The Wall Street Occupation

Prof. Floros decided today that she’d be remiss in her duties if she didn’t make sure her economics class was aware of the coming economic collapse and the ridiculous ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors, whom she referred to as “hacky-sackers” and “didgeridoo folks.”

She read out the list of 13 demands that have recently gotten a lot of blog attention (most of them pretend this list appeared recently when in fact it’s been around since Sept. 25). Now, this whole movement is pretty amorphous and leaderless, so these demands obviously don’t have the full backing of everyone at the protests. Some want more extreme things (wholesale dismantling of the government, communism) and others have more limited goals.

Many of the demands are ridiculous and economically ignorant, some even falling outside the realm of rational public debate.

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 three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

Does this mean we can all get paid 20 dollars an hour without working? An increase in the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation is a great idea. And if you have a family of four where only one person works 40-hour weeks at minimum wage, you still fall well below the poverty line. But such an extreme increase – more than doubling the minimum wage – would shutter small businesses and only encourage off-the-book labor.

Now, the first proposes strict control of imports, but they later completely contradict themselves in advocating for an open border migration policy. Higher tariffs would raise costs for “the 99 percent” – effectively negating any positive effects of a $20 minimum wage (there aren’t any).

Possibly the most amusing but also stupidly crazy:

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.

As my economics professor pointed out, some of these protestors apparently have a bad credit score. If I thought all debt would be eliminated tomorrow, guess what I’d be doing? Buying a Ferrari. Complete and utter chaos. It would destroy the economy utterly – no one would ever be willing to lend anybody money ever again. Also, don’t they know this would benefit corporations and Wall Street just as much if not more than the average consumer? Do you know how much debt they carry on their books? A more reasonable demand would be for student loans to be treated like regular debt.

The juxtaposition here is also charming:

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.

Infrastructure investment! Build more stuff that screws with the environment! But protect the environment!

Some conservative bloggers think this is all a scheme to distract people from the real problem (Obama and Democrats). George Soros has expressed his sympathy and labor groups have recently joined in, after all. Reporting on the ground by CBS, however, indicates that at least some of these people are just as disillusioned with the Democrats.

Almost no one at the protest seemed to have much positive to say about President Obama and the Democratic Party, which was described as only slightly less corrupt and focused on helping the rich than the GOP.

They also expressed distrust for the “corporate media” and have started their own newspaper: The Occupied Wall Street Journal. Heh.

Flipping through some of the signage from NYC, I’m seeing a lot of ones about corporate money influence on elections. And I thought…

Buddy Roemer! This is your chance to get some coverage and push your message!

And he’s already done it. Just today.

Money in politics has created institutional corruption. Both parties are guilty of taking the big check and are bought by Wall Street. My campaign is the only one that speaks out against this and I look forward to the day lobbyists are not allowed to donate to campaigns.

For those of you who don’t know, Roemer – who you won’t see at a debate ’cause he polls below one percent and who polls below one percent because he doesn’t get a lot of media exposure – is all about fixing the money problem in democracy. He gave an excellent interview to Jon Stewart about why we need to end the influence of corporations on elections.

It’ll be interesting to see where this movement goes. It looks like they’re enjoying themselves, but I don’t think they understand the different arenas of power and money. If they want change, they need to work through government. They’re protesting corporations by hanging out in their backyard but as long as they keep buying coffee and food and tents and umbrellas… the corporations have nothing to fear. If they actually get some traction in politics, that’s when the corporations will step up their lobbying efforts and try to block any reform of the system.

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