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kally
9-26-11, 12:33pm
I am looking at all the websites and getting a strange assortment of mixed messages. What is going on and why is it going on, do you think? Thanks

danna
9-26-11, 2:30pm
Especially hard knowing main stream news is not covering it (at least not much) in both of our wonderful lets all be willing to take up arms any time
for our "Freedom of Speech" etc. countries.

Alan
9-26-11, 3:55pm
I can't explain it. I read an article about it on Huffington Post and they couldn't explain it either since everyone they talked with had a different perspective on what was happening.

According to the article, they meet at the end of each day and plan their activities for the next. One young lady said she was moving out of her apartment so that she could live at the "occupation" full time.

It sounds to me like a party that no one wants to end. Perhaps it's as simple as that.

madgeylou
9-26-11, 6:39pm
here's noam chomsky's take on it:

https://occupywallst.org/article/noam-chomsky-solidarity/

ApatheticNoMore
9-26-11, 8:01pm
Conditions for the vast majority on average get worse and worse (not every single person, I am talking averages here - unemployment really high and has been for a long time, poverty at levels not seen in many decades etc.) Meanwhile the rich get richer. Most wealth flows to a tiny top percent.

Meanwhile the government actively bails out the fortunes of some of the fortunate. TARP of course, federal reserve bailouts of the whole world economy, a thousand artificial measure to keep housing prices from dropping (it's not really for joe homeowner, it is for the banks ultimately). Money seems to control politics entirely and government in turn props up money. Any actual stimulus plans for the people (not that I'm convinced they would work but ...) are outright pathetic (most fo the parts of Obama's jobs bill for example). The big money is spent propping up the big money. Gee, why is anyone angry?

Now what I am vague on is what the people protesting would actually like in terms of policy proposals. I don't fully understand the crowd we are dealing with here and it seems it might span a pretty large political spectrum. From Ron Paul repeal the fed libertarians, to middle of the road but fed up populists, to principled leftists, and the usual handful of anarchists. So they are venting a widespread anger IMO, but what are the changes they would like to see? (I could suggest some to start, reimplement Glass Stegal, break up too big to fail banks (those that get our tax dollars), campaign finance etc. - but I don't really know what the people protesting really want - this is always something that is VERY HARD to find out from the mainstream media IMO).

Maxamillion
9-29-11, 8:14pm
Here's an article that gives a pretty good explanation: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/09/28/occupy-wall-street-spreads-san-francisco

razz
9-30-11, 4:54am
Does anyone not believe that Wall Street got away with theft that compromised so many of us? Are there any steps being undertaken to call them legally to account?

RosieTR
10-1-11, 12:18am
The issue with legally calling them into account is that you'd depend on the same structure that helped usher this in to turn around and discipline itself. Any big entity, be it government, business, etc is ultimately self-serving. The idea was that there would be a balance and opposing forces: government regulating big business, big business pushing back politically against government, for example. If government and big business collude, that leaves no check or balance. In reality both business and government are ultimately controlled by the people (dollars and votes) but in aggregate large institutions take on a life of their own. Now that corps have been ruled "citizens" with the rights but not necessarily the responsibilities of actual living citizens, they have excessive power. Possibly this will wend down, similar to some of the times and excesses seen in the Great Depression times. Possibly the US will slide ever closer to a complete corporate oligarchy. The internet is somewhat of a pushback against this, though large corps attempt to control and manipulate that, too (net neutrality issues, huge corps like FB, Google etc).

redfox
10-1-11, 11:04am
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/nyregion/wall-street-occupiers-protesting-till-whenever.html?_r=1&hp
NYT front page article.

jania
10-2-11, 7:14am
Yesterday on NPR I finally heard a little, a very little, about this. Then, this morning on a BBC broadcast I heard more so I checked out the NYTimes which led me to the AdBusters site. I am naively surprised I guess that it has taken so long for any national coverage on this movement. While I was on vacation I still watched or listened to national news and heard not a peep. While the NYTimes article I read seemed to feel the crowd was mostly younger protestors I have heard other accounts that the group is quite diverse in age, education and occupation. Sounds like Michael Moore is starting to show interest. I'll be paying more attention.

Alan
10-2-11, 7:22am
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/10/02/national/main20114436.shtml

700 arrested at Brooklyn Bridge

Lainey
10-2-11, 7:32am
The issue with legally calling them into account is that you'd depend on the same structure that helped usher this in to turn around and discipline itself. Any big entity, be it government, business, etc is ultimately self-serving. The idea was that there would be a balance and opposing forces: government regulating big business, big business pushing back politically against government, for example. If government and big business collude, that leaves no check or balance. In reality both business and government are ultimately controlled by the people (dollars and votes) but in aggregate large institutions take on a life of their own. Now that corps have been ruled "citizens" with the rights but not necessarily the responsibilities of actual living citizens, they have excessive power. Possibly this will wend down, similar to some of the times and excesses seen in the Great Depression times. Possibly the US will slide ever closer to a complete corporate oligarchy. The internet is somewhat of a pushback against this, though large corps attempt to control and manipulate that, too (net neutrality issues, huge corps like FB, Google etc).

+1

madgeylou
10-2-11, 8:15am
this site is really quite moving, and encapsulates a lot of what the occupy wall st. folks are against.

http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

i know everyone wants them to have concrete demands, and they are starting to figure some out. but the problems are so systemic, it's diffcult to point to any one fix.

many, many people are over the drama and distress caused by the wall street/short term/growth at all costs mindset and the economy that results from it. but it's going to take some time and thought and co-ordination within the movement to arrive at a real alternative to the status quo.

Maxamillion
10-2-11, 10:15pm
Yesterday on NPR I finally heard a little, a very little, about this. Then, this morning on a BBC broadcast I heard more so I checked out the NYTimes which led me to the AdBusters site. I am naively surprised I guess that it has taken so long for any national coverage on this movement. While I was on vacation I still watched or listened to national news and heard not a peep.

The mainstream media aren't doing much reporting on it, and when they have it's usually just when there's been arrests. Some are saying there's been a media blackout. I usually get my news from yahoo news and after the two weeks this has been going on, I finally saw something on there today about this. I've been looking to places like facebook and youtube for news about what's going on.

ApatheticNoMore
10-3-11, 10:18am
I strongly feel I should be with them occupying somewhere in sympathy. Ah well I have been busy with equally worthy tasks (and no I don't just mean working :laff: - I mean community stuff).

The crowd is supposedly quite young (early 20s). I do a bit cynically wonder how many would be placified if the economy was only capable of creating JOBS for them (unemployment among the young is very high). That and student debt and of course they are in a bad way - but so are so many of so many ages.

jania
10-3-11, 11:50am
madgeylou, the web-site you provided shared a very diverse group yet all are equally frustrated. Thanks for the link.

Dharma Bum
10-3-11, 5:57pm
I keep looking for kib in the crowd.

rosebud
10-4-11, 10:13am
Yesterday on NPR I finally heard a little, a very little, about this. Then, this morning on a BBC broadcast I heard more so I checked out the NYTimes which led me to the AdBusters site. I am naively surprised I guess that it has taken so long for any national coverage on this movement. While I was on vacation I still watched or listened to national news and heard not a peep. While the NYTimes article I read seemed to feel the crowd was mostly younger protestors I have heard other accounts that the group is quite diverse in age, education and occupation. Sounds like Michael Moore is starting to show interest. I'll be paying more attention.

The massive crowds in Wisconsin garned much less coverage than smaller Tea Party Events.

Here's what they need to do to get on CNN:

1. Dress up in funny costumes and hats and a catchy phrase to call themselves and their movement. They're already off to a bad start because OWS sucks as the name of a "movement."
2. Come up with a few catchy slogans. I think " I want my country back" is available.
3. Bring on board some charismatic attractive politicians & celebrities (no, Michael Moore just won't do because he's not pretty)
4. Get some billionaires to underwrite the formation of various sub-groups with pretty, shiny websites with names like "Prosperity for Americans," Americans for Freedom, WorkFreedom. Those groups can then hire on professional organizers to buy pretty shiny buses to move people around and organize big, pretty, shiny rallies in DC.
5. Go around with lots of "colorful" signs depicting the heads of major corporations as witch doctors, Hitler, Lenin, Marx, the Joker.

