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Forum Post: What Has Happened to Us ?

Posted 8 years ago on Oct. 10, 2011, 11:21 p.m. EST by Rico (3027)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The hope of our Founding Fathers that we would educate ourselves in the matters of State and become responsible leaders of our own fate seems to be proven wrong with each passing year. This "Occupy Wall Street" movement is only one example.

The members of this movement imagine anyone living under better conditions than they as a member of the "wealthy" class wearing top hats and twisting their waxed mustache between thumb and forefinger while snickering at the masses, "Muhahaha ! Soon I'll own it all !" This is absurd.

The vast majority of "wealthy" people are more like me than the cartoon character folks imagine. I have no college degree, and neither does my wife. We have put two children through college. We have a third child who suffers from schizophrenia for whom we provide all support. We have a modest four bedroom home in California, and a two bedroom condo in Texas we provide for our daughter. Both my wife and I have a 20+ year history of working 60 hour weeks, and our success is purely the result of the effort we have invested. Last year, we paid in excess of $78,000 in taxes at the Federal and State level, not counting sales or property taxes. I suppose this is my "fair share."

I'm confused regarding what exactly "my fair share" really is. My wife and I don't use or benefit from government services any more than my fellow citizens. In fact, we probably use and benefit from them less than most.Nevertheless, our progressive tax system has us paying $78,000 a year in taxes simply because "we can afford it." How fair folks would think it would be for a grocery store to charge you more for a loaf of bread than the people next to you in line because you seem more able to afford the higher price?

I know the folks in this movement aren't targeting me personally, but the general idea of the "wealthy," those "who got us into this economic mess." The "wealthy," however, can't hoard all their money in a sack full of gold and deny it to the general population. They could back when we were on the gold standard, but not anymore. Their money is in banks and investments. If they spend their money, they're creating jobs buy buying things. If they don't spend they're money, the banks lend it to people who will. Sometimes the banks invest it in stocks or bonds which provide capital to start new businesses or grow existing businesses by providing goods and services the general population wants. Regardless of what they do with their money, it results in jobs.

Unfortunately, many of the jobs that are being created are overseas. This is not because "THEY" are greedy, it's what we asked for. We, the people, decided the best product is the cheapest product, and we buy foreign products rather than domestic products. Business gave us what we asked for.

Shouldn't Government have "Done Something" about all these jobs going overseas ? Sure, they could have imposed tariffs so the buying decisions we citizens make would not harm us. Instead, Government left us the freedom to choose, like the responsible and informed People our Founding Fathers imagined.

One of the only businesses in which America remains strong is Investment and Finance. Yes, we bailed them out. Read about the Great Depression to understand why, and remember, the money that was being lost was ours, not theirs; our investments, 401Ks, and savings. They've largely paid us back with a tidy profit to boot. It's history.

While we're on the topic, do folks need reminding that paying back what's owed is a critical attribute underlying any modern economy? The financial system melted down because folks signed on the dotted line for mortgages they couldn't afford. Did someone make them sign ?

Government is not your Parent, and it's not "THEIR" fault. Business and the wealthy create jobs by giving you what you ask for, and its not "THEIR" fault. It's certainly not MY fault, and I shouldn't have to bail you out of your bad decisions. I'd consider it, but I know you have no intention of behaving like the Banks and paying me back in a few years with interest.

It's not "THEM" it's "YOU." Grow up.

EDIT: Folks here have caused me to change my position somewhat. See my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/one-percenter-ready-to-join-if/

328 Comments

328 Comments


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[-] 5 points by powertothepeople (1264) 8 years ago

You know this protest is not just about "tax the rich". It began as a call for Obama to appoint a commission to investigate bank fraud and to get corporate lobbying out of government. If you aren't hiring lobbyists to go to Washington to advocate for you, or creating off-shore tax havens for yourself like Facebook, Google or Eli Lilly, then no one is mad at you and no one is protesting you.

[-] 3 points by coolnyc (216) from Stone Ridge, NY 8 years ago

Nicely said. He's in the 99% and doesn't know it. Make money. Make lots of it. Its good for everyone when people work hard and add value. The problem comes when you've got so much profit that you think you can buy influence over my elected representatives in order to make more at your countrymen's expense.

[-] 1 points by Shazam (54) 8 years ago

Amen Stone Ridge!

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

powertothepeople very well said. I think Rico has gotten side tracked... I have a brother-inlaw that also thinks the poor home owner crashed Wall Street.

The revolving door between Washington and Wall Street is making "Government Street" the reality. Untill some of the controls, that were dismantled by Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Phil Gramm, etc (1999-2001), are put back into place and Wall Street's gambling mentality is curbed, we are not going to get out of this mess. A "Bubble" economy is not going to work in the long run.

[-] 1 points by daffyff (104) from Redwood City, CA 8 years ago

tax increases on capital gains will help stablize the stock market for sure. Also maybe something needs to be done with deplorable interest rates for standard savings accounts which basically punishes people for saving cash by being significantly lower than the inflation rate. I don't even think CDs hedge against inflation very well.

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

Your correct. I cringe to think of raising interest rates, but what is happening right now is all these "Too Big To Fail" banks have turned themselves into "Bank Holding" corporation which allows them to borrow at the FED for nearly nothing, then instead of loaning the money to Main Street they put it into Brazilian banks at 10% interest.

[-] 1 points by tritonann (6) 8 years ago

You are correct!! And that is just the tip of the iceburg. We need to restructure the banks, or just delete them, and create a national "non-profit" bank that actually serves the economy and invests in small business in the USA.

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

Then why are you protesting in Canada? Our banking regulations saved us from YOUR mess. Keep you message out of Canada cause our government knows how to run a country.

[-] 1 points by daffyff (104) from Redwood City, CA 8 years ago

I hadn't even considered how lower interest rates make it less profitable to loan money to Americans.

Also, when did monopolies become "Too Big to Fail?" Theodore Roosevelt is rolling in his grave. We need a trust buster in the White House!

[-] 2 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

push congress to end bush tax cuts , rebuild America bridges and roads , invest in middle class not banking class thats the occupy wall street message

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Agreed. We need serious political reform. The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party and OWC folks are just buying into the game by fighting... we should unit and reform the darned political system! We can argue about other stuff later !

[-] 1 points by Shazam (54) 8 years ago

I hope you don't mind me expressing a real frustration I feel because of the current ugliness of politics. This rant (unlike some of my others responses to people as I vent my frustration here tonight) is not directed at you because of anything you have said here. You have been more thoughtful than me and many others. We need to make discussion more civil and you are doing a good job at it. It reminds me to check myself even as I criticize others.

[-] 1 points by Shazam (54) 8 years ago

That would require a constitutional convention. That would require cooperation and trust.

The TEA party people have seriously offended just about everyone who doesn't agree with them. The TEA party people I know I have had to stop being friends with because they are so obnoxious and frequently misinformed. Persistent and radical isn't a good thing if what you are selling is crap. Not one of them wants to listen to a damn thing anyone else is saying and they seem to want to take freedoms away in the name of preserving freedom which is so perverse logically I can't stand it. Their use of American history is a perversion of the truth.

Lets forget our differences is a great sentiment, I'm all for it. But seriously the TEA party started a lot of this shit storm and needs to realize that they don't need to make everyone be like them to get some justice in this country. We suspect racial prejudice in their speech and attitude. At the very worst they are being manipulated by forces which we suspect lead back to a group of elites that most certainly reside in the 1%. the mere mention of Halliburton and Cheney alone is enough to make me feel like my country has been sold old for cheap and immediate profit while at the same time consolidating power. Enron, Bear Sterns.... The TEA party cited these perversions of American business as problems. But now, now it seems like the TEA party is defending them now for no other reason than to cause the Obama administration to fail. It doesn't make any sense. Cantor dismissed protests as mobs to be ignored. This is not about taxes because there is no logic in it. Then it has to be about Obama and not because they honestly think corporations have a legal and moral responsibility to be a part of the solution instead of making government clean up one mess after another. That is not fair to the people of this country. You can't bring down a whole country just to get at one man.

How do you cooperate with people that are angry as you but instead of trying to solve the problem start acting like hypocritical offensive ignorant rubes that want to revoke your freedom all the while waving an American flag in your face?

You never win an argument by telling someone they are wrong. But the TEA party doesn't do much else. Honestly. I lost a good friend over this bullshit. Its like he turned into a Beck drone. Would use the same buzz words I had just heard on the news. Meaningless cliches about farm animals, etc. No impulse towards cooperation at all.

The TEA party has to realize that if they win this fight they have picked, they kill America. At our best America has developed a unique way for people to voice opposition in the political system. The TEA party has used that openness to try and destroy their opposition instead of reaching consensus. There is no trust there, no mutual warmth. Just discord and a lot of weird references to Nazis... there, I said it.

Anyway I am being very frank here about my agreement that cooperation among Americans can only be a good thing. But this is America and we are nothing if not diverse in the many ways we interpret the world. If cooperation is the answer then the TEA party people have to stop acting like dicks.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The title of my original post "What Has Happened to Us?" was talking about this same general topic. We are all part of a Great Experiment started by our Founding Fathers who, fresh from the Enlightenment, proposed that people could actually Govern THEMSELVES.

The outcome of the Grand Experiment is not yet clear. Many have argued it is not possible because the average person is so busy in their normal lives that they lack the time or interest to learn the complex issues of State. This is the very premise put forth by Plato in the Republic, and he concluded we need a ruling Elite raised from birth to lead with nothing but the interest of the people at heart.

A Democracy requires people become informed about the issues. I've heard endless rants in here about the Federal Reserve, but none understand the history of the Nation Banks that came before, what the Federal Reserve does, why it was set up largely independent of review by politicians, and why it was set-up to operate largely in secret. Their opinion, no matter how loudly shouted or widely shared is meaningless with some knowledge.

A Democracy requires that people talk with each other about politics. In spite of this we have all decided "it's not polite to talk about religion or politics" in social gatherings. OK, so when CAN we talk about them? We sure NEED to !

A Democracy requires we learn how to engage in respectful debate. This is greatly facilitated by people calmly exchanging facts and their interpretation of them in light of what we as a Nation should do. Instead, people have strongly held opinions with very little fact and seem to think that shouting them louder somehow makes them more valid. People also seem to think that if 100 people who know nothing about a topic agree, that opinion is somehow more valid than the opinion of one man armed with facts. This is simply not the case.

It's not yet clear whether the Grand Experiment will succeed. There are a lot of signs that its fundamental premise assuming people are able to Govern themselves is incorrect. We're too lazy to do the research, and we seem happy to shout unsubstantiated opinion rather than discuss facts in a respectful way. Self Government is serious business, it's not a SPORT where one side "wins" and the other "loses." Done wrong, we ALL lose. Done right, we ALL win.

[-] 1 points by Shazam (54) 8 years ago

Informed? You can't be informed when government isn't transparent. How did Bush's energy plan get developed? Who the hell knows except for the people in that meeting. Early America wasn't any better, the founding fathers never put into their official papers the discussions that went on late at night and only gave us a taste by alluding to them. Adams said we will never have an accurate record of the original constitutional convention because one never existed.

As far as being ignorant goes as a country I agree. The gutting of our educational system by corporations is to blame for that as well. First by foisting a private testing infrastructure on the schools, second by allowing school boards to rid themselves of failing schools and sell them to corporate charter school companies, and third by causing a financial meltdown which further damages schools. Prepare for more stupidity in the immediate future. On the up side My kids will have a tremendous advantage competing with a nation full of dolts and should do fine unless attacked by hoards of starving people and drug addicts which is why I think we might be better off making sure more people make it to the middle class.

People on the left held off on street protests longer than people on the right did anyway if remaining calm is a measure of reasonableness. I don't think that is right anyway. American democracy has never been particularly respectful so while we can both hope for the future currently street protests are well within the norm for a healthy democracy and in our case necessary. Corporations care nothing for rational debate because they don't need to pay any attention to it.

These protesters are making noise that needs to be made and that is part of an American tradition of civil disobedience. Don't be mad about it. Its a good thing.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

All good points, to which I will add...

Time after time, we are reminded that the success of a student has more to do with parental involvement than any other single factor. We have FAR too many parents that simply drop off and pick up their kids from school and assume "someone else" is taking care of educating their kids. The fact is, when parents make education a priority, when they talk to their kids, when they work with the teachers, etc. the kids UNDERSTAND it's important and do far better than other kids for whom school is virtually indistinguishable from "day care;" just a place we put them while we go off to work.

[-] 1 points by CleverUsername (18) from Kansas City, MO 8 years ago

Looks to me like they're doing their best to "unite" and "reform the darned political system" while you sit around calling them whiners. Nice double standard there, pal.

[-] 3 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

OK, I deserve that.

I came here with a negative impression, reflected in my post, based on what I was seeing on the media. After talking with a lot of you, I see there ARE some nut-jobs here, but there are MORE people who are just working to find good answers to problems. They (the media) did the same thing to the Tea Party folks, so I guess I should have known). In my own defense, I DID come here and start talking to folks rather than just operate on the impression the media gave me. I don't agree with a LOT of what folks are saying, but I have more respect now. I think that's evident in the gradual shift of tone in my posts.

[-] 1 points by Bizinuez (120) from Raleigh, NC 8 years ago

Rico, you're with us now, buddy! Come on out and get down! (Don't worry, if you are lucky enough to have a job there are plenty of weekend warriors like you!)

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I still have to wait and see where you all end up coming out on things. If the objective I keep hearing about getting the money out of politics becomes the central tenant of the movement, I'm on board ! I bet the rest of the Tea Party folks will be as well.

[-] 1 points by Bizinuez (120) from Raleigh, NC 8 years ago

HR 1489 and Overturn Citizen's United. Those are the two on my personal docket. But this isn't you and us. It's just US. You have a say in this too. Get down to your local GA and be heard! Hasn't it been too long?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I'll still wait a bit. What I WILL do in the meantime is share what I've learned here from the folks who took the time to engage in reasoned discussion with all my conservative friends. I WILL be working hard to convince them to keep an open mind and listen to what you're saying. We are not all that different in our goals, you've just been painted with a broad brush. They'll understand. They were too, and that's how I'll convince them.

[-] 1 points by daffyff (104) from Redwood City, CA 8 years ago

This thread has been nothing but encouraging for me.

When I first heard about OWS, I wanted to jump on a plane and get my ass to NYC with a bunch of socks to donate! When Biden and the media were spinning this movement to appear to be liberal I became doubtful and a little depressed. I felt that I was again misled into believing that a difference can be made.

But this thread brought me back into being hopeful. Seeing the reasonable responses and the mix of ideologies that drive this forum, and most importantly seeing that you too are supportive despite your previous convictions.

We can be heard, we can make a difference, and we can wrestle the control of our government back to where it belongs: with the People!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yep, there's a lot of good here. A lot of the folks are very well informed and contributing valuable ideas that I can't imagine ANY American would disagree with.

There are some folks that are just complaining that "things are bad, so we need to change something," without any real understanding of HOW we got here, what ROLE each of the parties (including individual Americans) played in the mess, and what we might do to correct things. Lot's of opinion, but little fact, and these people damage the credibility of the overall movement.

Some have identified the "boogeyman" to be the Federal Reserve, but I haven't found a SINGLE person who seems to actually UNDERSTAND the history of National Banks in America, WHY we set up the Fed mostly free from Congressional oversight, or WHY it MUST operate with a high degree of secrecy MUCH LESS what it actually DOES. Again, lot's of opinion, but little fact, and that too damages the credibility of the movement.

Finally, there are a select FEW who are attempting to paint the "rich" and the "banksters" the same way the Jews were painted by the Nazi's in order to marginalize a large segment of society. I am constantly having to remind folks that Bill Gates runs the largest charitable foundation in the history of the world and that he and Buffet have convinced 35 OTHER billionaires to give most of their wealth away as well ! Not ALL wealthy people have harmed us, and folks need to be careful to talk SPECIFICALLY about problems that need to be solved rather than try to marginalize good people using overly broad generalizations.

All that being said, there ARE some VERY well informed people here with VERY good ideas that I support UNCONDITIONALLY. I hope THESE people emerge as the leaders and are able to CONTROL those that do the movement harm !

[-] 1 points by daffyff (104) from Redwood City, CA 8 years ago

My hopes are the same as yours Rico. My last reserve is the tendency of this movement in the world doing the protesting or the "occupying" to rely on pure democracy, which can be less reasonable.

[-] 1 points by Bizinuez (120) from Raleigh, NC 8 years ago

Bingo. That's HUGE. We've been snowed by this false Us vs Them dichotomy for far too long. Look man, I got a job. I pay taxes. I work hard and am good at my job. It's a full time job that I get paid a decent hourly rate for (and believe me, am very grateful to have), but I had to take it as a contractor because A) The company doesn't have to pay for Health Insurance for me and B) They get taxed different due to my contractor status. So I got a wife that needs a new tooth and a kid who has two new ones coming in a bit wonky, just like her dad did. My dental plan consists of me insisting that she wiggles the shit out of those baby teeth so HOPEFULLY those teeth will come in straight. My wife, well she is shit out of luck.

Meanwhile some guy at the top of this very large company makes millions of dollars while laying off all the people I rely on to actually solve problems and creating a huge knowledge gap in the product I support. Because maintaining a good product doesn't matter worth shit to them, just what the next financial statement they submit to the shareholders says. And by the time the ramifications of their short term decisions come home to roost, they will be long gone with a golden parachute. That ain't capitalism. I'm all for capitalism, btw. I like iPhones and laptops and XBoxes and all that shit. They're groovy and cool. Corporations can make some cool shit, no doubt. And I got no problem with making a profit, but corporations are incapable of having a conscience, because they aren't REALLY people.

Oh, and since I'm ranting, when Fox News tells us that there really isn't a problem with poverty in this country because 99% of all people in the lowest income brackets have REFRIGERATORS, well there's something wrong.

