The idea wasn’t theirs, though.
Inspired by the persistence of Egyptian protestors who eventually helped to remove then president Mubarek, OccupyWallStreet believes that as they persist their movement will grow just as it did in Egypt.
“If we hang in there, 20,000-strong, week after week against every police and National Guard effort to expel us from Wall Street, it would be impossible for Obama to ignore us.”
If there is one thing that everybody in Washington seems to agree on, it’s that they don’t agree on anything. Each party blames the other for being unreasonable in their demands.
While most Americans have sat by and watched the political wrangling in disgust, OccupyWallStreet hasn’t just watched. They’ve taken to the streets in protest and maybe it’s time for that.
Maybe it’s time for all of us to stop writing letters and protest just as they did during our country’s birth? We live in a country where free speech through peaceful demonstrations is a right that those before us fought for and won.
How does OccupyWallStreet affect the everyday citizen? The mom? The student? The executive? Why should you care?
It only affects us if we allow it and maybe it’s time that we do. Your money and your prosperity is largely affected by decisions or lack of decisions made in Washington and recent polling data shows that the majority of the country is unhappy with the performance of our representatives.
I’m going to admit, I feel the frustrations. You see banks get bailed out with taxpayer money for fear of the banks going bankrupt. Then the banks show huge profits with mega-bonuses for their top executives.
But small businesses and potential homeowners can’t get loans. Then the banks turn around and raise their bank fees (granted, the fees are a consequence of government regulation).
Is all of the protesting directed in the right place?
Perhaps some of it is. To say Wall St. and the government are wholly independent of each other, well, I just don’t think that’s accurate.
But maybe those that are frustrated and protesting need to find a leader, a voice, that can run a platform that can challenge the status quo come election time.
Occupy Wall Street has gotten lots of support as well. New York’s United Federation of Teachers, for one, threw their support behind OWS. In fact, the UFT is helping OWS out by providing them storage for their supplies and goods.
OWS gets donated supplies every day. So many supplies that Occupy Wall Street is able to donate 15% of their surplus to homeless shelters and community organizations.
Time will tell if Occupy Wall Street finds strength and unity in their message.
Maybe they have already accomplished something? Along with National Bank Transfer Day, Occupy Wall Street has brought attention to the practices of major banks, such as high fees. Record numbers of people switched their accounts from major banks to credit unions to escape fees. In response to this, Bank of America rescinded their proposed $5 debit card usage fee. Many other banks dropped their debit card fees as well.
Of course the question is how much of an influence did Occupy Wall Street have on banks changing their debit card fee stance?
According to The Guardian, Occupy Wall Street has three aims in their agenda:
- Stop the influence of money in politics;
- Restore the Glass-Steagall Act, which separates investment banks from commercial banks. This was a law that originated in the Depression and was eliminated during the Clinton administration. OWS, and others, believe the combination of investment and commercial banking is a big reason for our current economic climate; and
- “draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.”
On the other hand, we hear stories about how this movement resembles Woodstock, without the music, more than an organized movement with real goals. We hear about lewd acts. We hear about the homeless using the area as a place to stay.
Should the city have to pay the bill for returning the area to it’s original state once these protesters leave? Shouldn’t these protesters go out and truly create something rather than sit around, yelling about capitalism?
Regardless of what each of us believes, maybe we need to take direction from OccupyWallStreet and fight a little harder for what we believe. Peaceful demonstration without fear of harm is a decidedly American luxury not enjoyed by many other countries. People still have a right to their opinion and I think the media has been polarized in recent years. Ideas are black or white with little room for true discussion.
If people are talking about Occupy Wall Street then maybe we can get some real discussion opened up. I’d love to see people argue points rather than simply argue with each other.
What is Occupy Wall Street to you? Give your opinion below.
Here are some other articles about Occupy Wall Street:
Steve Jobs Creating Jobs
If You’re Going to Occupy Something, At Least Pick the Right Place | Thousandaire
About Us | OccupyWallSt.org
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – To those who Occupy: We stand with you.
photo by People’s Open Graphics
Investor Junkie says
Thanks for the mention. I have no issue with them protesting, but I don’t agree with their believes. My only question though, is what’s the end game?
Glen Craig says
I have to agree with you that the message seems muddled and, as a group, they lack focus.
At the very least though, it opens up discussion about the relationship between Wall St. and the government and whether together, they aren’t doing all they can for the economy at large.
Here’s a video I found on youtube that does a pretty good job of explaining what Occupy Wall Street is about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe-6Yf8cOFo
I ask that question too, “What’s the end game?” While I share their frustrations that big money has too much influence over politicians, it seems like Occupy’s goal is the total collapse of our financial system and they won’t be satisfied with anything less than that. Watching the Occupy movements is like watching a stolen car, high-speed chase — you get the feeling they haven’t entirely thought this through but now they’ve gone too far to just stop.