Easy Peasy! They'll be the next household name in no time, after they change their name.

Alan
10-4-11, 10:30am
They haven't done a very good job of declaring what they're trying to accomplish, although someone did put together a list of "demands" over at the Occupy Wall Street website (http://occupywallst.org/forum/proposed-list-of-demands-for-occupy-wall-st-moveme/).



Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.
Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.
Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.
Demand four: Free college education.
Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.
Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.
Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America's nuclear power plants.
Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.
Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.
Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "Books." World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "Books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.
Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.
These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.

rosebud
10-4-11, 1:10pm
They haven't done a very good job of declaring what they're trying to accomplish, although someone did put together a list of "demands" over at the Occupy Wall Street website (http://occupywallst.org/forum/proposed-list-of-demands-for-occupy-wall-st-moveme/).


Thanks for posting that. These are the PROPOSED demands posted by one person, and soundly criticized by others in the group.

Obviously this is a very loosely organized group, with real grievances (as they liked to say about the Tea Partiers), but with little practical policy direction.

The stuff about eliminating debt and credit ratings is ridiculous. Eliminating our national borders...also DOA. The rest I would think is at least worth discussing.

Lainey
10-4-11, 6:37pm
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/10/02/national/main20114436.shtml

700 arrested at Brooklyn Bridge

Any future arrests are going to be more interesting now that some Marines have decided to join the protestors:

http://www.newser.com/story/130018/marines-head-to-wall-street-to-aid-protesters.html

Dharma Bum
10-4-11, 6:39pm
They haven't done a very good job of declaring what they're trying to accomplish, although someone did put together a list of "demands" over at the Occupy Wall Street website (http://occupywallst.org/forum/proposed-list-of-demands-for-occupy-wall-st-moveme/).

With that list they should just declare "we are idiots wasting valuable public resources" and save us the internet bandwidth.

loosechickens
10-4-11, 6:40pm
I read something really interesting today that said that in many ways the Occupy Wall Street folks and the Tea Party are expressing the same, inchoate grievance, with only a different idea of who is to blame.

That the Tea Party is mostly middle-aged and older conservatives who think that government is the source of all their problems, and that if they can reduce the size and scope of government, and lower their taxes, all will be well with them, the bottom 99%.

And that the OWS folks are more young liberals and moderates who are blaming the woes of that bottom 99% on the excesses and greed of the large corporations and banking industries and their chokehold on the government through ability to buy favors and favorable legislation to their advantage from politicians, and they need to be stopped so that government can operate more in favor of the 99% instead of the top 1% who hold all that wealth and power, so can manipulate laws and regulations to their own advantage and against that of the ordinary person.

So, they may have more common cause than they realize, and just have slightly different ideas of who is to blame and how to fix it.....but both somehow have a dim idea that somewhere, somehow, they are getting shafted. And, of course, they are.

Dharma Bum
10-4-11, 6:44pm
And, of course, they are.

Presumably by the Bilderberg Group or something.

Alan
10-4-11, 6:53pm
With that list they should just declare "we are idiots wasting valuable public resources" and save us the internet bandwidth.
:+1:

Lainey
10-4-11, 7:03pm
Great column by Glenn Greenwald on the mainstream media coverage, especially from the NY Times:

http://www.salon.com/writer/glenn_greenwald/

Alan
10-4-11, 7:11pm
That the Tea Party is mostly middle-aged and older conservatives who think that government is the source of all their problems, and that if they can reduce the size and scope of government, and lower their taxes, all will be well with them, the bottom 99%.

I guess that's one way to put it, but I think that rather then believing "that the government is the source of all their problems", they believe that government has gotten too large and intrusive to remain sustainable, either economically or as a servant to the people. They may even believe that they control their government, rather than the other way around.


And that the OWS folks are more young liberals and moderates who are blaming the woes of that bottom 99% on the excesses and greed of the large corporations and banking industries .....
Because everyone knows if millionaires and billionaires were knocked down to mere thousandaires, we'd all have more for ourselves.....somehow :confused:

Osmosis maybe?

ApatheticNoMore
10-5-11, 10:58am
With that list they should just declare "we are idiots wasting valuable public resources" and save us the internet bandwidth.

I tried to figure out how they were wasting valuable public resources. Is the assumption that they are all on welfare? Or at least collecting unemployment checks? Ok, but where is the evidence of that?

Than I realized you think exercising basic constitutional rights as in the right to assembly is "wasting valuable public resources" just by itself. Yes I know, a dictatorship would just be SO much more efficient. The trains might even run on time too.

Spartana
10-5-11, 11:30am
I tried to figure out how they were wasting valuable public resources. Is the assumption that they are all on welfare? Or at least collecting unemployment checks? Ok, but where is the evidence of that?

Than I realized you think exercising basic constitutional rights as in the right to assembly is "wasting valuable public resources" just by itself. Yes I know, a dictatorship would just be SO much more efficient. The trains might even run on time too.

I believe she was talking about the need for police, jailors, court proceedings, etc... that go with the arrests. Arresting and processing even a small # of people costs a huge amount of tax payer money. Making sure the protest remain peaceful alos requires a huge amount of law enforcement personel - costing even more and taking them away from other duties.

ApatheticNoMore
10-5-11, 11:59am
So what is the point? People should not protest?

madgeylou
10-5-11, 12:14pm
I believe she was talking about the need for police, jailors, court proceedings, etc... that go with the arrests. Arresting and processing even a small # of people costs a huge amount of tax payer money. Making sure the protest remain peaceful alos requires a huge amount of law enforcement personel - costing even more and taking them away from other duties.

yeah, all that pepper spray costs a lot of money, too.

SERIOUSLY? people are complaining about the cost of people choosing to exercise their constitutional rights? that might be the most ludicrous thing i've ever heard.

Alan
10-5-11, 1:20pm
So what is the point? People should not protest?
No, but if people are going to protest, perhaps they should get together ahead of time and do a little organization, you know, identify a couple of topics that are meaningful rather than just get lots of folks together with no coherent plan.

Also, a well organized protest should have a start and stop time. These folks are just sticking around for the fun, and will probably remain until it gets cold. How long should the city put up with what is essentially semi-organized loitering?

Spartana
10-5-11, 1:27pm
So what is the point? People should not protest?

Ummm... I wasn't making a point, just responding to what I felt the poster meant by "costs". They may have meant something else entirerly. Should that stop people from protesting or exercising their right to assemble? No. I fully support that right in all cases irregardless of the cost. However, as Alan pointed out, a more cohesive and well thought out protest which touches on a few substantial issues rather than everything under the sun (given what all the various protest signs that people are carrying say) would be more effective IMHO. Their lack of focus is losing many people who would normally support them.

enota
10-11-11, 4:04pm
Well, I can see from the first couple of pages of responses that my point of view is going to be terribly unpopular, but personally I do not agree with the "cause" of these people.

I believe that the banks should have been allowed to fail, but let's not forget WHO bailed them out, shall we? It was President Obama. So, why do they demonize the banks themselves? Just because they accepted the money? give me a break.

I could go on for a week about this, but frankly, I don't have the time or the energy to do so. Let's just say I think the protesters are wrong and let it go at that.

enota

loosechickens
10-11-11, 7:21pm
enota, I know it's tempting to just accept Fox News type propaganda about how the bank bailouts were all President Obama's fault, but perhaps a glance at the timeline of what actually happened might be in order, noting when and under whose administration it actually happened. The bailout of the major banks, as well as the huge Federal Reserve loans to the big banks to maintain liquidity, happened under the George W. Bush's administration . As did most of the almost complete collapse of our banking system, and when President Obama took office, it was all pretty much over but the shouting, with a huge mess to try to clean up and a country to try to pull back from almost complete disaster.

One can argue, and I'm sure we will, whether President Obama's continuation of many of the Bush decisions was wise, but it's pretty hard to lay the bank bailouts at his door. Just check the dates. Obama was elected in November of 2008, but did not take office until near the end of January 2009.

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

excerpt: take October 2008 as an example from the above link. Note that all this happened before a single vote was cast to elect President Obama.