Anyway, Rico, join us. Sooner, rather than later. Bring your friends. We need you. I have a tricorn hat too! The media LOVES tricorn hats! Bring those too! (OK I kid I kid - well, I actually do have a tricorn hat rofl)

[-] 0 points by powertothepeople (1264) 8 years ago

+1 I am with you on that, brother

[-] 0 points by BogDog (15) 8 years ago

with you on that

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: One of the main pillars of Conservative propaganda is that both parties are the same. Nothing they say is further from the truth. It is an insidious lie intended to demoralize progressives, and discourage them from voting. Do not fall for this canard, because if both parties are the same, there is no hope for change, and therefore no reason to vote. The truth is that there is a difference between the parties. A stark difference! One party works for the rich, the other party works for all Americans. One party takes money from the needy to feed the greedy, and the other party takes money from the greedy to feed the needy. One party has plans and policies to create jobs, and the other party has a long list of lame excuses for not doing anything. Liberals want to change things. Conservatives want things to stay the same. There is a difference. One party wants to tax the rich, and the other party wants to tax the poor. One party wants to destroy Unions, and the other party wants to support them. One party supports the Occupation of Wall Street, and the other party doesn’t. One party wants to rebuild America, and the other party doesn’t. One party wants to provide health care for all, and the other party doesn’t. One party wants to regulate Wall Street, and the other party doesn’t. One Party wants to end the wars; the other party wants them to go on forever. There is a difference. One party is Myopic, and the other party is Far Sighted. One party wants to help the Middle Class, and the other party is at war with the Middle Class. One party wants to fire Teachers, and the other party wants to hire them. One party wants to create more jobs in America, and the other party wants to create more jobs in Asia. There is a difference. One party wants to protect pensions, and the other party wants to loot them. One party has a heart, and the other party has Ann Coulter. One party protects the right bear Arms, and the other party protects the right of freedom of assembly. One party believes that the only role for the Government is to provide for the common defense, and the other party believes that the Government should also promote the general Welfare. There is a difference, and anybody that tells you there is no difference between the parties is simply not conversant with reality. In addition, anyone that blames the Democrats for the current state of affairs has no understanding of who controls the Government. One Party has the Presidency, and the other party has the Majority in the House, controls the Senate, has a majority on the Supreme Court, and is responsible for current economic policy. So, if you’re angry, and you want to start a real fight, I submit that we should start a real fight with the Conservatives! America has a Two Party System. One party is clearly on your side, the other party thinks you’re and Anti-American mob. At some point in time you’re going to have to pick one. Choose wisely, your future is at stake

[-] 1 points by Markmad (323) 8 years ago

Excellent point and since you did mention Obama’s appointments I wonder why he never appoints economist from the left such as: Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglits, and Eric Maskin these guys would never vote for bogus bailout.

[-] 3 points by MrVMAC1776 (62) from New York, NY 8 years ago

its not just about taxing the wealthy, please, dont let the media tell you what WERE protesting about.

Its not about left or Right, its about transparency in the government, wall street regulations, and the restoration of constitutional freedoms (ie: no patriot act)

The media is trying to skew the message of what we are truly protesting, because they are owned by those larger than life individuals we are protesting against.

Its not "class warfare" its not really about Taxes AT ALL.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

MrVMAC1776,

I'll accept your statement regarding what YOUR aims are, but read through the comments in this post, and you'll see many people DO see this as a movement to "get even with those rich bastards who destroyed our economy."

My gut reaction to that kind of language is VERY negative. Go into all those posts and replace the names being used with "Jews" or "Blacks" and you'll see what I mean. No matter how hard you try it, there's a certain lynch-mob tone in some people's voices, and that's scary.

After all the mini-discussions I've had here, I'm starting to see that the "Haters" are in the minority.... thank God. I should have had more faith in my fellow Americans.

[-] 1 points by MrVMAC1776 (62) from New York, NY 8 years ago

don't you guys see though, this website is full of people looking to destroy our cause. The people protesting are not on this "Un-official" forum! there in the college classrooms and in the streets!!

the people on her are only looking to discredit the movement, and provide negative publicity.

The people in charge of these loaning agencies and lobbying groups want to skew the message, and then destroy its reputation with things like"jews" and turn it into a movement it is not.

Its the same thing the media and government did with the tea party. they changed the message from "small government" to SUPER RADICAL THEOLOGIANS and birther crap, when thats simply not what they were about.

This is forum is unofficial and it is being skewed to change peoples minds about what it is about. DONT BELIEVE THIS CRAP. go to protests, ask questions in person. I, as a protestor, know that this message of hate and taxes is NOT what the movement is about.

[-] 1 points by jeremiah757 (9) 8 years ago

Rico is spot on with this. Just substitute "the Jews have all our money," and we have seen this movie before.

[-] 2 points by Flsupport (578) 8 years ago

Well, you told me how much you paid. First let me say that, depending on what you made, this could be a very small percentage of what you made. On the other hand, you could be one of the people I think would most benefit by making the tax system more progressive. The reason is that there is a very large swath of people who pay taxes that are quite high, even though, relatively speaking, they dont make that much. So if you made $700,000, I would say you did alright. But if you made $200,000, you are being shafted by those who make alot more than you. The reason is that they did not pay as much, as a percentage of their earnings, than you did. Is that not unfair? I think it is. Should it be changed? You bet.

[-] 1 points by Esposito (173) 8 years ago

Basic math 10% of 200,000 is 20,000. 10% of 700,000 is 70,000. Just to clarify. Punishing achievement is not that good of a good idea.

[-] 1 points by Flsupport (578) 8 years ago

Right, I get it. And if you were only taxed at 10%, it would be a pretty decent deal, compared to some. I doubt that though.

[-] 1 points by hotdoghenry (268) 8 years ago

Flat tax is the way to go

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yep. It seems to me that a flat tax RATE (which STILL charges high earners more for the same services received as folks pay less for those same services) is probably about the furthest we can push things and still claim "Equal Protection under the Law," "Due Process," etc.

[-] 1 points by Howtodoit (1232) 8 years ago

no, we just want an even playing field again, you miss that class:

Here's how we can easily Reform Wall Street: Take away their powers "once again." And a Million People March on The Hill will help a lot!

For example, "We are here Congress because we want to bring REINSTATE the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 http://www.investopedia.com/articles/03/071603.asp#axzz1aPEc3wX which help saved our country from the Great Depression by preventing investment companies, banks, and insurance companies from merging and becoming large brokerage firms; instead of just being Banks and Insurance companies--why can't we learn a history lesson here Congress? Btw, why did most of you vote for its final repeal in 1999? http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/09/19/shattering-the-glass-steagall-act

Think about where we are now, it all started in 1999 with the subprime loans Senator Phil Gramm was peaching on Senate floor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKQOxr2wBZQ&feature=related

Furthermore, we also want you to CHANGE the Commodities Future Modernization Act of 2000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_Futures_Modernization_Act_of_2000 BACK to where it was before 2000, which since has deregulated energy markets and consequently allowed for such scams as The Enron Loophole; whereas in the early 2000's Enron Corp. was charging 400 bucks plus for a kilowatt hour...They all when to jail for this. But, the Enron loophole is still not closed, for example, allowing speculators to resell barrels of oil over and over again before it reaches the gas station owner. It's basically, legal gambling at our expense. What were those lawmakers thinking then? What are you thinking now? Either do the right think, or you're part of the 1%."

Why are oil prices high? The Enron Loophole

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbdtTGYQBMU&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNp0y0SjOkY&feature=related

Rolling Stones Reporter: Truth about Goldman Sachs--how they have cornered the markets--basically, The Enron Loophole and the Repeal of Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waL5UxScgUw

Let's get focused and bring back Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, they got it right 1933, we don't need to REINVENT the wheel because bringing this Act back will create an even playing field once again....and let's finally Close the Enron Loophole, which allowed Enron to charge what they wanted

[-] 1 points by LincolnCA (160) 8 years ago

I didn't make bad decisions when I bought my home, I bought a home that I could afford that I am still in now, the only bad decision I made was having no idea that a Wall St. speculator was illegally manipulating the housing market to make money selling bad mortgages back and forth that he/she knew would some day fail, leaving those that made good housing decisions sitting in property worth a quarter what they paid for it. I don't consider not knowing criminals were manipulating the market a "bad decision," I consider that a Wall St. scam and crime. I think Madoff said it best when he said, "the banks aren't stupid, they had to know!"

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Did you buy your house as a HOME or as an INVESTMENT ?

If you bought your house as a HOME, then I assume that was because it had the right number of rooms, because it was near good schools and shopping, and because you felt it would make a nice HOME. Absolutely NONE of those conditions have changed, and your HOME is still just as valuable as it was when you bought it.

If you bought the house as an INVESTMENT, then I assume you did your RESEARCH and understood you were buying at a time when prices were at RECORD HIGHS yet decided you would still come out OK. A truly SAVVY INVESTOR would review the Federal Census data showing home prices typically escalate by a relatively MODEST percentage over time (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/values.html ). A SAVVY INVESTOR would ask himself whether there was some UNIQUE circumstance (i.e. increased buying driven by a demographic 'boom" in population, rapid escalation in immigration, etc) that would cause prices to escalate FASTER than the historical average, before ASSUMING his INVESTMENT would appreciate FASTER than that average.

Unfortunately, many "INVESTORS" were AMATEURS who bought into the notion "You can never lose money in real-estate." A quick check of charts such as these at http://www.jparsons.net/housingbubble/ show that real-estate DID in fact lose value in the mid '70's, the mid 80's, and the mid 90's. What were people THINKING, or were they even THINKING at ALL ?

The HOUSING BUBBLE was just like ANY BUBBLE; for SOME REASON or another, folks periodically get caught in a FRENZY and start making really STUPID decisions that ALWAYS start with an WIDELY accepted but IRRATIONAL belief along the lines of "You can't lose money in __!" Note this has NOTHING to do the the "EVIL" Federal Reserve as the "Ron Pauler's" like to claim; it has happened MANY times in GOLD based economies. There was a "Louisiana Land" bubble in France, a "South American Land" bubble in Spain, and most REMARKABLY, a "Tulip Bulb" bubble in Holland when people actually thought "You can never lose money in TULIP BULBS" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania ). Simply AMAZING.

If you bought your house as a HOME, it's still the SAME house it was when you bought it, and it's STILL worth what you thought it was worth at the time. If you bought your house as an INVESTMENT, then you PRESUMABLY did your RESEARCH and understood the risk you were taking on.

In ANY CASE, I give you my THANKS as a FELLOW CITIZEN that you have not done as MANY have done and WALKED AWAY from the mortgage commitment you made, leaving all of US holding the bag for your decision ! That's a reflection on your CHARACTER, and I RESPECT you for HONORING your COMMITMENTS.

This is my OWN saying, but someone famous SHOULD have said it ...

INTEGRITY is not measured by our actions when we suffer NO COST, it is measured when when we DO THE RIGHT THING though the COST IS HIGH.

Many KUDOS and THANKS to you sir. YOU are a man of INTEGRITY, a RARE BREED these days.

[-] 1 points by Atoll (185) 8 years ago

(READ MY FIRST COMMENT FIRST) And the lack of a gold standard is not a limitation for the wealthy. People talk a lot about how Saudi Arabia or China could bankrupt us by cashing in their bonds. How about a billionaire (or two or three) demanding they have all their assets and finances translated into actual cash so they could swim in it like Scrooge McDuck? INSTANT INFLATION ON A MASSIVE SCALE. It's irrational to think that would happen, because regardless of how they got their money, they DO understand a thing or two about it. But still. VERY true about the overseas situation. Sad thing is, it's a difficult thing to deal with. The reason foreign-owned companies like BMW, Electrolux and Bosch (three of my local SC hirers) set up shop here is because education and environmental safety standards are lower. Same with most of the companies sending jobs overseas. It's simply cheaper to hire and produce out-of-country. Tax breaks SHOULD be higher for employers hiring in the US. Merely ONE of Obama's promises that he hasn't followed up on. And tariffs would negate the reasons for shipping jobs, but it would also damage foreign relations (at least on an economic scale). Bad idea. And investment and finance "remaining strong" is a slippery slope, my friend. 2008. That's all I'll say about that. America needs to get back to MAKING SOMETHING OTHER THAN MONEY. Our import/export ratio is outrageous. None of these brilliant "investors" have seen fit to add anything new to the mix. That's weak sauce. 401k's are disappearing, as are retirement plans, sponsored insurance and many of the other benefits Americans have depended on. How about tenure and pensions for teachers and police officers that have been cut? Unions that have been completely neutered? It's RECENT history. I owe $50k in student loan debt. I DESPERATELY want to pay it back. It's a matter of principle for me. It's how I was raised. You can't loan me a nickel and not having me insist on paying it back as soon as I have it. The problem is, I just don't have it right now. Not even a payment. Well honestly, due to miraculous circumstances, I'm about to have some payment money - but how long is that going to last me? Principle is very alive and well in my heart and mind. But practicality is a pretty big factor. Like my mother (who raised me VERY well) says, "You can't get blood out of a turnip". And lastly, you're very right. The government is NOT anyone's parent. I myself am relatively liberal, but am VEHEMENTLY opposed to the "nanny state" of social and economic politics (to which I might add on a personal level, "political correctness" can suck it. Get a sense of humor or grow some thicker skin will you?). But I don't think that's what this movement is asking for in any way. It's certainly not asking for a "bail-out". In fact, I've seen lot's of "smaller government" pleas. No one is asking for the government to intervene as far as I've seen. The idea is that people who CAN create jobs should CREATE THEM and that people who sit on their money (and there ARE those that do - do your homework. You obviously know how to use the internet) should put it back into the economy or somewhere other than the lobby.
Maybe it's not OWS that should "grow up", but you who should "catch up".
Please, don't get me wrong. I completely understand your perspective and have the utmost respect for the fact that you've supplied a legitimate, structured argument. Just make an effort to understand what this is about. Don't rely on an outside source. Do your own research. Extensively.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You're a very articulate poster, and I enjoy reading what you have to say.

I am personally amazed by how much concrete value people attribute to "money." It's nothing more than a token used to facilitate exchanges of value, and it has no intrinsic value beyond that derived from those exchanges; imagine I have some excess milk and want to exchange it for some wheat. WITHOUT money, I actually have to FIND someone who has excess wheat AND wants some milk. WITH money, I need ONLY find someone who wants milk; I "sell" them my milk and they give me a token representing it's value to them. I then "buy" some wheat from someone who has excess. It's pretty obvious how money, by decoupling "want" and "have" into separate exchanges facilitates commerce. The tokens we call "money" however, have no value in and of themselves, they simply FACILITATE the exchange. This is the basis for the idea that the VALUE of money is derived from the goods and services it can BUY and NOTHING more. It not only makes NO SENSE to tie its value to a SINGLE commodity, but doing so is DANGEROUS as someone COULD acquire a disproportionate quantity of that commodity and take control of commerce in ALL goods by taking control of a SINGLE commodity (normally the subject of only ONE set of value exchanges). This SIMPLE problem seems to ELUDE the GOLD LOVERS.

Thanks to our ELASTIC MONEY supply and the Federal Reserve, NOBODY can bankrupt us. NOBODY. If China or someone else demands we "pay them back" we can simply PRINT the money. This has NO IMPACT on DOMESTIC COMMERCE insofar as the milk and wheat of my prior example are all DOMESTIC in origin. What it DOES DO is cause all FOREIGN goods to look more expensive to in our DOMESTIC marketplace. If, however, the FOREIGN holders of our currency want to buy our DOMESTIC wheat, they will see NO CHANGE in the buying power of their currency. Taken to EXTREMES, our currency ULTIMATELY becomes WORTHLESS in any sense OTHER than the purchase of DOMESTICALLY produced goods. This combined with LOTS of "stimulus" using PRINTED currency is EXACTLY how Hitler rebuilt the German economy (ONE reason he became so popular). Applied MODERATELY, this is ALSO how countries have historically addressed excessive NATIONAL DEBT, and the MAIN reason Europe is having so many problems today is because all those countries (except for Britain, a LONG STANDING financial power, who KNEW better) GAVE UP their Sovereign Currencies and CAN'T print their way out of debt anymore.

As you allude, the world's economies are VERY entangled today, and there would be RAMIFICATIONS to printing sufficient money to cover ALL our debt. Nevertheless, the Federal Reserve HAS been printing a LOT of money ('Quantitative Easing'), and our debtors (i.e. the CHINESE) are NONE TO HAPPY about it. In fact, because printing so much money ALSO makes IMPORTS look EXPENSIVE and EXPORTS look CHEAP, Germany and the other "EXPORT DRIVEN" economies were NONE TOO HAPPY either. Interestingly, printing money ALSO tends to WIPE OUT the value of all those "tokens" the rich and others have accumulated; The INSTANTANEOUS value of a "token" is defined by what it can buy TODAY, and they've accumulated a LOT of HISTORICAL value. I'm NOT advocating this, but SOME argue we should simply PRINT enough money for everyone to PAY OFF THEIR DEBTS in what is called a DEBT HOLIDAY.

One REALLY ironic aspect of MANY discussions I see here is that MANY people in what is essentially a POPULIST movement in a nation BURIED in DEBT are arguing for what's called a "tight money" policy. That's 100% CONTRARY to the history of POPULIST MOVEMENTS which USUALLY call for "loose money" policies in order to DEVALUE outstanding DEBT. This HISTORICAL stance would be PARTICULARLY relevant to our current state given our DEBT at the Personal, State, and Federal level. NEVERTHELESS, folks are advocating "tight money," and the Chinese must be OVERJOYED to hear it!