I believe Occupy’s anger is misplaced. Wall Street did not bail itself out. It wasn’t Wall Street that didn’t investigate and prosecute those who cheated the system. It wasn’t Wall Street that created regulation after regulation forcing banks to make “bad bets” on loans and investments. It wasn’t Wall Street that introduced failed stimulus bills and other worthless jobs programs that didn’t jump start the economy. Occupy’s anger should be directed at politicians in Washtington D.C. since they are the ones that helped create the current financial environment.
Glen Craig says
You make it sounds like Wall Street is some innocent victim in our current economy. I don’t think banks were ever forced to make bad bets on loans. I think they were quite happy creating loans and passing the risk on to be packaged into derivatives.
Wall Street did not bail itself out. That’s what I think a lot of people are angry about. Taxpayers bailed out the banks. Maybe it needed to happen to save the economy? But where are the banks lending these days with Fed rates ridiculously low? Not to potential homeowners or small businesses.
I do agree that there should be more of a pushback on DC. If someone could come to the forefront as a leader, they could build a compelling argument for themselves against political policies.
“But where are the banks lending these days with Fed rates ridiculously low? Not to potential homeowners or small businesses.”
Banks exist to make money. They want to lend money. Don’t blame the banks. Look at what the government is doing. People wanted new regulations. There you go.
Investor Junkie says
Though to compare this to Egypt is a joke a best! Two completely different situations.
Richard Nordin says
Isn’t it ironic. The hippies from the ’60’s abandoned their ideals and turned into greedy capitalists we see today. I say turn about is fair play!
I think their end game is to try to steer attention to this problem. It’s so easy for our society to be divide by political rhetoric and media bias (from what ever side of the political spectrum). The reality is that they have no end game unless the vast majority of Americans vote in candidates that shun the current process. That is the vast majority of Americans would have to put in congressional leaders into office that can at least agree on one thing, reforming campaign finance laws/rules. Until that type of legal change occurs we are destined to have Wall St. sleeping with Washington indefinitely.
I don’t think shutting down the financial system is a realistic goal, or will even be possible. That would mean collapsing the entire economy.
One last thing I do see that is very apparent is that the people who are there protesting feel like they have no opportunities. Which unfortunately considering the high unemployment rates and the lack of confidence companies have to hire I sympathize for those just trying to find a way to create a better future.
A lot of people refer to it as grass roots. Maybe they should have organized their purpose sooner. It comes a cross as though they are just complaining. Just protesting is not going to get anything either. What outcome would they like to achieve? Are they encouraging action? How will they know they succeeded?
Glen Craig says
I agree that there needs to be something more cohesive in their message if anything is to come of this.
But the fact that this has grown to so many cities without a clear message shows how fed up many people are.
They just want to blame other people for their failures.
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says
There is an Occupy Rally happening where I live. Seems like people are just enjoying camping out and being weird rather than protesting the actual cause…
There is no end game…did you see their demands/complaints they are disjointed at worst and misdirected at best. Seriously a waste of time that will die down eventually.
Charlie Foxtrot says
I think they are best summed up as “useful idiots”. Some may have good intentions, and legitimate gripes (though most are bored college students looking for relevance in their lives), but they are focused on the wrong place.
They are tools. Pawns used by politicians and special interests to distract and divide the nation.
They should be protesting D.C., not Wall Street. Wall St. is a part of the problem, but the problem starts in D.C.. Drain that swamp and the crony capitalism and greed on Wall St. will be sidelined.
Glen Craig says
Charlie, I’m willing to hear what you are saying but do you really think without politics there will be no greed on Wall Street?
That’s a great summary Charlie. Of course now I think the whole thing has really “jumped the shark.” It’s hard to be taken seriously when you have celebrities showing up in $100k+ automobiles and wearing gold chains and designer clothing. I think it is now descending into some sort of ad hoc street carnival.
Nada Ahmed says
Keep on going young free Americans! I’m Egyptian and I know how it feels to hear other people saying “it’s a waste of time, nothing will change” and all that bla bla of people who only knows how to complain. Act, continue on your path like we did!
It’s making us very proud that we have offered a new way of protesting to humanity peaceful but very effective. Long live Egypt and good luck!
Nada Ahmed says
To Investor Junkie:
we are not talking about the purposes and goals of the protests we are talking about the way Egyptians used to get what they want. They used peaceful but effective protests with thousands of people, of normal people trying to create a better future for their country, here’s the thing. But of course, the goals are not the same.