"October 2008Main article: Global financial crisis in October 2008

October 1: The U.S. Senate passes HR1424, their version of the $700 billion bailout bill.[211]
October 1: The financial crisis spreads to Europe.[212][213]
October 3: President George W. Bush signs the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, creating a $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program to purchase failing bank assets.[214] It contains easing of the accounting rules that forced companies to collapse because of the existence of toxic mortgage-related investments.[215] Also key to winning GOP support was a decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission to ease mark-to-market accounting rules that require financial institutions to show the deflated value of assets on their balance sheets."[176][216]
October 3: Using tax law change made September 30, Wells makes a higher offer for Wachovia, scooping it from Citigroup[217]
October 6–10: Worst week for the stock market in 75 years. The Dow Jones loses 22.1 percent, its worst week on record, down 40.3 percent since reaching a record high of 14,164.53 October 9, 2007. The Standard & Poor's 500 index loses 18.2 percent, its worst week since 1933, down 42.5 percent in since its own high October 9, 2007.[218]
October 6: Fed announces that it will provide $900 billion in short-term cash loans to banks.[219]
October 7: Fed makes emergency move to lend around $1.3 trillion directly to companies outside the financial sector.[220]
October 7: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) relaxes rules on US corporations repatriating money held oversees in an attempt to inject liquidity into the US financial market. The new ruling allows the companies to receive loans from their foreign subsidiaries for longer periods and more times a year without triggering the 35% corporate income tax.[87]
October 8: Central banks in USA (Fed), England, China, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Central Bank cut rates in a coordinated effort to aid world economy.[221]
October 8: Fed also reduces its emergency lending rate to banks by half a percentage point, to 1.75 percent.[222]
October 8: White House considers taking ownership stakes in private banks as a part of the bailout bill.[223] Warren Buffett and George Soros criticized the original approach of the bailout bill.[224][225]
October 11: The Dow Jones Industrial Average caps its worst week ever with its highest volatility day ever recorded in its 112 year history. Over the last eight trading days, the DJIA has dropped 22% amid worries of worsening credit crisis and global recession. Paper losses now on US stocks now total $8.4 trillion from the market highs last year.[87]
October 11: The G7, a group of central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of Seven leading economies, meet in Washington and agree to urgent and exceptional coordinated action to prevent the credit crisis from throwing the world into depression. The G7 did not agree on the concrete plan that was hoped for.[87]
October 14: The US taps into the $700 billion available from the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and announces the injection of $250 billion of public money into the US banking system. The form of the rescue will include the US government taking an equity position in banks that choose to participate in the program in exchange for certain restrictions such as executive compensation. Nine banks agreed to participate in the program and will receive half of the total funds: 1) Bank of America, 2) JPMorgan Chase, 3) Wells Fargo, 4) Citigroup, 5) Merrill Lynch, 6) Goldman Sachs, 7) Morgan Stanley, 8) Bank of New York Mellon and 9) State Street. Other US financial institutions eligible for the plan have until November 14 to agree to the terms.[87]
October 21: The US Federal Reserve announces that it will spend $540 billion to purchase short-term debt from money market mutual funds. The large amount of redemption requests during the credit crisis have caused the money market funds to scale back lending to banks contributing to the credit freeze on interbank lending markets. This government is hoping the injection will help unfreeze the credit markets making it easier for businesses and banks to obtain loans. The structure of the plan involves the Fed setting up four special purpose vehicles that will purchase the assets.[87]"

peggy
10-11-11, 7:40pm
Well, I can see from the first couple of pages of responses that my point of view is going to be terribly unpopular, but personally I do not agree with the "cause" of these people.

I believe that the banks should have been allowed to fail, but let's not forget WHO bailed them out, shall we? It was President Obama. So, why do they demonize the banks themselves? Just because they accepted the money? give me a break.

I could go on for a week about this, but frankly, I don't have the time or the energy to do so. Let's just say I think the protesters are wrong and let it go at that.

enota

Actually we haven't forgotten who bailed them out. It was Bush. Sorry, I know it's convenient to think everything started with Obama, but really it didn't. Actually, everything didn't start with Bush either. One thing builds on another. We can really trace this whole mess back to Saint Ronald, but that predates a lot of memories, so we don't really go back that far. But it is interesting to do the research on it.

Zoebird
10-11-11, 8:35pm
It's a funny thing, peggy. Every time I point to the deregulation under Regan, people say i'm crazy and making things up. Go figure.

And IMO, the same anger directed at the bailout, might also be directed at the banks and their mismanagement. . . which is happening with OWS, and so technically speaking Enota is a supporter, even though s/he doesn't think s/he is.

Spartana
10-12-11, 11:27am
Well, I can see from the first couple of pages of responses that my point of view is going to be terribly unpopular, but personally I do not agree with the "cause" of these people.

I believe that the banks should have been allowed to fail, but let's not forget WHO bailed them out, shall we? It was President Obama. So, why do they demonize the banks themselves? Just because they accepted the money? give me a break.

I could go on for a week about this, but frankly, I don't have the time or the energy to do so. Let's just say I think the protesters are wrong and let it go at that.

enota

I probably would have done the same. If you want a capitalist society then you need to let things fall where they may - littereally ;-). However, what I don't understand and maybe someone can explain it to me, why is there such an uproar about the bailouts? Didn't it preserve many people's financial investments - 401Ks, IRAs, etc...? Didn't it preserve many people's jobs? Didn't Obama put a limit on the amount of compensdation top management could get paid from any company taking bailout funds? Didn't most - if not all - of these companies pay back that money WITH interest? So what's everyone griping about? If you don't like a bank or privately owned company, don't put your money there or buy their goods. Boycott them and anyone they do business with. I moved my money and investments out of banks years ago because I didagree with their policies and pay scale and fees. I support my local credit union and refuse to buy anything from some company who I find fault with. When Coke moved it's manufacturing plant out of the US and into Mexico I quit drinking any coke products. If more people did the same then the companies will eventually wise up and bring back jobs. If everyone in the US took their money out of Bof A and Citibank today, you bet cha the banks would make changes. Why blame the govment - irregardless of who was pres. at the time - when I see a possitive thing from the bailouts. Of course I would have let them fail and it would have been worse for the economy and the people IMHO.

Dragline
10-12-11, 12:10pm
This former Tea Party activist explains it better than most: http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=195841

If you are still standing around trying to blame one political party and exonerate the other one while drinking their red or blue Koolaid, you just don't get it and the world is passing you by.

Yossarian
10-12-11, 1:59pm
why is there such an uproar about the bailouts?

It's easy to criticize now, but standing on principle could have produced some incredibly bad outcomes. We'll never know for sure what would have happended, but I think it is hard to blame the people who were faced with chosing among bad outcomes for picking one that limited the downside. The big question is whether we are doing the right thing now to prevent another similar situation.

redfox
10-12-11, 7:33pm
I guess that's one way to put it, but I think that rather then believing "that the government is the source of all their problems", they believe that government has gotten too large and intrusive to remain sustainable, either economically or as a servant to the people. They may even believe that they control their government, rather than the other way around.


Because everyone knows if millionaires and billionaires were knocked down to mere thousandaires, we'd all have more for ourselves.....somehow :confused:

Osmosis maybe?

Actually, I believe it's called income sharing. And, the issue isn't the wealth, it's the undue influence that the wealthy have on our electeds. Holding both sides' feet to the fire is called for. That's called election finance reform.

Alan
10-12-11, 7:48pm
Actually, I believe it's called income sharing. And, the issue isn't the wealth, it's the undue influence that the wealthy have on our electeds. Holding both sides' feet to the fire is called for. That's called election finance reform.
Income sharing? Is that a voluntary "To each according to need, from each according to ability" concept or is it forced?

redfox
10-12-11, 8:49pm
Income sharing? Is that a voluntary "To each according to need, from each according to ability" concept or is it forced?