See next post (this one was too long ;o)

[-] 1 points by Atoll (185) 8 years ago

Well said. If this movement does nothing more than bring America back to a civilized debate (which there's proof all around this forum that it can), then I will definitely say something was accomplished. I may not agree with everything from the conservative angle, I have received some great, practical advice. Some people are talking out of their hind ends, but I expect that's a lack of real-world experience talking more than anything. Thanks again

[-] 1 points by Atoll (185) 8 years ago

Bringing up the founding fathers is relevant. But not in the way you do it. They lived in the pre-industrial world. Sure, there was big business, but not as we now know it. "Big business" back then was, with all honesty, having a bunch of slaves. Oops. That's sort of what it is now isn't it? You've put two kids through college with no college education of your own. This is telling. You're at least in your 40's. Most likely older. 20 years ago it was possible to make something happen for yourself. Wise saving/investing from a decent job. Union scale perhaps? Beside that, it wasn't hard to get an entry level job that paid a fair wage (with room for promotion) 20+ years ago. Things have changed. More and more, management is being hired from without, not within, a company - especially retail, which is the most accessible job for many. With all the emphasis on higher education, employers are demanding better educated candidates and in more specific fields. Hell, 20 years ago you could get a job on Wall Street with no college - just ambition and a little smarts. Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy's) was a high school DROPOUT. In fact, some of the biggest success stories of today are dropouts at various stages (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg). And "wealthy" and "rich" are two different things. Could a hefty lawsuit bankrupt you at any moment? If the Bush-era Supreme Court interpretation of "imminent domain" allowed for the government acquisition of your assets, could you easily rebuild your life? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, you are not "wealthy". I don't know your income, but $78k isn't that bad if, by your own admission, "you can afford it". But I can also infer that you don't make such ludicrous amounts of money that you don't notice. This movement is about the people who DON'T notice. Me? I'm below the poverty level. I'm happy I can pay my bills. AND I have a college degree. In visual arts. 20 years ago, just having a degree would mean I would get a GREAT job. Today, not so much.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Great post, and I think it gets to the root of the frustration.

You're right, I'm 54 years old, and I grew up in a different time. In my day, ability and hard work meant more than paper credentials, and I had the good fortune to have parents that passed on some VERY VALUABLE bits of financial advice. I'll pass that advice on to the younger folks reading this in the hopes it will help THEM like it helped ME (though i recognize times ARE different):

1) Wealth is freedom. As long as you're living paycheck to paycheck, you're a slave to both the SYSTEM and to FATE. When you have no wealth, even a flat tire can ruin your life, and you must constantly live in fear of being let go by your employer. Once you have accumulated wealth, you can stop FEARING for your job and will gain the FREEDOM to make CHOICES. You will be in CONTROL of your life rather than a SLAVE to it.

2) You will get MANY pay raises throughout your life. Every time you get one, put 50% of it into savings and investments and enjoy the other 50%; you'll STILL feel like you have more money than you did before your raise, and you'll eventually find you have accumulated a lot of wealth.

3) Credit is PROPERLY used to buy large assets like houses that have VALUE at the end of the loan and which cannot realistically be bought with cash on-hand. Credit is IMPROPERLY used to satisfy a desire for IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION; you can either save BEFORE you buy, or you can BORROW and pay even more AFTER you buy. Either way, you're having to save to make the purchase, so why not save BEFORE you buy? It's a lot cheaper.

I think tidbit 1 and 3 are pretty self evident (though lot's of folks these days don't seem to "get" it). Tidbit 2 is a bit more subtle; my parents were basically telling me to grow my standard of living at one half the rate of my income growth, but they did so by suggesting a very simple plan; save half of every pay raise. I think that bit of advice is/was GENIUS !

You said "union scale, perhaps?" ABSOLUTELY NOT. I HATE UNIONS. This is NOT because of any "capitalist" philosophy but because I can do MUCH better bargaining on my OWN behalf than I could EVER do in a union. I think this is true for EVERYONE. Unions are essentially a form of EXTORTION, and it's MUCH more effective to use your employer's OWN perspective to increase your wages. Here's the last tidbit of advice I formulated myself and have passed along to my children along with the advice of my parents:

4) You are NOT an "employee" you are a COMPANY, and your PRODUCT is your SKILLS. Your enter into mutually beneficial agreements with OTHER companies in which you trade your SKILLS for money based on MUTUAL BENEFIT. The compensation you receive is related to the VALUE of your SKILLS, and that is defined in turn by the PROFIT the company can make from your skills combined with the SCARCITY of your skills in the labor market. ALWAYS be sure you can connect your contributions to their PROFITS in a UNIQUE fashion that few OTHERS can match, and your compensation will be GENEROUS.

This last tidbit is simply saying folks need to view themselves as PRODUCTS that can be "sold" for the MAXIMUM possible price on the labor market. This demands we understand what the CUSTOMER values and that we are HIGHLY DIFFERENTIATED with lots of COMPETITIVE DISCRIMINATORS. If you LACK these characteristics, you are a COMMODITY in the labor market, and COMMODITIES are traded based on LOWEST COST alone. All these terms come straight out of MARKETING (Google them). Folks need to understand that their LABOR is a PRODUCT that needs to me MARKETED and SOLD just like any other product if they want to do well. This is true in ANY economy, but particularly important in a POOR one !

Anyway, I'm rambling on and should probably wrap this up.

You're right, I came up through the ranks at a different time, and things are probably more difficult now than they were then. In addition, I had the HUGE benefit of having parents who UNDERSTOOD the "SYSTEM" and cared enough about me to pass on some VERY GOOD ADVICE. I should ALSO add that my two healthy children are in their mid-20's and have done VERY well. I encouraged BOTH of them to enter high demand technical fields where there is VERY LITTLE competition (most kids AVOID majors that are heavy in MATH because they're HARD, so going down that path ENSURES you're somewhat RARE right out of the gate). Both have ALREADY accumulated quite a bit of WEALTH/FREEDOM; far MORE than I at their age.

I wish you the best, and your comment HAS served to remind me how much things have changed.

[-] 1 points by Atoll (185) 8 years ago

I thank you for your reply. That's really good advice. Four and your last tidbit aren't too practical other than how to approach an opportunity. Mom always said "sell yourself". Though her understanding of college wasn't astute to the changes that were going on in society at the time. Can't blame her. I know a lot more than visual arts thanks to it.
Sad thing is, I didn't understand just how much I LOVED math until I got out of school. Irony? I'm grateful you're on this site. You've got a lot of wisdom and you've been providing a lot of great counter-points everywhere.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Tidbit 4 should drive people to ACQUIRE the skills they can sell. Unlike MATERIAL products, PEOPLE can CHANGE their value. It isn't sufficient to just "SELL YOURSELF," you must CONSTANTLY work to INCREASE the VALUE of your PRODUCT and THEN "sell yourself." For folks reading this, here's a good place to start in understanding the concept of DIFFERENTIATION in marketing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_differentiation . It's ALSO important to understand what a COMMODITY is so take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity . Note MANY of the people in our labor force, PARTICULARLY those in the SERVICE INDUSTRIES, are COMMODITIES, and that's WHY their wages are so depressed.

As for math, I was good at it in High School, but avoided it for a long time after. I was FORCED into it when I realized I NEEDED it to keep enhancing my VALUE. I didn't come to LOVE it until I discovered Euler's equation "e^(i*pi)+1 = 0" or "the natural logarithm base raised to the square root of -1 times pi (the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter) plus one equals zero" This equation UNIFIES all the fields of mathematics that we were TAUGHT/TOLD were SEPARATE fields. Once I found this equation, LIGHT BULBS started going off ALL OVER MY BRAIN ! Using this simple equation, we can TRANSFORM across ANY of the domains. It's just as MAGICAL as e=mc^2 (more mystically, m = e/c^2 defining mass as energy divided by the speed of light squared). Geeky, yes, but VERY cool.

The lack of people in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) has resulted in some federal programs and grants. See http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5257. Since you've discovered you love math, why not check into it?

Finally, thanks for noticing my efforts to inject some rational discussion here. I think there's a LOT of passion and MANY good people here, and I'm VERY excited about what they might pull off, but they need MORE FACTS (in my opinion) if they are to be SUCCESSFUL !

[-] 1 points by Atoll (185) 8 years ago

Honestly, I think the people IN the movement need more facts. Some have them. I've learned a lot just coming here from both sides of the fence. Yet some are being too emotional and reactionary to pick up on anything real. It's people like yourself that will make ANYTHING positive happen here. YOU are allowing for constructive discourse (something severely lacking in America).
And I retract the doubt on tidbit four. Good call. Sorry I made you spell it out. heh

[-] 1 points by abmebratu (349) from Washington, DC 8 years ago

It's funny how the wealthy find compassionate words to offer themselves as heroes. These efforts to include themselves into the the American working class is really bewildering. The truth is if the nanny state, which caters to the wealthy through subsidies, tax cuts, and bailouts doesn't exist then you can be assure Capitalism will collapse. all the productive and innovative parts of our economy are there thanks to public funds injected to companies like Boeing through the defense department and Nasa. Even the Internet, computers and GPS are the results of public funding for research and innovation at our universities and research centers. Don't even get me started on how much public granting the pharmaceutical and bio-medical fields receive. Nevertheless, the one problem with this picture is that even though research and development is largely funded by the public, profits are always privatized. This process of privatizing public funds trickles to every 1 percenter eventually, but the public, is repaid with having to bailout these companies in the end. It seems to me that this system is fundamentally flawed. Imagine, how much of this similar trend will be uncovered if the corporate media was not there to cover up such affairs..........My answer to the 1 percenter is you may not be aware of how much public funding went into your millions. It's easy to look at how high a tax you pay, but you should know your wealth is due in large measure to public funding and cheap labor by the masses.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I don't include myself IN the middle-class, but that is most definitely where I CAME from. Apparently, not even KNOWING where my wealth came from, you're perfectly ready to declare it MUST have come from PUBLIC funding. That's really interesting. You even SAY, "you may not be aware..." but somehow YOU ARE ?

Let's look at it YOUR WAY...

Did you attend a PUBLICLY funded grade school, high school, and college ? Did you use a FEDERAL school loan? Have you even COME CLOSE to paying TAXES sufficient to cover your COST to SOCIETY ? I bet NOT. How about you SETTLE your DEBT, and THEN we can talk about who OWES what to WHOM !

Your arguments are SELF SERVING RATIONALIZATIONS and NOTHING MORE.

[-] 1 points by recallScottWalker (20) 8 years ago

Senate republicans kill 2 million jobs. May God damn their souls to burn in hell for eternity.

[-] 1 points by doninsalem (74) 8 years ago

At a time such as this when any religious belief is being used against another (each derived based on the same/or a) by certain so called people, if they are looking successfully to separate, and we do wish to conform "everyone's" ideals together (unify) bringing that which was wrongly third-ed (Torah/bible/Koran) together would seem to me to be a way to not only block, but counter etc.

[-] 1 points by doninsalem (74) 8 years ago

Vanity is the Devils favorite sin.

[-] 1 points by thejunkie (50) 8 years ago

Funny Americans

  1. Starts using Drug.
  2. Enjoys Drug.
  3. Drug leads to suffering.
  4. Cries about suffering.
  5. Try to lower drug prices.
  6. Elect new drug dealers.
  7. Continue using drug.
  8. Enjoy drug.
  9. Drug leads to suffering.
  10. Blames drug dealer
  11. Dies from drug.
  12. Drug dealer dies from lack of funny american.
  13. America dies from lack of funny american and drug dealer.
  14. One funny american left makes Hollywood movie and watches it alone.
[-] 1 points by tritonann (6) 8 years ago

We the people do not control everything in the economy by what we purchase. Blaming the consumer for everything doesn't hold up. For instance the rich that control huge high tech companies manufacture their products, designed in the USA, outside the USA and often avoid paying ANY TAXES (I'm talking about 100's of billions here) on their products by starting subsiduaries in other contries that hold the profits. It is really impossible for consumers to understand the bizantine financial structures to make a decision on buying one companies product over another. I work with CFO's with PHds that can barely understand their own companies wacky financial structures setup to avoid taxes. Indeed they are all playing this game so choosing one companies product over another doesn't make a difference in most cases. The rich play similar games with their money. There are thousands of scams companies can play when their lobbiests write the financial legislation as the rich corporations do... How does the USA recoup it's investment in education when the corporate elite keep their profits outside of the USA?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

By prior law, every product has a tag that says "Made In __." Read it.

It's pretty easy to tell when you're dealing with a local Mom and Pop grocery store or buying produce at Farmer's Markets rather than from Super-Farm Corporations. Do so.

There are bill in Congress at this very moment to encourage Multi-Nationals to repatriate their profits. I support this. I ALSO support doing whatever we have to to PREVENT the EXPATRIATION of profit. This is usually done for Tax reasons. If that means we LOWER Corporate Taxes, then so be it insofar as our NET revenue is greater than it is today.

[-] 1 points by Shazam (54) 8 years ago

Government is there to protect property. At least ours is, Locke, Jefferson, Hamilton all believed that even if they expressed it differently in practice.

People are mad because they see government not only failing to protect their property from legalized theft but facilitating it by becoming partners with corporations and individuals that are clearly acting against the interest of most Americans.

Moral governments are formed to protect life and property. In that regard they must act as a parent does, protectively. The idea that our government should just let anarchy and rule of force reign for your personal benefit is absurd. Americans are being attacked by economic forces that have been created with no other purpose than to suck the wealth that makes this country great right out of the people that actually do shit. The middle class is the golden goose and Wall street done killed it.

As for the people on the bottom, the middle class will get those people back to work as soon as the rich and powerful stop undermining our shared economy.

Your country created this mess, that makes this mess 1/300 million parts your fault... and mine. But I know what I pay as a percentage of my income in taxes and on my property is more than fair. I seriously pay rent in the form of taxes to live in my own home - which I own free and clear because we earned it! I also donate to charity and volunteer my time to community projects that interest me. I also pay 1/4 of my salary for health care. No Cadillac driving welfare queen here.

I'm pulling my weight buddy so get off your high horse and pull yours.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yes, money has corrupted politics, and I agree we need to ban political contributions from special interests. In fact, I think we need to ban ALL political contributions and use a Federal Election Fund to finance ALL federal elections.

Here, by the way, is a link to the all time big donors to Congressional races: http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?order=A . Interestingly, MOST of the top 20 are UNIONS not Corporations. Nevertheless, I assume you're in favor of eliminating special interest groups corrupting Congress no matter WHO they are, right? It makes no DIFFERENCE what their interest IS, if they have a case to make, then let them make that case to US, not in a back-room political deal in with money changing hands.

Regarding your argument about Government, I never said we shouldn't have Government. What I said was that it's not GOVERNMENT"S role to look over your shoulder and tell you whether you should or should not sign a mortgage. That's YOUR responsibility. Neither is it GOVERNMENT'S role to tell you that you've gone too far into debt on your VISA card (like most have). America ASSUMES you're enough of an adult to make those decisions. We give you the FREEDOM to MAKE MISTAKES. In ANY transaction, it is common for the seller to be VERY aggressive and try to sell you something you REALLY shouldn't buy. CAVEAT EMPTOR. Adults don't base their decision to buy based on what the SELLER says whether he be a guy on CraigsList selling a car or a banker selling a mortgage. It is in THIS regard that I said "Government is not your PARENT, Grow Up !"

Finally, since i pay $78,000 a year in taxes, I would say that from the perspective of this discussion, I AM pulling my weight. In fact, according to the census, I'm paying enough to support 1.5 median households above and beyond my own. If I were to use the mean rather than the median, I could claim I support even more. See http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032011/hhinc/new01_001.htm

[-] 1 points by Shazam (54) 8 years ago

I have no debt. Actually hurts me on my property tax which I get no mortgage deduction on. Neither a lender nor a borrower be. Trust me I pull my weight as well but I don't believe that the top 1% does and I don't believe large corporations do either.

Be that as it may I have been a hard worker AND lucky and my story is not the norm anymore. People go into debt for all kinds of reasons and healthcare is actually the number 1 reason. People will sign anything to save their children and family members.

[-] 1 points by Chromer (124) 8 years ago

So I guess 30% interest on a credit card is justified.

[-] 1 points by Chromer (124) 8 years ago

I agree with the bulk of what you are saying, but since coming back to the U.S., after spending almost 15 years overseas, I am finding too many con artists in the American market. Sure we are responsible for our own decisions, mistakes, etc., but I should not have to spend every waking moment trying to figure out who is a con and who is on the up and up. It's just too much. It's everywhere. Every time you turn around someone has their hands in your pocket. Cell phone bills, utility bills, the internet, repair shops, the list is endless, every fu...ing day some one is trying to nick you for that extra, .50 cents, $2, $5, $500. And it's never spelled out, but buried deep somewhere in the contract. It's just too much. That's why Americans are fed up. We are being nickle and dimed to death. Sure, the well informed, or wealthy may not have this problem, because you can bet your ass that most of the major companies are not going to screw with the upper class so to speak. But an average guy like me can't even get someone on the goddamn phone. I think it is wrong and should be made a crime to purposely discourage people from making a claim. This is how big business operates now. Make it so damn difficult to address a grievance, in the hopes that you will just give up. Companies have created a cottage industry out of this tactic. And it's wrong. They are making billions from this strategy and it mainly affects the poor and disadvantaged.

I personally am sick and tired of having to follow up on every bill I have. That is why once I am out of debt, which will be very soon, I am moving to a strictly cash existence. All these salesmen, bankers, you name it, can all kiss my ass. I am going to drive the two cars I have until the wheels fall off. The economy be damned as far as I am concerned.

I'm all for capitalism but the cons have taken over.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yes, but FEW should USE such a card !

If folks want to try and sell you a user car with a Kelly Blue Book value of $2000 for $10,000 they can. If you BUY it at that price, you MIGHT be making a mistake! In America, we assume folks are smart enough to make their own decisions. We give them the FREEDOM to MAKE MISTAKES. Why? Because something that looks REALLY STUPID to a Government "PARENT" may make perfect sense given the specific needs of the individual, so we leave him the FREEDOM to decide on his own.

Notice I said "FEW" should use that 30% card. Well, I happen to be a lender on Prosper.com, and sometimes folks have a GOOD REASON to borrow at that rate. I had one guy, for example, that was just in a short term bind. He needed to make a mortgage payment or he'd go into foreclosure. At the same time, he said he had a REALLY good job prospect lined up and was starting the next week. He seemed honest, so lent him the money at 35%. He paid me back in a week, and I made almost nothing (due to the short term of the loan) in exchange for risking my money on him.

