Open Letter to “Occupy Wall Street” Protesters

Dear “Occupy Wall Street” protestor,

I am Wall Street.

No, I am not one of the top 1% who controls 40% of the wealth in the US, but I hope to be someday.  I also like investing in big companies and need them to be profitable for my savings.

You speak of greedy big companies not sharing their profits, but you forget that these companies were only created for profit.  It’s the reason people start companies.  Without a profit motive, there would be few big companies to employ people or create wealth for investors on Wall Street.

I understand you are frustrated right now with high unemployment, but it’s not the fault of Wall Street or big companies.  If you’ve been unemployed for a long time, it’s your fault.

Yep, your fault.

I’m not trying to be mean, but I think our grandparents who made it through the Great Depression would be rolling over in their graves if they saw you protesting “Wall Street”.  You should be out looking for a job, training for a job, or creating a job. Maybe it’s not your dream job, but there is work out there.

That’s what Americans used to do.  When the going gets tough, we should keep on going. We don’t waste time protesting a good thing.  Profit and success are good things.

These protests look foolish.

You blame Neoliberalism?  (explained here on Wikipedia)  You claim it’s the reason we don’t have jobs or can’t afford healthcare, education, food, or our mortgage.  Those are excuses.

Excuses and irresponsibility are the problem.

We have economic problems because consumers bought homes they shouldn’t have, borrowers got mortgages they shouldn’t have, banks made loans they shouldn’t have, companies insured assets they shouldn’t have, and investors bought securities they shouldn’t have.

Protesting won’t help.

It’s time for you to go hunting for income and profit.  No one else is going to fix your problem.  It’s time to be an 8pm Warrior.

Have a responsible night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

107 comments on “Open Letter to “Occupy Wall Street” Protesters”

    1. Thanks Christy. It’s a tough topic, but I hope it offers a decent counterpoint to these protests.

      I am even seeing these “Occupy YOUR CITY HERE” protests in the suburbs…silly.

  1. Personally, I think you’re all (partially) wrong. In my opinion the main problem is the fact that we all want to have everything as cheap as possible. Everyone wants that plasma screen, the exotic holiday, the nice car. It’s not just the greed of the big corporations that got us into this mess but it’s the greed of all of us. Many companies have had to lower prices and to do that they have had to cut costs. And how do they do that; exactly, by restructuring and laying people off. It’s a vicious circle but we have to face the truth and stop blaming everybody else; we are ALL responsible for it, in one way or another.

    1. Natasja, I think that’s exactly correct. Companies make these decision based on the environment we live/work in.

      However, I’m not sure how to fix that problem? It seems like that is the history of humanity. Always wanting more…

      Thanks for the insightful comment.

      1. Thanks Aaron, I appreciate your response. We seem to struggle with the same; I also do not know how to “cure” humanity from it’s greediness. Change the world & start with yourself is something we say in Holland and that’s what I try to do. One step at a time, on step at a time… Good night for now! (it’s 00:30 here)

  2. You should read this, it’s pretty brilliant: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/12/1025555/-Open-Letter-to-that-53-Guy

    It’s not about hard work. These people are fighting against what *caused* the Great Depression and avoiding it in the future. Profit motive has its place, but the unchecked profit motive is what is destroying the country.

    Also, you’ll likely never be one of the 1%. The scale is unimaginable. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

    I realize you’ve written all this out and published it, and you’re inclined to stand by what you wrote. I hope you can consider this with an open mind.

    1. Steve, I do appreciate that article you shared from the Daily Kos. I realize there is a LOT of hurt out there, and I have felt it myself. I personally think the highest earners should pay more in taxes, but I don’t know why protesting makes sense. We live in a democracy and if we don’t like what our elected officials are doing, we should elect new ones.

      As for your thoughts on the 1%…

      I realize my goals seems absurd, but I want to live my life chasing something big. I’m not willing to live in a defeated mindset where people give up on the chance to be like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs. They became part of the 1% by innovating, not by protesting.

      Thank you very much for the discussion, and I want you to know that you helped me see a different perspective a little better.

      1. People don’t become the Gates, Jobs and Zuckerbergs of the world because of profit margins. Artists, creatives and innovators do what they are driven to do without much other motivation than their own genius. What drives visionaries is VISION, profit is the happy accident. If we invested in our creatives and created more blue collar opportunities turn around would take less time than it took to get here.

          1. Agree with you Aaron. Microsoft and Apple don’t happen if profit isn’t part of the vision. Someone not looking to make money doesn’t go through the trouble of incorporating and starting a company/business. Vision is what sets apart the 1% from the rest of the companies.

            And quite frankly I don’t like the blindness with which the protesters segregate people between the 99% and the 1%.

            I may never be in the top 1% of the wealthy, but if I’m making a couple million per year I’m sure I’ll be ok with it :).

            And let’s not lie to ourselves. In general the protesters have a problem with all wealthy people, not just the top 1% of them.

      2. “We live in a democracy and if we don’t like what our elected officials are doing, we should elect new ones.” – From a choice of 2?

  3. There is nothing wrong with the profit motive, per se. What is wrong here is unbridled greed and a breaking of a the social contract.

    On the one hand we pride ourselves on being “…one Nation under God, indivisible…” and on the other hand it’s every man for himself. Long live Ayn Rand and all that good stuff.

    The challenge is when large – no, huge – groups of people are left to fend for themselves with very few resources with which to do it. That leads to the type of political unrest you see now. The Tea Party on the right that wants the Government out of everything and eliminate taxation and the Occupy Wall Street crowd on the left that feels marginalized by those that are, in fact, hoarding great wealth. Both movements are economic in nature, by the way.

    Surely, there is some middle ground.

    There used to be a vibrant and large middle class in the US. The middle class did reasonably well. We were able to buy a home, raise a family, establish friendly and safe neighborhoods. In short, the middle class fueled the American economy through it’s consumption of goods and services.

    Now, that is all disappearing with no discernible goal that will have any lasting good effect for society, at large.

    1. Ken, you know I always love to hear your perspective. This comment is more of the same great stuff.

      I don’t disagree that it would be nice to get our middle class back again. That would be wonderful for our economy and national stability.

      I also think it may not be possible.

      That ship sailed the day we started importing cheaper goods from Asia. We live in a world that is now capable of doing blue collar work in places that used to have extreme poverty, thereby undercutting our ability to make things at home.

      While our intellectual industries have prospered, not every American was born with the creativity, vision, or other skills needed to prosper in a white collar America. Some people are better at building things than designing things.

      That is the problem. Some skills aren’t as valuable anymore.

      I wish it wasn’t true.

  4. Aaron, I think you are mistaken. While I agree that communism or socialistic coddling is not the answer, your assessment is very simplistic (even ignorant) imo. Can you explain why your congress cannot even begin to agree on how to make things better? The fact is that this is uncharted territory which both greed and callousness have together brought us to.
    The fact is that any system be it communist or capitalist do have a breaking point. The communist system did reach a breaking point. The capitalist system has now arrived at the same time.
    The hope is that from the turmoil a new system will arise, hopefully stronger than the two. Hope fully we will find a way that will take us forward beyond breaking points.
    What I am glad is that you are stepping into the debate. The only way we can find a way out is by working together. Debate is part of the process. Or else it is the extremists that will will out.

    1. Hi Jacob, thanks for stepping into the debate with me. I blog to learn from others and your perspective helps define mine. I appreciate you and your comment.

      While, you may think my assessment is ignorant, I have experienced both the lows of poverty and the highs of success. I feel like I understand both sides fairly well.

      Our congress cannot fix this situation because I don’t believe it is fixable. The world has changed. We as people need to adapt, not protest.