It's taxation. Compulsory to be sure. If voluntary income sharing worked, taxation would be unnecessary, yes?

lhamo
10-12-11, 10:27pm
I finally caught up on my podcasts from last week and would encourage everyone interested in this topic to listen to this one from Planet Money -- at least the first half, where they ask the question "What is Occupy Wall Street":

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/10/07/141158199/the-friday-podcast-what-is-occupy-wall-street

I found this really interesting and was really moved by their account of what is going on. If this is an accurate representation of what the Occupy participants are doing/aiming for, then it is important to note that it is not so much about PROTEST as it is about PROCESS. People want to be heard. They want to participate in the discussion about where our country is going, where we SHOULD be going, and help set the course for how to get there, and do so by working toward CONSENSUS about what the key issues are. There is a dissatisfaction with the current political process and the way it is tied up with all kinds of vested interests, and so people are literally taking to the streets and engaging in a different kind of dialogue -- literally! The "human microphone" concept is wierd, but a creative solution to a practical problem, as well as a way of thinking outside the box. I

Occupy Wall Street and the rest of the Occupy movement may not be the approach you would like to take, or the process that you think is most effective or appropriate, but it is a unique formulation of participatory democracy in action. I am proud to be from a country where such a thing is not only possible, but actually happening. It certain isn't even THINKABLE in the country where I live right now (China).

Personally, I may not be one of the 1% but I am incredibly privileged to have had many benefits from growing up as an American citizen and lead a very comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle. I would like to live in a more equitable society, and would be willing to pay a higher percentage in taxes if it meant more people had access to basic benefits that would give them more stability and the ability to improve their own situation. Yes, I would pay more taxes and be happy to receive lower entitlement benefits (based on means testing) if it would mean we could have:

Universal healthcare
Better public education and job training opportunities
Better access to basic support for the essentials of life (food, housing, public transportation) for low income people

I think the more privileged in society should pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. I think the systems in Canada or in many European countries are worth studying more closely and possibly emulating. Yes, they may pay more in taxes, but they have far lower levels of income inequality and generally fewer social problems related to that inequity.

lhamo

PS: Edited to add that I think the first part of the podcast about the process that is taking place with OWS is interesting/useful to consider -- the stuff in the latter half about the Portland professor's ideas about "participatory economics" is a bit loopy and not a direction I would be interested in seeing the US (or any other country) go in. I saw enough of the remnants of the communist system in early 1990s China to know that I would not be thrilled about having my purchasing decisions turned over to an annual allotment by committee.

Alan
10-13-11, 5:44am
It's taxation. Compulsory to be sure. If voluntary income sharing worked, taxation would be unnecessary, yes?
So, if I'm following you correctly, you want to force certain people to "share" more of their income with others through taxation. I guess my question to you would be if those certain people already pay a dis-proportionate amount of the taxes our government collects, how much more "share" should be taken from them?

Wouldn't it be easier, and accomplish the same goal, to simply declare that the government owns all income and will parcel out a living wage to everyone on an equal basis?

Zigzagman
10-13-11, 6:24am
So, if I'm following you correctly, you want to force certain people to "share" more of their income with others through taxation. I guess my question to you would be if those certain people already pay a dis-proportionate amount of the taxes our government collects, how much more "share" should be taken from them?

Wouldn't it be easier, and accomplish the same goal, to simply declare that the government owns all income and will parcel out a living wage to everyone on an equal basis?

It sounds like your ideal time and place would be Britain 1845: no unions, child labor, debtor's prisons, health care for only the rich, an impermeable class system, no worker safety measures, roaring industrial pollution, and a state-controlled religion. Thankfully that is not going to happen because the "greedy bastards" have just about pushed their limits in this country.

Maybe the "Occupy" movement is not as precisely focused as those against any form of citizen rebellion would like but just a little more of a nudge from the right and this whole thing will ignite into something that even our humongous military will not be able to stop. Careful what you wish for.

Peace

Alan
10-13-11, 6:28am
It sounds like your ideal time and place would be Britain 1845: no unions, child labor, debtor's prisons, health care for only the rich, an impermeable class system, no worker safety measures, roaring industrial pollution, and a state-controlled religion. Thankfully that is not going to happen because the "greedy bastards" have just about pushed their limits in this country.

Maybe the "Occupy" movement is not as precisely focused as those against any form of citizen rebellion would like but just a little more of a nudge from the right and this whole thing will ignite into something that even our humongous military will not be able to stop. Careful what you wish for.

Peace
I think you're reading much, much more into a simple question than facts can support. But, I think that's what happens when our political discourse is ruled by feelings.

Spartana
10-13-11, 10:40am
Personally, I may not be one of the 1% but I am incredibly privileged to have had many benefits from growing up as an American citizen and lead a very comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle. I would like to live in a more equitable society, and would be willing to pay a higher percentage in taxes if it meant more people had access to basic benefits that would give them more stability and the ability to improve their own situation. Yes, I would pay more taxes and be happy to receive lower entitlement benefits (based on means testing) if it would mean we could have:

Universal healthcare
Better public education and job training opportunities
Better access to basic support for the essentials of life (food, housing, public transportation) for low income people

I think the more privileged in society should pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. I think the systems in Canada or in many European countries are worth studying more closely and possibly emulating. Yes, they may pay more in taxes, but they have far lower levels of income inequality and generally fewer social problems related to that inequity.

lhamo



Thanks for the link Ihamo. Unfortunately I'm still confused about the "why" and "who" the OWS protesters are..er... protesting against/for. Like you, I am all for paying higher taxes (and I'm currently in the zero % brackett and would agree to pay much higher) if it was for those things you mentioned - and if it was also higher for wealthier individuals (at least on par percent-wise to what I'm paying) and corporations. But isn't that something the current administration has been trying to do - with no luck because of the senate? Isn't that what all the bailout money was for? Not to feed corporate greed, but to support jobs and keep investments secure? Same with the nearly 2 years of unemployment benefits, 15 months of heavily subsidized COBRA health benefits, and various other social programs that this admin. put in place to protect people. So I don't understand why and what people are protesting against. Are they protesting corporations? I see that but I also see they are protesting against all of the programs Obama et al put into place that. IMHO, were to protect the people and their assets. So I guess I will remain confused. To a person like me - one who was raised at the bottom 10% of the 99% in an impoverished single parent working class family -where pulling yourself up by your boot straps was the way to do things - it all smacks a little bit of middle-class elitism. Well I'll read some more and see if I can make sense of it all. It may be true what they say about blondes ;-)!

Dragline
10-13-11, 11:46am
Spartana, Obama has made all his major economic appointments from Wall Street firms, who have done their best to protect the status quo and sweep past sins under the rug, including changing the accounting rules to allow insolvent banks to claim that they are ok. He does not need Congressional approval to prosecute people for securities fraud, to make the SEC work properly, or shut down insolvent banks, yet has made little to no progress on cleaning up the financial mess. Prosecutions have been meager and tepid at best. This is why you see people bearing signs "Where is the change I voted for?"

In the 1930s the banks were closed for a week. In the 1980s, the S&Ls were closed and the fraudsters were prosecuted. Here is a better explanation of what should have happened from the guy who helped prosecute the Keating 5 in the 1980s: http://online.barrons.com/article/SB123940701204709985.html#articleTabs_panel_articl e%3D1

You will note the article was written in 2009, but still rings exactly true today. In effect, Obama chose the "Japan" solution of hiding the debts and preserving the large financial interests, which leaves us in a recession that no amount of stimulus, tax cuts or any other initiative proposed by either party will get us out of.

Obama's economic policy has been fundamentally to stay on the same path that Bush was on with minor tweaks to appease various constituencies. The protesters realize that both parties are offering the same non-solutions, because that's where they get their money from.

The public streets are always where Americans have gone when they don't believe they are being heard. This time is no different. And the thing about protests is, they never work. Until they do. Obama's about to start looking like Johnson on Vietnam if he doesn't start listening to what people have been saying about his economic policies for the past two years.

redfox
10-13-11, 12:14pm
So, if I'm following you correctly, you want to force certain people to "share" more of their income with others through taxation. I guess my question to you would be if those certain people already pay a dis-proportionate amount of the taxes our government collects, how much more "share" should be taken from them?

Wouldn't it be easier, and accomplish the same goal, to simply declare that the government owns all income and will parcel out a living wage to everyone on an equal basis?

What are fair taxes is certainly a time honored debate! How does one measure proportionality? Probably from one's personal values, I would say. Thus, some of my measures of fairness are: does everyone have enough food to eat? A simple, decent home? Adequate health care? A decent education? I believe human society is the most effective for all when we are organized around providing for these basic needs, both collectively and individually. Being a simple living proponent, my baselines are simple rather than extravagant. I believe that each of us does better when all do better.