Revisiting the car example, what if it happens to have a PERFECT set of bumpers that I need to finish my perfectly restored version of the same car, and I haven't been able to find them ANYWHERE ? Maybe $10,000 is a price I'm willing to pay. It depends on my values.

Both the above REASONABLE transactions would likely be banned if we tried to write a LAW governing pricing. If the Government said I couldn't charge that guy 35%, but only 15%, I wouldn't have lent him the money. I KNEW he was going to pay me back fast (if at all), and I was NOT going to get hardly ANY interest from him. Given his credit score, there's NO WAY I would have lent to him at 15%.

See what I mean? We give people the FREEDOM to make their decisions because there's no WAY to set prices on EVERYTHING without excluding some very reasonable transactions.

Freedom to make DECISIONS is also freedom to make MISTAKES, and a LOT of people made mistakes taking on mortgages they couldn't afford and piling on massive amounts of long-term debt on their credit cards. That's THEIR problem. We all KNOW not to listen to what the SELLER says when we buy something whether he be a guy on Craigslist selling a car or a banker selling a loan. Folks can't blame the salesman unless he-flat out LIED, and the Federal Truth in Lending Act paperwork that everyone one MUST sign to get a mortgage CLEARLY spells out what you're signing up to SPECIFICALLY to make sure you UNDERSTAND what you're signing up for.

Don't LIMIT MY FREEDOM because some people make MISTAKES. Also, please don't ask me to BAIL-OUT others for their personal MISTAKES; it was and is THEIR responsibility, not mine, OR the Government's !

[-] 1 points by SovereignFreedom (35) 8 years ago

Wages are falling and $ are worth less than they used too. We are facing stagnation and even worse. the bankers told us, get the house now, in a few years you will be earning more, so the payment will be smaller. Well, in 1981 I was earning $12.00 hr plus benefits. Not a bad living. but now that same job pays about 10$ per hour. That is because of the Federal Reserve exploiting capital to their benefit

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Freedom to make DECISIONS is also freedom to make MISTAKES, and a LOT of people made mistakes taking on mortgages they couldn't afford and piling on massive amounts of long-term debt on their credit cards. We all KNOW not to listen to what the SELLER says when we buy something whether he be a guy on Craigslist selling a car or a banker selling a loan. Folks can't blame the salesman unless he-flat out LIED, and the Federal Truth in Lending Act paperwork that everyone one MUST sign to get a mortgage CLEARLY spells out what you're signing up to SPECIFICALLY to make sure you UNDERSTAND what you're signing up for.

The Federal Reserve, by the way, does not set wages and had absolutely NOTHING to do with your pay cut. If anything, all the money the Federal Reserve has been printing in order to try and CREATE some inflation (which has REALLY pissed off a lot of folks in OWS) for the benefit of those in debt would have INCREASED your pay. In NO CASE would anything the Federal Reserve done have caused your pay to DECREASE. MY income went up since 1981, and the census says most did. How does your theory explain that? You CLEARLY don't understand what the Federal Reserve does, and they're not the "boogeyman" responsible for your mistake.

The BANK took a risk on you by loaning you money. You we're THINKING your income might go up, but it went down. You gambled, you lost. I'm sorry for you, but don't try and make the Bank, the Federal Reserve, or the Government responsible for your decision. Man up and OWN it dude.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

the bank could be handled by a much smaller population these days

what with computers

that population deserves a living wage

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

And what of the investor that BUYS all the computers ? Should HE get some Return on Investment as well ?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

I wasn't suggesting bankers get a return on investments

[-] 1 points by SovereignFreedom (35) 8 years ago

RICO, you are terribly mis-informed. The Bank's don't loan anything, they get a "credit" from the Federal Reserve and then debit the account when you sign the Promissory Note. It is all "smoke and mirrors. we were also told Real Estate always goes up in value. Now the bubble has burst. The FR has caused pay to go down, by deflating dollars by printing them with nothing to back them up. The BANK has NO RISK. They get their funding from the promissory note, and then they are paid many times over in interest. I have manned up, I am tired of it. Whether this stays peaceful or turns into a full fledged revolt is OK by me

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Again, you CLEARLY don't UNDERSTAND the Federal Reserve, so it's NO WONDER it looks like "smoke and mirrors" to you !

You don't even have the most simple concepts correct. When the Federal Reserve prints more dollars it tends to drive INFLATION; each dollar is now worth LESS than before, and prices/wages tend to INCREASE to compensate. When the Federal Reserve pulls dollars back out of circulation, it tends to cause DEFLATION; each dollar is worth more, and prices/wages tend to fall to compensate. You don't have to be a genius to figure out this relation, you just need to use your BRAIN and THINK.

"They" told you real-estate always goes up and you LISTENED to them? Worse yet, you made major DECISIONS based on that ? It's no wonder you made a MISTAKE. Did you do ANY research at ALL into that claim? I just took 10 seconds to Google historical home prices and found a chart at http://www.jparsons.net/housingbubble/ showing that housing prices fell in the mid 70's, the mid 80's, and mid 90's !

Even if your house HAD increased in value, it would have ZERO impact on your current situation UNLESS you were one of those who INTENTIONALLY over-reached and signed a low down payment Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) to "get in" HOPING you could REFINANCE later... even MORE stupid.

You might want to consult a friend, a parent, or a sibling when you are facing a major financial decision. Your PARENTS would have been the best ones to consult as they usually have more experience with big financial decisions than friends and siblings. At a MINIMUM, you should RESEARCH things and not buy based on what people tell you, ESPECIALLY not the guy doing the SELLING !

[-] 1 points by SovereignFreedom (35) 8 years ago

RICO, I am sure you are a good guy. Are you saying US is on the right track? I don't think so. I talk to folks everyday that are struggling to make ends meet. poverty is increasing, 49 mil no Health Insurance. I have to go work now, nice talking to you. God Bless

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree we have problems to fix, but we will do MORE HARM than GOOD if folks can't honestly accept the role of INDIVIDUAL AMERICANS (i.e. US) in signing mortgages they can't afford, going to far into debt on their VISA, and exporting our jobs by buying Chinese products with abandon. A LARGE PART of the problem was US, and folks who INSIST on blaming others are going to do this movement AND the Nation great HARM.

I support UNCONDITIONALLY the people here who want MONEY out of POLITICS. I hope they HOLD that position even after they learn that the LARGEST contributions are by UNIONS to DEMOCRATS not corporations to Republicans (see http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php). In my opinion, it MAKES NO DIFFERENCE what a special interest is advocating, NONE of them should be able to buy influence in Congress, and that INCLUDES unions. If they have a case to make, let them make it to US ! I also, by the way, support a Federal Election Fund that pays for ALL political campaigns so we can BAN all OTHER sources of money that plays a role in politics as well.

I AGREE with some in here who pointed out that the big multi-national corporations are playing the countries off each other. I agree the world's countries should probably formulate some GLOBAL regulations to prevent this.

We do NEED to fix some problems, but we need to fix the RIGHT problems based on UNDERSTANDING and RATIONAL THOUGHT rather than unsubstantiated opinion and a witch-hunt mentality.

[-] 1 points by NintyNiner (93) 8 years ago

It takes two to screw us! Politicians to hold us down, so then the Corporations can do the screwing!!! Politicians need better rules to follow to prevent lobbying! We tax payers should fund important elections, so the best person wins and not the one with the most money!!! The movement needs at least these demands!!!!!!!!!!! Pass The Word!!! Lets Get It Together!!!

[-] 1 points by poltergist22 (159) 8 years ago

Bingo!!! I also don't agree with this "Get the Rich" attitude.....Unless they became rich illegally

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 8 years ago

Rico, I get the impression you are focused on fear of what this is...

I suggest, sit back... rethink and look at http://nycga.cc/2011/09/30/declaration-of-the-occupation-of-new-york-city/

and think some more ;)

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You need to read my posts. I've been on here a long time. If I had to write my original post again, it wouldn't have the same tone. I'm not completely won over (it's hard to commit when the movement hasn't yet selected is laser sharp focal point), but I have heard a lot of good ideas her, and have a lot more respect for folks are doing. There ARE a good number of uninformed people and some outright Haters, but there are ALSO some fine people who make strong points. I support those people and hope they emerge as your leaders. I also hope y'all can silence the haters (just for giggles, read through some of the posts I got from them and replace whatever name they use for the wealth with "Jew" or "Black" and you'll see what I mean... it's scary, but I know it's not "OWS," it's the jerks).

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 8 years ago

:) just educate them :)

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

You say you don't benefit from government? That goes beyond the pale in self delusion. If you are part of this society, you use and benefit services from the government even if you don't use a social relief program.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Hello Faithntruth !

I didn't say I don't get any services from government, I said I get no MORE services than anyone else, and probably less, yet I pay substantially more.

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

First let me say I so appreciate the civility of your discourse, and second let me apologize for my error. You do not state what your occupation is or your wife's so I that leaves me with only supposition about how your endeavors might have put more demand on our infrastructure than my own. Feel like sharing? Don't blame you if you do not...

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I'm in Engineering, and my wife is in Health Care.

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

Most engineering is for large corporations that deal with international trade. This requires compliance and review regarding patents, trade, and protected technology. Your job may have directly impacted these resources of the government, although engineering is very broad, so it is still hard to converse with any degree of accuracy. Healthcare is often paid right from the government. Therefore, a healthcare job is in part a direct demand from our system.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Faith,

I acknowledge I receive benefits. Do I however, receive MORE benefits than the alleged 40 some % of folks who pay no taxes at all? I'm paying $78,000 for what they get for free. I don;t think we should pay the SAME, but shouldn't there be a LITTLE more equity?

In addition, how will we run a Democracy in which a majority can rule when we're getting close to having a majority that pay no taxes at all !? EVERYONE should have at least a LITTLE vested interest don't you think?

England found this in their health care system years ago... they were suffering from overload at all the doctors offices from people with trivial complaints. They put the equivalent of a $10 office visit change in place, and the problem immediately self-corrected. For only $10, folks were willing to reconsider whether they really needed to go to the doctor, and most of them discovered they were fine with no treatment in a day or two.

As it stands in our Nation today, we have a frightfully large number of people who can support ALL new Government benefit programs because it doesn't cost them even 1 penny. How about we make it so ANYONE who is working has to pay the same PERCENTAGE of their income in taxes. By everyone, I mean the rich, me, EVERYONE INCLUDING the Corporations (legally a "person"). No deductions, no loopholes, nothing. Everyone pays. If we do that, we'll find the percentage can be set pretty low, the poor won't be paying much at all, and we can all relax knowing we have received "Equal Protection Under the Law."

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

If you made little enough money to not pay taxes, believe me, you deserve to get that break. Try living on minimum wage sometime...it is not doable. Not if you have a problem with living with drug trafficking, prostitution, and murders around your kids. Try renting in a decent neighborhood and just meeting your bills for food, water, rent, electricity, garbage collection. Now add on a crap car, insurance, and gas to get to work. Is this who you are comparing yourself to? Believe me, I know poor people and they work harder than anyone I know... If they had time or money to go to school, they might be better off, but those degrees are not doing much for people these days. They live hand to mouth...one crisis is all it takes to wipe them out. Wait until you, or your kids or your wife, get that pink slip through no fault of your own...watch everything you worked for slip away from you. I am all for a flat tax, but find it reprehensible to consider placing that demand on anyone earning less than $20,000 a year to make someone else wealthy, because that is what it amounts to. And anyone with a child it goes up.

How about focusing on the corporations instead of people who can barely afford food? Walmart, for example avoids paying taxes by the hundreds of millions of dollars by contesting them. They do this because they earn more on the interest from that money than they pay out in penalties for not paying.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Fair enough. Can we, however, somehow LIMIT the percentage of population that pays no takes somewhere down around 30%?

PS. Do you know FaithnHope? LOL !

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

That would depend on the success of this movement I think...with two new free trade deals about to pass, I'd say were all headed to economic ruin fast as you can say Columbia.

Charity is just a way to acknowledge the fates for ones good fortune... Think of how many things have to go the right way for any person to claim the title of "self-made". It first requires a successful cloning.... Fairness is an ethical choice. Hope is Faith's daughter, and I know them both well, life without them is bleak...

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I'm not arguing against charity, I'm arguing about the Government imposing it through the tax system.

If, for example, the anti-abortion nuts get to ban federal funding for abortion or stem cell work, then why can't I object to giving increasing amounts of money to people who are permanent welfare cases, who have become comfortable with their stipend, and make no effort to get off the dole? This is certainly not EVERYBODY, but we HAVE created a pretty substantial welfare class in this country and I personally don't want to keep feeding it.

I'm not objecting to paying "my fair share" of anything BUT this permanent welfare class we've created with our misguided "charity."

I could go on and on about Hope and Faith (I have both of them with me here now), but I don't want to get involved in discussions of them right now ;o)

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

The majority of people on welfare are doing it because it is a prerequisite to Medicare. All those lovely min wage, temp, and part time jobs don't pay enough to survive, and don't provide benefits, and specifically health insurance.. Separating healthcare from welfare would enable many people to get off welfare. I am not stupid, and know that people game the system, yet they are fewer than you might suppose, and changes to welfare have made it more difficult.

I see you don't have much to say about corporate welfare and how they game the system...I would bet that money far exceeds the charity you find so offensive.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

At the top of the thread, I advocate taxing corporations at the same flat rate as individuals with ZERO deductions and ZERO exceptions.

I WOULD by the way, support some form of rationale health care, but we never even talked about WHAT we would cover and what we would NOT cover, etc during the "Big National Debate," we just discussed whether Government should get into it. I think Chile had a pretty rationale approach to the problem.

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

Yes, but all your responses here are on the poor...

Turkey has a mixed social private medical system. No medical student leaves school with debt from tuition and they get a living allowance. Every person can go to the doctor. Prescriptions are not required for most medications. There are many models on how to do this better... But the insurance industry has too much profit to lose! Answer this: if healthcare is so expensive that we can't afford to nationalize it, why are insurance companies making a profit? Why a business stay in an area in which there was no profit to be had?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree. This goes back to that list of the largest political donors I posted. We need to stop all these special interests, whether they be Corporations, rich people, or Unions from using money to advocate their special interests.

Yes, there ARE many models, so why on earth didn't we have a rationale discussion of what has and what hasn't worked around the world? This is a key area where we're not the first, and we don't need to start from zero. I expected to see a "Presidential Review of National Health Care: What Works and What Doesn't" report sometime along the way, but we never even discussed any of it. Are we arrogant?

[-] 1 points by Faithntruth (997) 8 years ago

That is so beside the point: it has nothing to do with the manipulation from the insurance copanies and chamber of commerce. We agree interference in government has to be stopped. That's a good note to end on...gotta go.

[-] 1 points by bootsy3000 (180) 8 years ago

New Poster here. Before I was laid off 3 years ago, I made about 85K and paid about 35K, that's about half of what you pay. I also have a child. I also have a 20 year history of working 60 hour weeks. I have a graduate degree in my technical field, and I was a scholarship student in college. After 3 years of odd jobs I just got part-time gig in my field that pays about 20K a year. My IRA is shot, my savings is dead. My field is dead. My health care and my heat and my food---all necessities---chew up a bigger percentage of my budget than yours. And I am happy to pay my taxes for people who have it less fortunate than me, and there are a lot of them. EVERYONE works hard. It's whose suffering the most.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Bootsy,

I admire you for your sense of charity, but should charity be ENFORCED by the Government? In addition, study after study after study has shown that, if you REALLY want to help people, you're better off giving to private charities than the Government. My wife works at one. I am less charitable than her.

[-] 1 points by bootsy3000 (180) 8 years ago

I'm not being charitable. I"m being 1. practical and 2. equitable. I've had greater opportunity than many, and I've benefitted from my very good public school education (not so universally available today as when I was a student); well-inspected and safe food and water and air; workable roads and transportation; my un-war-ravaged homeland. My taxes pay for all these things, and because I am in a social contract, I have responsibilities to my fellow citizens in addition to my rights. If you don't want to benefit from the shared resources and rights we have, go live off the grid and don't pay taxes; opt out of the social contract. Or find a different one by emigrating elsewhere.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Per http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html ,over the period from 2005 to 2009....

66.9% of homes are owner-occupied with a median value of $185,000

84.6% of us graduated from high school (note I did NOT graduate from HS)

The median income for a household of 2.6 persons was $50,000

So you see, we're not really as bad off as you seem to think, and my taxes are equivalent to my supporting 1.5 households above and beyond my own.

How much is "fair" and "equitable" ?

[-] 1 points by bootsy3000 (180) 8 years ago

My point is not that we're so bad off (though many of us are) the point is that it's declining. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our education is failing. Our environment is become more fragile and polluted. Tax money will fix that, instead of the privatization of these things. In a time of great hardship, the equitable thing to do is to tax the people who will suffer the least the most. It is the most sensible insofar as it will lead to a more stable and spendy population, it is the most ethical, and it is the most American.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Karl Marx, "Critique of the Gotha Program," 1875: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

I doubt many would agree this is "the most American." Even the people who once believed it finally admitted it doesn't work and gave it up. Their Grand Experiment failed.

[-] 1 points by bootsy3000 (180) 8 years ago

That's something of a unfounded leap, don't you think? I'm talking about a few-point correction in the tax code to address major changes that have not seemed to pan out so well over the last 30 years, and you imply I'm a Communist? I'm unpersuaded by your analogy, basically because I find it specious.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You didn't say "a few points" you said "In a time of great hardship, the equitable thing to do is to tax the people who will suffer the least the most." You have to admit it DOES sound a bit Marxist when the "few points" modifier is missing !

I think we're done on this thread. We agree to disagree, though it's more a matter of degree than anything else (you never did give me a dollar figure for what you feel my "fair and equitable" taxes should be).