      I don’t believe that capitalism is failing, just that globalization has changed what people should expect from their careers. We’re no longer competing with each other for jobs, we’re competing with Asia, South America, and Africa.

      It’s time to adapt.

      I plan on writing a follow up to this one.

      1. I edited my last post to add a cpl of lines. In the followup would you like to comment on if the strikes and protests that caused the downfall of communism were unnecessary too? Should the workers just have worked harder to keep the comradeship and the party line going?

        1. I’m not against protests. I’m against protests with no real objective. To me, it seems like the Occupy Wall Street protests are just a gathering of people who are unhappy with being poor.

          What do they want changed? Rich people to give money to poor people? If that’s it, it sounds ridiculous. The rich people will move to Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Cayman Islands or other tax havens.

          The signs I’m seeing at the protest are ridiculous:

          Forgive my mortgage
          Forgive my student loans
          Share with others

          It makes me laugh.

          I’m not against protests. I just don’t understand this one.

          1. That is what the debate is intended to figure out. If things need to change or things need to remain the same.
            Nobody wants the rich to give away everything (extremists excluded).
            You don’t understand so you don’t protest. However, it does not mean that nothing needs to change either. Maybe it is that they need to adapt. Maybe the system needs to adapt too.

          2. Many of the protesters there are there because they got themselves into a load of debt they can’t afford to pay off and want it forgiven (or paid off by someone else). Trust me, I was there, I saw it and I heard it.

            You don’t need to be in the top 1% in order to be happy. And this country provides boundless opportunities to make more than enough money to live more than comfortably.

            My main gripe with the protesters is that they are blaming others for their own misfortunes and wasting their time protesting and partying instead of doing something to change their lives in a positive way.

            There were drum circles, naked chicks, drugs and alcohol. A lot of these protesters are disgruntled college kids looking for a reason to party and let off some steam.

            Even the protesters within the park complain about how much sex goes on in sleeping bags all over the place there.

            It’s hard to take this seriously. Sorry.

          3. Eugene, It’s Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, London, Montreal, Japan etc. now. Not just what you saw. I really don`t think they care if you take it seriously at this point. Like I said…at least we have a debate going.

          4. I know they don’t care if I take them seriously. But if I don’t take them seriously (and in the big scheme of things…who the hell am I?) do you think that Wall Street is taking them seriously?

  5. A bit simplistic for me 8PM. The protest of OWS is vital to the American conversation as this nation has been build upon dissent and not accepting the status quo because it is just that. It’s not just a bunch of whiners abdicating their responsibilities or trying to remove profit margins and motivations. The gap between the wealthy, middle and lower classes has been widening decade after decade. We’ve seen the rape of America’s middle class by corporate America through many, many incarnations. WorldCom & Silverado seem like ancient history but millions of workers lost their entire savings and retirement due to those who lost touch with Main Street, put their profit margins above ethics, and put vast sums into CEO’s pockets. And there has not been any protest, uprising or other unified voice of dissatisfaction on any measurable scale since the 1960’s and 70’s.
    When the Tea Party began to organize rallies to unify and create their message of frustration with their taxes, that was okay but this isn’t? They had a right to stand up, organize and bring their message into the mainstream which then became, for better or worse, a new political force in this country. Great. I’m sorry you are so critical of the same process when it applies to others.
    Your leap to a comparison with Communist Russia is a huge stretch and seems a bit of a sophomoric over generalization. What is at issue here is not the “wah-wah, I don’t have a job so I’m blaming Wall Street” (if we’re going to go there… let’s talk about Ms. Perry blaming Obama for her son’s resignation), it is a matter of tax-payer bailouts to cover debt created by poorly managed corporations who then rewarded themselves with obscene bonuses, paid out huge dividends to their share holders, creating record profits and then using the excuse of an uncertain economy (which they are creating by not reinvesting) and (boo-hoo), too much regulation and too high of taxes while cutting their American work force.
    You are trying to come off as nice & understanding in tone, but it strikes me as patronizing and under-informed. Sounds like you’ve been sucked into the expert manipulation of public sentiment by corporate interests.

    1. It may be a bit simplistic, but I try to stay away from massive blog posts. I figured we could get more complicated here in the comment section. :-)

      Here are some thoughts in response:

      I’m not against protests, I like dissent, and I’m not a Tea Party guy. I’m also not a supporter of Ms. Perry (or Mr. Perry).

      In America, if we want companies to give more money to the government, we call it taxes. Not sharing. Sharing is what communism is. If we want more taxes on rich people, we should elect people to do that for us. I don’t know why we are protesting in NY. People don’t give money up because of protesters.

      I haven’t been sucked into expert manipulation by corporate interests, I am a business owner and have an economics degree. I hope that makes me entitled to hold an opinion on the matter.

      I apologize if I seem patronizing. I’m just trying to offer an opinion and stimulate discussion.

  6. I wrote you an email about this, but I’ll cross post here:

    I had the opportunity to stop by and chat with some of the folks today at “Occupy Palo Alto” on my way back from a business meeting. I too, have been thinking along the lines of what you wrote down below – that people appear to not have jobs because its their fault and its people shouldn’t blame corporate America for the whole profit motive.

    I can agree with you, and disagree with you.

    I agree that a lot of this seems a bit snotty because it appears that the people here want America to become a nanny state. So a few of us skinned our knees and now we want big brother to help kiss our boo-boo and give us a way out. People want jobs, they want a rightful employment opportunity and they want the ability to have all their pensions and eat it too. To me, it begs the question: To what are we owed a right, and to what are we earned a privilege? Do the people on Wall Street complaining understand the difference? To me, they don’t.

    This is the conservative point of view.

    There is then also, the liberal point of view which looks at your post here from an end that I don’t necessarily consider to the opposite, but rather something that is complimentary. Let’s look at a few points and look at what the Wall Street folks are saying:

    1) No one is disagreeing with profit. Everyone understands that without profit you cannot thrive. What people are railing against is this greed coming out of profit. The need to write everything off, avoid taxes as much as possible and lay off people for a bigger bottom line. The need to ship jobs overseas at the expense of workers at home. The idea being argued against is that of sustainable practice, not because profit is a bad thing.

    2) There are the lazy ones, but there are also the folks who are hunting for jobs and legitimately looking. I’m going to break this down into two points:
    You said that people should be learning their own skills. I agree. However, this also requires that people seek out those skills, and the ability to find a good teacher depends on the ability to pay up. Lots of people don’t have money, nor do they have the capital (ie; technology like computers) or the time to be able to gain these skills. We can argue time schedule and “you should have done this when you had the time all you want”, but we have to look forward, not backward.

    Its also been said that people should go and create their own businesses. Makes sense when you’re talking about me and talking about you – we run digital businesses. But what about the person looking to create a physical store? Or sell real product? There are upfront costs one has to incur and loans to take out. Since banks aren’t giving loans out and people have no money, what do you do about that?
    The problem with all this goes back to money. Its an emotional commodity and by extension, people make irrational decisions. That’s why I haven’t canceled my current phone plan to upgrade to an iPhone 4S because I feel like its more emotional than practical. But as this financial crisis is a reflection of the past, we have to look forward.

    The question I would want to ask is: “What can we learn, and what can we do to make sure that people truly understand?”

    1. Albert, you touch on so many good points here. I like your even-handed approach to this topic.

      There are definitely two sides to every story and they should all be considered. That is smart of you to talk to people like the protesters. You are enriched because of it. I wish I lived in Manhattan.

      I am going to write another post to clarify what I want these protesters to understand and do. I will touch on some of the topics you bring up.

      It’s not a simple issue.

      Thanks for the comment.

      1. You don’t need to go far to find a protestor. I bet if you walked to Downtown Milwaukee you could talk to someone right now.

