Two weeks ago, I never heard of The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Like a developing rash, I ignored them for the first few days; but began to take notice when seven hundred of them were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. I thought perhaps a con man had attempted to sell them Washing Roebling’s masterpiece. As it turns out, they are angry about something entirely unrelated. Today, I heard a radio announcer describe them as a “populist movement that is pissed off at evil bankers, corporate greed and nasty stock market traders.” This sparked my curiosity, so I went to their website and discovered that they have a list of 13 demands, which I would like to review.
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 a hr.
I am no economist, but tariffs and protectionism is a subject that has been hotly debated for two hundred years. I am less in favor of tariffs and more in league with lifting restrictions on American manufacturers. Our national, state and municipal governments have driven industry from our shores with over regulation, onerous taxes, union favoritism and lofty but costly environmental policies.
The OWS also wishes the current Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour be raised to twenty dollars. Here, are some quick calculations:
• On a percentage basis, that is a 276 percent increase.
• Based on a normal working year that is $40,000 a year salary.
In addition to and individual's job qualifications, a wage or salary is dictated by what the market will bear. Depending on who you believe, anywhere between 9 and 18 percent of the US population is unemployed. Additionally, recent Department of Labor statistics show that salaries have been flat for that last ten years. I can attest to that because even with significantly increased skill sets, I am only making 3 percent more today than I was a decade ago. And, I say in earnest that I am happy to have a job, enjoying a salary that the “free market” will bear.
My final evaluation: Demand one is it is not based on any sound economic or market logic. In better times, a college graduate with a technical or business degree was worth a starting salary around $40,000. Therefore, to demand nearly three times the current minimum wage for all workers is unrealistic and does not account for experience, training and the delineation of skilled and unskilled labor. This is not just Marxism gone badly; it’s socialism with high monetary aspirations.
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.
I agree that our health care system needs reform. However, I am not ready to trust Washington to take this on. To eliminate all private insurance companies and entrust my physical well being to the government would put the screws on competition. Competition breeds innovation and generates profits for our economy. The way Washington has managed Medicare/Social Security and other entitlements does not demonstrate that government controlled healthcare would be successful. That’s why I am against giving them another giant pool of money to mishandle and subsequently destroy the first rate care I currently have.
My final evaluation: This one boils down to the capitalism versus socialism, and whether or not you have faith in Washington to manage your healthcare. I currently have little faith in the Federal government who has demonstrated no ability in bringing value added management abilities to the table. To the contrary, they cannot pass a budget, manage the deficit or efficiently agree upon most crucial issues. We need to reduce the size of federal government and having them control health care is not a path to reduced costs; it is more akin to giving heroin to a junkie. So if, Social Security is a ponzi scheme, then socialized medicine would be Three Card Monte.
Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.
Guarantee a living wage eh? Should I refer to OWS demand one, which means you get 20 bucks an hour whether you work or sit on your socialist, fat ass? I know, I know, I am certain you dreadlock, cap wearing ragamuffins figure higher taxes should be imposed on the evil rich. That is simple redistribution of wealth; and those who actually make money from being educated, creative and hard working should not have to give their money to you sign swinging cry babies. My final evaluation: This is pipe dream. Death and taxes baby, there is your guarantee.
Demand four: Free college education.
Why go to college? You can’t get a job when you graduate anyway, so what’s the use. Sorry OWS, but quality education in America is based on your ability to pay tuition, lodging etc. So if, your parents didn’t plan ahead to pay for your educational aspirations, you’ll have to go to junior college, get student loans and hopefully transfer to a four year school when you rustle up the funding. And all the while, you will be competing for resources with the children of illegal aliens who are getting financial assistance in states like Texas and California. Because most states are running in the red, public colleges are raising their tuitions. Like many other formerly affordable services in America, there isn’t any money left to pay for education. For example, in California, the average state college tuition is $10,000 a year. Private colleges are even more expensive than state run institutions. When I got serious about obtaining my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I incurred nearly $50,000 in debt. I am still making monthly payments; so my heart goes out to our youth who are struggling to pay for higher learning.
My final evaluation: My heart goes out to the OWS on demand number four; however, my wallet is staying in my pocket. One of the reasons I didn’t have kids was because I couldn’t afford to pay for their education. So why should I pay for yours? When winged pigs take to the sky, free college education will abound.
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.
This is a great idea. You know, I was just thinking the other day, I ought to give up driving my Range Rover and take up riding a skateboard. And on windy days, I can cruise on a Conestoga wagon outfitted with a custom sail. Or hire a mule driver like in the pioneer days. I’m tired of worrying about digging for Stegosaurus crude. Give me one of those little electric cars that will get me halfway to the office; and then pay me by the mile for walking the rest of the way. I’ll get some exercise, and we can get those pesky SUV’s off the road.