[-] 1 points by bootsy3000 (180) 8 years ago

What is your HHI? Your assets? Your deductions? etc. Impossible for me to know unless I have more info.

[-] 1 points by Chupacabra (55) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

"Business gave us what we asked for."

Bullshit - business capitalized on cheap labor to increase their profit margins.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

But it wouldn't work if we consumers actually looked at those little "Made in_" tags and factored that into our buying decisions instead of ALWAYS selecting based on lowest cost alone. There ARE hidden costs to buying foreign goods in excess, and we're paying some of those costs right now.

[-] 2 points by Chupacabra (55) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

"ALWAYS selecting based on cost alone" = strawman, generalization.

When Walmart plops it's big ass in your small town and kills the little businesses who cannot compete with it's distribution centers and bulk overseas purchasing power utilizing sweatshop labor, whilst maintaining generously funded Washington lobbyists who work to restrict tariff protections, obtain subsidies and lobby for votes against worker protection, what real choice do these communities have?

When real wages have stagnated for the last 30 years and jobs have become scarce even to college educated adults necessitating the bullshit existence of working 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs, choice in shitty clothing is one of the last things on the radar.

The situation we find ourselves in today has been 30 years in the making. I, for one, am proud of all of us who are protesting and questioning the status quo.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

But people DON'T have to shop at Wallmart, or are you saying they're mindless shopping zombies who can't control their own decisions any more ?

Agreed the problems have been long in the making.

Agreed there are some good folks trying to do good things here.

[-] 1 points by Chupacabra (55) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

Not mindless zombies, only too tired to drive to a major city to deliberately seek out a store with American made goods.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 8 years ago

Grow up? Useless comment I will ignore, but it does show the level of discourse you are looking for. I am happy you have done so well for your self,. however times have changed.

The economic sham we see now is not caused of "people signing mortgages they could not afford",. it is partly due to the Clinton/Bush deregulating of the banking system, and partly due to the economic system being a pyramid scam. The first tenant of capitalism is growth,. and not just growth, but endless growth! We can not have endless growth on a finite planet,. little things like logic, physics, and thermodynamics kinda get in the way of the whole endless growth myth. The economy has been running on a system of bubble creation, bubble popping and plunder. (tech./internet, housing) obviously this is not sustainable. It is not a simple matter of people not working hard, or wanting handouts,. it is a fundamental failing of the capitalist system,. Yeah the banks may have paid back some of the money they extorted by putting a gun to the heads of the people,. "bail us out or we crash your economy" ,. however they where given vast sums of money at zero or even less than zero interest,. how you don't see this a straight up theft, is amazing to me because that is what it is. Give me 100 million at zero percent and I can invest it pay you back,. and keep the millions in profits with absolutely no risk on those loans.

I don't know who told many hard working people on the right that the rest of us are just lazy,. but if you believe this you are not paying attention. There has been a fundamental shift in the economy and we are dealing with the changes,. We see that 1% have hijacked our democracy and are manipulating to get more for themselves because no one ever tough them the meaning of enough. Remember when you take something you take it away from everyone else. It is a finite planet.

[-] 1 points by jmcdarcy (158) 8 years ago

Here here! Well said INDEED!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Good post ! Thanks ! I too worry that we are pursuing an economic model that cannot be sustained. I saw a great documentary on PBS not long ago that said, "the problem is that everyone wants to be American." I didn't get it at first, but then they went on to say that all the affluent people in the world (China, India, etc) are all starting to adopt OUR lifestyle with all its excessive consumption of resources. Apparently this little planet of ours was barely surviving US, and now there's a zillion more people who want to live the same way !

[-] 1 points by jmcdarcy (158) 8 years ago

Yeah dude, I live in Taiwan right now and I swear they're more American than we are! They are SO entrepreneurial...although to be fair, I am in the capitol city.

[-] 1 points by bogusanger7 (83) 8 years ago

"Business and the wealthy create jobs by giving you what you ask for, and its not "THEIR" fault".

Really? Is that what Monsanto has done for the individual farmers?? As well as all the other corporate entities that control OUR FOOD SUPPLY, clothing, health, hygiene, etc.??? We used to grow our own food, feed our families, clothe them and keep them healthy. CORPORATE AMERICA stepped in and annihilated the individual and independent system without giving back....Now, you all act surprised because everyone is tired of the dumb shit???? Get your head out of the sand and then you will GROW UP!!!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

This is a lot like the "Costco Box Stores Killed the Mom and Pop Stores" argument. While there's some truth to these type arguments, nobody killed anybody until we decided to stop buying from the Mom and Pop store or Individual Farmer and let the other guy have all our business. Except for some special cases (like utilities) WE decide which businesses prosper.

[-] 1 points by bogusanger7 (83) 8 years ago

Mom and Pop stores??? I am talking about farmland where individuals went and sold their goods to one another, fed the communities and lead hard, very hard working lives. Do you ever visit Amish country? They have nothing to do with CORPORATE AMERICA!!!! Also, there are plenty MOM and POP stores that still exist in many neighborhoods, where do you live....Beverly Hills? I am referring to big companies that politicians and banks gave favoritism to HELP cut individuals out of the farming industry in order to control YOUR food supply. Why must corporations have control over everything....are they our GODS now??? Who said anything about killing....is that your ID referring to what WALL STREET has done to the average homeowners, workers, and individuals who have serviced you and yours when you had issues? Trust me my friend, you can deny all you want, but you, along with many others, are not going to maintain the same type of false pleasurable lifestyle in the long run. The world economic situation is doomed....so stop being a baby about what is taking place here....it is only going to get worse, not better. We have been trained to be puppets to work for the BIG GUYS (also a false position they have) and forgot about self-sustaining life fulfilling energy and productivity. A nation of consumers will easily fall because the ability to do anything else has been destroyed by an ORACLE MYTH----Wall Street!!!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

To the extent ANY corporation, union, or ANY organization is able to use their money to influence the Government in a favorable way, I am opposed. I support FEDERALLY funded elections with ZERO donations from ANYONE. Once in OFFICE, I say ZERO money. They get their salary. This is one aspect of change I keep seeing folks advocate here, and it's one I wholeheartedly support. If some special interest has a case they'd like to make, then they can make it to US, not in some back-room political deal.

[-] 1 points by 666isMONEY (348) 8 years ago

Rico, U really have a good understanding about our financial situation. As U know, fiat currencies don't last very long, gold standard wouldn't work today.

The way I see it is, with peak oil, global warming (flooding the coastlines, displacing millions of ppl), geometric world population growth and the funny-money -- Babylon is falling.

America has very BAD karma and deserves to fall.

With modern machinery & abundance, money is unnecessary. Many famous/wise people believed in eliminating money: http://666ismoney.com/MoneyQuotes.html

I don't see any chance of abolishing money happening -- a spiritually evolved society will not need money. After Babylon falls, ppl will realize that.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

America has bad Karma? For what? In historical terms, we have been perhaps the benevolent super-power the world has ever seen ! We help spark the Democratic revolution in France, we first defeated the Nazi's and Japanese, then went back and rebuilt them, we fought to defend Muslims from Christian oppression in Kosovo, we've managed to free Eastern Europe from the Soviets without having the "big war", we've given the world the Internet and GPS free of charge, we created the television, the computer, the smart phone, etc. We've made mistakes, but on balance, we've been a positive contributor to world, don't you think?

As for money, I'm always amazed how fixated people are with the little tokens we use to facilitate the exchange of the goos and services we produce as individuals for those produced by others. That's all money is, a token, and it serves to facilitate exchange of value; If I want some milk but want some wheat, I don't need to fins someone who has wheat AND has milk, I need only "sell" my milk, and "buy" the wheat. As long as people want to trade what they have for what they want, there will be a token. We can call it whatever you like.

[-] 1 points by geminijlw (176) from Mechanicsburg, PA 8 years ago

Government works for the 1%, you cannot argue with that. Maybe you do not receive any benefit, but that is the facts. Look at today, 75% of Americans, 89% Dems, 59% Reps, and 55% Tea Party want taxes raised on the top 1%, WashingtonPost/ABC Poll just yesterday. They will not be raised, even though a majority want it. The wealthy will win out, because government does not represent the majority, they represent a few, who happen to hold all the wealth.

[-] 1 points by geminijlw (176) from Mechanicsburg, PA 8 years ago

Government works for the 1%, you cannot argue with that. Maybe you do not receive any benefit, but that is the facts. Look at today, 75% of Americans, 89% Dems, 59% Reps, and 55% Tea Party want taxes raised on the top 1%, WashingtonPost/ABC Poll just yesterday. They will not be raised, even though a majority want it. The wealthy will win out, because government does not represent the majority, they represent a few, who happen to hold all the wealth.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

OR, Plato was right, and we're lucky to have people who can prevent the heated passions of the masses from destroying the state.

Where exactly do people think Millionaires go when they start to feel persecuted ? Once they leave, who is it exactly that people think will be starting the new businesses we need to put folks back to work? That takes people with money, and they can do it as well in Brazil as here.

That poll scares me, by the way. The first figure was around $300K. That number didn't poll well, so now they found a number that does poll well and everyone's happy EXCEPT for the poor folks who are the VICTIMS of a TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY. Maybe we should also band together and make them move to Ghettos or something. It's our right ! We are, after all, the MAJORITY !

[-] 1 points by geminijlw (176) from Mechanicsburg, PA 8 years ago

Are you saying all the wealthy are jobs producers? I am thinking that those wealthy already have homes in other countries. I am thinking that the poll that was taken are the same numbers that have been popping up for the last month, at least the 70% that are ending the tax cuts for the top 1%. So don't be scared, just understand that 70% of Americans polled don't agree with you. Our government is geared to cater to the wealthy, and ignore the 99%, period.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I think the plan is to end the "Bush-Era" tax cuts for EVERYONE then RAISE taxes on folks over $1M. Am I right ?

[-] 1 points by pissedoffconstructionworker (602) 8 years ago

Oh come on you big baby.

We didn't come for your poor hardworking upper middle class ass.

Are you a billionaire libertarian, or a crooked Congressman, or a scumbag lobbyist?

If not, then relax. We're occupying for you, too.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I try to worry as much about the rights of my fellow man as I worry about my own, lest they cometh next for me.

Leave the billionaire Libertarian alone. It his money. Prosecute crooked Congressman or at least stop reelecting them Stop the lobbyists if you can do it without trampling all over the Constitution.

[-] 1 points by pissedoffconstructionworker (602) 8 years ago

I'll leave him alone when he leaves me alone.

I didn't start this war.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

So this IS Class Warfare ?

[-] 2 points by pissedoffconstructionworker (602) 8 years ago

They only call it "class warfare" when we fight back.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

So I take it the Libertarian Millionaire done you wrong? What exactly did he do to start the war ?

[-] 1 points by zowhatian (31) 8 years ago

He took a disproportionate share of the wealth created since 1980.

Productivity has increased continuously; see last graph here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/01/a_graph_im_trying_to_understan.html

Unfortunately, middle class incomes didn't keep their share of it. See the same graph as above, also the "Winners Take All" section here: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

Did he do it personally, on purpose? Probably not, not at the individual level. But regardless of how it happened, it's happened: the 1% are getting the gains (income) that the 99% are creating (productivity). That's class warfare.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Zowhatian,

Thanks for actually linking to some data ! Now let me comment...

First, notice on the Mother Jones chart titled "Average Household Income" that while the rich are indeed getting richer, they are not doing so at the expense of others as their income is flat or even growing a bit. This is called "creation of wealth." It only looks bad when we look at the chart next to this one where we see "Hey ! but they're getting a larger SHARE of the wealth ! " Perhaps, but that's because they CREATED wealth. They didn't TAKE it from anyone.

Second, on Ezra Klein's chart titled "Income Gains Since 1947" notice that income of the rich grew less quickly than that of the middle class. Should they have been lobbying to "fix" this "problem" like folks argue today now that the tables are turned?

Finally, In Ezra Klein's last chart on Productivity, do you see how the rate of productivity starts separating from pay right around 1983 or so? Now this LOOKS like folks are working harder and not getting paid as much, but that's not how one gets a constant increase in productivity (there's a limit to how hard folks can work). Rather, we need to make capital investments to keep pushing productivity higher. It's no mystery that the curves start separating right at the start of the computer and robotic assembly revolution.

The rich are not getting rich at our expense, they're CREATING wealth via capital investment in robotic assembly and computers. The work done by these machines allows them to significantly raise output per worker, aka "productivity."

If you look elsewhere in the comments to this post, you'll find a discussion of the alarming rate at computers and robotics are displacing human workers. THAT'S the real problem... we're losing all the old "blue collar" and "middle class" jobs to machines. The rich, who buy this "slave labor" and put it to work get to keep the wealth they've created by their investment while people with relatively low skill levels are displaced from jobs.

This trend worries me. We're in the midst of a socio-economic paradigm shift due to the displacement of people by machines, and it's not clear where it will end.

[-] 2 points by zowhatian (31) 8 years ago

It betrays not rationality but political and economic ideology to think that the wealth was created by the 1%.

The employees of a business share in creating the value and the wealth. In the trend of automation that you identify, the employees actually created the wealth that enabled the purchase of machines to replace them. They worked for their own obsolescence.

It's not a 1-to-1 even share of wealth creation; I won't argue such an inane point—the McDonald's burger flipper obviously does not create the same value that the manager does, or the CEO does. I might however argue that the burger flipper creates more value than the average common stockholder does.

There are two very important things to keep in mind here. First, the employee creates more wealth than they're paid—or they wouldn't be hired at all. Second, it does not logically follow that they're getting their fair share of the value they create solely because they accept the job.

Do entrepreneurs that create value deserve to get rich? Yes. Do people with rare skill sets or exceptional talent deserve to make more? Yes. Should some of the value created by the bottom of the pyramid compensate those who took the risks, both capital and otherwise, to set it up in the first place? Yes.

But: Should all of those "Yes"s be so vehement and loud as to skew compensation so far that for the last 30 years the bottom 80% of wage earners' incomes have stagnated while the top 1% has risen nearly 400%?

No. No, no, no.

Exactly like the intention of the patent system and copyright law to provide temporary monopolies, there is a limit—based in fairness or in common sense or in grace or in a simple understanding that the workers are an essential part of the engines of value creation—there is a limit on how much of the wealth founder's rights or capital's rights entitle you to.

The argument is simple: the 1% have gone past that limit, and used the capital created to continue to alter the system in their favor.

Wealth creation is a good thing. But instead of only worrying about automation, consider also: What is the end state of a system where the cycle of capital ever further concentrates the wealth it was used to create? Used, I add, in tandem with the workforce.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You're arguing your point well, and I respect that.

What would you propose to do about this? Somehow cap compensation? How would you fix the problems you see without trampling all over the Constitution ?

If I can somehow manage to get folks to pay me a zillion dollars because they think that's what I'm WORTH, would a Federal Office of Fair Wages step in and change the agreement?

For the sake of discussion, I'll grant the problem you describe may be real, but what do you DO about it ?

[-] 1 points by zowhatian (31) 8 years ago

Just like there is a market for goods and services, there is a market for labor—and this problem will have a labor-market based solution. What to do about it is create better companies, namely employee owned companies and co-operatives.

A 100% employee owned company could be wonderful, but such an extreme isn't necessary to even it out. Even 30% employee owned reequalizes wealth distribution, both directly through the 30% ownership as well as indirectly through having a significant voice in company affairs (shareholders meetings, seat on board, etc).

As more and more people see the benefits of employee owned companies (research shows higher productivity, greater employee happiness, as well as a healthier-for-society wealth distribution as we're discussing), more people will start them and more companies will transition to them. Now there's a marketplace! Now workers of all skillsets will have a real choice of where to work. And, with education, they'll flock to the fairer companies.

What's the government's role? Certainly not caps and Constitution trampling and czars etc like you hypothesized. Instead, it's the same as always: to steer the market toward this place.

We already have exceptionally high subsidies for certain markets both directly (industrial agriculture) and indirectly our tax code (rates, deductions, etc). Tweaking these can create a more fertile environment for more fair companies.


Edited to add: Excellent books on this subject are "Small Giants: Companies that choose to be great instead of big" and "Let My People Go Surfing".

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Giants-Companies-Choose-Instead/dp/1591841496

http://www.amazon.com/Let-People-Surfing-Education-Businessman/dp/0143037838

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Interesting thoughts. May be give big Tax credits for Employee Stock Ownership Plans to start the transition? I should note by the way, that some companies used to provide "only" their own stock in their 401Ks, and the Government banned that (probably for good reason). It's probably more complex than I'm imagining.

[-] 1 points by dantes44 (431) from Alexandria, VA 8 years ago

Of course it is. What has the billionaire Libertarian ever done to him? Except maybe provide employment.

[-] 1 points by aswewalk (104) 8 years ago

Actually it's US my friend. You have a narrow and divisive view of the world. Here is a different view, the view that will set you and all of us free. You have the power to wake up. http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-we-win-one-perspective-on-where-we-go-from-her/

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8702) 8 years ago

crap

[-] 1 points by WorldFreedom (62) 8 years ago

Rico

The government, in collusion with the banks, has engineered this whole situation, includng encouraging US business to move abroad, outsource, and imporation of cheap goods from slave labor in China.

They do not intend to save the global financial system.

As for TARP - the $700 billion may or may not have been repaind, but the banks actually received $6.5 trillion - where did that come from and where did it go?

A recent Freedom of Information demand by Reuters showed that $2.1 Trillion went to foreign banks alone.

Don't believe what they tell you - do your research and look at the facts.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

World,

Why exactly would "The Government" want to do everything you say, and how on EARTH did they coerce us into going to the store and buying Chinese goods ?

TARP is a Treasury program authorized to expend no more then $700 Billion. We have yet to spend that amount, and it's unlikely we will since repayments are coming faster than Secretary Geithner can push it back out into things like mortgage relief. Your $6.5 trillion figure is most definitely not "TARP."