I admire the US for our individuality of spirit and the opportunity for people to make it on their own... and yet, the manner in which our country abandons people if they don't make it on their own is shameful to me.

I admire many European countries for their high taxation and provision of robust benefits, especially educational and health care. I am particularly in admiration of Finland's incredible educational model.

ApatheticNoMore
10-13-11, 12:56pm
You will note the article was written in 2009, but still rings exactly true today. In effect, Obama chose the "Japan" solution of hiding the debts and preserving the large financial interests, which leaves us in a recession that no amount of stimulus, tax cuts or any other initiative proposed by either party will get us out of.

+ 1

Spartana
10-13-11, 1:20pm
Spartana, Obama has made all his major economic appointments from Wall Street firms, who have done their best to protect the status quo and sweep past sins under the rug, including changing the accounting rules to allow insolvent banks to claim that they are ok. He does not need Congressional approval to prosecute people for securities fraud, to make the SEC work properly, or shut down insolvent banks, yet has made little to no progress on cleaning up the financial mess. Prosecutions have been meager and tepid at best. This is why you see people bearing signs "Where is the change I voted for?"

In the 1930s the banks were closed for a week. In the 1980s, the S&Ls were closed and the fraudsters were prosecuted. Here is a better explanation of what should have happened from the guy who helped prosecute the Keating 5 in the 1980s: http://online.barrons.com/article/SB123940701204709985.html#articleTabs_panel_articl e%3D1

You will note the article was written in 2009, but still rings exactly true today. In effect, Obama chose the "Japan" solution of hiding the debts and preserving the large financial interests, which leaves us in a recession that no amount of stimulus, tax cuts or any other initiative proposed by either party will get us out of.

Obama's economic policy has been fundamentally to stay on the same path that Bush was on with minor tweaks to appease various constituencies. The protesters realize that both parties are offering the same non-solutions, because that's where they get their money from.

The public streets are always where Americans have gone when they don't believe they are being heard. This time is no different. And the thing about protests is, they never work. Until they do. Obama's about to start looking like Johnson on Vietnam if he doesn't start listening to what people have been saying about his economic policies for the past two years.

Thanks for the info - helps clarify things for me. It does seem like most people are talking about socialism. Is there still an American Socialist Party (Social Democrats I believe they are now called)? Is this the direction the protesters are leaning? Is there a middle ground between socialism and capitalism? What exactly is their aim/goal? What exactly do they want? How do they want to change things and who do they want to change them? I see they want change (as I do) I just don't see how exactly they want the changes to be enacted - or even what things would change to. Jobs? OK but how to go about getting them? Tax the rich and corporations? Ok but how do you get that past a repub senate? Guess I need to see an end goal and see how they propose to actually make those changes happen. Need more info I guess. Still blonde... still confused ;-)!

puglogic
10-16-11, 9:39am
For Kally, by the way, I like Chris Martenson's simple explanation of all of this:
http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/occupy-wall-street-whats-really-going/63603?utm_source=newsletter_2011-10-16&utm_medium=email_newsletter&utm_content=node_teaser_63603&utm_campaign=weekly_newsletter_40

HKPassey
10-20-11, 12:11am
I keep looking for kib in the crowd.

Hehe. You might run into Rozie at Occupy Seattle, actually. ;)

Zoebird
10-21-11, 9:13pm
The OWS protestors are not leaning toward socialism, but rather true democracy where the people have power.

i don't know why that keeps being called socialism and communism.

although, a lot of people consider many european (and related like NZ) countries to be "socialist" i guess, but I don't see it that way myself. I see here, at least, that government is a tool of the people to move forward in specific ways. And, folks here are pretty amazing with their protests AND their protests being heard. And if one government messes up, then another government gets elected in pretty quickly. There are, of course, about 6,000 parties in this country (that is a gross exaggeration for fun), but that also means that people seem to have more of a voice overall.

also, NZ's government is apparently one of the least corrupt in the world.

anyway, bottom line is that government largely should be a tool of the people, and not a tool of corporate interests. If hte people want roads, or education, or homes for everyone, or ice cream fridays, then the people can mobilize via the government to make that happen.

unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be working right now. Am I right? or just completely misguided?

My experience is that most americans are 1. pissed off, and 2. feel completely powerless to have any impact in government via voting or anything else. They act locally, such as supporting local farms and businesses, but there isn't a lot of "trickle-up" as monsanto continues to attack these farms, as an example, and they either go corporate or go bankrupt. And for someone like me, this is HEART breaking because not only do I write to my government about issues with Monsanto et al, but i also support local farms.

And for what? it seems to go no farther than me doing what i can, and usually what i can doesn't have any impact at the federal or state level. We get steamrollered by party interests -- which seems to be about winning and amassing power -- and we get steamrollered by corporate interests, which is also about amassing power.

so what can the average person really do? I'd hoped that Obama would be able to cross the political divide. problem is, no one wanted to join him. He was a hard-core moderate, so it's no surprise that he was tracking along with bush, but then also adding in some liberal agendas as well.

(as an aside, I always wondered what McCain, a former POW, felt about Gitmo and such.)

Anyway, end of the day, I think a lot of americans feel frustrated and powerless. I don't think we are as divided as fox news would have us believe (and attempts to instigate), and i think that a LOT of ideas on the political spectrum from very liberal to very conservative are really viable and could be worked on by both (or many) parties to come up with a workable solution.

And I think OWS is trying. . . to make that idea a reality. People coming together and trying to come up with solutions to things, instead of asking government or corporations or the media or whatever to do it for us.

JaneV2.0
10-21-11, 10:39pm
!thumbsup!I couldn't have begun to say it better.

puglogic
10-22-11, 3:43am
Agreed. Brava, zoebird.

iris lily
10-22-11, 9:03am
I don't mind the OWS demos here and elsewhere, they are mildly entertaining and even, perhaps, a little enlightening. They won't accomplish anything concrete at this time, but perhaps it will cause some voters to get more involved.

For those of you who feel so powerless--whatever, I can't change your feelings.

But I would like you to consider the reality that at the local governmental level an individual has rather a lot of influence. One consistent voice (as long as you aren't a nutjob) can wield power, but you have to invest resources--time and perhaps money. Local government is in need of citizen voices all the time, and there are many citizen boards and groups and efforts that are crying for participants.

That gooberment at the federal level disappoints its citizens, I have to say: ummm, yeah. doh.

Keep that monster from growing, keep your tax dollars local.

iris lily
10-22-11, 9:23am
The OWS protestors are not leaning toward socialism, but rather true democracy where the people have power.

i don't know why that keeps being called socialism and communism.

although, a lot of people consider many european (and related like NZ) countries to be "socialist" i guess, but I don't see it that way myself...

I disagree, there are a lot of socialist & communistic ideas in the demands of

* forgiving student loans
* forgiving house mortgages
* more tax on bigger incomes
* the idea of income disparity being a problem to be solved by government redistribution of wealth
* more money for public education

etc.

Aren't all these these ideas that have been mentioned on one of the three OWS threads on this board?

I don't put "socialist" in quotes as you do because they ARE socialistic ideas. It is what it is, own it.

creaker
10-22-11, 9:38am
I disagree, there are a lot of socialist & communistic ideas in the demands of

* forgiving student loans
* forgiving house mortgages
* more tax on bigger incomes
* the idea of income disparity being a problem to be solved by government redistribution of wealth
* more money for public education

etc.

Aren't all these these ideas that have been mentioned on one of the three OWS threads on this board?

I don't put "socialist" in quotes as you do because they ARE socialistic ideas. It is what it is, own it.

What I think is interesting are the things people insist are not socialist, usually because they like them but they still want to consider themselves to be "not" socialist: public roads, highways, police and fire, education, government programs for the elderly and disabled, the list goes on and on and on.

The people who support these also have socialist leanings, but many won't admit it - but then they will condemn other things solely on the basis they are socialist. And I think that's what makes it all a bit confusing.

iris lily
10-22-11, 9:43am
What I think is interesting are the things people insist are not socialist, usually because they like them but they still want to be "not" socialist: public roads, highways, police and fire, education, government programs for the elderly and disabled, the list goes on and on and on...

Yes, agreed. Of COURSE these things are socialist in the pure definition. That's why "socialist" in quotes sets me off, just call it what it is and let us move on.