It’s not that it’s a waste of time and nothing will change. It’s whether the change that the “Occupy” people want is a change that is good for America. From what I see, they are fighting for larger government and more dependence. The more control the government has over our financial well being, the less free we become.
Investor Junkie says
Always come back to this to define greed:
Glen Craig says
Take a look at this article on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109193674823031718540/posts/XaVpbY9gQFM?hl=en
If the banks, or anyone else, want to be greedy, then so be it. Perhaps the word “greed” has gotten a bad connotation (thanks Gorden Gekko). We are motivated by our self-interests and it pushes our level of achievement. But if the majority of us risk too much we pay the price. There’s accountability. I’m not allowed to screw up big time and pull out a do-over card. It doesn’t look that way though, for banks, or auto makers even. Risk all you want, the gov’t has your back. This is where a lot of frustration is coming from. Is this being articulated well by Occupy Wall St? No. But the anger is there.
Don’t spend money you don’t have. Don’t borrow money from banks. Then they won’t get too big to fail and they won’t need a government bailout.
Don’t invest in things you don’t understand. Then Wall Street will stop selling you crap and they won’t need a government bailout.
It seems like the anger is misplaced. If the anger is about bail-outs, should they be Occupying DC? Wall Street would be empty if the banks had not gotten bail-outs and they had all gone bankrupt.
As for Occupiers closing accounts, I think that’s a good thing. Banks are acting irresponsibly and this may encourage banks to change. If not, smaller banks and credit unions deserve the business.
Glen Craig says
I understand how many are saying these protesters should be in front of the White House but some of the arguments make it sound like the banks are innocent, as if the gov’t forced money onto the banks. The banks have a real responsibility to bear in our economy. It’s not all the government. And don’t you think the banks and Wall Street have just a little bit of influence on Washington?
Community Reinvestment Act
By leaving large banks, the Occupiers are actually doing them a favor. I was listening to a personal finance guy on the radio and he said that small accounts are not cost-effective. The overhead to run branches, web sites, customer support, etc. makes small accounts a losing proposition, especially if the customer has no debt, avoids overdraft fees, and pays everything on time. So basically large banks are doing all they can to NOT take business from middle America. They want you out so they spend less time managing the “nickel and dime” accounts and can spend more time gambling with large accounts.
A few thousand Occupiers closing their accounts won’t mean a thing to large banks. And if it does, they still have their pals in Washington to help them out.
Charlie Foxtrot says
Yes, the investment banks have too much influence in Washington, but what exactly is protesting wall street going to do to affect that? Are they expecting the bankers to suddenly grow a conscience and stop?
Wouldn’t protesting politicians in D.C. be a better approach? Might it then clue them in on the fact that they have others to answer to and that it’s their jobs on the line if they don’t take note?
K J says
It is unfortunate that Americans feel they have less means and opportunities for making a difference in their country than Egyptians, Libyans, etc have in theirs. Voting doesn’t seem to work. Politicians & bankers will let anyone peacefully protest (in designated areas!), because they know nothing will come of it. Their attitude seems to be that if they ignore the people they’ll go away, meanwhile it’s selfishness as usual. Whose country is this?
Yeah well I don’t care too much for hippies. They were selfish then and they are selfish old jerks now. Drugs and sex is what most of them were about. The ones that did care were what the rest of them were imitating. Both my parents were hippies. My father is a sociopath. Most men that I have met from this time are creeps. I am 40 and these creepy 60 year olds are lurking around always trying to bed me. ewe! No i don’t think highly of hippies at all! go figure that most of them are stingy money grubbing liars!
Wilder Jones says
Occupy D.C.? that doesn’t sound as smooth as Occupy Wall Street. And its a good thing that these are college students griping, because that means the youth knows of corruption, not just you old ….. that just learned how to use a computer.
While I don’t agree with the occupy movement’s approach, I do think that we have entered an unusual period in history. There may be several causes for the “underlying problem” such as: shortage of oil/raw materials reflected in higher prices, shift in ratio of retired vs working as the baby boomers retire reflected in reduced ability to retire, shift in spending habits as people retire, excessive govt spending reflected in excessive debt, etc. I don’t think the occupy movement will “go away”, rather, I think the general discontent / dissatisfaction will grow. I think the reason that the message is so vague is because the source of the problem is equally vague… But, the problem is real.
Glen Craig says
I agree. People are upset about the state of the economy.
They can’t put their finger on the exact reason why they are upset, but they are upset nonetheless.
As you say, there are a number of reasons and many feel that the Wall Street being in bed with Washington is an underlying factor.