The foreign bank figures, and perhaps your $6.5 trillion number MAY relate to the Federal Reserve's guarantee program under which they bought securities held by a number of banks, some foreign, so they would have cash on hand to prevent runs without having to dump their securities on the already stressed market. I think Chairman Bernake actually testified to that effect before Congress not long ago.

Whenever we're talking about the Federal Reserve, we're going to find a lot of smoke and mirrors. They are authorized to manage their own books, and there's no arguing they're often secretive about what they're doing... when your job is to stop panic, you can't very well tell folks who your helping or they'll assume the bank being helped is weak and will run it. It's the nature of the game, but it does inspire all sorts of conspiracy theories when such powerful forces act in secret.

The Federal Reserve's balance sheet IS public information. I've seen it somewhere. As I recall, there are zillions of dollars of assets being held, including some foreign
securities. None of these assets were bought using TAX PAYER FUNDS (authorized by Congress). It's pretty normal for them to buy securities, hold them, then resell them as they work to expand, contract, and/or stabilize our currency. Given all the "Quantitative Easing," I be they're sitting on a ton of Treasuries right now, but they'll sell continue to sell them off as required to hold rates where they want them. At present, it seems no matter how hard we try, we can't push the dollar down in value... there's so much fear, everyone keeps running to it for safety.

Anyway, I certainly can't claim to know everything the Federal Reserve is doing. Heck, even Congress has a hard time penetrating their veil of secrecy. It is the nature of what they do. Maybe the CIA knows ? ;o)

[-] 1 points by WorldFreedom (62) 8 years ago

Who printed the $700billion to give to the government - The Fed.

That, on top of the at least $6 trillion more has dramatically increased inflation and destroyed the lives of millions of people - and for what?

To make good their Wall Street cronies and paymasters who lost trillions gambling fake derivatives.

And, who do you think really got these Trillions?

The personal bank accounts of the banksters.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The Government raises it's operating capital via taxes and through sales of Treasuries on the open market. The Fed is one of many buyers of Treasuries, but not the only one, and not the largest one.

Granted, we've been trying to inflate the currency, and neither China nor Germany are too happy about it. The strong dollar you want makes it costly to pay off debt, and we're ALL in debt up to our ears. The strong dollar also makes our exports look very expensive to other folks and makes their products look cheap. The weak dollar does the opposite, we're reducing the value of all that debt we owe by print money and putting it to circulation while simultaneously making our exports look cheap to all those people we gave our money too over the years.

Ironically, we're seeing the emergence of a populist movement that's advocating a tight monetary policy. Historically, the general population wants a loose money policy to ease their debt burden, and that's what we have right now. Unfortunately, since were the world's reserve currency every runs to the dollar when they get scared, so it's value is staying up there no matter how hard we try to push it down !

Finally, a thought experiment for you... say you're the bankster and you have all those trillions. What exactly do you do with them other than spend or invest them? Doesn't either act result in jobs?

[-] 1 points by karai2 (154) 8 years ago

It hasn't so far. Are they waiting around to see if their taxes are going to go up 3%.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Well you gotta remember, there are sooooo few products left to buy that will actually create an American job these days ! They probably still buy big houses, but there are so many of those empty these days, there's no need to build one, so there's no jobs there. They certainly don't drive Fords, Chryslers, or Chevy's so we're out of luck there. Sheesh, what DO we make that rich people buy? Maybe we better hope they go out for dinner three times a day and take all their friends with them !

[-] 1 points by brokeandstarving (62) 8 years ago

Sir, These kids on Wall Street sound like the exact generation that you came from. When the protests of the 60's raged on, the 20 somethings only wanted answers, they wanted someone to explain things, they wanted change. This situation is no different except that now you are the establishment and these kids are you 40 yrs ago.....history repeats itself....no one wants anything for free, just answers to questions and for people to take resposibility

[-] 1 points by aswewalk (104) 8 years ago

For all of you who who think this movement is going nowhere, think again. There is a reason we don't have an official list of demands http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-we-win-one-perspective-on-where-we-go-from-her/

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

While the bailouts have had sufficient "return" in that they have been paid back in full plus interest, those gains have been concentrated in the hands of corporate leadership (88% of growth in 2010 was corporate capital gains, only 1% of growth was wages for workers) and have not created this Keynesian-touted reduction of unemployment by "trickle down". Instead, corporate leaders are refusing to spend heavily in an increasingly frightening and unstable economic environment. As brilliant as the trickle down effect may sound, it fails to apply to the unpredictable behavior of humans in an imminent crisis situation.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Your logic seems a bit convoluted. We bailed them out because we were ALL going to lose our checking, savings, money market and 401K funds, and they've paid us back with interest. That topic is closed, in my opinion anyway.

The issue of executive compensation versus the average earnings of workers seems to me to be a valid, but separate point. Unfortunately, CEO pay is determined by the shareholders, and they seem to think these guys are worth it. I sure don't. At the same time, I sure don't want some Federal Bureau of Pay to tell me I can't earn whatever I can get folks to pay me !

No matter who we're talking about, it really doesn't matter how much money they have as long as they SPEND it. If Bill Gates decides to spend his fortune on seashells, so be it... a bunch of folks will go into the seashell collecting business so they can sell them to him ! The problem is that nobody's spending.

I suspect the underlying problem is that we have a huge Baby Boomer population that's FINALLY figured out they need to stop spending and save for retirement combined with the fact that business simply doesn't KNOW whether they should hold or take another card. Meanwhile, the typical consumer is suffering under record personal debt levels incurred during the good times a few years back and is worried about their job due to all the press about the "bad economy." Toss in the fact that many states like my own California have ALSO figured out they need to cut spending and retire some debt, so they're laying off public servants like crazy. It's a mess, and it's all for lack of money being spent by those who have it.

The traditional way to "TAKE" money from folks who aren't spending it is via inflation; simply print some more and put it out there. That's what the Federal Reserve has been doing in spades, but folks STILL aren't spending. We've pushed Treasuries as low as they've ever been, and folks still aren't spending. They've tried really HARD to create inflation, which tends to get folks to spend before the value of their cash goes down, but the rest of the world is so screwed up and scared they keep buying our Treasuries which keeps the dollar value high.

I'm afraid we're just going to have to wait a while. We need Europe to settle down and bail out THEIR banks so the world can move on. Once things settle down a bit, the Boomers should start retiring in droves leaving a LOT of vacancies that will allow everyone else to move up. Once that happens and folks feel a bit better about their job risk vs. their debt load, they might start spending again. When they do, let's hope they buy at least a FEW products made here in the USA !

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

Your entire post is an elaboration of the intent behind "it fails to apply to the unpredictable behavior of humans in an imminent crisis situation".... I added an unneccessary "un". That would make my logic seem a bit convoluted, yes.

It is obvious that the biggest problem is the fact that the money isn't going anywhere, and it is entirely predictable that the fat cats don't want to shed some weight. Yes, people who are really rich deserve to get paid what they do, blah blah blah. Not always the case, but usually enough. We have also done a fair part to buy our jobs off of our soil a la global corporations providing vastly under-priced goods. Both the oblivious public and the opportunist corporate leaders are to blame for this unsustainable habit, and it has finally caught up with us. Nowhere in the national spotlight was "sustainability" ever found; blame our Weapons of Mass Distraction (smart phones, 'reality' cough TV, fantasy sports teams, most of social media, the political abuse of Christianity, other popular outlets to alleviate national chronic fatigue). The answer I frequently get from my parents when discussing these issues over the phone leans toward blissful ignorance to the obvious problems, and associated headache.

Now that income rates for the middle class are continuing to decline amid record debt (once again, consumers AND lenders to blame here, though sub-prime and predatory lending is professionally irresponsible and exceedingly risky), we depend even more on cheap foreign goods and services. It would do the nation WONDERS if some of the richest 0.00001% invested back into the nation that raised them up and brought them (at least some of) their wealth. But they have no reason to.

To be insanely rich is a privilege, not a right, for without the masses to prop you up and give you a spending outlet, wealth means nothing. And I do mean insanely rich, billionaire style. If you believe attaining this kind of wealth is a natural right, please remember that throughout history the richest got to be that way by TAKING from other people. The difference now is that the money-conditioned sociopaths that steal from us do it much sneakier and more effectively.

There is a difference between being well-off and being insatiably greedy. I've known a few poor people that are greedy but many more rich people that are generous; compounding greed with reinforcement is a TERRIBLE idea, psychologically speaking. I read an article recently stating that most stockbrokers and wealthy bankers would qualify under the DSM IV TR for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, including "a lack of empathy for others" and "constant actions to capture attention". It only stands to reason that very intelligent people with NPD (Bernanke: 1590 on SAT) would be frequent to succeed in becoming insanely rich in otherwise depressingly boring finance.

And when you think about it, why wouldn't a person become narcissistic? He/she is waited on hand-and-foot, every word he/she says is written down for posterity, every decision he/she makes lands in the major news headlines, and on and on... even morally strong people would be twisted by their own cult of personality to the extent of becoming one with this image.

Its not wrong to be insanely rich. But if your mode of ascending to that wealth involved only the exchange of other people's money and no direct creation of hard value (consumer goods and services), chances are good that you are what the general public would call "evil". Power. Corrupts.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The chart "Average Household Income" found at http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph shows that the wealthy didn't TAKE money from everyone else; Everyone else's income has remained pretty constant while the wealthy CREATED new value.

The productivity chart at the bottom of http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/01/a_graph_im_trying_to_understan.html gives a hint as to how the wealth created this extra value. Productivity started diverging from income right around 1983 as we started introducing computers and robotics. Thus, I suggest the wealthy are, to some extent, getting richer through capital investment, which is exactly how people start business, improve factories, and so forth.

In his comment here http://occupywallst.org/forum/what-has-happened-to-us/#comment-64365 , Zohatian makes a very good argument that the general workforce should perhaps get a larger share of the wealth being CREATED by this capital investment. In that discussion, we concluded it might be a good idea to somehow incentivize more employee stock ownership plans so that the workforce can better share in the wealth being created.

It's easy to demonize the wealthy when we avoid specific cases (It's equaly easy to demonize the poor). Vanderbilt constructed public libraries all over the country. Bill Gates runs the larges philanthropic fund the world has ever seen. Gates and Buffet have convinced a lot of other billionaires to give half their wealth to charity (see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1300336/34-billionaires-away-half-wealth.html). Let's not demonize and over-generalize.

When we set out a part of society with terms like "the banksters" or "the evil rich" we are dehumanizing them so we can validate our hatred. Given the language being used in a lot of posts here, we could just we well be talking about "The Jews," and we all know where that talk eventually ended. I'm not suggesting you mean to start a holocaust on the rich, but your arguments about the rich DO sound a lot like those that were initially used to dehumanize the jews and set them apart from everyone else as deviant, mentally ill, and evil.

One of my daughters is schizophrenic and the other majored in psychology. Because of my ill daughter's condition, I have spent a lot of time around the DSM IV TR. One thing I learned is that mental health is a continuum; people are not "mentally ill" or "mentally normal." We ALL live on a continuum, and MOST of us exhibit symptoms of a mental disorder in one form or another. We cross over to "ill" when we become so dysfunctional we can no longer operate in society. The rich function quite well in the society we have created, are not "mentally ill," and DO in fact contribute in many positive ways by starting business, hiring people, creating new products, and so forth.

You separate out those that make a living by the simple exchange of other people's money as being particularly "evil." Insurance companies do exactly that. So do casinos. So do the currency exchange windows at the airport that I use when traveling internationally. I'm guessing you meant banks.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

Fair enough to say the wealthy didn't outright STEAL from people. Which is why I assert that they've just gotten better at it. The financial system has grown so completely convoluted and incomprehensible that only those that dedicate their lives to it really grasp it fully. This book documents much of this twistedness in relative clarity. I must admit I've only read some excerpts. http://books.google.com/books?id=3u3x2WPyvVEC&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=finance+system+is+incomprehensible&source=bl&ots=1owOYtAN7D&sig=pxqTZ856juUUmOyeD4RJ_Lj-gvw&hl=en&ei=ycaVTv6QHaSEsgKS3pDwAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false Credit Default Swaps in the entire financial sector are estimated to be about twice the size of the entire US stock market, meaning there's an obsession with insuring crappy trades. Though all the new monetary inventions look good on face value, these "advancements" have only served to stretch the money supply further than imaginable. This is vastly different from home town banks giving loans to small businesses, which is one of two essential functions of banks (the other being storage and protection of wealth). Making sure a bank can insure itself 6 ways from nowhere on the crappy securities it just purchased is not an essential function, and in my opinion should be banned by law. Other more sound means of insurance exist.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

I appreciate your criticism in helping me to find the flaws in my argument (overgeneralizations). I have Asperger's Syndrome and find it difficult to gauge social response in person, though in type is much easier.

I have a pair of BSs from a double major in Chemistry and Psychology, and I'm presently pursuing a graduate degree in Organic Chemistry for the purpose of creating organic charge collectors (insane uses in computing and power storage). I am aware of the continuum of mental health (and mental illness, the lack of mental health). By asserting that "evil banksters" have personality disorders, I am not asserting that they are less functional. Conversely, I assert that they are MORE functional than more empathetic people when it comes to sheer profiteering, which by default favors achievement and materialism over kindness and generosity.

Additionally, people with personality disorders rarely if ever seek treatment, and are perfectly happy claiming they're wonderful people just as they are (especially for narcissists). Technically speaking, a greatly successful narcissist isn't mentally ill. That doesn't mean they don't understand empathy, which I personally would consider a trait of evil.

It is also a faulty assumption to claim that wealth and mental health are proportional, as the happiest people I have ever met were poor humanitarians.

Also, there are 1,210 billionaires in the world, a handful of which perpetrated fraudulent acts prior to the 2008 collapse. The Holocaust involved how many Jews? I appreciate the allusion, but it doesn't hold so well when the emotionality is taken out of it.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I lend people money through Prosper.com, so I am a bank. I lent about $10,000 on that site. About 30% of the people I lent to defaulted on their loans. The remaining 60% either paid me back or are in the process of doing so. Fortunately, I understood I'd see a lot of defaults, so I charged sufficient interest on ALL loans to account fr that. Assuming none of my remaining loans defaults, I'll make about 10% net profit on my $10,000 or $1,000. After taxes, I'll see about $800 for having put $10,000 at risk and having put something on the order of 40 hours into selecting loans and managing my account.

Every loan I made on Prosper was to someone who needed the money. Many needed it to grow their small business, some needed it to help them through a short period of unemployment, so needed it to buy a car, etc. I provided a consumer service. Prosper also provided a service by operating a forum in which people who have money could lend it to people who need money.

Banks do exactly the same thing as Prosper, but ALSO provide the service of identifying borrowers and managing the loan for me. Better yet, the Bank takes on the risk of loan default on my behalf. In exchange, they only pay me a part of the interest they get when they loan out my money, but it's still a pretty good deal since I don't have any risk of losing all my money like I did on Prosper.

Banks get wealthy because a LOT of people borrow money. In many cases, they are borrowing for good reason; buying houses and cars, funding college, and generally INVESTING in something that (typically) retains value at the end of the loan period. In many other cases, people borrow money for bad reasons; to buy a new television, to pay their bills, etc. One of the key problems in our economy is the phenomenal growth in consumer debt racked up on credit cards for bad reason.

Lending all the money consumers have borrowed has created a LOT of revenue for banks, but that's not THEIR fault. They provided a service people ASKED for and USED according to their own judgment which is often flawed. As a result of all this, the "rich" got rich while much of the middle class borrowed their way into "poor."

Granted, banks are sometimes less than fully transparent about the charges their customers will incur by using their services. That's wrong, and we've recently passed legislation (which I support) to try and fix that. We DO need to keep an eye on what banks are doing, but they DO provide a service.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

I appreciate your actual effort to help create value by loaning entrepreneurs money. I also never included honest ground-level bankers evil men; au contraire, hard workers like yourself do add to the value of other's lives. That IS hard value. You aren't making money by handling others' money. I understand fully what interest is (and why it is called 'interest').

Derivative soup isn't hard value. Some of the biggest banks traded crappy securities and default swaps they knew were crappy and then sold them at profit to unknowing others (BoA, for example). Those people really were making money just by having it without the kind of hard value that consumer-level banks create.

Dishonest and predatory lending is a serious problem on the same field as insane credit card debt. If banking institutions REALLY DID WANT to help people stay out of debt, they would caution them when applying for a loan or credit card, especially if underqualified. This sadly hasn't happened enough, mostly because of the pressure of greed, an unavoidable part of human nature. The actions of a relatively few greedy end-point lenders have ruined the reputation of all lenders and given a suspicious flavor to banks in general.

THIS TRACES BACK TO THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT, put in place to prevent tremendous boom-and-bust cycles. As it turns out, we really do need some regulatory limits to keep a few greedy narcissists from ruling the honest financial market and driving interest rates and trading structures to places they've never been before. Boom and bust is a cycle generated by dropping the reigns of the wild mustang called the economy - its freakin' awesome for a little bit, but then you fall on your cheeks and skid to a stop, struggling to get back up. Reagan helped sign laws that "dropped the reigns", and it continued to build on itself until the end of the Bush administration, when the inevitable bust was caused by blind optimism.

I do thank you for your research and citations. I have seen plenty of statistics, and I tend to err on the side of the simplest stats taken over the largest representative group.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

Additionally, if the criminal bankers were convicted for massive inter-company team fraud (as they committed) and their wealth was dispersed by law, THAT WOULD BE A START!!!

Rough estimate: 25% fine for billionaire leaders involved in myriad types of banking fraud during the collapse. This is a total of $11 billion for the Koch Bros combined, $4 billion for John Paulson, and $2 billion for Steve Cohen. This is a short list made perusing Forbes list of billionaires. That's $17 billion in fines from just four people.