        I think maybe the story is a little too glorified by liberals and a little too ignored by conservatives. There is definitely something here to be touched on.

  7. I would just add (or is it hope) that people are protesting the apparent breakdown of the democratic process. Each vote in our system is supposed to buy an equal share of representation. Instead, the wealthy are increasingly disproportionately represented, on both sides of the aisle. Our laws are increasingly pro-big business (i.e., globalist), the result of which is a redistribution of wealth from the hands of the many to the few. I am by no means anti-profit, but a stable society can only exist as long as the majority of people in it have their basic needs being met. I believe that the ultimate role of a democratic government is to prevent any minority from exercising undue power over the majority. The Occupy movement is a natural response to the current situation. Most of these people don’t want to be part of the 1%, because they understand the inherent injustice required for anyone to acquire that much wealth.

    On the other hand, do I want and buy cheap electronics manufactured by people making a small fraction of what American manufacturers bring home? What else would I be writing this on at this point?

    1. Theron, you make some good points about the failures of our current government.

      I agree that basic needs should be met in our country, but our average household income is higher than almost every country in the world. I think the word “basic” is being stretched a bit.

      I’ll touch on globalization and cheap products tomorrow.

      Thanks for the comment.

      1. To be expected…but, at least it seems EVERY ONE here is talking, exchanging ideas! THAT is not allowed in many circles, ESPECIALLY on most of our campuses nowadays.

        A conservative comes on campus and is shouted down if allowed at all. A speaker on behalf of Israel rarely gets a chance! THAT is pathetic. The peeps here seem to be open to dialogue and THAT is what our country has always been about.

        I used to think the political rancor today was as bad as it ever was or could be. Evidently, we’re beginners given how rancorous it was before, during, and after the Civil War…and at other times.

        Members of Congress got into fist fights. Heck, remember Aaron Burr? I’d love to see Olbermann and Hannity face off at 20 paces! Lol…

        I plan to read all these comments and keep this dialogue going. Look, you motivated both sides to actually write a REAL COMMENT!

        1. Yes, in general, I’ve been very pleased to hear intelligent thoughts from both sides. I feel like I’m learning a lot.

          It sure makes you think…

          Thanks for adding to the conversation Bruce. You are appreciated.

  8. Please watch Michael Moore’s first and finest documentary, Roger & Me and re-think your stance.

    I grew up with Reaganomics, the “trickle-down” lie, and without health/medical insurance. I grew up without access to the inexpensive supermarkets that those with cars could only get to with cars. I grew up watching my parents go through university, not drink, drug or gamble – but still get increasingly cornered by the powers-that-be.

    I regard your stance as one thoughtful take of the current state of job outlook, but it is callous, indifferent to the real walls that stand before many of us who find ourselves in one hell of a bind right now.

    I am 45 and have been unemployed for 2 1/2 years. I will take charity; know of something I could do that would let me pay my rent and eat? Yes, I will take help, and the charity of your time! You, successful people, I welcome you to help – at least try to help – ME (or someone else who is a Trey Peddleton case in the making).

    Would I suffice? Great! Please take at look at my background from my LinkedIn profile, or speak with me, even. What should I do? I’ll listen! What I have done until now they aren’t hiring for, and certainly not someone over 30 (let alone mid-forties). So please, make me (or someone else going through a tough patch – that would work, too) your cause; having lost my father, my family, my friends, my marriage, and nearly all of my hope, I am not too proud to implore you, Aaron, and your readers, to consider taking a far less callous stance you exhibited in your http://8pmwarrior.com/2011/09/trey-pennington-was-not-alone-suicide-news/ including “be kind, everyone you meet is fighting s hard battle” (Plato / quoted in your post, remembering the suicide and the man, Trey Peddleton). Be grateful if you have found something to do in life that you can make ends meet with. A hell of a lot of have not – and it is certainly not for lack of trying.

    Napolean Bonaparte said “ability is of little account without opportunity.” Now, I know there are other grand statements that make the opposite point, like Thomas Edison’s “there is far more opportunity than there is ability.” (Easy enough for an inventor to say. We do not, in fact all have an invention within us; we are simply not all created with such a mindset, or are such great tinkerers.)

    1. Saul, let’s talk. I’d like to help in any way I can. You are innovative and forward thinking. There are good things ahead for you.

      The last five years have been hard for many of us. When I feel like I’m losing hope, I write encouragement to myself:

      http://8pmwarrior.com/2011/07/we-are-all-failures
      http://8pmwarrior.com/2011/06/fighting-a-hard-battle-youre-not-alone
      http://8pmwarrior.com/2011/03/the-rain-is-coming
      http://8pmwarrior.com/2011/03/im-90-failure

      It’s no fun and at one point I had lost all sense of purpose. It is crushing.

      I’m glad you’re reaching out. That’s brave and smart, two signs of a great person.

      Let’s figure out a time to talk. No warrior left behind.

      Aaron

    2. I think you will find a lot of americans in this same situation.money runs out to even look for employment. I am 49 been looking for a job for 1 yr. no success, my dream is dieing everyday.

  9. Aaron,

    Please understand that when I say this is a complex and complicated issue I am not attacking you. Nor am I attacking you when I say that it is not fair to suggest that the protesters are not looking for work.

    I know far too many stories of partially or unemployed people who are desperate for work. They are educated and productive members of society. They are people who until recently had always held a job.

    Many of them have joined the ranks of the protesters because they don’t know what else to do. They have lost their homes and watched their savings disappear. Some of them have watched their marriages disappear too.

    The weight and pressure is enormous and the damage is severe.

    I support their efforts to be heard and understand why they do what they do- but on a larger scale I don’t like the protests.

    It is not because I don’t believe in free speech or think that they are all bad. I don’t like them because I don’t like the lack of structure. I don’t like the amorphous blob that has been joined by every person with a cause. I don’t like the anti-Semitism that hangs on the fringes.

    I want to see objectives and a plan to meet those objectives. For the moment we’ll ignore whether their goals are real and attainable. I would feel better if I saw those things because I like action tied into the voices.

    Don’t tell me how bad it is out there- I know because I am living it. But use the momentum and the spotlight to do more than say you want change. I want to fly, but I am not going to grow wings overnight.

    And if you’ll bear with my far long comment, I am furious with the banks. We bailed them out. Right or wrong, we did it. They got our tax dollars and were given instructions to help homeowners try to save their homes.

    Not all of those homeowners were in straits because they were irresponsible. Some of them lost their jobs and did everything they could do to try to save their homes. They were told that their tax dollars would be used to help the banks try to help them save their homes.

    So they worked with the banks but the banks didn’t work with them. They didn’t provide service. They didn’t give timely answers. They dragged their feet and told homeowners that they had to submit the same paperwork over because the bank had lost it or because it had “expired” even though it was the bank’s fault that it hadn’t been looked at it.

    So the homeowners continued to drain their savings and fought to save their homes not knowing that they would never be given a yes or not to a modification.

    And in the midst of all this no one at the bank lost their job. They didn’t take a pay cut or worry about how to explain to their children that they couldn’t keep their home.

    They didn’t lose sleep because the homeowner whose house was lost had helped bail them out with their tax dollars.

    And that my friend is a big part of why there is enormous anger out there.

    1. No offense taken. I thought your comment was thoughtful and brilliant.

      I’m angry about the banks too. As a business guy, I’m sick of their tight underwriting and lack of lending. We did bail them out. I think what has happened is wrong. I’d like to see them repay what we gave them or have them taxed extra until the bailout is repaid.

      I’m okay with that.

      However, it seems like the initial protesters don’t care to have a plan. They just come up with outrageous signs and casual answers to questions like “what would you like done?”

