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Forum Post: Occupy The Debt Ceiling – Occupy DC

Posted 2 years ago on Dec. 10, 2012, noon EST by kilgoretrout (-1) from Toronto, ON
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

As an “outside observer”, I’ve been granted the privilege of watching the Occupy movement from the comfort of my living room. This perspective has led me to a few particular questions that I thought deserved to be voiced.

Last Year

There I was, in my armchair, as disenchanted and disenfranchised people around the world began to voice their concerns with current institutions (economic, political, social, etc.) I was there when criticisms were levied and when the movement seemed to fizzle out; commentators lamented that the movement lacked clear and concise goals, lacked structure and leadership, lacked credibility…

In my armchair, I too had thoughts… ‘maybe they just need a smaller issue; maybe if they had something to crystalize the disparate whispers into one common voice; if there was a single point people could rally around, with defined problems, outcomes and a deadline for change, maybe more could be accomplished.’ Thinking of other movements that spurred social change, my mind fixated on specific instances that acted as a catalyst for people to rally behind. However, I discounted my analysis and lulled myself into thinking that the socio-economic issues will work themselves out… eventually.

One Year Later:

Watching the news these days, I’m overwhelmed and inundated with stories covering the impending Financial Cliff-pocalypse-mageddon-acaust (Thank You Mr. Stewart). This, of course, is nothing new, and reminded me of one year prior. And then it hit me:

I began to believe that current socio-economic problems are unlikely to correct themselves without a force equal to or greater than the forces resisting said change. (Assumptions: Institutions, by their nature, are resistant to change. People profiting through the status quo have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Without widespread support, politicians lack a source of motivation on which to act on...)

I was stuck on the idea that problems are best tackled when they are clearly defined and divvied-up into manageable parts. My mind began to race about… ‘using a specific issue, the movement can clearly define their goals’; ‘defined goals and outcomes facilitates guided discussions’; ‘solutions can be crafted and circulated for further comment’; ‘if a viable alternative is present, people and institution can begin to make changes’…

I finally settled on the following:

Occupy should use the Debt Ceiling debate, with its surrounding themes of tax reform, entitlement programs and the like, as another jumping-off point to revive discourse on… well, whatever it is that the Occupy movement would like to discuss.

So, my question is…

Is there any rally planned for Washington DC to support raising tax on the country’s top earners? Is Occupy using the Debt Ceiling debate as a platform to fight for equality, specifically with regards to the budget, entitlement programs and tax rates/brackets?

Where did Occupy go?

Sincerely, Kilgore Trout An Interested Canadian



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[-] 1 points by Coyote88 (-24) 2 years ago

What has raising taxes have to do with the debt? Raise them through the roof and it won't make a dent in it.

[-] 1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 2 years ago

I made mention of Occupy protesting on Washington DC last year but it fell on deaf ears. They all felt that protesting on Wall Street would get the job done - whatever that was - too fragmented to focus on one issue - getting that done, and then moving on to another issue.

I am sure you have noticed that there are many discussions on this site, about many different things and many different ways to solve them - but no real focus.

But you are right, the focus needs to be on Washington DC and the Debt Ceiling - Take care of that and a lot of the woes of this country would be solved - less government is always good for an economy.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

"Debt ceiling"? Why is that the issue? I thought not enough good paying jobs were the problem.

And what are you talking about no peotests in DC. Rhere were lots of Occupiers in DC. You don't sound like you know what you're talkin about.

[-] 1 points by squishy (1) 2 years ago


Good point. What is going on in DC these days? Can we organize something?!?

-The squish

[-] 0 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

You lost me at the part where you sat there in your armchair for a year while other people were out fighting for your rights.

[-] 1 points by Sir4dude (1) from Spring Hill, QLD 2 years ago

Its says he's canadian mate, so I doubt you were fighting for his rights. seems well educated to, so I think he prob falls into the 1% that you were fighting against.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Actually corporations are global now with their tentacles so Occupiers were fighting around the world for people around the world. And as far as assuming anyone who is educated must be in the 1%, that's just plain silly. Why would an educated person hoard their money. That seems to be a rather uneducated thing to do.

[-] 0 points by kilgoretrout (-1) from Toronto, ON 2 years ago

Not to venture into an ideological rant, but I do believe the Debt Ceiling issue needs to be solved using rational and critical thinking OUTSIDE of any one paradigm. Obviously, this is easy said than done...

