I suppose the time has come for this blog to address the ubiquitous news story of the past month: Occupy Wall Street. Although, I will grant myself some slack and say that I have relented from discussing this issue for fear of making hasty judgments before the curtain has come down, so to speak. I have broken my fast simply because this play seems like it's going to last longer than I initially anticipated.
The first notion that needs to be dispelled with is the idea that this protest, like so many other protests, has clearly defined political sides. We would like to be able to examine our own political leanings, and then, given that information, figure out which side of the street we're on. I am liberal, and I hope that usually shines through on this Internet monologue that I address to you, Reader. Having said that, I am not prepared to unconditionally carry the flag of Occupy Wall Street.
I like my protesters to have a firm grasp of the issues at hand, and while I do not doubt that some in this movement do, the de facto slogan of "Fight the Evil Banks," always gathers forth a veritable storm of idiots. From what I have read and heard, there is a slew of people out there who are looking to get Barak Obama reelected and have decided that this campaign will assist his own. Let's just start by saying that Goldman Sachs is one of the president's largest contributors. So, we put that notion to rest. This is not the Dems vs. the Reps. However, it is a political issue.
The banks, I would imagine, do not give a rat's ass about the crowd outside the window. And if you're one of the fighters who can form cogent thoughts about finance and economics, then you probably there because you don't feel like justice has been delivered to the culprits of past and present economics woes. I'll agree with that point. Someone(s) should be in jail, although I doubt anyone will. I'm no corporate lawyer, but I'm unsure that any laws were actually broken. And I don't know how flexible the charge for fraud is. But if you can't jail them, you might as well carry signs around their offices.
Except that's not right. Keep your signs and head a bit further south. Head to Washington D.C. The people who get money from Obama and Co. are not hanging around Grand Central Terminal or Park Avenue. They work in lobbying firms that don't have famous names. Now, that money does get to the banks, somehow. But it's the political system that gets the rabbit into the hat. Your local senator is not going to put forth a bill to let Bank X fail, if the lobbying group that supports Bank X just paid for his vacation to Bermuda.
Get to Washington and say, "This is a bullshit cycle." Alright, I like my money to be safe, and I'm not prepared to see some enormous financial institution go down in flames, so yeah, bail-out our Too Big To Fail firms. Instead of focusing on the "Big" part of that phrase, which people tend to do, let's focus on "Fail." It's not so easy to say, "Just don't fail." Ask your local senator to put some bills forward that will tighten the leash on the dog. He may not be free to run around as much, but at least he doesn't have enough slack to stumble into the street and get run over. The fact that your senator enjoys his tropical vacation is going to complicate the issue, but I never said it'd be easy. Now, if you're down for that plan, give me a call, I've got some good signs to make...