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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: The Bad

As expressed in my previous entry, while I can agree with many of the basic principles of the OWS protests, there are a great many things I disagree with.

Demands
One of my major gripes with OWS is the lack of any sort of demands (which also suggests a lack of leadership and organization).
This may seem like a minor issue to some, but instead of a revolution, all I see is a bunch of people bored with their own lives and caught up in the euphoria of "being part of something bigger than themselves".

Most have stated that they will not leave until they have achieved "success". Without demands, what exactly constitutes a success?

Certainly not the (now infamous) list of demands posted on the OccupyWallSt.org forum:


While I appreciate the initiative to actually generate a list of demands and it's easy to laugh at the naivety, this is as good as anything else anyone has come up with.

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Who is the Enemy?
A side effect of not having a set of demands or goals is the fact that "the enemy" has become an unclear entity.
It was initially Wall Street proper and the financial institutions based on it; but as the movement has grown beyond New York, the target of the protests has evolved as well.

For some reason, protesters in Oakland, CA decided to shut down the city's port (the 5th largest port in the US).
I cannot find a logical explanation behind this (other than they were simply bored).
Not only did they shutdown an industry that had no part of the financial collapse, but they also prevented people from working; namely blue-collar and union workers who should be their biggest backers.
The protest/march did not last long and the port is reportedly close to being back on schedule, but what was the point?



They're Protesting the Wrong People
While corruption and poor ethics of the financial industry clearly caused the market collapse, I think the protesters are actually pestering the wrong people.

The people they should actually be protesting?

The ones making the rules:
(Fast Co

(THD)

How can you expect the rich to punish the rich? Congress does not care about the desires of the protesters, they want to leverage the (perceived) power and frustration of the "99%" and turn it into more campaign contributions and votes.
And I also assure you, most Congressmen are not like Warren Buffet and will not complain about their tax rate.

I could have a whole other post about this topic, but a side note:
Another thing that still amazes me is how one of the Congressmen partially responsible for the mortgage crisis, Barney Frank, was reelected so decidedly.
More surprising still, he was Chairman of the 'House Financial Services Committee' from 2007-2011.
Yes, he does do some good work in Congress, but the guy who wanted cheap and easy-to-obtain mortgages (and did not understand what that would mean) essentially led our financial industry for three years after the crash??



And finally, for the sake of keeping this short (too late):

They are Costing Me Money
Costs are constantly rising, so unfortunately I couldn't find a single chart with the nationwide totals, but the Occupy protests are costing taxpayers millions in police overtime alone. (Not to mention the damage, like in places like Oakland, that is a result of peaceful protests escalating riots).

Here are some figures from a recent ABC article dated October 27th:

Costs to "Upkeep" Occupy Protests, by City:
NYC: $3.4 million
Boston: $2 million
SF: $200,000+
Atlanta: $300,000+

And some others:
Charlotte: $105,000 ($1,800/day)
Phoenix: $200,000+
Portland: $186,000+

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And oh yea, I am the 53%.


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