I am having a serious problem with the “wealth distribution” part of this groups unofficial list of demands.

The following is a (very) brief synopsis of some of what Karl Marx wanted to do in Russia (and we all know how that eventually worked out).  Marx’s philosophy, was the world revolved on a capitalist economy where people with money hire people without money to make things and provide services. Marx proposed that capitalism should be replaced with a system where work is performed for the common good rather than for money provided by a privileged class—in other words, he proposed communism. Marx believed that the problem with the socialism of his day was that it did not deal with economic issues. He proposed that his new (communist) economic system, which called for redistribution of wealth, was more equitable.

Sounds awfully like the OWS movement doesn’t it???  

But it’s clear that this system did not work either,  partly because it requires people to be completely altruistic. Unfortunately, working for the benefit of others over the self is not consistent with human nature.

Below is a short quote and other information from the OWS movement:

 “Wealth for the Common Good and Resource Generation, two groups dedicated to working for “fair taxation and just wealth distribution.””

Demonstrator B.B. a truck driver and punk rock musician who studied philosophy in college, said since the protests began almost three weeks ago, “I have heard a thousand different things people are concerned about — inadequate teacher pay, no jobs, the rich not paying their fair share of taxes and all of it was about how we working people are not getting a fair shake.” 

(NOTE: there is NOTHING wrong with being a truck driver, or a musician, or having studied philosophy in college, but seriously, did this guy expect to be anywhere NEAR the “1%” with that kind of resume? Life choices, it’s all about life choices.)

Here is the OWS website:

 A citation directly from the OWS web site:

Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that “We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends (Note: see their “agenda” below)…”


This OWS movement empowers real people to create real change from the bottom up. We want to see a general assembly in every backyard, on every street corner because we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians to build a better society.

So it got me to thinking, if this is a leaderless resistance movement, what is it that these people actually think they are “fighting for” or demanding of the “greedy and corrupt” 1%?.  I searched the web, and found this interview by a reporter:

So, what do they want? One possible answer is: A Lot.

The laundry list of things individual participants tout as priorities to them are nearly as diverse as the occupation supporters themselves. Better banking regulation, tax reform, campaign finance reform, wage increases, unemployment, the healthcare system, outsourcing, military spending, environmental concerns … the list goes on indefinitely. It is difficult to think of any political or economic issue that has been on anyone’s radar in the last few years that I didn’t hear mentioned at some point in my day spent at Liberty Square. As people kept reminding me, though, one of the things that distinguishes this from any other mass demonstration movement is that there isn’t atrue party platform. There isn’t a set agenda or list of formal demands.

I asked a lot of people if they foresaw an end date for the New York occupation. Who says it’s going to end?” , said one young man, as we both moved quickly to get our ponchos on as a brief torrential downpour begins. “Eight hundred people have been arrested, we’re still here. A month has gone by, we’re still here. The mayor ofNew York tried to evict us, we’re still here.” He points up at the heavy shower falling on us. “And when it snows, we’ll still be here.” These sentiments are mimicked in the weekly community newspaper circulated through the park, the Occupied Wall Street Journal. “It will not stop until the corporate abuse of the poor, the working class, the elderly, the sick, children, those being slaughtered in our foreclosures and bank repossessions stop. It will not stop until students no longer have to go into massive debt to be educated, and families no longer have to plunge into bankruptcy to pay medical bills. It will not stop until the corporate destruction of the ecosystem stops …… “

The answer, as I was hearing it, is they have no demands, there is no one agenda, no piece of legislation they can be co-opted or appeased on. Their grievances are almost as diverse as America. Their platform, as they depict it, is the platform of Everyman. What they’re saying now is “Look around. It isn’t going to end.”

Now maybe it’s just me, but the “non”-agenda of the protestors still sounds a lot like communism to me.  The everyman, the socialized medicine, the wealth distribution, the vilification of men and women in the “1%”, for having money, the “I didn’t/don’t get a fair shake” mentality.

I do agree that tax reform, campaign contribution reform, accountability of our elected officials, bank regulation and the rampant outsourcing of jobs needs to be addressed, but I am a bit confused by how they protestors expect to get things done with no clear cut platform, and why they are attacking Wall Street and the so called 1%.

First and foremost, what bothers me is HOW do these people have time to spend 35 days and counting protesting?  I know jobs are scarce, but rather than ask the 1% of people who have worked long and hard to supplement the 99%  life/life choices, shouldn’t they be out LOOKING for a job, working at anything that pays a wage, going to school, or getting training, to begin to get a piece of the American Pie?

No one said that everyone in America would be a millionaire, or even a college graduate, but the opportunity IS there, along with the eventual salary. Why attack those who spent their life working hard to get to where they are, because you didn’t take charge of your own destiny? Are the 1% supposed to just hand over their money to supplement the “99%”

The opportunity is there for those who want it. For example, look at:

Michael Bloomberg, son of Russian immigrants, his father was a bookkeeper, and he put himself through Johns Hopkins and Harvard before founding Bloomberg Enterprises.