      We’re never going to stop “corporate greed”, but we can elect new officials to make changes.

      Jack, thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation. You are a smart guy and I appreciate your measured response.

  10. I am not unemployed. I fully support this movement. There is no excuse in our world today for poverty – for corporate backing of politicians – for the unjustified wars into Iraq and Afghanistan – for the arrest of Bradely Manning without a trial – for the lack of respect for science in our political community – these issues are just the beginning of what this movement is about.

    What you fail to see by making the assumptions you are making is, that the protestors are not interested in clamoring to join the 1% like you … but helping out the 99%. With them, is the beauty and wonder of human life without these externally imposed idea of “wealth”. We are all godly creatures.

    1. Honestly, I can’t even begin to relate to what you just wrote. I understand those that are hurting from globalization and a bad economy. I get that.

      I don’t get the idea that there’s no excuse for poverty, corporate backing of politicians, lack of respect for science in our political community. These are not new and they are not going to change.

      I’m not sure what else to say. The world will never be perfect. We need to focus on what we can do about it. Sometimes a good protest will help. Other times, it’s just a waste of money/time/energy.

      We’ll see if it helps. Not sure we can change human nature though…

  11. Honestly, I can’t even begin to relate to what you just wrote. I understand those that are hurting from globalization and a bad economy. I get that.

    I don’t get the idea that there’s no excuse for poverty, corporate backing of politicians, lack of respect for science in our political community. These are not new and they are not going to change.

    I’m not sure what else to say. The world will never be perfect. We need to focus on what we can do about it. Sometimes a good protest will help. Other times, it’s just a waste of money/time/energy.

    We’ll see if it helps. Not sure we can change human nature though…

  12. “Some skills aren’t as valuable any more” – Why?

    Would some of those skills still be valuable if our government served ALL of us & not just the 1%? How many “skills” are outsourced?

    You made some good points in your post… I too want to be in the 1%! What I don’t want is for you & I (when we get there) or any other wealthy individual / corporation to have ANY influence over our Government!

    1. Some skills aren’t as valuable anymore in a connected world because the supply of people able to do those skills has increased faster than demand for those skills.

      I’m okay with a government that is controlled by the people, for the people. That’s what we should have now. The people need to get more involved. They need to spend more time watching votes in Washington than they do watching sports scores or television shows.

      Hopefully these protests will help wake people up.

  13. We have economic problems because the economists have created money out of thin air and thrown it at the weak of will, in order to control them. The gold in our vaults doesn’t cover a fraction of the money in our society.

    I think this blog is Ivory Tower bullshit, Aaron. You’re no more Wall Street than I am.

    When the economy collapses; when you can’t make any money or find a job and when those numbers in your bank account are revealed for the truth – that they’re worth nothing – then you’ll be on the streets, too.

    Our society is unsustainable, Aaron. We have two options – to change to fairer systems and take care of each other or destroy ourselves.

    We’re being shoe-horned into a self-fulfilled 2012 prophecy of Armageddon. There will be 7 billion people on this planet by the end of this month. 50 years ago, there were 3 billion.

    You think that countries collapsing in Europe will just sit tight until things get better, when just across the border, people are living in comparative luxury?

    We’re likely at the gates of World War III and these protests are venting that pressure, not building it. If the governments and economists listen to the people and treat them fairly, then we can divert disaster.

    Governments and economists gain from war. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya were totally void of humanitarian consideration – the only reason our governments moved to invade/support was because of the economic benefits. Fact.

    It’s 72 years since the outbreak of World War II. Technology may have developed since then, but people are pretty much the same – it’s a blink of an eye in terms of our evolution. We can still be led into global conflict.

    Our choice… be led by the government and economists… or get out on the streets and lead the government and economists, as it always should have been.

    You want to hope these protesters win, Aaron. You want to be joining them.

    1. Les, no one forces someone to spend money. No one in the US was complaining when they could buy a house with no money down and finance the big screen televisions they wanted.

      Now some realize they made a mistake and look elsewhere for the blame. I don’t think that is helpful.

      Les, you have no idea what I’ve been through in the last couple years, so I respectfully ask you to reconsider your assumptions of me.

      We seem to have fundamental disagreements about the roles people play in their own lives and own success. I believe in a person’s responsibility to care for themselves and their family. I understand that it’s different elsewhere. That doesn’t make me wrong.

      It just means I have a different opinion. I hope you can respect mine.

      I came from a poor family. I didn’t use it as an excuse. I never will.

      1. “…no one forces someone to spend money. No one in the US was complaining when they could buy a house with no money down and finance the big screen televisions they wanted.”

        I used to believe this as well until I learned more about the history of marketing and our consumer culture. Sure, in an overly simplistic way, everyone has a choice. However, those choices are still greatly influenced by the environment in which those choices are made. The average person gets very little economic or even fundamental financial education. However on the other side there is a marketing industry that has spent billions figuring out how to make people want and buy things. There is also practical hard limits in place. I know a lot of people who try to avoid buying stuff not made in the USA, but ultimately realize that that is pretty much impossible. I think in more practical terms, yes we do have a choice, but usually it is a choice of this brand or that brand.

  14. GET: poverty is caused by low wages. don’t have time to be on twitter. very few poor people on twitter. not allowed to work, is murdering this person; and then you slander their character?
    wages are moral to afford extras=healthy bus.=healthy $markets=permanent surplus. real stim. compensates immoral wages.

    1. I believe in a market based approach to paying wages. People should get paid what they are worth. If they don’t like their pay, they should strive to become more valuable or more content.

      Those are the only two options in my mind. Having subsidies from successful people is not sustainable…

    2. how the economy works is not up to you. self evident fact is in.
      however, who keeps on lying, or doesn’t know how the economy works, and pretends you do, and uses judging the poor as an excuse does indeed prove that individualwho judges a poor person, has a moral character issue, just like all racists always have, even before the jim crow laws gone. because you know pretending wages that don’t support you causes poverty. the ignorance just overwhelms me. self hatred is for all who is for bad wages. crooked actually.

  15. poor people need this, is to NOT neglect anymore: a workforce that gets jobs for people who can’t get one on their own, instead of pushing paper. poor people don’t have that contact. u ALL have typically to get a job that is half way good. people have differing i.q.’s. slow people enjoy the good things in life as much as u; slower people have just as much rights to u, to afford vacations.

    1. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that people have a right to a vacation. I have spent years without one, and never felt the need to protest.

      I realize that not everyone has the same gifts. However, I believe everyone has something that they can do. Combine that with being content and fewer people would be unhappy right now.

      We are unhappy because we want what others have. Maybe we should look at Africa, Asia, or South America. Their middle class is poorer than our poor people.

      It’s all about perspective.

      1. you prove by your attitude, that you back stab people at work, to fire for the fun of it. just to get off on it. you are not better because you are allowed to work. not allowing people to work, is amoral. anyone who pretends it is not, betrayed someone, and pretends he did not. you prove you have self hatred, and try to be better on the idea that you are allowed to work. if you can’t learn any other way, then you need to not be allowed to work to save your souls. you shouldn’t be allowed to work. you shouldn’t.

  16. First off, I am a co-founder of a startup in Silicon Valley. I am very well to do. Here is my problem. These banks and corporations should not have been bailed out then using your logic. If you screwed up, your pay the price. Isn’t that capitalism? The problem is the banks and corporations get a free ride for screw ups. Main St. has to pay for these screw-ups and also has to pay for the effects these corporate screw-ups have on them.

    They get no help and that’s why they’re pissed.

    1. Hi Raj, I appreciate the thoughts. I understand why they’re pissed. I just don’t understand why they don’t focus on the future and spend their time preparing for it.

