But there is a dangerous precedent being created… not dissimilar to when a spoiled child screams for their candy, and a weary parent acquiesces just for a bit of quiet and peace, hoping they’ll outgrow such behavior. Unfortunately, just as the spoiled child learns that making those around him or her unpleasant enough generally results in getting your demands met, the same is happening with the OWS mobs of professional campers, truant college students, and unemployed grads. Needless to say, the OWS hasn’t found the limits of the nation’s patience yet… but they are determined to keep trying.
They are either pleased, or oblivious, to the fact that they are fast wearing out their welcome in many cities… even those, such as Portland, Oregon – where the city has spent $186,500 in police overtime since it began Oct 6th. Not content with the two parks where they were granted squatting rights, they attempted to take over Terry Schrunk Plaza… a piece of dirt under federal jurisdiction. The feds wanted it cleared, requested local officers assistance, and… as usual… the whining and arrests began.
Oakland is another place where the law enforcement are throwing up their hands in frustration. In an open letter, highly critical of Mayor Quan, they are tired of mixed messages… first told to clear the park on the night of the controversial rioting, only to have the Mayor let them back in the next morning. And they are certainly not pleased that she’s openly “staffing the strike” for today’s planned shut down of the city… where 100s of teachers went AWOL from classes, abandoning students who actually wanted to take advantage of their already subsidized educated.
It’s not hard to look around and think that the nation has gone mad. But then again, if the OWS’s quest is looking to surpass that limit of the nation’s patience for a “Kent State” moment, they are getting closer to their goals. American’s are not Arab Spring, and the overthrow of our government is not on the 99%’s agenda, not matter what the OWS trys to say. At some point, the silent majority, tired of whiny children, will demand that our rights also be protected against 1st Amendment abuses.
After watching the antics of the OWS across the nation, and the fawning of the media, two particular articles have caught my attention recently. The first is “Democracy versus Mob Rule” from Thomas Sowell today… noting the simple reality that 1st Amendment rights do not include an unmitigated disrespect for others’ rights… such as blocking traffic, trashing others’ properties, increasing the taxpayer’s costs for police security, attempts at forced subsidization of their higher education, and being subjected day in and day out to their venting of childish and selfish emotions. [All emphasis is mine]
Members of the mobs apparently believe that other people, who are working while they are out trashing the streets, should be forced to subsidize their college education — and apparently the president of the United States thinks so, too.
But if these loudmouths’ inability to put together a coherent line of thought is any indication of their education, the taxpayers should demand their money back for having that money wasted on them for years in the public schools.
Sloppy words and sloppy thinking often go together, both in the mobs and in the media that are covering them. It is common, for example, to hear in the media how some “protesters” were arrested. But anyone who reads this column regularly knows that I protest against all sorts of things — and don’t get arrested.
The difference is that I don’t block traffic, join mobs sleeping overnight in parks or urinate in the street. If the media cannot distinguish between protesting and disturbing the peace, then their education may also have wasted a lot of taxpayers’ money.
Among the favorite sloppy words used by the shrill mobs in the streets is “Wall Street greed.” But even if you think people in Wall Street, or anywhere else, are making more money than they deserve, “greed” is no explanation whatever.
“Greed” says how much you want. But you can become the greediest person on Earth and that will not increase your pay in the slightest. It is what other people pay you that increases your income.
If the government has been sending too much of the taxpayers’ money to people in Wall Street — or anywhere else — then the irresponsibility or corruption of politicians is the problem. “Occupy Wall Street” hooligans should be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
Indeed, occupying the beltway makes even more sense… especially in light of the fact that that the Roll Call’s latest examination of the wealth of Congressional members finds that this economic downturn has been quite profitable for the elected elite… with their net worth rising 25% over the past two years.
This misdirected ire of the OWS, focused on “Wall Street” – which includes almost half of all the nation’s private working force, invested in stocks, bonds and pensions as part of their employment perks – is evidence of sheer ignorance when they demand that the same members of government… feeding at the trough by exploiting their positions of regulatory power – be in charge of “equal” economic justice.
How stupid can a movement be? If this group is so nervous about power, concentrated in a few, they sure are complete dupes when advocating these government officials take charge of redistributing the wealth…
You have to love it when someone with street cred pulls no punches, and calls the OWS on their political dichotomies. And Svetlana Kunin, as part of her stellar series currently running on Investment Business Daily – Perspectives of a Russian Immigrant – does just that. Ms. Kunin, now a software developer living in Connecticut, was a former civil engineer in the Soviet Union until the 80s. And where Thomas Sowell halts the lesson in simple civility and common courtesy, Ms. Kunin finishes the curriculum with a lesson in humility and perspectives for the OWS mobs in the 19th installment of her fascinating series… about the *real* ruling 1% class of the Soviet Union. [Again, emphasis added by me]
The “Occupy Wall Street” crowd is an amazing sight in the middle of Manhattan in New York. According to these modern-day “revolutionaries,” if you do not belong to the 1% of “millionaires and billionaires,” then you are the part of the 99% abused by capitalist society. The only way to fix this inequality is to join forces to eliminate unjust wealth distribution.