A thought experiment in the original position using the 'veil of ignorance'

No, this isn't a reference to some freaky sex game... but rather a reference to John Rawls' 'Theory of Justice' / 'Justice as Fairness'. Long story short: Rawls implores us to forget about our place in society for a minute while we critically, rationally and IMPARTIALLY set out the rules by which we should live. (It really is a great concept, and hopefully someday Walt Disney will make it into a fairy tale for all ages).

However, I don't see too much compromising coming from either side, and I don't see either side engaging in the sort of public debate I think this issue deserves; I all see and hear are great orators and stern business men trying to sell me on a fictional narrative. Actually, listening to Laurence Kotlikoff on the radio the other day ( http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2012/12/07/laurence-kotlikoff-is-the-united-states-broke/ ), I'm starting to feel like the global economy might need to bottom out before real and meaningful reform is looked at seriously.

I hope I'm wrong. I pray somebody will rise up and protest. I beg of you, impress upon your leaders the gravity of the situation and your unwillingness to let this moment slip by. I would do it myself… but I’m lazy and self-serving.

Cheers, Kilgore

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

What are you trying to say? I didn't hear a cogent point here.

Sorry I just wanna understand

[-] 0 points by kilgoretrout (-1) from Toronto, ON 2 years ago

No cogent point missed…

My comment was meant to be a reply to SteveKJR1, as I understood his comment as having some libertarian sentiments (“less government is good for the economy”). I understand that one can be on either side of the political fence while still holding on to libertarian ideals, but still wanted to stress that bi-partisanship is gravely needed. I couched this idea in my mini rant about Rawls. The fairy tale bit was to show that I don’t actually believe that a thought experiment using a ‘veil of ignorance’ is sufficient or even necessary to move the Debt Ceiling crisis in the right direction.

However, as I listening to Laurence Kotlikoff and his analysis of the fiscal gap again, I’m less sure that bi-partisanship is a required part of the solution; Laurence states that both the Clinton and Bush administrations censored fiscal gap analyses (that is, all projected incomes against all projected expenses), thereby disguising the health of the economy from… well, us. Add this to my cynical assumption that politicians generally play a long game as a short game (IE –instead of steering a country’s future, they opt to constantly positioning themselves for re-election), I’m not sure there is enough force behind those in power pushing them towards meaningful and lasting resolution – EVEN IF they can overcome partisan politics. Listening to Laurence’s two extremes of how to close the fiscal gap (Raise taxes by 64% across the board, now and forever – OR – some combination of the two – OR – Cut spending by 40% immediately and permanently), I can’t imagine that leaders in Washington will solve the root problems ailing the economy anytime soon.

Maybe we need to separate political ideology from the running of government, maybe the current form of democracy is broken, or maybe the incentive to act will come if/when the global economy takes another turn for the worse… who knows. I just want another demonstration whereby the world can see just how passionate people are about these important issues. However, I don’t want to leave the comfort of my living room... so best of luck. And dress warm. It looks cold out there.

(I also was a little tongue-in-check about my calling for protests while I sit back and do nothing.)




[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Yeah. Still don't know what your position is.

I'll try once more. Raising Debt ceiling is meaningless act that allows repubs to hold the full faith & credit of the US hostage. Does not change the spending. Agree?

Deficit/debt is less important than job creation. So spend on jobs before addressing deficit/debt. Agree?

Best way to address deficit/debt: Cut military 50%, cut waste/fraud/abuse across the board, cut corp welfare. Cut working class taxes, Raise wealthy tax rates (90% income over $1mill, .5% Tax on every transaction) Agreed?

[-] -1 points by kilgoretrout (-1) from Toronto, ON 2 years ago

My position: Occupy should initiate another round of protests. The protests can take place in DC, and take issue with the Debt Ceiling debate. This particular issue could act as a rallying point, partly because its implications and impacts extend across many different areas. While it won’t ‘create jobs’ as soon as its finished, a healthy economy is a step in the right direction.

To answer your points:

I don’t agree with your analysis of the debt ceiling: For one, extending expiring tax cuts and any related potential revenue, which is part of the discussion, SHOULD impact government spending. Also, I don’t really care about the debt ceiling beyond its ability to act as rallying point.