I LIKE my local government rather a lot with its many socialist public services, but it's bloated Nanny G at the federal level that makes me cranky. But I want local government to be slim and provide only that which I think necessary. They are not immune to ridiculous excess.

JaneV2.0
10-22-11, 12:51pm
I can agree with the principle of more local control--not to the level of "states rights" like in the fifties when the South was struggling to maintain their version of apartheid--but in general. I can get on board with "less government" in many matters, but the sticky wicket is in the details. Those who don't want any regulation at all on corporations while all up in women's reproductive business reveal the hypocritical rot at the root of their particular philosophy.

Yossarian
10-22-11, 1:00pm
Those who don't want any regulation at all on corporations while all up in women's reproductive business reveal the hypocritical rot at the root of their particular philosophy.

Individual rights are a cornerstone of liberty. Taking an expansive view of who is entitled to individual rights is consistent with maintaining individual liberty in economic matters.

Spartana
10-22-11, 1:06pm
I disagree, there are a lot of socialist & communistic ideas in the demands of

* forgiving student loans
* forgiving house mortgages
* more tax on bigger incomes
* the idea of income disparity being a problem to be solved by government redistribution of wealth
* more money for public education

etc.

Aren't all these these ideas that have been mentioned on one of the three OWS threads on this board?

I don't put "socialist" in quotes as you do because they ARE socialistic ideas. It is what it is, own it.

This is also why it seemed that the OWS protesters were leaning towards socialism to me - even going so far as wanting some level of government ownership (or at least heavy government regulation and oversite) of private industry - and the regulation of any profits. It seems that they are not just protesting about wanting less business in government, but that they also want more government in business - i.e. more socialism. I personally am not against socialism and I value alot of the socialist things we have such as free public education, military, partially-socialized medical and pension for older folks (i.e. SS and medicare), infrastructure work, etc... - and the hope of someday having a public universal healthcare system. BUT we do not have a socialist system in most ways, we have a capitalist system which, IMHO, means the governement should not be involed with any corporate functions except some regulatory control for safety purposes and taxation. In a capitalist system it IS the people who make the decisions about how a corporation functions - thru their purchases and investments - and is as democratic as you can get. And of course it would also make alot more sense to me if they actually offered solutions rather than just protests. Real solutions and plans to achieve them. Maybe we could think of some here. Lets see... Student loans? Instead of just having the taxpayers foot the bill to pay off the loans, offer a trade. Say 4 years of military service for 4 years of writing off student loan debt. They'd get pay, job training, 3 squares a day and a bed at night PLUS come out in the other end with their student loans paid for. Or how about they work picking fruit or veggies in the fields rather then hireing migrant workers or subsidizing farmers not to grow things or for crop losses. For each hour worked, at a decent wage, the govmint would pay a matching amount toward their student loans. Oh I have sooooo many more ;-)!

Zoebird
10-22-11, 3:42pm
In Dk, there is a working system with higher education. most young people -- teens and college age -- work in various historic and government sights (and may other places) around DK which funds their education. They are housed and fed during this work, and they work in a variety of fields.

I wouldn't press military service per se, but I found that most of the young danes working in summers/breaks and throughout the school year. were quite happy with the work and the experience. I don't know if military service is pressed in DK, but i know that it is in a lot of europe, but not connected to the educational system.

also, the GI bill has some of that, but only covers a small amount.

---

that being said, a lot of the things mentioned are either A. not socialist, or B. not part of what OWS is working toward. To find out about OWS, you need to actually go to OWS web site. What is in the news or being written about them is often wildly innacurate (in order to discredit the movement as a whole).

But, to be sure, i have no doubt that socialists are in the group, but i think it isn't the majority.

---

now, debt forgiveness is not socialist. nor is it "funded by taxpayers." Look up Jubilee on the interwebs, and learn about how far back debt forgiveness goes, and which sorts of governments did this on a regular basis. You might be surprised at how many are NOT socialist.

-----

peggy
10-22-11, 4:54pm
I am really enjoying this discussion. Zoe, you are making some very good points about government. It should be the tool of the people because we ARE the government and the government is us.

stuboyle
10-25-11, 4:34pm
To me, no one person more clearly crystallized what I felt about Capitalism before and after the financial melt-down than comedian Lewis Black in his comedy routine (which is available on streaming through Netflix).

“All I heard through the course of the [last Presidential] campaign was that everything was going to be all right because capitalism is the most wonderful economic system ever developed, because it was developed by god himself for us. There's nothing more splendid than capitalism. It is a beautiful garden, a garden that irrigates itself and fertilized itself, and it needs no sunlight, because it basks in the glory of its own reflection. There's nothing more wondrous than the garden that is capitalism. And if it is left entirely unregulated, that garden will grow and grow and grow until all of us share in its beautiful fruit. And so I went to bed every night dreaming about my beautiful fruit. And then I woke up one morning, and there was the Secretary of the Treasury [Hank Paulson] standing behind the White House, at the back door, as if he was trying to get away. "Holy f***! We're f***ed!" he said. "We're completely f***ed! Son of a b*****! I don't know what happened to the garden, but it's a piece of s*** now. Watch that hand coming up you’re a**; it's looking for quarters. Put straws in your nose. The river of s*** is rising. Start pulling out your gold fillings and put 'em on ebay.”

Alan
10-25-11, 4:45pm
To me, no one person more clearly crystallized what I felt about Capitalism before and after the financial melt-down ........

How do you feel about potential replacement systems?

stuboyle
10-25-11, 5:40pm
How do you feel about potential replacement systems?

After the fall of the Soviet Union, I, and it seems to most others, felt that this was proof that our economic system was superior to every way to Communism. Then we had the growth of the internet and that further confirmed how our economic system was superior to all others including the more Socialist European countries. We went through a period where we further deregulated markets, such as electricity, and outsourced government functions to private companies since they were so much more efficient than anything the government can do.

Then things started to crack beginning with electrical deregulation of electricity. You had rolling black-outs in California caused by market makers such as Enron creating artificial scarcity and driving electrical prices through the roof.

Around the same time we went through the "government outsourcing" phase where everything the private sector does is better. We outsourced toll roads, prisons, schools, defense, etc but some of that didn't work out too well. Some of the abuses of the big defense contractors come to mind such as Halliburton, Blackwater and KKR.

Then we had the financial meltdown of 2008. Maybe we to rethink things a bit? Maybe we go back to that version of Capitalism we had back in say the 1980's or 1990's?

puglogic
10-25-11, 6:07pm
Thanks so much for reminding me of that Lewis Black bit. So hilarious, sad, frustrating, true. The capitalism game as it's played in 2011 is out of control, a juggernaut screaming down a long narrow highway toward more money, more power, more influence, more corruption, more, more, more, more, mine, mine, mine, mine. And dragging the rest of us with it.

Owning a small business, I happen to like capitalism just fine. But I'd like to see more checks and balances in place to keep too much power from being concentrated in the hands of a few, who inevitably apply tremendous pressure to our political system to keep their rather large and juicy share of the pie.

I suppose from your comment, Alan, you think everything in our system is just peachy as it is? Except that maybe corporations should pay even less in taxes, have less of that pesky safety/environmental regulation, few limits on lobbying and campaign contributions, and enjoy the protections of a human being in the highest court in the land? Oh...wait. We're already there.

Alan
10-25-11, 6:17pm
I suppose from your comment, Alan, you think everything in our system is just peachy as it is? Except that maybe corporations should pay even less in taxes, have less of that pesky safety/environmental regulation, few limits on lobbying and campaign contributions, and enjoy the protections of a human being in the highest court in the land? Oh...wait. We're already there.
That was actually a question without commentary, so you may as well suppose whatever you like. Although if you'd like someone to play devils advocate with your suppositions, I'm game.

I am in favor of the corporate tax rate being lowered. It is currently the 2nd highest in the world and is doing a pretty good job of driving corporations out of the country. I also believe that corporations should enjoy a virtual personhood status as they represent shareholders such as you and I, who are actual people.

loosechickens
10-25-11, 6:23pm
Capitalism IS certainly good (although how some people seem to ignore capitalism doing just fine in the "socialist" countries of Europe, which isn't exactly bereft of businessmen and corporations, is beyond me).......it does have a serious Achilles heel, and that is its vulnerability to greed.

