Thursday, November 17, 2011

Does Occupy Vilify the Wrong Guy?

Real economic problems coupled with corruption criple our nation, but who is ultimately to blame?

Occupy Wallstreet blames: The 1%, Wallstreet, Corporations and CEOs.

Some of the 1% may be part of the problem, but I don't think it is helpful to vilify a group of people based on income. Greed and corruption exists at all financial levels. I witness it everyday from people who make a lot less money.

So who are the top 1% in America? In 2010, they had a minimum income of $516,633. Not all of them work on Wallstreet.

31% Executives, managers and supervisors working outside of finance (largest share)
15.7% Medical professionals
8.4% Lawyers

(analysis by Jon Bakija of Williams College, Adam Cole of the Treasury Department and Bradley Heim of Indiana University).


Our political leaders told us that bank lending to businesses would pick up after the bailout. It didn't. Instead, the banks lend their money to the American government. How do they do this? By purchasing treasury bonds and other government-guaranteed securities. In addition, they collect interest on money they are not lending (how about that for an incentive).

Fed rates are so low that banks are basically able to borrow money for free. That's a pretty good deal.

We need to focus on the ones who make the rules (i.e. the politicians, the Fed, etc.) We can start by forcing Congress to make it illegal for politicians to trade securities based on insider information. The rest of us (including Wallstreet) would be carted off to jail.

Congress continues to screw up. Remember the stimulus bill for the so called "shovel ready" projects which were largely gifts to various monied interests. I think stimulus money should have gone directly to the tax payers. That money could have helped millions of Americans pay off their debt.


It is true that CEO pay and corporate profits have skyrocketed while the average worker's wage has reamained stagnant. But even if CEO's cut their pay or Congress taxes millionaires more, that wouldn't necessarily lead to more private sector jobs created or an increase in worker salaries.

But I get it! Psychologically, none of us like the feeling of inequality. We think, "Why do THEY get Golden parachutes? I don't, I just get fired! Corporations and CEO's are making bank and I can't even find a job to pay my bills!" The anger is real.

Americans want a good paying job and to not be saddled by debt. They want a system that seems fair.

But how do we acheive this? These same corporations that some Occupiers slander bring us jobs and gadgets that we love. We shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water and I don't think dismantling the capitalist system is a good solution either.

We need to find ways to increase upward mobility for Americans.
We need to make it easier for people to own a business. Wealth is rarely created simply by earning a paycheck.
And last, but not least, we need commitment to Keep the American Dream Alive ...

What do you think?