JAMES W WILSON says
i agree with occupy .but the real problem is we have a split government its two partys when it was one group things got done now you have one party against the othere instead of both being for the people of this country as a whole they are for there party. nobody goies out and talks to the people any more they go out to big dinners and talk to the big guys .and ignore the little guy .the little guy is the one that keeps this country running .theres is so mutch greed in the government that they get rich and we the little man goes hungry even though we work everyday we still go hungry. they tax everything . i drive a truck and i can,t aford a home or a car. i work 7 days a week 4 weeks a month 365 days a year .the government greed is chokeing the trucking industry and the american people todeath .i,m a veteran and i have watched my country go to hell .now the people are speaking up and the government is ignoreing them and trying to shut them up.its not our government no more its not my government any more .[ ITS THE GOVERNMENT] A GROUP OF JACKBOOT GREEDY THUGS RUNNING THINGS]
Glen Craig says
There certainly are time when the two parties seem way out of touch with the average person.
Sometimes it feels like the parties are two sides of the same coin and in the end there isn’t much different in them. They work on getting re-elected by helping out those that best improve their chances of re-election.
“Sometimes it feels like the parties are two sides of the same coin and in the end there isn’t much different in them. They work on getting re-elected by helping out those that best improve their chances of re-election.”
I think that may be true in the past, but this election it is very different. The two presidential candidates are the opposite. One want a bigger government. He want to take money from one group, filter it through government waste then give some of it to another group. The other candidate want to get out of the way so everybody have a chance to grow.
RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG says
by RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG (not verified) on Fri, 11/11/2011 – 10:35.
The truth is we now live in a country where some people want something for nothing and want us to pay for them. My parents came to America form the concentration camps with no money and no education and could not speak ENGLISH. I never realized I was poor but I got my clothes from the Goodwill and went to a nursury school run by the church while my parents worked day and night.We lived in the worst neighborhood and I had to learn how fight just to exist. I have no sympathy for those who refuse to get re-trained or who will not take any job instead of government handouts. This will be the first generation where our children will have less economically than their parents. Some people have become lazy and refuse to take any job , they would prefer to live off of others. IF YOU NEED HELP BECAUSE YOU ARE TRULY POOR OR DISABLED,THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SHOULD HELP. IF YOU ARE LYING OR FAKING WHY SHOULD THE TAXPAYER PAY. Where is the pride.? LET THE BUSINESS PEOPLE around wall street make a living. Go protest in front of the White House or Congress.
DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG
Glen Craig says
You are right about this feeling of entitlement that has been brewing for some time. There are those out there that believe just because they are, they should be able to have the newest TV and gadgets.
I’ve seen this attitude all over and it IS a huge problem. These folks don’t quite get why it is they can’t really get ahead.
But I don’t think this is the overall source of OWS. I think there are hard-working people out there that are tired of seeing their investments not go anywhere and are tired of the current economy while businesses make huge risks and get bailed out. Meanwhile the average guy gets buried.
I’m not saying we should all get bailouts and we should work hard. But things need to change in some way.
I’m not against capitalism in any way, but I think a lot of what is practiced isn’t quite capitalism. Free markets don’t prop up bad businesses.
You think the “little guys” don’t get bailout?
50% of the people don’t have to pay federal income tax. Some get all the money withheld from their checks back plus some. I understand they pay local, sale tax, etc. but they get to vote for candidates that promise them free things paid for by “the rich” without worrying about what it will cost. That is a problem. The government is broke.
I pay $900/month for rent because I have a job. There are people around me living in $1500/month condo paid for by section 8 because they are poor?
I grew up in a two bedrooms apartment with five other family members. We didn’t have a dryer. Our dryer was a rope across the basement. That’s poor. Now poor people have ac, multiple flat screen TVs, $150/month cable bill, $100+\month cell phone bill, $100 sneakers. These people get government assistance. Our government is paying for “free cell phone”!! We are paying for “free cell phone” !!! If you get food stamp long term, you shouldn’t have a Playstation/Xbox. Food stamp is for food, not lotto ticket.
I was a cable guy. I’ve been to their homes
Occupy Wall Street Statement of Autonomy!
I think what is going on in the USA is very sad. What can one do? Protest – yes. I say let’s show the government that WE are HERE – it’s not all about them. Represenatives are to REPRESENT us. I am fortunate as I have a job – but I pray for those who don’t – I pray for those who are being thrown out of their homes. How can this happen in the USA? I changed my bank from Wells Fargo (huge fee mongers) and moved to a Credit Union about a month ago and couldn’t be happier. I say the end game is “we need to be heard”. They might be “grass roots” or whatever – but they are making a statement. It just seems that the rich continue to get richer and the middle class is being eliminated into lower class. Greed has indeed taken over. I am an “independent” – i can’t stand with either party as they never accomplish anything but pointing fingers at eachother. No matter what President we get in there – he can’t do anything without the rest of congress, and congress won’t or can’t do anything either. SO rediculous. In the meantime, the little people pay. God Bless the USA!!