If capitalism is balanced with sensible regulation by government, which provides "rules of the road", and oversees its exuberant tendency to MORE, MORE, MORE at the expense of the society as a whole, it is an excellent engine for the economy. Without sufficient regulation (which we've seen in spades after the deregulation of the financial system, for example), greed runs amuck.

Which is, sadly, what has occurred since Reagan, and continues today almost unabated, because any attempts at regulation or control are resisted strenuously by those with greed on their mind.

Yep, all we need are fewer taxes for business and corporations, preferably none, (despite our "ruinous" corporate income tax rates, the majority of corporations find enough loopholes to pay little or no taxes, so that is really a canard, as virtually NO corporations pay those high rates) less regulation, no more pesky environmentalists, all the corporate money in the world buying political favors and everything will be just "peachy". NOT.

Alan
10-25-11, 6:44pm
.......Yep, all we need are fewer taxes for business and corporations, preferably none, (despite our "ruinous" corporate income tax rates, the majority of corporations find enough loopholes to pay little or no taxes, so that is really a canard, as virtually NO corporations pay those high rates) less regulation, no more pesky environmentalists, all the corporate money in the world buying political favors and everything will be just "peachy". NOT.
I understand that you're being sarcastic, but do you also understand that you're wrong? My own company has not paid the full corporate tax rate during my tenure there, but we did pay in the 20+ percent range on a yearly basis. That's one of the reasons we're now an Irish Corporation with a maximum corporate rate of 12.5%.

It's just common sense that if you want less of something, you simply need to tax it more. If you want more of something, tax it less.

Zoebird
10-25-11, 7:50pm
I am all about capitalism myself, also being a small business owner. In fact, my business plan has me setting up to eventually being a multi-national franchise, and I plan on reaching the $10m value range within the decade. I'm not against making money.

I think that regulation is a good thing, and that taxation isn't the answer when it comes to business for the many points that alan has already raised.

Regulations, though, keep things in checks and balances. It keeps businesses running smoothly and fairly, and it's valuable to keep things stable. A lot of countries have more regulation on banks and other kinds of institutions that prevents things like what has happened with the housing market to happen.

Likewise, i think that, in general, we need to be smarter. Better long term planning or ahead-of-the-burst planning will help a lot. For example, better management of interest rates would be a big help, and also watching that the market itself doesn't get over-exuberent (such as the dot-com bubble). By doing this, both lenders and those who would take out loans are more cautious, business in general becomes more cautious -- as we all are right now -- and then it makes it more stable and the bursts less dramatic.

But that's just how I think about it.

I think it's possible to find the right balance of regulation and free market.

stuboyle
10-25-11, 8:33pm
There has been a systematic transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to a few in the upper class, referred to as the Wall Streeters. They, the Wall Streeters, accomplished this by privatizing profits and socializing losses. They walked away with millions and billions in compensation by "juicing-up" current earnings, trading current earnings for future losses. Then the government comes in and bails them out. Thereby adding to the deficit that all of us, poor, middle and upper class will have to pay for eventually through our taxes, reduced government services and monetizing the debt through inflation. There actions forced the Fed to cut interest rates to basically zero which costs all of us who hold savings accounts, CD's and bonds. Many of the Wall Streeters have lost their jobs but also indirectly contributed to many million in losing their jobs. However, when the Wall Streeters lose their jobs, they go play golf and take extended vacations while the poor and middle class lose their homes.

heydude
10-25-11, 8:42pm
Frustration and Coming Together As A Democracy.

One news person said it well.....If there was a unifying message at this point, he would be very skepitcal regarding where it all came from. (meaning, the tea party was a fox news creation).

Occupy Wallstreet is a grass roots development with people of a variety of backgrounds with many different opinions and messages.

We are the 99 percent is popular.

Basically, a bunch of people who are upset with the ever growing gap between the rich and the poor. How war led to profits, economic destruction caused by the wealthy who are making record profits while unemployment remains high. A good example is the recent Minnesota protest of US Bank plaza in which the CEO is making record money/profit but foreclosures for US Bank are at a high.

etc.

Zoebird
10-26-11, 3:34am
Here is a great blog -- Occupy Wall Street: What Businesses Need to Know (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/10/occupy_wall_street_what_business.html) -- that does a great job of describing some various elements of OWS. It is written by
Hari Bapuji -- an associate professor at the University of Manitoba in Canada who studies crises at the intersection of business and society -- and Suhaib Riaz -- an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts who studies organizational and institutional change.

They make a comparison between OWS and the anti-corruption movement in india, and provide some interesting insights for business owners (assuming big business), but I found a lot of interesting points brought up.

flowerseverywhere
10-26-11, 3:55am
One thing I rarely see mentioned is the fact everyone wants to make a good salary and get paid a good wage with a good retirement plan and good benefits, but get their food, clothes and other items dirt cheap. There are no mass produced childrens dolls in the US. If you go to any store and walk up and down the aisles you will find very few items that aren't made in China. If a doll was made in the US, it is likely to cost $100 or so if made by someone working in a factory with benefits and something over minimum wage. But no one will pay that, as factories that used to produce dolls here have all left for cheaper pastures. People want to pay $10 for a doll and have hundreds to pick from.

So that is at least part of the problem for most of the population. Food produced on giant farms doused with chemicals and bred to make it to the market looking good, not for flavor. Mass produced cars, cheaply made clothes- all with cheap labor and materials shipped in giant containers.

I can understand why everyone is up in arms about CEO bonuses and the few at the top getting a huge piece of the pie, but some of the problem is our doing as well.

Zoebird
10-26-11, 4:28am
sure, there are lots of layers to the various social and cultural problems that we face.

but, maybe it's the circles that I run it (in fact, i'm sure that it is), but most of us buy local, buy cottage industry, buy quality, eschew things made in china (save our Macs, I guess!), and do our upmost to support local business and industry, thus supporting local jobs.

flowerseverywhere
10-26-11, 5:51am
sure, there are lots of layers to the various social and cultural problems that we face.

but, maybe it's the circles that I run it (in fact, i'm sure that it is), but most of us buy local, buy cottage industry, buy quality, eschew things made in china (save our Macs, I guess!), and do our upmost to support local business and industry, thus supporting local jobs.

Many of us do the same here, but I don't believe it is the way of most of the world. My little town is pretty much closed down now that they have built a strip of big box stores a few miles down the road.

What is also interesting is that I haven't seen any Occupy people protesting the sport, movie and TV stars who are raking in millions per year. Here is an interesting article about sports average salaries, simply dividing the number of players by the total compensation.

http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/08/19/average-salary/index.html

NBA: $5.15 million (2010-11)
MLB: $3.34 million (2010)
NHL: $2.4 million (2010-11)
NFL: $1.9 million (2010)


Crazy, isn't it? And Movie stars. We frequently read how they can make multiple millions for a film.




Things are definitely out of whack, with a select few rising to the top in business, sports, politics and entertainment compensation way out of proportion to the rest of the population. But they would not make these salaries if people stop supporting it.

peggy
10-26-11, 6:58am
Many of us do the same here, but I don't believe it is the way of most of the world. My little town is pretty much closed down now that they have built a strip of big box stores a few miles down the road.

What is also interesting is that I haven't seen any Occupy people protesting the sport, movie and TV stars who are raking in millions per year. Here is an interesting article about sports average salaries, simply dividing the number of players by the total compensation.

http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/08/19/average-salary/index.html

NBA: $5.15 million (2010-11)
MLB: $3.34 million (2010)
NHL: $2.4 million (2010-11)
NFL: $1.9 million (2010)


Crazy, isn't it? And Movie stars. We frequently read how they can make multiple millions for a film.




Things are definitely out of whack, with a select few rising to the top in business, sports, politics and entertainment compensation way out of proportion to the rest of the population. But they would not make these salaries if people stop supporting it.