      I don’t like the bailouts to big companies, but do understand the logic behind it. If these companies failed, then more people would be out of work. I get that. I don’t like it though.

      However, very few companies were bailed out. Yet these protesters are protesting “Corporate Greed” and wanting their student loans and mortgages forgiven.

      More bailouts aren’t the answer.

      We’ll see what happens with the protests. Hopefully some good can come of it. I’d like to see a real agenda for what they want changed. Right now it just looks like a bunch of college kids having an orgy in the park.

  17. Both my grandfather and great grandfather worked on Wall Street. My grandfather paid cash for everything. Even his house. He made it through the Depression SOMEHOW!
    Thanks for saying what needed to be said. I know that times have changed, and I don’t have many answers. But I hold no blame either.

    1. Betsy, it is VERY irritating that they try to lump everyone in together. Wall Street is one of the most successful wealth creators in the history of the world and they are protesting it for some reason. It makes no sense.

      I don’t have all the answers, but I also try not to have all the excuses either.

      It doesn’t help.

      Thanks so much for the support and for adding another perspective to the mix.

  18. Aaron,

    I don’t agree with everything you write, but I truly value the respect you’re giving your dissenting commenters, and I’m relishing reading the long list of comments! Wow, if you wanted to start a conversation on your blog, you sure have!

    I’m gathering my thoughts for a post on the OWS protests, but it might be a while yet before I get it out. In the meantime, let me leave it to this observation: Occupy Wall Street is to the Left what the TEA Party is to the Right. Just as not every Republican, or even every conservative, is a TEA Partier, not every Democrat, nor every liberal, is a Wall Street Occupier. But, as some of your audience has already pointed out, thank God for the balance in the national debate – and let’s add, “finally!”

    The TEA Party has brought the political discourse in this country very far to the right of where it was 3 years ago; even the center has shifted considerably rightward as a result of their efforts. Whether they admit it or not, they have been highly effective.

    I’m going to enjoy watching the fray as the left finally begins to assert itself. I feel like the 60’s are back! This thing has just started, so who knows what kind of feet it will grow – there’s a chance OWS will be a flash in the pan. But there’s also a chance for a little balance, however kooky both extremes may seem.

    Thanks for creating the space for this conversation to blossom, my friend!

    1. Ted, that’s fair. I don’t expect everyone to agree, but I would like everyone’s opinion. Looks like you’ve offered a highly intelligent one.

      Thank you.

      Before this blog post, I hadn’t considered the Tea Party movement as a counter-movement to OWS. I guess it makes sense.

      I’m all for discussion and protesting with real objectives. Hopefully they’ll refine their message a bit and I look forward to real dialogue.

      Thanks for helping get it started. I appreciate you Ted.

  19. “We have economic problems because consumers bought homes they shouldn’t have, borrowers got mortgages they shouldn’t have, banks made loans they shouldn’t have, companies insured assets they shouldn’t have, and investors bought securities they shouldn’t have.”

    The problem is that all of these things were made possible by laws enacted by the federal government that took away corporate responsibility if these investments went bad. Then, when the bubble created by these policies popped, the same companies who acted irresponsibly were bailed out.

    It’s also a bit tough for most of those in the 99% to swallow this fact when the connections between such companies, elected officials, and those in power who were appointed by elected officials are so prevalent.

    If those against #OWS are going to build their arguments upon responsibility, the sword must cut both ways. I’ll tell you what, when the government bails out those individuals who acted irresponsibly the way it did those large companies, we’ll call it even.

    1. I’m not a big fan of the bailouts either. However, you talk about corporate responsibility if things go wrong.

      What about personal responsibility? That’s what I’m writing about.

      Doesn’t that matter?

  20. Dear Aaron,

    I do agree with you on some points, and I don’t in others. After all, that is what free thinking does. The sad part is that we are not educated to think freely, and we have a tendency to go with the masses (and in this case the “mass” that resonates more with people who are unhappy).

    I do see a need for “intelligent solutions” instead of mass “cardboard posters production”. Protesting in the middle of the streets could be a perfect excuse for the government to take even more freedom from us.

    We should use our creativity to collaborate out of the mess. We have internet and other means to organize a massive “brainstorming”. Even Google Docs could do it… What is happening right now was good for the French Revolution, but in the internet era I find it quite archaic.

    Change is needed, but we should look at a compass before starting drawing signs on the road.

    All the best, and hopefully people learn how to have an open and respectful discussion, following your example.

  21. I agree 100% – People want to live in a socialist society with the benefits of the capitalism…wrong this is utopia. In the absence of value money is an issue. My point if you are a game changer, bring new ideas, bring profits to your company (employer), you will rarely lose your job.
    However when you are in debt up to your eyes, with the thought I owe you but I donot have money, then everybody loses because for a responsible person like me where my only debt is my mortage my thinking was I want to be free therefore no-debt; there are 95%+ that did not think a bit to sign the documents on the mortgage they could not afford, they change their cars for the new-year models every year via credit, they charge to their Credit cards the newest and greatest eletronic gadgets, got their home which they owe 100% full with brand new furniture again via a minimal monthly payment, and then eat out every other day paying with a maxed out credit card, and by the way their kinds deserve ALL in life, so they have all the newest toys, Ipad, game players, all with minimal payments, etc and etc. according with them; they “played the smart game of easy money while they could”.

    This is America, this is a culture of entitlement while the Chinese are working hard, saving 50% of the income here people owe 150%+ of their income so the only thing left is to blame everybody but themselves.

    By the way I live here US and a happy tax payer.

  22. What is missing here is that CRIMINAL activity went unprosecuted. No one on earth has a “get out of jail free” card. No one has “the laws do not apply to me” card. Much of the outrage is over the lack of criminal prosecutions. To steal from the people is against the law. To lump these corporate thefts in the same category as “profits & growth” is to say that you are fine with all pirates & looters. If it ok for Wall Street criminals to steal, then you ought to be fine with common looters and those pirates who hijack ships, afterall, they are only “making profits and growing richer”.

  23. A friend and I were discussing this very issue. We are senior citizens that remember when we worked to live. Any job was taken and usually it was not something we “wanted” but when we got hungry we were glad to have a job.

    Our thinking was that we worked to live and now people think they have to love their work. It is just really sad and bad.

    b

    http://www.retireinstyleblog.com

    1. Yes, I am 99% certain that some part of this is whining. I wish it was focused on our lack of government collaboration between parties. I would protest that.

      But it’s not. The signs I see are about forgiving loans and having greed companies pay us back.

      No protester is holding up a mirror to themselves.

      They want to blame others.

  24. I might add that the Occupy movement should be about the unwillingness of our government leaders to cooperate with each other. I am very angry about that. I am a democrat but I know that everyone is to blame.

  25. I understand companies were made for profit. I agree in a way. I would not be protesting in the streets today as I am not touch by the economic crisis YET. It does scare me. I do believe in profit but not at any cost. I believe if my grandfather who lived the great depression would be alive today he would be outraged by how stupidly we consume & how money has become so much more important than human values. Seeing people protesting in the streets made me realize that maybe the situation is more alarming than I thought. Maybe it has awaken something in me. maybe we should think more as a community and not just as me, me,money society! Thank you to people who have the courage to speak up, to somewhat wake us up!

    1. I agree that profit should not come at any cost.

      You also make some good points about our society in general. We don’t need half the things we buy, so it’s hard to see people complain because they can’t get the new iPad2.

      Maybe I’ll start a protest against materialism. Might be about as effective as the Anti-Greed campaign…

      Thanks Eliza!

  26. Hello Aaron,

    I’m quite surprised as how I came upon your blog as I was actually googling for an op-ed article I read a while back that was a letter of support to the protesters but your blog ended up being one of the top links and so here I am.