I definitely understand the frustration of not finding a job. I recently moved. Despite my glowing references, perfect GPA, and multiple experiences in my field, I have been unable to get a job. The job shortage is real and it is not only affecting the entitled.
But who or what is to blame? Wall street? The current president? Past presidents? Congress? The government in general? The American people? Yes. All of the above and more are responsible for our current financial crisis. Poor management of money and resources by numerous people and
entities has led to our recession. We let our immediate needs negatively affect our future by bailing ourselves out of debt and using money we do not have. People failed to think about the future consequences of those actions.
All of this is to say that while the feelings of discontent and resentment are justified, the occupy movement is not really productive. Their protest is so unfocused that it does not even make sense. At what point will the protestors actually be satisfied and go home? The occupy movement has no real vision, so nobody can offer a solution or compromise. So the protestors are not simply making their statement against corruption and greed. The majority of the people that they are harassing are fellow Americans who are just trying to do their jobs. Instead of complaining about how life is not going their way and wasting their days in smelly tents, why don’t they come up with a unified purpose and actually do something productive?
When life gives you lemons make lemonade. Do not just sit and complain because you do not have grapes.
I, for the most part, share their beliefs but I don’t think that they are being effective. The protesting hasn’t done anything yet. Will it? I don’t know but I know that so far it has only created riots and nothing more than that. It seems like mob mentality. Like some of these people are just mad at the government and think they get the short end of the stick so they join the occupy group.
I beleive that the government needs changed majorly and that there is some things that are not fair like the big businesses getting bailed out but I don’t think this effective enough for its cost.
Lord Vader says
Unfortunately, even with thousands of people walking around like first-generation zombies holding up signs which read “Goldman Sachs is the Devil” nothing going to change- NADA! You have to understand the mind-set of most people- if it ain’t effect’in me, why bother? Trust me, the “one percent” are looking outside their windows with their shiny four hundred dollar shoes and their shiny cuff links and saying to each other, ” A truck needs to come around, round everybody up and throw them into labor camps- where’s my six dollar latte?” Brinkmanship is the only way to play this game.
Lord Vader says
Here’s my prediction…
A) The movement fizzles out like a popcorn fart and everyone puts their sheeple caps back on. B) The country is hit with a double-dip recession with more people out of work; thus, resulting in a few “bones” being tossed to the poor (to keep them from busting the windows of every S-Class Mercedes they see parked in front of a Starbucks). C) Manhattan island is turned into a maximum security prison. D) More weather manipulation, or a zombie virus is released, thus, creating a ‘Wag the Dog’ scenario E) The movement grows, and a major P/R company is hired to dismiss the movement as a mere festering fungus F) The Kardashian reality t.v. show is finally cancelled.
Personally, I’m hoping for scenario ‘F.’
Here are some additional points: The movement needs to forge into a legitimate entity, which means, it needs to organize, focus, including finding lockers for all those bags and backpacks the protesters are lugging around. And please, if you’re going to protest and bring your dog to a rally, feed it!
Wow. that is pathetic that the rich people actually believe that they can just get away with tax breaks and no mortgage or rent. Why don’t they go crazy on getting money from people that have some instead of taxing hobo’s and orphans.
Sounds like alot of people wanting to point the finger for their problems at someone, anyone…
If this is about politics then good somthing needs to be done agreed but if they stop wall street hello money want matter back to the stone age right if the dollar holds no value how are we going to buy food oh dnt think about not getting how this says we are doing the right thing gov. spending yeah redicilous bailout yaya if you divided the bailout to everyone over 18 it would be enough to jumpstart our economy right im like wow how can they do this we the people have the say on what goes on in our country hahahaha yeah america the u.k has more say then we do. Occupy wall street leave the value of the jdollar alone and focus on the gov. Wages and spending and shit like osha no sense in it
Tax payers didnt give the momey to wall street they didnt steel it the gov gave it to them
To me it all started when our government started doing bail outs for troubled business. The should of let the companies file bankruptcy plans as per excising laws. It was done that way in the past. Also home owners who didn’t manage their debt properly buy buying too big & too much stuff, should have followed existing laws also. When the government makes laws to create a false American dream scenario it is chaos. Let supply and demand rule and make laws if they must to “Buy and Make American when possible” especially things and services they are public owned.