John Paul Dejoria, co-founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems (who once was homeless by the way.)

Bill Gates, son of an attoney and a teacher, founder and CEO of Microsoft

Larry Ellison, who dropped out of college, and is the Oracle co-founder and CEO

Lloyd Blankstein, a postal worker’s son who grew up in Brooklyn’s Linden Houses, his father’s job as a sorter for the Postal Service being replaced by a machine after he retired was something that frightened Blankfein — motivating him to Harvard Law and later to Wall Street.

Ursula Burns,  now Xerox CEO grew up on New York City’s Lower East Side “when it was really bad, when the gangs were there and the drug addicts were there.

Sheldon Adelson, is currently the CEO and Chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, which runs The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. His father was a cab driver and his mother ran a knitting store.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks Chairman and CEO, who’s father worked as a truck driver, factory worker and taxi driver, eventually went to Northern Michigan University on an athletic scholarship, being the first person in his family to go to college.

Mary Petti, daughter of a bank teller, and a union printer, started working in a bagel store at age 15, worked three different jobs while putting herself through Pharmacy School using student loans. The first person in her family to graduate college.

 Florie Petti, son of a secretary and a “jack of all trades”, worked cleaning icecream trucks , as a supermarket checker, and as a teller, put himself through undergraduate courses and graduate school at NYU Stern School of Business using student loans. The first person in his family to graduate college

While the Petti’s are no where NEAR the preceding in income, and are not in the 1% (nor are we in the 99% but somewhere in the middle), success and a decent lifestyle CAN happen to the everyman with humble backgrounds too…if you have a goal and work hard to achieve it.

But it’s not the 1% causing the problems, it’s a spider-web of issues which need to be addressed.

  • the lagging economy of the country due ot loss of jobs and industry;
  • the loss of jobs and outsourcing of goods and services; (partly because we Americans DEMAND high salaries, which corporations can’t/won’t pay, and unions enforce those demands, causing a “Catch-22” situation of outsourcing of jobs and American job losses)  
  • the “buy now and pay later” mentality the gets people in over their head with credit card debt;
  • our failing education system and the subsequent lack of qualified people to do the work;
  • the mindset of some that a minimum wage job is beneath them;
  • the sense of entitlement from the government for being a so called have-not;
  • the careless, injudicious, poorly monitored  dispersal of govermnent funds to those who are not deserving (NOTE: there are plenty who are deserving);
  • the individual loss of ambition, drive and aspiration;
  • the individual loss of pride in doing a days work for a days pay, and being a productive part of society.

Does this country need an overhaul? Yes.  Do the OWS people have a good idea that it’s the masses that will drive change?  Yes.

However, as the interviewer pointed out  “they have no demands, there is no one agenda, no piece of legislation they can be co-opted or appeased on. Their grievances are almost as diverse as America.”

If they want to ” make changes from the” bottom up”, by not focusing on the 2 or 3 really important issues that need to be changed immediately, they are diluting their ability to effect any change at all. Individual agenda’s go nowhere, organized agendas often do. Presenting a united front with clear cut demands for change will go a lot further.

Be that as it may, some of the things that are “broken” are not things that can be legislated away. Part of the “1% vs. the 99% ” is all about life choices, drive, focus, ambition and hard work, which  cannot be legislated in or out of existence.

As far as I am concerned, it all starts with the individual.  
I find it amusing tha the same “ME”  generation, with the” I want it all, and I want it now” attitude, are the same generation singling out the very people who wanted it all (or better than their parents had it) and worked to get it instead of taking the  opportunity to follow their lead.  

I finish with this theory which, I know, has been controversial in it’s origin but it still scares the hell out of me.  Ronald Reagan used this in one of his speeches:

Prof. Alexander Frazer Tytler wrote, that a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority, he said, always vote for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship. Unfortunately, we can’t argue with the professor because when he wrote that we were still colonials of Great Britain and he was explaining what had destroyed the Athenian Republic more than 2000 years before.”

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations progressed through the following sequence:

  1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
  2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
  3. From courage to liberty;
  4. From liberty to abundance;
  5. From abundance to complacency;
  6. From complacency to apathy;
  7. From apathy to dependence;
  8. From dependence back into bondage.

 I believe we are somewhere between 6 and 7.  Our democracy is WELL past to 200 year mark cited in Tytler’s quote and the complacency and apathy that has now pervaded our society is concerning.

Complacency means ‘pleased or satisfied” with how things are, with how they affect one’s self. It is a lack of concern, in this case, about your future and doing nothing to change it.

Apathy means ‘detachment, disinterest and indifference’. It is absence of caring or passion to follow your dreams, and attain your goals.

Dependency means ‘belief, expectation or notion”,  in this case , of entitlement.  It’s blaming everyone else for your woes. It’s expecting others (individuals or governments) to supplement and augment a lifestyle you think you deserve because someone else has it and you don’t.

Scary thoughts…