    I’m a child of the 80s, and a graduate of the class of 2008. Top grades, did a few internships here and there while in school at the same time working as a waitress so I’ll have less student loan debt to deal with after I receive that very expensive piece of paper. I floated around for almost two years unable to find a real full-time job. I worked as a waitress, a barista, and as a nanny to pay my rent, bills, and eventually those student loans that cost more than my rent. I had a husband who made $12/hour as a bank teller, and with my combined income of odd jobs we managed to survive. It took me 2 years to find a good job and that college tuition has finally paid off. But I still remember those years of real hopelessness, where it just seemed like there was absolutely no chance of getting a “real job” and that I would never be able to make more than $10/hour.

    I know that when I read your letter that was very much along the lines of “blame the victim” I couldn’t just read it and leave it at that. Now, I don’t know who you are Aaron. I don’t know what your background is, or where your ideologies lie. I don’t even know what 8pm warrior is all about. But I also know the people who are protesting. A handful of them are my friends and the rest that are strangers, chances are most of them are probably just like me. People who went to school, did their homework, worked when they could and are feverishly looking for a full-time job. Or they are just people who believe that when the top 10% of the population went from controlling only 35% of the wealth in the 70s to controlling over 80% of the wealth today something went wrong.

    First, I’m going to argue that it was NOT MY FAULT I couldn’t find a decent job after I graduated from college. I couldn’t find a good job because there were very few left, and there were too many well-educated, well-experienced graduates just like me to compete with. Now, I could go on and on about how deregulation of trade, lack of government investments in domestic infrastructure, outsourcing, and bad decisions made by government leaders and business leaders alike contributed to an incredibly small job market for those that are eager to work, but I think at this point this is common information.

    Second, it is just right for the protesters to blame wall street and big companies for the situations they have found themselves in for the following reasons: these companies received trillions in bailout (which I agree was necessary in order to avoid a complete collapse) but has not done anything since for more creations of jobs or to be simple even give raises or bonuses to their front-line workers, companies such as bank of america, exxon mobil, wells fargo, chevron have paid nothing in income tax yet they have profited millions, giant corporations thanks to the free market outsource their manufacturing jobs to other countries.. to name a few, and yet these very same people are the ones that bitch about welfare, and socialized healthcare when that is what the bailout essentially is, welfare for the corporations.

    Third, protests do help. I am a citizen of the United States but I have lived in other countries that exercise the very democracy that Americans brought during their time of neocolonialism. They protest and fight for change, and time and time again change does happen. Americans should be quite proud that these protesters are doing exactly what the creation of this nation was all about. Let us not forget that the American Revolution was the most important protest in our history.

    So, don’t criticize the protesters Aaron. Thank them. They are the faces of America. They are people with jobs, with homes, with proper education, they are also the jobless and the homeless. Some of them might even be like you, someone who hopes to join the 1% someday and invest in big companies in hopes that their savings will increase.

    See, that’s the beauty about this movement Aaron. These people gathered together without real direction. Do you know that the first ad that came out for the first day of occupation specifically said that the reason for gathering is to come together and decide on what that demand is going to be? So, give them some time. Revolutions don’t happen overnight. It’s only been one month, and they are all different groups of people, with so many issues and concerns to deal with. But praise them that they had the audacity to show the entire world that America is not the hypocrite (America has the lowest voter turn out in the world, and until now for decades Americans haven’t protested anything in such great numbers) that simply parades around, starting wars in the name of democracy without actually exercising it but that America is actually of the people, by the people, for the people.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I was a bit burned out on the topic, but after a bit, I’m ready to discuss again.

      You imply that I’m blaming “the victim”, but I’m not really blaming anyone. In fact, I’m generally against blaming others for problems. I believe that a person should focus on what they can control.

      That’s why I can’t agree with most of your post.

      I agree that protests can be helpful, but I prefer to protest specific issues, not feelings.

      This feels like whining to me.

  27. Dear Aaron,
    The protest is not about making a profit.
    Profit is good. It makes a company healthy and is indeed a the goal of every business, big and small.
    However, when companies who make billions in profit, lay off thousands of workers because the profit is not big enough for the shareholders, thats what makes us mad.
    I agree with you that protesting will not solve the problems, but hopefully it will wake up some politicians to fix things amd not let the lobbies of the rich/powerfull decide and dictate regulations.
    And sticking you head in the sand and just do nothing is also not a sollution. However i do understand the protesters, they are angry, but most of all despirate. You have to look at it from their point of view, some can’t find a job, some work 3 jobs just to keep their heads above water. There is a lot of poverty in the world. Some is the fault of the financial sector, some is their own fault, sometimes no one is to blame. The tricky part is, there is no simple sollution to the problem but its always easy to point and blame. To the protesters, the financial sector is the “haves” and they are the “have nots”. And what goes on on wall street seems all shady and such because of some scandles (like Madoff). People remember the bad longer than the good.
    I do agree that personall effort is the key to getting your own life back on track and moving up. However, i can relate to some that have tried over and over and are down for the count.
    Just wanted to share my thoughts.
    (ps i am unemployed but am working hard on changing that trough selfstudy, searching for jobs and working some temp jobs here and there.)

    – A Dutch soon to be 8am warrior –
    Tom

    1. Tom, I’ve been in financial trouble and I like your approach of working hard to change it. I respect you.

      As for the rest of the stuff. Here are some thoughts:

      I believe things need to change. I believe in protesting.

      I also believe that companies can lay people off if they aren’t needed. It’s not the company’s job to employ people, it’s their job to make profit.

      It’s the only reason people start or invest in companies.

      As for people that “can’t” find, create, or train for a job…

      I don’t believe in that word “can’t”. North Dakota has plenty of jobs, so does Australia and Germany. They are begging for workers.

      I think some folks would rather protest than work.

      I’m happy to have met you and your “can do” attitude. I really respect that.

      Welcome to the group of 8pm Warriors.

  28. I loved the simplicity of this post. Right on! After living in China for 10 years and then seeing what this protest is about (or not about), it’s truly mind boggling how the citizens of the USA are not more appreciative of where they are from and what they have. Appreciativeness breeds motivation.

    1. I agree. We live in the richest country of the world and our “poor” people are richer than most of the people in the world.

      Ungrateful.

      Maybe they should join the Peace Corps and help out in a 3rd world country. Might discover it’s not so bad living in Mom’s house while you retrain or look for another job.

  29. I loved the simplicity of this post. Right on! After living in China for 10 years and then seeing what this protest is about (or not about), it’s truly mind boggling how the citizens of the USA are not more appreciative of where they are from and what they have. Appreciativeness breeds motivation.

  30. i once had 4 jobs to pay off a gov’t debt..i didn’t go crying to the gov’t (= the public monies) to bail me out. The profit motive is the problem..maximize profit over labor cost is the maxim. There is a reason there is a minimum wage law. Corporations consider workers an annoying nuisance hindering limitless profiteering & power( “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac” said war criminal Kissinger). If they could get away with slavery they would. And no , the Occupy Wall Street is to the Left what the TEA Party is to the Right.The Tea Party was conceived by the billionaire Koch brothers.We have had enough of Goldman-Sachs paying less than 1% in taxes last year after We The People bailed out these fkn’ vampires…It is unbridled greed that infects your ilk.

    1. I applaud you for not crying to the government about your debt or four jobs. That’s a good thing.

      As for the rest of it, I’m not really sure I get it. I hire workers and appreciate them. They aren’t a nuisance, they are the company.

      Not all companies/leaders are bad. Hopefully you’ll meet some new ones some day.