There are a lot of different issues. Unemployment and under employment the middle class is under attack, unions are under attack, the 375% increase in wealth over the last 30 years for the rich, while the middle class remains flat, the corruption of Wall St., Banks and our government. We all know that this country is not about PEOPLE anymore. It’s about Corporations! Our government officials only pretend to care at election time, once they get to Washington, it’s all about corporate lobbyists. Billions of dollars flow into Washington from corporations; banks, insurance companies, pharma. companies, etc. In the 60’s there were many messages like, End the War, Civil Rights, Womens’ Rights, and Clean up the Air and Water. All of those issues were evenutally accomplished. The EPA, the Clean Air Act, The Civil Rights Act, The Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and the end of the Viet Nam War.
Thank you OWS and keep Protesting!
Well said Ronald. We have rules and policies in place that used to be followed for given situations (bankruptcy, minimum loan requirements, etc.). On top of that, we have rules for the role of government. But several decades ago, we started ignoring, bending, and selectively enforcing these rules that built our society, governance, and financial infrastructure. I truly believe that what we see today is the result of decades of people ignoring rules whether it be government just assuming a larger role in people’s lives or people finding ways around these rules and never suffering the consequences because they are well connected.
Unfortunately, it seems to me that the Occupy people want more government in their lives and more safety nets. In my opinion, their idea for a cure is just more of the disease.
hanna marin says
i totally agree with ows. i encourage people 2 get involved. their message will be heard.
spencer hastings says
what r u thinking? this thing is going nowhere. do u rly think that washington is gonna pay any attention 2 this? theyll just swat it away like a fly.
What is with the “99% vs. 1%” thing? I don’t understand it.
Jackie Correll says
I live in Mississippi. Maybe two weeks ago, I saw this article about Jay Z and this t-shirt. So. now I see what is really going on with the “Occupy Wall Street.”
It is about money. Does it effect me? Who knows!!!! My everyday routine is the same. My spending habits are the same. I pay taxes just like everybody else. I borrow money just like everybody else. Do I complain about the high interest rate? Sure, but guess what? I need them. So therefore, I am going to pay the piper.
If you don’t aggree with the rules and laws of spending and lending policies, then do not participate. I have learn to use what I got!!!! If I can’t afford to pay for it, then I do not need it. I live off the basic needs. Sheltar, food, clothing, and transportation. The “Occupy Wall Street” protestors should try it!!!!
Glen Craig says
I’m not sure how you mean Jackie? How do you mean “do not participate?” Although it’s easy to just not pay taxes it’s not something that’s really suggested in the long run (the IRS will catch up).
I think the OWS protesters have some legitimate gripes. I just don’t see their execution as being that effective right now.
“do not participate?”
If you don’t want to pay the high interest, don’t borrow money!!!!
“If you don’t aggree with the rules and laws of spending and lending policies, then do not participate.”
When the founding fathers banded together & formed this great nation, they put certain fail-proof laws in place to protect us, & assure that our government remains “of, by, & for The People”. But Politicans, swayed & manipulated thru the years by Big Money, have manipulated facts, & then changed the rules, to payback “favors” to Big Money (corporations). Then they “justified” or excused their actions as being “for the benefit of ALL our Nation’s people”.
Our country is meant to be a domocracy-where the total of all the peoples votes matters. But, our votes DONT really count, when our leaders are being “bought” by Corporations!
LOOK at what we have, now:
businessinsider: /new-charts-about-inequality-2011-11#the-share-of-national-income-going-to-the-top-1-has-doubled-since-1979-this-chart-really-says-it-all-1 (FOLLOW THE ARROWS THRU THE STORY!!!)
businessinsider: /what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10# (FOLLOW THE LINK THAT SAYS: Click here)
yahoo news: /blogs/lookout/numbers-income-top-one-percent-skyrocketed-over-last-153005722.
CAREER POLITICANS: Congress STILL cannot do their “Jobs” & come to an agreement on where/what to financally to “Cut”. ANYONE who is hired to do a job, & falls short of doing that job, is fired, right? Our government is supposed to be “of, for, & by The People”. We elect these people to do a job-which they are NOT doing! Keep in mind that they work only three days a week (when they are not on one of their numerous recesses, raising money for re-election).(I can tell them where to start: Their own paychecks!)
Each member of the congress has an annual base pay of $174,000.00 but Party leadership is paid more:
House of Representatives
Speaker of the House – $223,500.00
Majority Leader – $193,400.00
Minority Leader – $193,400.00
Majority Leader – $193,400.00
Minority Leader – $193,400.00
House of Representatives – Staff, Office, and Mail Allowances
-Each member of the House is allowed to employ up to 18 permanent staffers.