My final evaluation: When winged dinosaurs take to the sky, go to a mystical place and bring back something I can use in place of gasoline, then you can count me in on fast tracking alternative energy.
Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.
Hey OWS, perhaps you have been busy attending classes or searching for available funding streams and you haven’t heard that America is in the midst of a huge recession. Additionally, the federal, most state and major municipal governments are essentially bankrupt, so how do you propose to fund your trillion dollar demand? I know, via his “jobs bill”, Obama is asking for half that sum so America can retrofit our allegedly decrepit bridges, blah, blah, blah. And I suppose your solution is once again imposing higher taxes on the folks that actually produce wealth in this county. I say we start cutting spending, squirrel away some dough and live with the infrastructure the way it is. Even if, the Fed could get their hands on the tax revenue, most of it would never be used to rebuild the infrastructure. So I’ll take my chances driving across our decaying bridges.
My final evaluation: Ask the winged dinosaurs to take to the sky, go to the land of wasted tax revenue and bring back enough gold bars to bank roll your proposed project. They can do that while they are looking for something I can use in the place of gasoline. That would be a more efficient use of the winged dinosaur’s time.
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.
Please refer to my answer to demand six. It’s pretty much the same.
Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.
Hey OWS, perhaps you were not aware of this landmark piece of legislation. It is called The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Johnson nearly 50 years ago. I think that should cover most of what you are asking for. You can read about it on www.wikipedia.org
My final evaluation: Try to do more research when you’re not busy waiving signs and writing up demands.
Demand nine: Open borders migration. Anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
Hello OWS, I am not going to go into a long explanation about how undocumented workers have helped ruin our economy by:
• Taking jobs from misguided, uninformed ideologues like you
• Draining social services and medical care
• Exploiting workman’s compensation
• Exploiting our educational system
• Failing to assimilate our culture
• Contributing to gang violence and overall criminal activity
I am not going to provide you with a detailed argument about why we should build a long wall along our states bordering Mexico; and then dig a moat in front of the wall, fill it with water and populate the water with hungry alligators.
My final evaluation: While they’re out searching for alternative fuel sources and gold bars, please prevail upon the winged dinosaurs to look for a country other than the United States. Maybe this utopian land will allow you to work without proper visas and permanent status while sucking off its monetary teat. When you have found this place, please use all haste and move there to 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.
I kind of dig my computer ballots, but whatever floats your boat.
My final evaluation: As long as there are not any hanging chads impeding the voting process, I am good with whatever you come up with.
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.
Hey OWS protestors, does this mean I won’t have to pay off my mortgage and school loan. Hey, you forgot to ask for forgiveness of car payments. As I have many unpaid stubs left, that would be kewl! While you’re at it, I don’t like having to pee every few hours. You guys are across the board insane, but I love you. In a perfect world, we would not have vexing things like debt and responsibilities; and there would be no personal accountability for our actions. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world where people who cannot afford homes insist on buying on credit. And tricky ARM’s that evil lenders twisted investor’s arms to take, have come back to haunt many a lofty buyer with big eyes and a small bank account.
My final evaluation: To quote Woody Allen, “Right. Well, I have to go now, because I'm due back on the planet Earth.”
Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
I know of only three credit reporting agencies. They are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion; and hey OWS, those guys need jobs too. Plus, if we tank this unholy trio, how will determine if anyone is credit worthy? How will we qualify people to buy all the empty houses that the banks are repossessing? However, if we honor your demand eleven request, I suppose we could let this one slip by as well.
My final evaluation: See flying dinosaurs and Woody Allen quote.
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.
The Great Depression saw the acceleration of the labor union movement, which began during the early part of the 19th century. This was a good thing; because though we now take our fundamental rights as working men for granted, there was a time when the captains of industry were oppressive. This included crappy wages, long hours, child labor abuses, no breaks and poor working conditions. The U.S. Labor movement provided a pathway to paid vacations, holidays, health insurance benefits and a fair shake for the employee. Nevertheless, the OWS still thinks that corporations are inherently evil.
Today, only 10 percent of Americans belongs to unions. However, the other 90 percent of non union members have to pick up the tab for the public sector pensions. Most citizens tolerated this during the days when public sector employees were underpaid. Now, over the past ten years, these same public servants have been jacking up their salaries.
I have no pension or union benefits; and therefore, I believe it is disparate treatment that I am on the ticket for supporting public sector unions. I support right to work states like Texas, North Carolina and Utah. I think public sector unions have outlived their usefulness. I may be sugar coating this; but I think they are rotting, corrupt, bloated, self serving parasites feeding on the public. So, I have say no on this demand.
My final evaluation: Public sector unions = vultures and I have no use for them. However, if you are a worker who wants to sign on for one, I will not hold a sign while blocking the entrance to a union hall.