As an immigrant from a socialist country, I for some reason don’t feel abused by the 1% of American “millionaires and billionaires.” Instead, I feel lucky to live in the USA.
Countries in which the population is divided into the 1% and 99% exist. I emigrated from such a country. There, the 1% of the rich were represented by the group, who, in the name of the faceless masses (the collective good), had control over the lives of 99% of the people.
The result: 99% of the citizens in such countries are powerless to change anything in their lives, and subsist on an income lower than most welfare checks in America.
I do not see this country divided into two groups (the 1% vs. the 99%). While poverty indeed exists in the USA, most people at least have the opportunity to improve their lives. And even in America, it is government control that has led to impoverished communities. Incompetent government interference into the dynamic free-market economy has an extremely negative effect on the economy and, as a result, on the life of the middle class.
This is the key difference between the two nations… the “1%” is not a fixed class of the elite, carved in stone. Instead, it’s a morphing community as wealth for all yoyo’s up and down. Were the “Occupiers”… or as Ms. Kunin refers to them, “dazed lemmings, willfully marching their way to serfdom”… able to put more than nouns and verbs together in a cogent sentence, they’d understand their social media icon and tech guru, the late Steve Jobs, was a perfect representative of that very American opportunity, and the volatility of wealth.
Thomas Sowell, another who started at the bottom, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree from Columbia, and a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Chicago by merit – not affirmative action – wryly noted the willful ignorance of those who refer to the top 1% as a fixed entity. In a Feb 2008 interview about his book, “Economic Facts and Fallacies,” he discussed the fallacy of the income gap as bandied about by those with a political agenda.
It’s maddening to me to keep hearing how the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and so on. The fundamental difference is the difference between talking about abstract statistical categories and talking about flesh-and-blood human beings. Since the book came out, for example, there’s been a study released by the Treasury Department based on income tax returns. There, they are talking about following the same human beings over a span of years, which is wholly different from following income brackets over a span of years, because in all the brackets more than half the people change in the course of a decade. So what happens to a bracket is an abstract question; what happens to the flesh-and-blood human beings is different.
For example, for the flesh-and-blood people who were in the bottom 20 percent of taxpayers in income in 1996, their average increase of income over the next decade was 91 percent — so they almost doubled their incomes. Meanwhile, for the people in the top 1 percent — presumably the rich who are getting richer — their average income declined 26 percent. That’s diametrically the opposite from what we’re hearing from nearly every newspaper and practically every political platform.
But of course it’s also true that if you look at the income tax brackets, the distance of the top bracket from the lowest bracket has increased. One reason is that the very lowest bracket is zero, so it can’t go any lower. So as you pay people more and more money and as the economy grows and skills become more sophisticated, obviously the ratio from the top and the bottom is going to increase.
This is what separates America from Svetlana’s Soviet Union – that in the US, anyone with the goal of wealth need only apply themselves. This is not a closed private club, unattainable save for a privileged few. Yet this is a reality that seems beyond the average OWS “occupier’s” ability to grasp… whether by willful ignorance, or by blind faith in an ideology that is utterly foreign to our nation’s founding. As Ms. Kunin points out, it is not a coincidence that totalitarian regimes – such as China, Iran, Venezuela – or their American followers in the anti-Semite organizations and the unapologetic socialists, embrace the OWS movement. Useful idiots, indeed.
Yet there is a point when their rights to redress grievances, by ignoring our rules of law for permits, curfews, simple sanitary care of public lands, and wasted cash getting police to babysit their childish behavior, starts trampling on the rights of the rest of us. For now, they are coddled like the spoiled child, screaming for that candy. Since they are itching for what they can claim is abuse by “the establishment”, everyone treads lightly, and grits their teeth for the inconvenience.But at some point in this election year, the genuine 99% who, like Ms. Kunin, recognize we are not oppressed, and are limited only by our own endeavors and drive, will no longer tolerate that screaming child.
As for the kids, wanting that candy so badly? They may want to consider that the social media is not only a wonderful invention, but has a memory like an elephant. And if it’s a job with a future they seek – insanely jealous of that supposed out of reach “1%” status – they should be aware that increasing numbers of employers are checking Facebook, Twitter and other social media for background on potential hires. (Also here at Business Insider… and NRO’s Jim Lacey’s walk thru Zuccoti Park)
And it’s not likely that the OWS is going to add much positive to their resume.