But that's just it. It's NOT about wealthy people, although the republicans try to paint it that way to discredit the movement. No one is against people making money, that is the American way after all. I think it's ridiculous the money sports stars, and movie stars make, but it doesn't harm me. More power to them.
It's about the corruption, and political purchasing of our representatives for ever more skewed legislation in the power brokers favor. And it blatant! They don't even try to hide it. The republicans whole agenda is to fast track even more money to the top!
It isn't by the people for the people anymore, and I think this movement is the 'awakening' of the general population. The serfs are revolting and saying one bushel of grain isn't enough for working the ten acres. They don't want the whole harvest, but just a fair share.
Don't be fooled by Fox news and Rush Beck. Democrats/liberals don't hate rich people. Some of them are rich people! Actually I think it really should be Occupy Washington, with the added occupations of state governments. The wealthy on Wall Street are just taking advantage of the greedy political environment and politicians who clearly are for sale. If the politicians didn't have a price, then all would be good. It's the politicians who who should be protested against.

Actually, as much as I criticized the Tea baggers, they did have the right weapon. They went for the politicians, protesting at town halls and political gatherings and voting many out and replacing with their own.
The OWS should take a lesson there. If they really want change, then they need to show up at every political rally/town hall, from both parties, and make their displeasure known. Threaten to replace the politician and then do it!
This is where the OWS and the tea baggers can come together. Oh wouldn't that make the politicians run scared! If these two groups formed a coalition of sorts, then you'd see some change. Throw out all the nutter birther stuff and silly drum circles and agree on just a few points, then go for it. Now that's a movement I'd be glad to join!

But it's in the politicians interest to keep Americans divided. They certainly don't want us to come together! And as long as they keep convincing Americans that other Americans and their President are their enemy, and as long as people keep believing that, nothing will happen.

pinkytoe
10-26-11, 8:39am
it's in the politicians interest to keep Americans divided. They certainly don't want us to come together! And as long as they keep convincing Americans that other Americans and their President are their enemy, and as long as people keep believing that, nothing will happen
I think this is key. Until we have consensus among the current divisions, nothing will move us towards a better future.

Yossarian
10-26-11, 8:57am
But it's in the politicians interest to keep Americans divided.

But people are divided. I read what you write here and think it's whack- it doesn't reflect the reality I see. But I'm sure that is of course not true- we just see the world differently, and I am not contending here that my view is right and yours is wrong (but we all know it is :moon:) , just saying I don't necessarily agree there isn't some innate or inherent divisions on what the right solutions are.

stuboyle
10-26-11, 9:02am
Things are definitely out of whack, with a select few rising to the top in business, sports, politics and entertainment compensation way out of proportion to the rest of the population. But they would not make these salaries if people stop supporting it.

Well, I've stopped supporting the pro sports teams. Many of the players I perceive as a bunch of arrogant prima donnas

peggy
10-26-11, 12:14pm
But people are divided. I read what you write here and think it's whack- it doesn't reflect the reality I see. But I'm sure that is of course not true- we just see the world differently, and I am not contending here that my view is right and yours is wrong (but we all know it is :moon:) , just saying I don't necessarily agree there isn't some innate or inherent divisions on what the right solutions are.

But surely we agree on something. Do you agree the little guy, the middle class, is getting squished? Do you agree there is an ever widening gulf between the haves and the have nots?

Yossarian
10-26-11, 12:26pm
But surely we agree on something. Do you agree the little guy, the middle class, is getting squished? Do you agree there is an ever widening gulf between the haves and the have nots?

There is probably statistical information that would support the idea that incomes have risen faster for high productivity groups than low productivity groups. But from that data point you can draw very different conclusions. I would tend to attribute that to fluctuations in global equity values, the impact of globalization on mobile labor, the network effect of decreased trade barriers, and a noncompetitive cultural posture in the US. Not sinister manipulations by some shadowy power elite, whether it is 1%, the Bilderberg group, or the Harlem Globetrotters.

JaneV2.0
10-26-11, 12:44pm
Worker productivity has been going up for decades while wages have stagnated. It looks to me like the one percenters--not the producers--are pocketing the fruits of this development. Many (most?) of the one percenters are classic non-producers--money-changers--who simply count their own money and move other people's money around, never actually creating anything. Unlike of course, the Harlem Globetrotters, who create entertainment.

Yossarian
10-26-11, 1:22pm
who simply count their own money and move other people's money around, never actually creating anything

When you look at the things that make the US competitive- the rule of law, good education, natural resources, etc., one of the things that has and will continue to serve us well is our capital allocation system. It can go awry, as it did with the housing bubble, but overall the efficient returns on capital are a key part of productivity, job creation and your standard of living. Capital does create things, and doing so efficiently should be rewarded the same way labor productivity is. As to my original point, globalization may have impacted how the returns on labor and capital productivity are allocated, but that is not necessarily sinister. It just means the winners and losers are distributed over a larger pool.

Zoebird
10-26-11, 3:11pm
EastRiver,

i'm confused by your statement.


But people are divided. I read what you write here and think it's whack- it doesn't reflect the reality I see. But I'm sure that is of course not true- we just see the world differently, and I am not contending here that my view is right and yours is wrong (but we all know it is ) , just saying I don't necessarily agree there isn't some innate or inherent divisions on what the right solutions are.

I keep reading it over and over.

First, it says "people are divided." Ok what are we divided about?

Are we divided about "there is something wrong?" are we divided about "this is what is wrong?" or are we divided about "the right solutions to the problems?"

So, I'm trying to puzzle out the multiple negatives "i don't necessarily agree." Ok, "I disagree (at least in part)"

that "there isn't some innate division" -- this one has me confused. So, there is no inherent/innate division? therefore, there is no division, therefore there is solidarity or agreement?

"on what the right solutions are." We agree on solutions?

"I disagree with the idea that there is agreement on what the right solutions are?"

---

If you are saying "People are divided, and it is because they do not agree on what the right solutions are." Then I can agree and disagree in part.

First, I disagree with a categorial "people are divided" statement. Like the previous poster, I think that people DO agree on what problems exist, though how they value those problems may also vary (e.g., to one person, ending war is top on the list, to another it's the issue of corruption, to another it's the situation of health care, etc).

But, i do think that most people see that there are a lot of government/social problems right now. This is what I think most people experience, because everyone seems angry -- right or left (or in the middle). This is evidenced in media, as well as in the general conversations on these sorts of topics.

It seems to me that people agree that there are "problems."

Second, I agree with you that there isn't a common, single solution.

And I think that this is where the Occupy movement shines.

What I see from the two political parties is "Our Idea is Absolutely Right!" and since the other party disagrees, there is conflict. They tear down the other person (politician, media personality, whatever), and get really nasty about "the liberals" or "the conservatives."

What I see in the Occupy movement is a general assembly. A general assembly is people coming together and putting forth ideas, and seeing if the combined experience, perspectives, and ideologies can be effectively balanced to move forward in a more cohesive way.

Thus, the Occupy movement agrees that there is no one right way to move forward, and at this point, they are saying that the way forward may not have come up yet because we haven't heard enough diverse voices or ideas.

There are conservatives, liberals, communists, socialists, anarchists, independents and greenies and whatever else in this group. Where they all agree: there are problems. WHere they are diverse: what are the solutions?

So, why aren't you a part of it yet? If you have an answer, please, do share! :D

Zoebird
10-26-11, 3:49pm
Also, ERG, I agree with you on more than you know.

I have no problem with competition, being competitive, etc, and the benefits and value of capital.

Like you, I also see the "housing bubble" as "things going awry" -- which means that there must be some way to prevent "awry" occurrences. This "awry" and the bail out that came after has NOT helped the people it was intended to -- the common man -- and banks are showing record profits. So what gives?

Anyway, I always find it funny when i agree with a conservative (i consider myself a conservative personally), but i'm still supporting OWS and they are not. lol

peggy
10-26-11, 8:29pm
There is probably statistical information that would support the idea that incomes have risen faster for high productivity groups than low productivity groups. But from that data point you can draw very different conclusions. I would tend to attribute that to fluctuations in global equity values, the impact of globalization on mobile labor, the network effect of decreased trade barriers, and a noncompetitive cultural posture in the US. Not sinister manipulations by some shadowy power elite, whether it is 1%, the Bilderberg group, or the Harlem Globetrotters.

A pretty wordy way of saying "yea your right, but if only the 'low productivity' folks would take a cut in pay and expect no benefits, coupled with the ability to do business without any regulations, well then the poor misunderstood wealthy corporations would move their jobs back to the US. Because, of course, they should have an even LARGER piece of the pie."