  31. The occupiers are hurting the very people they believe they are occupying for – the small businesses, the green market that used to be housed in zuccatti park, the poor food cart merchants who struggle to make $100/day, the entire population of the city of new york who will have to foot the bill for the nypd’s overtime. it is time for them to leave woodstock – i mean zuccatti park

  32. Great post and conversation. A few somewhat unconnected reactions … If people truly want jobs and the promise of a bright economic future for themselves and their families, they should focus their anger on Washington, not Wall Street. It is our government that is sucking the life out of the economy, through overregulation and deficit spending.

    That said, greed is a problem in our capitalistic society – but can anybody seriously single out corporations as the sole offenders? Banks offered mortgage loans like candy, and under qualified recipients ate them up. Our government encouraged it.

    If we want a recovery we must create wealth. Businesses create wealth by expanding and hiring. In this climate, with our own president provoking a class war, can you blame a company for playing it safe, holding on to profits for dear life (if they’re lucky enough to make any) rather than investing in the future?

    Seems to me that banks in particular are between a rock and a hard place. There is so much oversight in that industry, that bankers are afraid to make a mistake. We’ve gone from one extreme to another: reckless loans and wild expansion to no loans and painful contraction. The former wasn’t sustainable and neither is the latter.

    When people are angry they usually cease to be rational. If we’re going to get out of this mess we need less emotion and more thoughtfulness — particularly in Washington.

    1. Yes, yes, yes!

      Great thoughts! I enjoyed reading your analysis of the paralyzed banking sector. More rules and taxes won’t get them to lend more…

      Sad but true.

      Brad, thanks for the comment.

      1. The government didn’t just arbitrarily slap new regulations on banks for fun. The banks and investment firms pushed the limits and in some cases blatantly *broke the law* in order to make more money. They practically asked to be regulated. It seems awfully convenient that suddenly people are pointing the finger at Washington, expecting us to think the banks are going to start acting responsibly while the effects of their last binge are still being felt on Main Street.

        However, I know there are no easy solutions. Attacking the banks will only hurt the customers and the economy. I think those in charge know this and so are encouraged to take greater risks. It seems naive to expect someone to be responsible when they are shielded from accountability and allowed to gamble with other people’s money. If we can’t feasibly hold an institution accountable, why not the individuals? If a company engages in illegal activity, why doesn’t those paid millions to lead that company go to jail? Or at least get tossed out without a golden parachute?

        People want accountability. There is a double standard in this country. We expect individuals to be accountable. However corporations are cheered for leading a race to the bottom. It’s not about creating value any more. But rather gaining leverage by which to extract it.

  33. Normally at this stage, I would have a witty retort or my own scathing commentary about OWS and what a messed up situation they have caused. (As a matter of full disclosure I happen to be a white, male, married, monogamous, “Tea Party” conservative, Christian, business owner)

    Allow me to put that aside for a moment, step off my soapbox and lets look at this from 30,000 feet so to speak.

    And lets ignore the premise that as some of the ultra-conservative talking heads say this is staged by “anarchists” or that people are being paid to protest…(maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, until I see hard facts I will give them the benefit of the doubt).

    As best I can tell they (the Occupiers) are upset about several things and it varies depending on who you ask.

    Some people apparently are upset that others make more money than they do.

    Some people apparently are upset that the banks were given bailouts but they still have to pay their student loan debt.

    Some people apparently are upset that they can’t find a job.

    Some people apparently are upset that _________ (insert bizarre rationale here).

    Taking all of that into account. Yes they are upset. We get that. But what is their goal? What do they want to happen?

    They are upset about the income gap. Okay. So? Do they expect the Donald Trumps and Michael Dells of the world to close out their bank accounts and start passing out the money they worked HARD to acquire?

    They are upset that they have to payback student loans? Sorry. That’s what a loan is. You agree by signing the paperwork that you will pay it back in full and on time or you will pay fees, etc. Unlike a car they can’t repo your college degree (assuming you stuck with it and graduated).

    They are upset that their are no jobs. I understand that. Prior to starting my own business I was a long time loyal employee of a good company where I thought I had some security. Wrong. There is no security in a job. But I understood that “if it was to be, it was up to me.” So rather than wallow is self pity and demand a job from someone else, I took a risk and went out on my own. In 2 years, my business is now almost as big as the company I used to work for and is their biggest competitor. (I’ll show them.)

    They are upset that the government isn’t “doing something” to fix this. I hate to be the one to tell them this, but the government is a bigger part of the problem than anyone (in my humble, but accurate, opinion).

    If they really want to change the problem, they need to travel about 230 miles south to Washington and protest the stupidity that has infected our elected officials. Washington has continued to pass laws that make it more and more difficult for small and medium sized business to be successful. The tax code is SO fouled up that you need a PHd just to file your quarterly returns. Social “inSecurity” as well as the healthcare system is probably beyond repair at this point.

    Sorry for the lengthy post. I guess I ended up on my soapbox anyway.

    1. Feel free to set up the soap box any time. I appreciate all opinions and was wondering if there were only a few folks who thought the protesting was odd.

      Thanks for sharing. Good thoughts.

  34. Having just watched “Inside Job” for the first time tonight I find this post extremely hard to swallow. I suggest anyone who hasn’t seen it do so ASAP. It’s an astonishingly clear story of financial crime that has yet to be prosecuted.

  35. I really don’t know what to say. I think I get what you’re saying. However your tone in the post is drastically different to that exhibited in your replies to comments. I’m hoping this is simply due to an attempt to be concise in the post. I’ll try to expound on what I mean a bit.

    In the post you take aim at the protesters in general. However, after reading your comments, I would have to assume that it does not apply to all of them. I have seen signs that target many of the specific issues you mention that you support. Issues such as corruption, bailouts, accountability for illegal activity, etc… So, I guess it sort of bugged me that it lacked any sort of qualifier or even acknowledged any gradient of legitimacy.

    This led me to feel as though the problem wasn’t necessarily the particular issues, but rather the act of protesting itself. I guess I just don’t get the whole not getting protests thing. A lot of people seem to have issues with protesting in general. Whether this stems from protests seeming pointless or aversion to rocking the boat, I don’t know. I wouldn’t protest myself simply because it doesn’t fit me. However I do get that protests are not supposed to be the solution, but rather a call to action in hopes of then finding a solution. In your comments you talk about people working and voting towards a solution. It has to start somewhere. This very post and comment thread would not exist if it wasn’t for the protests. While the college kids are having an orgy in the park, how do you know that others just like us aren’t having this very same conversation in forums, blogs, social media, and real life coffee shops all across the country?

    So, this sentiment combined with that expressed in the first four sentences combined with comments such as this:

    “I realize my goals seems absurd, but I want to live my life chasing something big. I’m not willing to live in a defeated mindset where people give up on the chance to be like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs. They became part of the 1% by innovating, not by protesting.”

    Led me to feel that you was ultimately railing against those seemingly less-motivated or ambitious. A couple times in the comments you brought up the idea of contentment. However, if I was judging from this post and the above comment, I would think you might look down upon those content with being middle-class. The whole concept of striving for the 1% is based on the idea that it is a zero-sum game. For there to even be a top-1% there has to be 99% below it. Not to mention it is completely arbitrary as it has no relation to either the amount of wealth or the potential satisfaction such a percentage might represent. Why strive for that? You speak as if the motivations of some protesters is jealously, yet talk as if you are continually chasing a bar set by others.

    Concerning it being someone’s fault for being unemployed a long time. How is that even possible when there are many more times job applicants than jobs available? (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/06/jolts-7-applicants-per-job-opening/)

    You said they should be out there looking for a job, but we know there simply isn’t enough to go around. They could be training for a job that is in demand, but again, this wouldn’t be a viable large-scale solution because there simply isn’t enough to go around. It would work for some. But if everybody suddenly trained to be nurses, we would just have a bunch of unemployed nurses. They could be out creating a job, but people aren’t buying much. Among the courses of action you propose there, given the current state of the economy, I would suggest the the subsection of real workable solutions would barely make a dent in their numbers.

