Un-Occupied: One Man’s Reaction To The Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations

The Occupy Wall Street “camp-in” is now in its fourth week.  Similar demonstrations have sprung up in other large cities all across the country, including San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and even  Saint Louis.

For those who have not been following these developments, the Occupy Wall Street Primer on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog provides an excellent distillation of the whys and wherefores of this upwelling of the Vox Populi.  Much has been made of the seeming disorganization and lack of focus of these so-called “Occupations”.  However, a recent survey reveals that the Occupiers are surprisingly unified on several points.  Among these are the beliefs  that the rich should pay higher taxes, that student loan debt should be forgiven, health care should be free, Insurance companies make too much money, drug prices should be controlled, and that communications like cell phone and internet access should be a right.

From the first, the Occupy gatherings have been characterized as a demonstration of frustration over excessive corporate greed, the poor jobs picture, and health care costs.  Do they have a point?  Sure.  Do they have a solution? No.  Rather, they have a multitude of solutions.  None of them have been adopted as official by the NYC General Assembly (the name given to the “direct democracy” consensus style decision making apparatus).  It was one of these proposals of demands that first prompted me to really pay attention to the Occupy movement.  I will analyze this proposal in a future post.

I may technically fall in the pool of the 99%, but I find it difficult to identify with the images I see posted on the We are the 99 percent tumblr.  I do, however, find more in common with the counter tumblr, We Are the 53%.  Thankfully, my wife and I have good paying jobs.  We are healthy.  We live within our means and manage to pay our bills on time, usually.

I have one last observation to share.  Thus far the weather has been relatively pleasant.  It’s easy to stage a camp-in in the early Autumn.  We’ll see how dedicated they are come Winter, if they last that long.

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Keeper Of Obscure Knowledge, Designated Official Noetic Theorist, Professional Artificer of Noospheric Intermediary Constructs

Posted in Un-Occupied
4 comments on “Un-Occupied: One Man’s Reaction To The Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations
  1. Rhianon Jameson says:

    Seeing video of these events reminds me of my younger days, on a college campus, where – when the weather was nice, mind you – small tent cities would periodically arise and enthusiastic young people would “protest” whatever was trendy at the moment. They would be against apartheid in South Africa, or against racial injustice in the South, or some such cause. I use quotes on “protest” because, by and large, these enthusiastic young people seemed to be more engaged in listening to music, playing frisbee, sleeping, or other activities.

    As one commentator observed, the common theme among these folk is that greed is bad. Yet greed is not a feature of capitalism, per se; greed is part of the human condition. Complaining about greedy banks and bankers, millionaires, and other assorted straw men is all well and good, but to think that an even larger government devoted even more to income redistribution would somehow make the nation less greedy would be a serious misread of human nature.

    • tomwrussell says:

      Thank you for joininig the discussion, Ms. Jameson.

      I too remember students erecting “shanty towns” outside the University Admininstration building as an Anti-Apartheid demonstration urging divestiture from companies doing buisiness with or in South Africa. This does have a similar feel to it.

      Your observation vis-à-vis the Occupiers and greed brings to mind the reaction of a local talk radio host who refered to the Occupy phenomenon as the “Protest for Dependence”.

  2. The idea that there is one thing called “government”–and that you can measure it by looking at total spending–makes no sense.
    I have no doubt that everyone at that demonstration can name something that the government should spend less on, and something it should spend more on.
    redistribution of wealth could be as simple as raising the tax on “the 1 percent'” by one percent, and using that money to fund raising the minimum for income tax,(to posit an unlikely example) or by increasing the tax breaks for those in education. things like the Coverdell plan, the Coverdell seems to be one of those goverment programs no one minds funding, so it seems a more likely candidate no extra bureaucracy, just a matter of change the numbers next to the tick boxes.#

    Thankfully bureaucracy seems to be a much better measure of “government” in the US, Sadly there are places where it can be measured best by the number of secret policemen,

    Reducing is bureaucracy about reducing the number of boxes to be ticked, Here to is a chance for money to be redistributed, one could remove tax exemptions that benefit the rich excessively,

    Redistribution of wealth may well be something that you object to on principle, but it does not of necessity increase size of government,

    For what it is worth the American government seem to me not particularily large, It is the job of a democracy to stop governments impinging on individuals rights, In democracies there seems to be little or no correlation between government size and economic success,

    • tomwrussell says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation, Mr. Beresford. You make some interesting points. True, redistribution does not necessarily equate to larger bureaucracy, at least not if the redistribution is to existing programs. It is when new programs are instituted that bureaucracies swell. Also, you are correct, compared to other nations, the US Federal government is not so large. Some of these countries with comparatively larger governments even do fairly well ecoomically. However, compared to its historic size, except during WWII, the US Federal goverment is the largest it has ever been. This is perceived as a problem because we are used to our smaller, less intrusive system.

      I agree with you that eliminating preferential tax policies, which I have no doubt were bought and paid for at some point, is certainly a step in the right direction. What I find most offensive with the way the current tax code is configured is that it lends istelf to just these sorts of abuses, as well as enabling Congress to engage in social engineering via tax policy.

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