I have to say that I have found it odd how quickly the Occupy Wall Street crowd cum fiasco has embraced union support. I would have thought that they might try to keep their movement as open as the Tea Party has kept theirs. At least in our local Tea Party, we do not back any candidate from any party and we do not allow the political parties access to our membership. We do invite members of both parties to come and speak. We may not agree with them, but we are open.
I would suggest that the Occupy movement start to look at the union movement in this country and ask themselves if Wall Street has monopolized deceit. They could do worse than spend a few minutes reading the articles that come up on the google news search “Rhode Island + Public Pensions.” This is, as Walter Russel Meade has written, the current Greek drama come to the shores of America.
And it’s not just a Rhode Island problem. Michigan is in huge trouble with an unfunded liability for public employees that approaches the five year total of the state’s entire budget. Obviously the blue state social model is breaking down before our eyes and has been for over two decades. We simply cannot afford to let public employees retire after 30 years and then pay them 90% of the last years salary for another 30 years, not to mention health care as well. The people who advocated and defended these ideas for the last 20-30 years, union officials and those who graciously accepted the union’s campaign donations, need to stand up and take responsibility.
Recently I also came across an article that tried to point out some overlapping concerns of the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the Tea Party movement. The following Venn diagram points out the writer’s idea:
The only addition that I would make to this diagram is that in the center overlap, the author should have added that the government regulates a market because it envies its money and power and wants these for itself, and when it does so it ultimately inhibits the markets and forces participants to come begging, hat in hand. Eventually, companies learn how to play this game, rather well in some cases. Recently Eric Schmidt of Google made this same point to the Washington Post in a very candid interview:
And one of the consequences of regulation is regulation prohibits real innovation, because the regulation essentially defines a path to follow—which by definition has a bias to the current outcome, because it’s a path for the current outcome.
That’s pretty honest actually, and hits the nail on the head. When government has its hand in every facet of the economy it stands to reason that every industry must have its lobby in Washington D.C..
Yes, corporate rent seeking is a problem, made all the more troublesome by government’s constant meddling in the economy. (Really the federal government is concerned with google search results?) What’s even worse in my view is when government climbs right into bed with another entity in our economy, as in the case of the unions. The results there are worse long term than the typical corporate rent seeking.
If the Occupy Wall Street crowd wants to take the investigation one step further, then they should take a look at the chart to the right. Here’s we see the real story of the nation’s financial crisis. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other government entities got their hands into the housing market in a major way and the result is that we have 11 million homes underwater and millions of others already in full foreclosure. It’s an incredible tragedy for every homeowner in the country, and yet the government’s participation in this mess is hardly ever considered. There has been a single mention of the government’s role in the financial crisis over the last 3 years on the PBS Newshour, for example. Try as they might, the truth will out, eventually. The federal government was largely at fault for the mortgage and financial crisis that blew up in 2008, and I’m not even going to bother to mention how low interest rates contributed to the perfect storm.
All told, the Occupy Wall Street crowd has become attached to the hip of the Democratic party and their unions. As a result they have lost all objectivity of what’s really broken in American society. We have public unions and their officials in bed with our elected representatives, and we have government sponsored entities, Fannie and Freddie, in bed with the political class. (Of course Wall Street followed along like the cur that it is, but that much we know and have lived with for almost 300 years.) Put all that in a Venn diagram and then #OWS and #TeaParty have something in common.
But you’re welcome to have the 50% of the city that’s functionally illiterate. Or if you have a large kettle, please help yourselves to the vast multitude living in poverty. They’re a little bony, but might pass for soup. No worries about sleeping outside; we have thousands of empty homes where, like many residents, you can squat tax and rent free!
It’s nice to indulge yourselves in useless fantasies isn’t it? Michael Moore has made a career of it, after all. He blamed GM for closing factories in his hometown in the worthless “Roger and Me.” He never got around to explaining how making cars that no one wanted to buy was going to work, but no matter. He sold a lot of tickets, and anyone who challenged his thinking was deemed a hopeless dud who had not figured out that we need “new ways of thinking.” That whole supply and demand thing is so passe.
The folks of “occupywallstreet” are of the same mind. They are the unhappy inheritors of the greatest society in the history of the world. But let’s face it, a society like ours that offers everyone the opportunity to realize their dreams is going to have the perpetual malcontents; people with inflated ideas about themselves who never achieve a day dream much less a life dream. The world has no need of whatever they are trying to supply, so of course it’s our fault. We should all hire a gender studies major today. They have spent some of the most important years of their young lives wasting time with impractical studies that start from nowhere and lead to nowhere. Sad. They should really take their protest march back to whatever liberal arts college took their loan money in exchange for zero marketable skills and then, when they were deemed educated, threw them into the heartless, capitalist maelstrom. A six figure education with no future – only in America.
My elderly neighbor, who’s a bit of a character, maintains that the movement is called “octopiwallstreet.” He’s convinced, the marchers simply want to get their many hands on his money. He’s right, of course.