    Anyways, I’ve rambled on long enough. Thanks for the discussion.

    1. Adam, I set big goals because I want to help people. I don’t want to be in the top 1% so I have a lot of money, I want to get there because I want to help a lot of people.

      Read this first before assuming:
      http://8pmwarrior.com/2011/07/5-reasons-to-go-big-or-go-home-when-setting-life-goals

      I’d like to die poor and leave my kids just a little more than a desire to change the world themselves.

      I’d like everyone that is hurting to keep trying. I’ve been there. I’m not judging, just encouraging folks to find a way.

      “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right” – Henry Ford

      I think the protesters can find a job, train for a job, or create a job.

      That’s my main point.

  36. I really don’t know what to say. I think I get what you’re saying. However your tone in the post is drastically different to that exhibited in your replies to comments. I’m hoping this is simply due to an attempt to be concise in the post. I’ll try to expound on what I mean a bit.

    In the post you take aim at the protesters in general. However, after reading your comments, I would have to assume that it does not apply to all of them. I have seen signs that target many of the specific issues you mention that you support. Issues such as corruption, bailouts, accountability for illegal activity, etc… So, I guess it sort of bugged me that it lacked any sort of qualifier or even acknowledged any gradient of legitimacy.

    This led me to feel as though the problem wasn’t necessarily the particular issues, but rather the act of protesting itself. I guess I just don’t get the whole not getting protests thing. A lot of people seem to have issues with protesting in general. Whether this stems from protests seeming pointless or aversion to rocking the boat, I don’t know. I wouldn’t protest myself simply because it doesn’t fit me. However I do get that protests are not supposed to be the solution, but rather a call to action in hopes of then finding a solution. In your comments you talk about people working and voting towards a solution. It has to start somewhere. This very post and comment thread would not exist if it wasn’t for the protests. While the college kids are having an orgy in the park, how do you know that others just like us aren’t having this very same conversation in forums, blogs, social media, and real life coffee shops all across the country?

    So, this sentiment combined with that expressed in the first four sentences combined with comments such as this:

    “I realize my goals seems absurd, but I want to live my life chasing something big. I’m not willing to live in a defeated mindset where people give up on the chance to be like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs. They became part of the 1% by innovating, not by protesting.”

    Led me to feel that you was ultimately railing against those seemingly less-motivated or ambitious. A couple times in the comments you brought up the idea of contentment. However, if I was judging from this post and the above comment, I would think you might look down upon those content with being middle-class. The whole concept of striving for the 1% is based on the idea that it is a zero-sum game. For there to even be a top-1% there has to be 99% below it. Not to mention it is completely arbitrary as it has no relation to either the amount of wealth or the potential satisfaction such a percentage might represent. Why strive for that? You speak as if the motivations of some protesters is jealously, yet talk as if you are continually chasing a bar set by others.

    Concerning it being someone’s fault for being unemployed a long time. How is that even possible when there are many more times job applicants than jobs available? (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/06/jolts-7-applicants-per-job-opening/)

    You said they should be out there looking for a job, but we know there simply isn’t enough to go around. They could be training for a job that is in demand, but again, this wouldn’t be a viable large-scale solution because there simply isn’t enough to go around. It would work for some. But if everybody suddenly trained to be nurses, we would just have a bunch of unemployed nurses. They could be out creating a job, but people aren’t buying much. Among the courses of action you propose there, given the current state of the economy, I would suggest the the subsection of real workable solutions would barely make a dent in their numbers.

    Anyways, I’ve rambled on long enough. Thanks for the discussion.

  37. So your complaint about the protests is “If you can’t get a job it’s your own fault. You should be able to find a job.” Now I don’t know you but I want to illustrate a point. Allow me to assume for a moment that you’re single and you’re feeling lonely (not saying you’re either), What if I said to you: “Jeez! What kind of anti-social dick do you have to be to not get a stunningly beautiful woman to fall in love with you? Stop having such a micro-penis, it’s not THAT difficult to meet someone of the opposite sex!” OR let’s say you’re overweight and I say to you, “How could you not lose weight? Why can’t you start exercising and eating sensibly like healthy people would?” Now I imagine YOU would probably start making excuses yourself. “Women are bitches”, “It’s my metabolism” etc.

    Let’s say you are fat, and I’m lambasting you for being “lazy” enough to become such a chubby bastard. I’m making an unreasonable assumption, that everyone has the same metabolism, the same appetite, the same upbringing & education, the same free time in which to exercise etc. etc. I’m just being cruel by expecting you to live up to pre-judged standards that I groundlessly assume strangers are capable of meeting. Similarly you’re buying into the “Self-Made Man” cliche that anyone can make it if they just work hard enough and that factors like geography, education, industries moving business abroad etc. shouldn’t hold people back when they so clearly do. I’d recommend reading this Cracked article, I pretty much stole what I said from it: http://www.cracked.com/article_19468_5-logical-fallacies-that-make-you-wrong-more-than-you-think_p2.html

    But I think that’s missing the point of the Occupy Movement anyway. You’re making another narrow assumption that the only reason people are protesting is that they lost their jobs. I think high unemployment is what triggered a lot of people’s motivations to protest. What’s wrong with that? I believe it was Batman who said, “People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy.” But it’s not THE Reason ‘For’ the Protests. The protests are raising awareness of the fact that capitalism is not sustainable as an economic system, at least not in its current form where so few people can accumulate such a colossal proportion of the world’s wealth & power and that financial & private interests have far too much influence over democratic governments that are supposed to prioritise the well-being of people. The protests are advocating much-needed systemic reform, even if they have yet to co-ordinate what those reforms should be but general assemblies are working on it, for the specific circumstances in each country.

    In conclusion, I think you have a narrow view of what the protests are and could be and it’s unfair of you to assume they’re only protesting because they’re butthurt about being unemployed.

    1. To be fair, I didn’t say that people should be able to get a job.

      I said that people should be looking for, training for, or creating a job.

      I also believe that people are fat because of their eating choices and lonely people have no friends because they are selfish, too busy, or don’t want any.

      People can learn to eat less, make friends, or find work that pays money.

      Whining about it won’t help. Protesting won’t either.

      1. Wow. OK, I thought you were actually looking to debate people. That requires taking onboard what they say. Not necessarily agreeing with them but at least engaging with their ideas. You’re continuing to miss the point. I now know you’re not interested in a discussion, I’ll turn off updates for this thread now. Thanks

  38. gang, sorry but facts are facts. wages affords extras = healthy business = healthy $markets=permanent surplus. spray hose up. if you think poverty is moral, you are not being honest with yourselves. as for getting out of the great depression, you have a job and you don’t care about other people is the impression when you make fun of, lie about the poor, or pretend wallstreet protestors are there for anything other then demanding fairness. true banks didn’t cause it, the congress did by not protecting our economy by enhancing wages. we didn’t get out of the great depression due the the war; but because roosevelt made certain the unions could create good wages. only reason. otherwise we would have gone right back into the depression after the war; we would have been mexico all along.
    my real point. don’t you care about other people? then don’t lie. a real stimulus is to the lower clases to compensate bad wages; and then once the economy is good, you will pay the right moral wages.
    you don’t pretend someones time isn’t worth a surviving living wage. bad wages caused our bad economy. low wages endangers our economy, is why we can’t pay our debts. only. yes, a king can have a gold pit the size of asia, and pay only low wages; he will have the most poverty stricken country of all then. but will be rich to pay what he wants.

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