-Each member may maintain offices in both Washington and in their home districts.
-Each member has significant free U.S. mail privileges.
-In 2010, each member spent an average of $1,522,114.00 on these items.
Senate – Staff, Office and Mail Allowances
-Senators have similar and far more liberal Staff and Office expense allowances.
-In 2010, each Senator spent an average of $3,343,867.00 on these items.
In addition to the members of the congress and their staffs, there are officers and officials of the congress that that are paid $172,500.00. These job titles include Chief Administrative Officer, Sergeant At Arms, Clerk of the House, Parliamentarian, Inspector General and on and on. Even the Chaplain of the House of Representatives makes $172,500.00 annually. In addition to the above salary and expense privileges, all House Members and U.S. Senators receive an annual $3,000.00 housing allowance and very liberal travel expense allowances.
Unlike the American public, all members of congress have first class health care insurance options and again, unlike many Americans, they enjoy a secure (and funded) retirement plan:
Salary of retired US Presidents ………….$450,000 FOR LIFE!
Salary of House/Senate members ……….$174,000 FOR LIFE!
Salary of Speaker of the House …………..$223,500 FOR LIFE!
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …..$193,400 FOR LIFE!
Our Leaders should go back to their regular jobs, paychecks, & lives after office!
As far as the 99%…Average salary of a soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN – $38,000. Average income for seniors on SOCIAL SECURITY – $12,000.
How much did our Founding Fathers get paid? From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.
And, finally, it has been proven TIME & TIME again, that our Media is Censored, & that our Government lies to us to influence (CONTROL!!!) us: BIG MONEY’S EFFECT:
upwithchrishayes. msnbc.msn news: /2011/11/19/8896362-exclusive-lobbying-firms-memo-spells-out-plan-to-undermine-occupy-wall-street-video
I believe the protesters have a legitimate point. Things are backwards, in more ways than I can count. We need change. But they made their headlines. Everyone has heard of OWS. But the lack of leadership has caused the movement to become more of a stain on our society than a positively defined organization. Start making the commute of the employed 99% chaos, and it is guaranteed you will all become seen as a bunch of free-loading hippies. I’m about at the point for one.
Im doing a paper on this, and don’t really understand. I been reading other articles saying that certain people cant get wealth care, i would like to know why cant they, and how does this add to the occupy of wall street, thanks
Glen Craig says
Hi Abigail, I’m guessing you meant “health care” (though wealth care sounds like an interesting concept)?
I can’t say in regards to what you read, but if you are unemployed, are a freelancer, or run your own small business, health care can b very expensive to have. Perhaps the point from the OWS point of view is that people, in general, should have access to decent health care that isn’t cost prohibitive? Perhaps everyone should have access to the health care that members of congress have access to?
Again, I can’t really speak for them, but that’s my guess.
Lord Vader says
It’s nice to hear so many educated people sound off (albeit, the one dumbf apple).
Bottom line: College kids carrying around poo-poo buckets and playing ‘World of Warcraft’ during their down time isn’t going to make a difference. In this country, it’s going to take a complete nationwide economic freefall before any change happens.
Got hope? What a joke!
To the Rabbi,
That was an awesome post! I wish I could tweet it! Thanks for writing. Both my parents came from extremely poor, immigrant families where the adults couldn’t speak English. They struggled so much and now I live in a nice home and and able to go to college. I’ve struggled too but we all have to choose to stand back up when we fall. You made a good point about that and I appreciate it.
Trisha Barela says
I see it as politicians are corporate bitches! Corporations and their greed for money and power is dividing our parties and our country!
I am not a politically responsible person so I goggled the web and got your blog. Very interesting and varied responses.
Some blame a president, who has very little real power, perhaps we need to concentrate on the people who are voted in for 6 year terms and NEVER leave. Perhaps they have the real power. They have the voice and the money. Through their many years in office they have the “friends”. The little guy cannot compete with that, any more than avoiding the school bully.
I don’t fully understand Occupy Wall Street Now. I and my husband are raising our family and struggling to keep food on the table. What little we make (After Uncle Sam gets his share) will pay the mortgage and house bills. We eat poor quality foods because that is what we can afford. My shoes are very old and have holes in them. What do I do? I complain about not being able to give my kids a hamburger while the mom in front of me buys one with her EBT card. I complain about one more tax levied, about the new fees that have started to pop up at my bank.
For this reason I am proud of our children taking action by protesting. Most of the kids out there probably do not fully understand why they are there; they have been swept away with an ideal, a sense of belonging and the energy to try.
At least they are doing something.