I don’t agree that one abstract concept is more important than another without proper context (Debt/Deficit versus Job Creation). Also, rating importance can be pretty subjective. Let's just say they go hand in hand... spending on jobs requires money requires a tax base requires a work force requires jobs...

Lastly, I do not agree with your opinion on deficit reduction. I think its way more complicated than what you wrote and is a problem that should be tackled through an open debate led by subject matter experts.

Cheers, Kilgore Trout

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Oh man. Kurt Vonnegut would hate this.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

How would rally behind the debt ceiling? Would OWS be protesting AGAINST raising it?

If so Why?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

I would love to see a consistent lowering of the debt ceiling - due to proper fiscal practices that paid down on the debt - through the creation of healthy and prosperous industry/jobs elimination of unnecessary loop holes deductions or subsidies to the wealthy as well.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Sure. but obviously we gotta raise the debt ceiling, We've already committed to spend the money. Congress should not allocate the money if they don't want to increase the debt.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Raise the debt ceiling? or freeze the debt/interest? Has this been considered? Raising the debt ceiling allows the can to be kicked further down the road. A can that collects mass as it travels down the road.

Yes government must continue to function - but - it needs to change how the process is accomplished. Healthy growth - But also Stability. The continuation of borrowing does neither. Re-direct - massive profits for the profits them self? - NO - for what sake? - steady slow growth? - Why not? Why does wealth have to be achieved "YESTERDAY?" - we are living under a false sense of wealth - there is hoarded potential - but that is all it is - "POTENTIAL" - because it is not being put to work Continuously Improving Our Society/World - No Instead the potential is being sucked out of the economy/society and is being hidden/hoarded and so WASTED. And so everyone thinks that we need to print more money to keep things going - continually borrowing off of a future that is never worked on to be brought into being.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

It has gotten so vewy vewy qwiet - Is this a sign of much research thinking and consideration going on? {:-])

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Not sure I understand exactly. but: I think I agree, I would say that we shouldcut the defense budget 50%, cut corp welfare, cut waste/fraud/abuse across the board, add .5% tax on fin transactions, 90% tax rate for income over $1mil.

These things will address the deficit/debt. I also support the jobs creation bills to encourage economic growth, and rewarding insourcing, punishing outsourcing.

The debt ceiling, and the repubs threats not to raise it is simply a self created crises that does nothing except provide a means for them to pressure cuts in the pgms that benefit the 99%.

So I see the thing as a right wing scam to cut SS, Medicare etc.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Plus a cap on profits ( even counting offshore operations that are then injected into this economy ). Plus taxing financial transactions in the stock-market/wallstreet. Plus tracking down hoarded money off shore and getting it back into the economy. Plus pushing living wage for all.

The corpoRATists are doing every thing they can to get all the revenue possible out of those who can least afford it and letting the wealthy skate.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

I included the wall st stock trans rax (.5%) but yes the living wage is critical to recovery/growth/increased revenue and therefore deficit reduction.

I'm not against capping profit I just have little confidence it can be done. Perhaps we can start by creating guidelines stating that a percent of profits must go to the workers, before execs get ever more obscene compensation.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

It would have to be on a formula. But consider for making a personal profit:

Would you rather receive 10% of a thousand dollars or of 10,000,000 ?

It is still 10%.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Well it sounds interesting, i might want to continue EITC for the lowest income people. Cause if you only make 1k losing 1k is painful. It also sounds a lot like a flat tax. but in any event I would consider it.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

huh? please explain.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

10% of 1000 is 100

10% of 10,000,000 is 1,000,000

so if income was based on a percentage of earnings from a business and everyone was tied into the percentage. The higher the volume of sales/earnings the more valuable your percentage of it.

What to do with earnings that exceed the allowed income percentage?

Well how about ongoing process improvements or continuing education funding or expansion or more employees ( kinda the same as expansion or growth ) and any of those earnings exceeding the income cap percentage that are not reinvested into the business/people-workers can then go into the greater community resource pool for overall use in improving and maintaining of society.

[-] -2 points by BurmesePython (-66) 2 years ago

Apple makes huge profits, but who cares, Apple makes toys. The profit on oil is about 8%, that seems fair. Staples like milk, bread, meat, vegetables are marked up no more han 1-3%. That seems ok. Who makes these huge % profits?

[-] 0 points by Sir4dude (1) from Spring Hill, QLD 2 years ago

Mate, I reckon its more than just protests now