~312,000,000 (total US population) x ~75% (population over 18) = 234,000,000. $17,000,000,000 / 234,000,000 = $72.65 for each person over 18, regardless of situation. A pittance, but this is according to publicly available numbers, certain to be smaller than the real, private value. Also, Ben Bernanke's net worth is around $2 million. Calling that number utter bull-corn is an obviated pleasure; like the man who set the rules that benefited robber-barons isn't going to see a serious piece of the action.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You are convicting an entire segment of society based on the crimes of a few. You reveal your biases by convicting Ben Bernanke of crimes based purely on your own distrust and suspicion. I'm guessing you also believe every single person in Government is on the take and every lawyer is a crook. You're on a witch-hunt, and your attitude harms this movement.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

It isn't a witch hunt. It is the observation that money corrupts, and that the few insanely rich people who "earned" their fortunes by drinking derivative cocktails for years have spoiled the opinion of the rich for everyone else (and that the number of narcissists with extreme wealth is a larger percentage than the general population). I like Bill Gates. I like Warren Buffett. They generate hard value (consumer goods and services). They give money to charity. I do not like financiers who have played with our economy like a toy, which is why I didn't list any of the other 1,206 billionaires on Forbes' list. I selected for men who give minimal charity donations (if any) and played a part in controversial mega-banking. And this is with info on the Forbes list which would obviously praise them and lean towards ignoring faults. Witch hunt?

Credit agencies reporting sub-prime securities as AA+? Historically "wise" banks buying up these toxic assets while praising their limited risk? GOLDMAN SACHS LEVERAGING OVER 300 TO 1? That amounts to a bank acting like it has 300 times the money that it really has, meaning that if 1/3 of 1% of those loans are defaulted, the bank is screwed (which is what happened). There is nothing financially complex about this: its common sense. Either A LOT of PCP was involved, or it was an elaborate fraud scheme.

Also, why not blame the man (Bernanke) who obstructs justice and transparency like its his second job? There has been criminal behavior behind the curtains, and snubbing oversight committees at every chance is something Bernanke does best.

Also, I have not lambasted you or called you biased. Why have I not done this?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Good, then let's be careful to identify specifically those problems that need to be fixed rather than paint an entire segment of society as evil like many in this forum are prone to do. It does this movement no good.

I agree that the credit rating agencies were one of the biggest single identifiable causes of the melt-down. They have a fiduciary responsibility which I feel they violated. I have seen little investigation into how we monitor them or if their operations are even subject to overview and regulation. If not, they SHOULD be.

I believe we are addressing the over-leveraging seen at some of the investment houses with recent regulations. They were not being held to the same reserve requirements as Banks, and that allowed them to over extend. This is one of the big causes of the melt-down as well... our regulation of the financial system was largely focused on banks, but in the modern system, LOT'S of folks are putting what was once "savings" into funds, money-markets, etc. This was enough of a problem that the FDIC had to "bend" the rules and cover money market accounts during the melt-down. I THINK the new regulations we passed address this changing trend and impose more restrictions on how "savings" are handled regardless of where they are "deposited." Hopefully we'll get our arms around hedge funds in the process.

Nobody has convicted Bernanke of anything. They haven't even proven he did anything improper given the charter of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve's job is to prevent panic, and their job is BY DEFINITION secretive; their efforts to shore up a weak institution do no good and can do GREAT harm if the public knows who they're shoring up... it causes people to view the institution as weak and pull their money abruptly, the very problem the Fed is trying to fix. There's ALSO darned good reason why the Fed was set up as a non-political office somewhat independent of Congress. If we want Congress to have more oversight, it will have to take a form similar to Intelligence Oversight... very few people on a select panel who treat the information as classified for reasons of National (Economic) Security.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

I can appreciate your opinion that there is an amount of security that needs to be in place to prevent panic, but publishing information regarding the irresponsible/criminal actions of investors and investees should be a primary goal, not a subdued side-effect, of the Fed. if the Fed exists to protect the financial system, it would behoove them to identify criminals, thus allow the criminals to be expulsed while the lost credit (reputation, in this case) is absorbed by other institutions. This is justice - if you play outside any rules, you exclude yourself from the rules, and your peers should deal with you as they see fit based on well-established due process even if that means enormous amounts of debt and capital are redistributed to other firms.

Secondly, there is a very broad difference between the security issues concerning national defense against enemies that want to harm us and the security issues surrounding institutions that we have invested our money into. This is a false simile and does not directly apply, for on one hand a break in banking security helps investors step out of bad investments because of the disclosed risky decisions. On the other hand, a break in national security results in an enemy being able to exploit our defense to the detriment of the life of our people. There is quite a difference between these things, and they should not be confused. Keeping important financial dealings information from the investors in the involved companies treats the investors like the enemy, and that is undefensibly wrong.

Hypothetically, if tomorrow a pile of evidence pointing to at the Koch brothers for committing insider trading or deliberately misleading other institutions to make bad decisions, it should be of the utmost responsibility for the Fed to inform other traders about such actions instead of covering it up and enabling more bad decisions. If the Fed is truly audited, as Ron Paul and several other senators/representatives propose, and we were to find that half of the chairmen of the Big Banks committed fraud, people should have a right to know these things. The masses have their life savings and retirement funds invested with people that may have overtly gambled with their money without their consent, and that is objectively immoral. Keep in mind that there is a difference between investment and speculation just as there is a difference between making wise bets and making poor bets. Whether we prevent panic or not is less important than people knowing the truth about what's happening to their money; just because it makes short term sense does not imply that it is the best course of action for the long term. Once again, sustainability should be the biggest focus right now.

I've been likening our economic "addiction" to highly leveraged banks -- and non-bank investment and loaning entities -- to a drug addiction of some sort. I'll take tobacco for the metaphor, since it is unhealthy in the long term but relatively harmless in the short term, and is only modestly intoxicating. For a while (when our nation's economy "picked up smoking", as it were), we thought it was really cool since everyone else wanted to do it and it gave us reward (relaxation, peers considered it "cool", etc.). As time passed, we became habituated to it and increased how much we "smoked" (decreased regulation to allow greater banking and investing risks). We finally got to the point where we were "smoking" so much we began to get "cancer" (2008 bubble) and so we "smoked" more to try to de-stress ourselves.The core issue is that we decided to make it worse by borrowing more and increasing national debt instead of "quitting smoking" now when we can still recover (from "cancer"). It might not be pleasant, for now, but we can still quit. At some point, we will need to devise a more sustainable investment structure and take all the "withdrawals" via deliberate recession instead of allowing these systemic inequities to build to extremity.

This means Bernanke and the other Fed board members should actively and openly admit shenanigans, because it is more sustainable. It might benefit us in the short term to inhibit panic, but why try so hard just to postpone the inevitable, especially if the height of the inevitable collapse grows by the day? It is a serious problem that there isn't open discussion about the reliability of our highly leveraged system. Hardly anyone with power is talking about alternatives; we're just trying to fix what's broken by treating symptoms. There needs to be a core remedy if we are to avoid this in the future.

The bottom line is that our financial system promotes some core inequities that overcompensate (by a small margin in each iteration) people that are willing to risk a little more, and this has been shown to compound over time into "gazillion-dollar-gambling", as it is perceived. By restricting the risks of investment and debt -- similar to imposing a betting limit -- we stabilize our system while still providing a quite, though not completely, open avenue for entrepreneurship.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree with you that SOMEONE should be looking out for crime in the banking system, however...

The Federal Reserve has one job and one job only, maintenance of the currency. Seeking out and prosecuting fraud is the responsibility of other organizations. See US Title 12 at http://uscode.house.gov/download/title_12.shtml and note the Federal Reserve is only 1 chapter of 54 chapters covering Banks and Banking.

In addition, the Federal Reserve USUALLY doesn't "invest" in the classical sense. It only buys and sells securities on the open market as needed to maintain our currency. You can see it's balance sheet and descriptions of what each line item represents at http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/bst_fedsbalancesheet.htm.

During the bail-out, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York did publicly invest in JP Morgan, Bear Stearns, and AIG via the Maiden Lane accounts. If you look here at http://newyorkfed.org/markets/maidenlane.html you can see that those assets are being pretty quickly liquidated.

The Maiden Lane transactions were VERY unusual for the Federal Reserve, but they were coordinated by the Executive Branch (Treasury) and approved by Congress as emergency measures during the melt-down. They didn't really have a choice but to use the Federal Reserve; no other agency in the government could move quick enough in the dark hours when everything was coming apart.

I argue that the REAL problem is not the Federal Reserve, but the fact that the financial sector has been "innovating" faster than we can keep up. All these CDOs being sold by one computer and bought by another halfway around the world, the rating agencies using computer software to "grade" debt just because there was so much moving through them, etc. Do we REALLY need money to move at the speed of light? What would be wrong with slowing down just a bit so some human eyes can be laid on these transactions ?

I stick by my guns on the need for privacy at the Fed, but I respect your argument. We'll just have to agree to disagree on some of these points! It happens.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

I don't intend to say that the Fed or any other private institution should be legally bound to share information about business voluntarily. I would defend such information quite a bit. But to deny the information for use in assessing serious, perilous, and imminent situations?

Bernanke has done his fair share, along with other peers and colleagues of his, to impede the progress of justice. While I can't point to specific instances of the Fed's alleged destruction of incriminating documents, I can indeed say that the Fed spokespersons have FULLY exercised their Fifth Amendment rights in precluding ANY incriminating evidence for ANY reason. Not that I wouldn't do the same, but I would probably rat someone out for epic fraud under penalty of perjury instead of denying anything happened. The least I would do is call out some credit reporting agencies. Unless I, too, was getting a nice, thick slice of cheese...

Perhaps this is more the fault of a weak prosecution effort?

I do wholeheartedly agree in limiting the financial system in certain ways. Slowing down transactions or putting a mandatory delay on moving money would have positive effects, mainly including stability. Limiting leverage to a fixed ratio, eliminating (insert arbitrary technical definition of excessively complex and divisive) financial structures, creating incentives to favor the profitability of the creation of "real value" (as described above) over the fabrication of wealth by percentages between banks in transactions that do not involve actual value.

It's a bit of a stretch, but if the Fed is responsible for controlling the stability and credit of the dollar, wouldn't they want to do things to curb inflation? Like identify faulty credit reporting agencies swiftly? Make an example out of one early on and you can save face for the rest of the system.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Maybe the Fed should be doing more policing, but as it stands, they're having a hard enough time just holding onto their currently chartered role. Besides, I doubt the folks I've met here would accept them as the watchdog !

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

It is a fair number of those reasons that I believe Bernanke and his board members to be responsible for obstruction of justice.

Obstructing nuclear secrets from the enemy and from our own citizens is on a totally different level than obstructing financial secrets from competitors and your own citizens. And if you can convincingly argue otherwise, there is something very seriously discouraging in the results of this latest American experiment.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

that's a touching anonymous anecdote

[-] 1 points by alli (1) from Sacramento, CA 8 years ago

I have to say that while I agree for the most part of your post. I have lived on the system and know that I was the only person that was going to motivate myself off of it as well. There are too many of us that have thought that there was a security blanket that would take care of us when the chips where down. My only frustration is that while I am in this struggling economy growing a small business in the financial field there are too many people out there that are more than willing to cheat those that they employ and lie to reduce their "fair share" in taxes.

If anyone is to blame look at how the businesses that you frequent treat their employees and the quality of service for their price. You ask so many if they can look around and say what they have that was made in the US, I can honestly say that as many products that I can get are USA made, however I also will not buy an American product that is worthless because the manufacture is cutting corners to keep the price down, I would be more than willing to pay a bit more for a quality product made right here.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree. There is a serious problem across the board in our country's economy. Employers treat workers poorly, workers take little pride in the quality of their work, etc, etc. It's going to be a long road to recovery.

In my opinion, one of the saddest problems we have is caused by the "cult of self esteem" we have formed in this country. In my day, Self esteem was had the old fashioned way, you EARNED it by working hard, by accomplishing things, by producing a quality product, by DOING things that you could point to with pride. Today, it seems everyone things there an expert right out of the gate. Few can tolerate having to "bow down in service" to another, and the result is a lot of bad service. I interview and hire a lot, and I can't tell you how poor the Amercians I haire perform. In a weird case of reverse-discrimination, I now prefer to hire Asians, Indians, and Hispanics... they work hard, do quality work, and don't suffer from the idea that they should be senior management within a year or two. They know it's going to take a career to ascend, just like it took me, my father, and his father before him.

[-] 1 points by Lance161 (46) from San Tan Valley, AZ 8 years ago

Sir,

Personally, my primary contention, isn't that you don't pay enough income tax, which, usually, most of us refer to capital gains when it comes to that argument, it's that the money that you pay isn't reinvested back into YOU and US and THEM, in this country, things should be cheap? SHOULD THEY NOT? when technological progress appears should everything be easier or harder to get? this country no long invests in it's own foundations, education, culture, etc...

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Actually, you're raising a very interesting topic regarding technology that I was hesitant to bring up originally...

Corporate profits keep going up thanks to "productivity improvements" which simply means they're producing more for less than before. One of the ways they do this is with automation, and it's starting to have serious impact on the general population.

You might be too young to know this, but way back when in 1985, my department had one secretary for every 10 of us engineers. They used to proof our memos, type them up, and so forth. Thanks to Microsoft Word, we now have one secretary for every 80 people or so. That's a lot of jobs. A similar thing happened to a group called "Tech Pubs" who used to do all our slides. They'd actually make "transparencies" with pretty graphics for us, and there were about 50 people working in that office. Today, that department is gone entirely, replaced by PowerPoint on our desktops. Unless you're an Engineer, you wouldn't follow a description of what's happened thanks to Computer Aided Design (CAD) software... literally hundreds of jobs in the area of drafting, simulation, analysis, and so forth have been lost in my own office.

More recently I've noticed I can never talk to a person when I call a company. It's always a computer. When I take a flight, I see there is now only 1 person in stead of 20 behind the ticket counter.... all replaced by automatic self-self check in. In Dallas, we used to have folks manning toll-booths. They're gone... replaced by cameras and computers. At the local grocery store, I now see only one line staffed by a person and everyone is "self checking" on computers. It gets worse...

Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer (located in China, of course), the company that took sooooo many of our American jobs, just announced they're going to automate with robotics. At the same time, IBM is selling that "Watson" technology that won Jeopardy to technical support companies in India ! In south Korea, McDonalds has built one of their familiar facilities manned entirely by robots! People LIKE watching them work! So you see, even the people who took OUR jobs because they would work cheaper than us are now losing THEIR jobs to automation, and even McDonalds is replacing the cheapest American labor of all... the high school kid !

I'm an Engineer, and I don't want to sound like a Luddite, but these machines are slaves that work for nothing but "food." They seldom get sick, they don't demand benefits, they don't have a personal life, will work 24/7, and they don't make mistakes. They are slowly consuming all but the most highly skilled jobs are forcing everyone else into the low paid "service sector." I know for a fact that there just aren't that many people ready or willing to jump into Math, Science, and Engineering fields, and even if they were, they'll find that many of THOSE jobs are being consumed too.

So here we are with an ever growing population with ever fewer ways to make a living the "old fashioned" way, by working. We're on the verge of a major socio-economic paradigm shift, and we're all talking about to make things the way they were !

[-] 1 points by Lance161 (46) from San Tan Valley, AZ 8 years ago

Totally understood and completely agree with your implication that the practice is... disgusting...

I commented on this point in another post somewhere...

Aha! I've found it.. This sums my believes clearly on the matter in which you speak

"I think you bring up an often missed point, that is, technology replacing humans. We MUST recognize that as technology grows, antiquated menial tasks are going to be replaced, with electronics of some kind, full stop. We all must understand this. So what does that mean? it means having jobs that Electronics cannot do yet, can NEVER do, architects, engineers, military, arts, sciences, philosophy, things that humans are needed to do! That would be my solution, our culture must catch up to our technology."

more specifically, I believe that eventually scarcity will be gone..

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I think we're of similar minds, but as a very senior Engineer who specializes in advanced technology development, I have to tell you there's a lot more work that computers can do than you imagine. We really do have a bigger problem coming than you suspect.

Even as it stands, we're seeing the emergence not so much of the "haves and the have-nots" as the "knows and the know-nots." We're seeing huge inequality between the standard of living enjoyed by those with very advanced skill sets and those that are essentially undifferentiated commodities in the low skilled labor market.

My company (and the Government) have huge efforts underway to try and pull people into the highly skilled areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Let me tell you, there are very few people capable of or interested in entering those fields. Heck, my own daughter dropped out of one of those fields in college saying "all my friends are having fun, and I'm studying all the time," and as the child of an engineer, she was statistically very likely to have stayed the course.

This is where the myth we so often repeat is being proven wrong; all men are NOT created equally. Unfortunately, those that are not up to these highly specialized fields are being left behind VERY quickly, and there's just not much we can do about it. We're headed for some sort of socio-economic paradigm shift, a Second Luddite Revolution, or something.

Finally, I don't think you can say that scarcity will be gone in such broad terms. If we keep on multiplying, food will be scarce, clean water will be scare, energy will probably be scarce, etc, etc. Unfortunately, it's scarcity in basic essentials that have historically led to armed conflict, and I'm more than a little worried !

I think we agree, but I'm clearly the greater pessimist ! ;o)

[-] 1 points by Lance161 (46) from San Tan Valley, AZ 8 years ago

I would say sir, that the issue you bring up is very much based on American Culture up to now, Hedonism and Apathy doesn't a good democracy make, the inverse tyranny of uneducated masses.

I would hope not A Second Luddite Revolution, but I would hope A Second Enlightenment.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

LOL ! Indeed !