Glen Craig says
I hear you Diane. The middle class has been changing. They make too much for the benefits of the poor but not enough to enjoy what the wealthy have. Housing and such have inflated and it’s now almost necessary to have two incomes where one used to do.
I think you have something regarding congress – they do have a lot of power and have all sorts of special interest putting money in their pockets.
You hear this party or that blaming whatever president in office, but congress has much of the power to change things.
Yes, I think there is a lot of idealism in these protests. But it is nice to see some energy going somewhere towards something real rather than whatever reality TV show is popular. Now if only that energy could be more focused.
I’m doing a paper on the Occupy Movement (my argument is that even though it’s a good cause, their focus has shifted too much, too many demands and not enough action). It’s due on Wednesday and I have quoted a piece of your article about taking inspiration from Egypt and since I would never steal chunks of someone’s idea and I’ll be citing you and including you in my works cited page, but I can’t find the date of this article. I’ll lose points unless I have it. Please reply asap, I’d really appreciate it. It’s extremely important.
Although I wholeheartedly agree with the three aims you have listed here I think there are many people, myself included, that would be very hesitant to align themselves with this group for several reasons.
What we can see is a bunch of unkempt and fanatical people that are living in tents and trashing the city. These “encampments look more like a movement to legalize marijuana than a legitimate, politically based endeavor.
And one cant help but wonder who many of these people are just riding the bandwagon because they have nowhere else to go and nothing better to do.
If they really want to affect change they should clean themselves up, get jobs, and begin a movement that starts by educating the country to the problem, without looking like a huge cult. This means town meetings, social media, speaking engagements at schools and libraries.
The more negative attention they generate because of the way they are handling this, the greater chance there is of completely sinking their goal. People will look at it as a joke…as a non-credible issue and end up running the real efforts of political reform. Quite simply, if they do not clean up their act, they will do more harm than good.
This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard of, if you don’t like American laws don’t live in America! Ce are a capitalist nation hello. This whole protest just angers me. All I can say is that I am 19 years old and my generation is going to have a lot to take care of…
Glen Craig says
Wait a sec. Based on what you are saying, a law should never be changed? Once a law is in place, if you don’t like it you should move?
Indeed we are capitalist. But the problem is we seem to be far from a free market. In a free market a car company that makes unpopular automobiles goes out of business. In a free market a bank that makes bad bets goes bankrupt or is bought by another. That doesn’t always happen here though.
Glen Gralg says
A common claim they make is that they are in the oppressed 99% of income earners, but the cut off between the top 1% of income earners and the rest is currently at about $593,000. a year. That’s right, the oppressed 99% includes millions of six figure salary earners, many of which happen to be the wall street bankers they’re protesting. So given they are demanding the top 1% to spread their wealth more to benefit the 99%, many of which are financially secure,and less than 1% of the US population is homeless , they are essentially arguing for the super rich to make the rich richer over helping the truly poor and desperate. How’s that for a go at logic? Like hippie libtards would understand it anyway.
I hear what you are saying Glen, but I don’t agree with it completely. Some of them might have money, but a lot of people I have met at OWS in the 99% are suffering and I think this movement was successful at exposing this. Like me, I don’t have a job, forced to live with my Uncle who is a hoarder I myself am hanging on by a thread. I would definitely say that more than 1% of the population are homeless. On the other hand you could be right about OWS and maybe they just don’t give a crap about people like me. It is kinda screwed up because a lot of jobs I would gladly take are now taken by mexicans and employers like the Loews hotel really don’t care. I don’t have anything against them working, but I also need to work.
I understand the movement and I commend all of those who are supporting and taking a stance while maintaining a residence in a park all over America. My question is, will the movement end after the 2012 election? How long can the protesters clearly protest? What about their everyday lives, work, relationships, employment? Do any of the protestors have jobs where they get a paycheck? Have some people quit their jobs for the movement? Those who are not employed, is this movement more important than gainful employment? Are they looking for jobs? I’m simply asking the question because so many people who are going to work and trying to get a taste for the American dream u deist ands the movement but please respond to me. I am a citizen who wants to support and understand. Thank you for your time.
OWS = rape, drugs, entitlements, assaults, riots, anti-capitalism, envy…
OWS = not willing to take responsibility for your own failure.
OWS = attacking/damaging small businesses(99%) in the area.
OWS = shooting at the White House, pushing old lady down the stairs, crapping in public, pissing on cars…
There are two things I don’t understand. One is what they think complaining is going to do for them. The other is why they feel so entitled to complain when they are way better off than most other countries. I don’t get it. I’m not trying to be rude or dismissive. I’m genuinely curious Can anyone give me an answer?