[-] 1 points by oaco4242 (56) 8 years ago

I'm sorry, you sound somewhat naive. You do realize that it is the monetary policy and practices of the Federal Reserve that has allowed these bubbles. They are using money that does not exist - thus filling an entire market with "nothing" or thin air. The only way that market can continue is if the stress level (ie interest rates, inflation etc) is maintained at a certain level. In a perfect Keyensian world it works, but again greed of money has caused the unregulated...no unaudited creation of money. This has increased the stress level on the market bubbles...when it hits...it breaks. We are on the verge of what is known as a Financial Bubble. Meaning all the loans to the other banks are going to default. This will cause ALLLL of that "thin air" money in the ENTIRE economy to go poof and commerce as you know it will cease. I too work 60+ hours a week -- I am in the midst of doing what you have done, and understand that your money as it is worth now will be worthless in the near future, because of inexcusable malpractice and "corruption" that leads our economy. I am always open for discussion - please talk with me.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The monetary system is nothing but a big confidence game that would be illegal in any other venue. That being said, it's the only game in town ;o)

Fannie and Freddie, more so than the Federal Reserve fueled the real-estate bubble by rapidly raising the level of a "Conforming Loan" per guidance from Sen Dodd and Representative Franks. The credit rating agencies we're also terribly negligent in stamping all that mortgage dept "AA" so it could be sold into secondary markets around the world.

Loan originations officers sell loans. It's up to the people who sign for them to make sure they can afford them. Normally, the banks would catch those that could not afford them, but they were selling loans as fast as they could originate them, so they didn't care. Had Freddie and Fannie held the line on the Conforming Loan AND the rating agencies done their job, this never would have happened.

You sound like a Ron Paul guy, who I adore, EXCEPT for his stance on the Federal Reserve. At present, the Baby Boomers (like me) who control a lot of money have been shocked, have finally realized they can't keep spending, are trying to retire debt like crazy, and are no longer spending. Unfortunately, we're the last AMericans with non-service jobs, and when we stop spending, everyone else working the "Service Economy" suffers. To compound matters, Americans racked up record levels of personal debt buying mostly foreign products, so they're in debt up to their necks AND unemployed because we've outsourced all of the non-service jobs! It's a mess, and it's all rooted in debt. The Fed is trying to loosen up the money supply as much as possible by printing it via "Quantitative Easing," dropping the Discount Window rate to record lows, and dropping the value of Treasury Bills to record lows in the hopes of retiring dept and getting spending moving again. If we were on the Gold standard, all that money folks are sitting on would be locked up. By printing money, we basically take it from them and put it back into circulation.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

If you've never been intoxicated by money, you are not in the "1%". Also, 1% is figurative.

It is important to be able to articulate the point of this whole discussion on financial injustice to a person who has obviously worked long and hard hours for years to earn what he/she deserves.

That national financial conditions began favoring sub-prime lending is laughable. Lenders and signers are equally responsible, but lenders are the ones more likely to manipulate or downplay negatives (Promotions for most loans signed! Watch "Yes Man" - though fiction, it depicts this exact thing).

That is not fiscally responsible, nor is it responsible to leverage your bank 50+ to 1 under any circumstances! Additionally, credit reporting companies were falsifying information (depicted in the documentary "Inside Job") about securities, leading to big piles of repackaged sub-prime loans (stamped AAA) being purchased by banks thinking it good investment practice. All the while, the biggest banks (the biggest profiteers in the bailouts and major purchasers of sub-prime securities) and the Federal Reserve praised how lovely our growth was, and how bright the future was. The pilots of our economy were Driving While Greedy (or deciding under the influence of excess money), and the majority public has paid for it.

And though Keynes states it is good principle to invest in the wealthy for they pay the masses, it is foolish to think the proportionate amount of that wealth would go back into the hands of those who paid them (proportionate = amount of income paid by the masses) simply because there is a culture of wealth, and it has been excessively promoted by the wealthy and excessively consumed by the masses.

There is no way to really put ALL the blame on any one person or even few people, for we all were played by tantamount sociopaths playing with our economy like a toy. So we should bring these people to justice by allowing real transparency in the Fed and the banks in which the United States government took loans from.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree with a lot of what you say here.

If I had to point the finger at one component of the financial system that's mostly responsible, it would be the credit rating agencies that stamped all that debt as "AA" and thus facilitated its resale around the globe.

People sometimes make stupid decisions. Others decide "you can't lose money in real-estate" then walk away for mortgages they signed for when they do. Load origination officers sell loans. Everyone did what they would be expected to do EXCEPT those credit agencies. Their ONLY job is to certify the value of a debt instrument, and they didn't. Do we regulate this guys at all? I don't know, but we should!

[-] 1 points by kilroy (58) from Orlando, FL 8 years ago

People shouldn't have signed they just wanted to be part of the American Experience. But that is not the real issue. It is the banks that knew the risks and made it affordable at first and told people they could refinance Ha!, Then they packaged these unstable investments and sold them to unwitting investors and a bunch of pension managers. They also used them as a way to increase the amount of capital they could float. THIS WAS UNETHICAL. Then they made the American people pay for it. The Government should have a say in protecting the consumer from FRAUD. Corporate leaders should go to jail and not federal jail.. County Jail.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I understand your frustration. You might want to check, however, into how many folks simply walked away from the mortgages they signed because they house was worse less than they borrowed, not because they couldn't afford to make the payments. Remember, it was the era of shows like "Flip This House" on television, and everyone thought they could borrow up to the hilt, buy a house, then flip it in a year and make 50 grand. When that didn't work out, they started walking away and that brought the whole system to it's knees.

The money at risk when it all came apart wasn't the banker's money, it was OUR money. All of our savings accounts, our checking accounts, our 401Ks, and so forth. It took extraordinary measures by the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC to keep us all from losing everything. The banks have paid us back with profits.

I'm not saying the Banks we're complicit, but if I were to point a figure at one organization, it would be at the credit rating agencies like Standard and Poor and Moody that rubber stamped all those mortgages "AA" and thus enabled the resale of bad debt around the world. We, the People were also big contributors. We got caught up think "you can't lose money in real-estate, and things usually go bad when a big portion of the public starts thinking that way. Go read about the Dutch Tulip Panic ... one of the largest economies in the world amost collapsed because folks we're investing tulip bulbs! In our modern economy, it's the rating agencies that are supposed to prevent that, and they didn't do their job.

Corporate leaders sold the American public what they wanted. Had they acted like our Parents, they would have told us "you can't afford that," but that's not their job. Neither is it Government's job. It's OUR job to be responsible, and I don't need another Parent telling me what to do!

[-] 1 points by kilroy (58) from Orlando, FL 8 years ago

The questiion you should ask is how does REAL estate lose so much value unless it was artificially jacked up in the first place.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

That's simple.

As they aged, the most affluent population the world has ever seen, the Post-War Baby-Boomers accumulated a fantastic amount of wealth. There was, and still is, a huge amount of money sitting around looking for a place to live. In that climate, folks will invest in most anything in order to get a return.

If you want to understand the insanity that occurs when there's just too much money looking for a place to invest, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania. In the 17th century, the Dutch were quite wealthy thanks in no small part to their colonies. Somehow or another, they all got the crazy idea that tulip bulbs, yep TULIP BULBS, were a good investment ! A similar bubble grew up around land in the US under the French, and so forth.

A great story is that of Joe Kennedy, patriarch of the Kennedy clan, who when asked how he knew to get out of the market before the great crash of 1929 replied "My show-shine boy offered me stock tips, and I realized that when show-shine boys were investing in the market, it was time for me to get out."

There was no conspiracy behind the bubble, it was just another oft-repeated example of what happens when the general public gets the idea that "there's sure money in __".

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 8 years ago

actually, corporate oligarchy IS the problem, and so we are the grown ups dealing with it and its you and the system which needs to grow up.

http://www.oligarchyusa.com/

http://www.istockanalyst.com/finance/story/5390832/some-fascinating-stats-about-our-corporate-oligarchy

http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/category/21st-century-challenges/ethicsandeconomics/

According to a 2008 article by David Rothkopf, the world’s 1,100 richest people have almost twice the assets of the poorest 2.5 billion (Rothkopf, 2008). Aside from the obvious problem – that this global elite has their hands in everything from politics to financial institutions – …

http://theprogressiveplaybook.com/2011/09/occupywallstreet-an-american-tahrir/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ght22PnCXy0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/wisconsin-is-ground-zero_b_825321.html

http://last-lost-empire.com/blog/?tag=global-corporate-oligarchy

To the extent that we, the people, are removed from control over our lands, marketplaces, central banks, and media we are no longer empowered. In practice, those few who do control the land, central bank, media and "free market" are the real rulers of our corrupt and declining "democracy."

Due to propaganda from a corporate-owned and edited media we are kept from knowing, much less debating, the nature of our system. Due to a central bank owned by bankers, media owned by a few global concerns, and trade regime controlled by global corporations (i.e., one designed to remove the people from control over their markets and environments) the vast majority have become little more than latter-day serfs and neo-slaves upon a corporate latifundia.

To restore a semblance of effective democracy and true freedom Americans, and people around the world, need to re-educate themselves as to the true nature of their political and economic systems. Toward this end, OligarchyUSA.com is dedicated to providing old and new information, books, links, reform ideas and debates not easily found or accessed today in establishment media.

OligarchyUSA.com is but one more site and sign of the times as ground-up counter-revolutions arise around the world... all in response to a forced and freedomless globalization courtesy of a ruling global elite perfecting their top-down plutocracy and revolutions of the rich against the poor. In short, democracy is no longer effective today. For this reason, it is toward a restoration of truly effective and representative democracies, and natural freedom, that this site is dedicated.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Who exactly do you think owns Corporations ? Most Corporate stocks and bonds are held by common citizens. You, like many others, seem to think there's a guy in a top hat twisting his waxed mustache and scowling at the masses below his boot. That's a very 19th century view, and totally incorrect in today's economy. Appealing image, and good for fueling popular movements, but wholly incorrect.

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 8 years ago

right, people own corporations. your straw man argument and little imaginal dream has nothing to do with me. i am not imagining and top hat guy or mustache, thats all you. i never mentioned any such thing. thats all you. you projecting your programming at me. thats funny.


http://occupywallst.org/forum/corporate-oligarchy/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/thetruth-socialismcapitalismcommunismmarxism/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/capitalism-versus-corporatism/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/no-war/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/help-me-understand/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/capitalism-a-love-story/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/sociology/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/energy-101-solution/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/ethics/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/break-your-left-right-conditioning/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/nader-kucinich-and-paul/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/5-facts-you-should-know-about-the-wealthiest-one-p/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/i-am-homeless-joe-jp-morgan-chase-accidentally-for/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/can-we-end-the-fed/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-end-the-federal-reserve-and-what-do-you-replac/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/where-are-we-and-how-do-we-move-forward/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/things-wall-st-did-were-not-illegal/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/teaching-the-occupation/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/this-forum-needs-structure/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/ows-is-not-your-personal-billboard-for-your-politi/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/systems-theory-primer/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/organize-inform-take-action-effect-change/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/better-website-needed/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/stop-playing-the-devils-games/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/nonviolence-the-only-path/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/ows-not-against-capitalism/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/this-is-not-about-political-stripe-it-is-about-bas/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/national-initiative-for-democracy/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/a-third-political-party-the-movement-of-the-middle/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/300-fema-camps/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/ows-is-a-false-flag-operation/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-this-will-not-work/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/paradigm-shift-now/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/a-proposal-for-focus/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/stop-the-bullshit-posts-and-get-organized/

http://occupywallst.org/forum/suggested-goals/

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Opinions, no matter how often repeated, do not reflect truth unless backed by fact.

My son recently coined a great term, "Social Fact." A "Social Fact" is distinguished from the wholly unrelated "Scientific Fact" by a lack of any objective evidence other than agreement by an equally uneducated crowd of people who accept said opinion as fact. I will take the opinion of one informed man equipped with objective evidence over the unsubstantiated but unanimous opinion of 100 men any day. Quantity does not equal quality.

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 8 years ago

great, then we are on the same page, hate "social facts" and are all about getting down to the hard science together. right?

cuz i don't have an opinion nor do i have any social facts. I have fact facts. thats all i trade in.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

So what exactly are you protesting, what is the source of the problem you see, and where are the facts substantiating your assessment of what's wrong so we know your "fix" is worthy of consideration ?

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 8 years ago

Corporate oligarchy. the facts substantiating that are too numerous to list, pretty much every last detail of how our government runs and how corporations ge taway with murder. My fix is worthy of consideration because its lucid, science centered, diplomatically grounded, and fair to everyone.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

LOL ! I'm on pins and needles! Out with it!

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

end bush tax cuts , rebuild America bridges and roads , invest in middle class not banking class thats the occupy wall street message.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The banks have largely paid us back, and we've actually already made a profit on the whole deal ! The delinquent balance of federally insured student loans is now a greater issue than any amount owed by Banks.

How exactly should we bail out the public that racked up a record level of personal debt buying foreign products for over a decade ? The Federal Reserve is doing everything it can to print money... a "Loose Money" policy designed to benefit the debtor by lower the value of the debt owed. Heck, they printed about $1.5 Trillion under Quantitative Easing, and the Discount Window Rate is at a record low.

It's just going to take some time, and it would help if folks would buy a few things made in the USA !

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

but what your saying gives the media right to assume we have no message

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Oh no, you HAVE a message, but it's largely just "We're angry" right now. Someone needs to come up with constructive solutions address the problems. Those solutions need to be fair and well thought out.

Take some comfort by the way, that the media isn't paining you as stupid racist goons like they painted the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party folks. Those folks had a message and a solution... "Government is meddling in too much, is operating way outside the boundaries defined by the Consitution, and the way to control them is to take back the purse strings." Whether you agree or disagree, they DO have a sound (and historically consistent) philosophical argument about the role of government that's worthy of debate.

In contrast, the OWC movement, just seems to be a large group of people that are frustrated and willing to point their finger in anger at the faceless "THEY" responsible for the problems they face. OWC needs a message other than "THEY" screwed us over and "THEY" should pay. Many of the problems we face have nothing to do with "THEY' but "US" and the decisions we made over the past decade or so. This is particularly frustrating for young people because they had nothing to do with it, yet they suffer many of the consequences. Their frustration is understandable, but they need a real point to argue other than "THEY" screwed us, and they need to become informed enough to understand what they're messing with lest they make it worse. The Economy is a very complex thing that cannot be fixed in anger.

By the way, the most frustrating thing to me in all of this is that the Tea Party and OWC movements view each other as enemies. The REAL enemy is the corrupt political process, in my opinion, and these two popular movements should unite to address that problem. We can argue about details later, but we first need to fix the political system that no longer represents so many of us. The exitsing "System" of politicians just LOVES the fact that we're all divided in "Conservative" and "Liberal"... it means we're playing their game, and they're VERY good at it!

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

thats why I say end bush tax cuts , rebuild America bridges and roads , invest in middle class not banking class thats the occupy wall street message.

[-] 1 points by FuManchu (619) 8 years ago

French revolution - Off with their heads!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You do know that didn't actually work out to well for them, right ? ;o)

[-] 1 points by karai2 (154) 8 years ago

Banks and mortgage brokerages profited mightily from having people sign on the dotted line for property they could not afford. There was a virtual feeding frenzy in the subprime mortgage market because of deregulation in 1999 which the banking industry lobbied hard for. From 1999-2008, was the financial and investment sector exercising the responsibility and self-control that is supposed to be so lacking in the general populace? The lobbying continues to this day making it seem almost impossible to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Agreed. The banks made a fortune by "originating loans," collecting the origination fees, then selling them off in tranches to investors around the world. They were out of control.

I have signed many mortgages in my life, and every single one of them had a Federal Truth in Lending Act statement I had to sign. This statement laid out in precise detail exactly what I was signing up to in the simplest possible language.

Salesmen ALWAYS try to sell and are sometimes unscrupulous, Nobody FORCED folks to sign up for stupid mortgages, however. Furthermore, while many people hurt themselves by signing up for loans they couldn't afford, many benefited from the system that took them at their word and loaned to them even though they're finances weren't all that good. Some of these folks work their tails off, are current on their loans, and are thankful for the trust shown in their word.

Bottom line, it's up to each of us to act like responsible adults. We can't blame folks for giving us what we asked for and promised to repay !

[-] 1 points by RichardGates (1529) 8 years ago

these gargantuan codex are really great but if you want to convey an idea on here, you need to make it editable for quick consumption. complete novels are great but here it, well.... makes me sleepy :P

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Ahh, part of the Attention Deficit Disorder Generation unable to tolerate anything more than a paragraph long at best ! Please read http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/opinion/sunday/the-elusive-big-idea.html?pagewanted=all

[-] 1 points by RichardGates (1529) 8 years ago

long winded nothingness dude. people have been unobservant and self serving since man became. this is not a symptom of tech.

[-] 1 points by LibertyFirst (325) 8 years ago

Speaking for myself, I appreciate those who take the time to provide a well thought out post rather than a sound bite. These are complex issues and 1 sentence quips do nothing to advance understanding.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

When's the last time you read a book ?

Can you explain to me what the ramifications of the Bretton Woods agreement was? Can you explain the impact of the Discount Window rate on the M1 and M2 money supplies. Can you even guess at why any of this matters ? If you can't, you don't understand the first thing about banking and have no right to claim an opinion.

Alas, every man is entitled to his opinion, no matter how uninformed it may be.

[-] 1 points by RichardGates (1529) 8 years ago

you said:"have no right to claim an opinion" then you said:"every man is entitled to his opinion" stfu you low iq prick

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

True, I do appear to have contradicted myself there. Should I clarify?

[-] 1 points by moediggity (646) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

Jobs leave america at a sickening pace. STOP WHINING! STOP WHINING! ITS YOUR FAULT! WHY DIDN'T YOU WANNA WORK FOR LESS? OH GOD! I CAN'T STAND THESE SOCIALISTS THAT WANT A DECENT WAGE! OH GOD! If you hate the workers of this country so much, why don't you leave? I've never read a more pathetic "OOOHH POOR POOR ME!" and a more blatant example of self congratulatory post in my entire life. And you have the nerve to talk to anyone here about entitlement.lol what a joke.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I didn't say you or anyone else should work for less, I said we the people outsourced our own jobs. Would you be willing to publish just how many products you own that say "Made in the USA" ? If you're like most, the answer is "close to none." How on earth do we get people back to work if we're all buying from overseas ?

[-] 1 points by moediggity (646) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

We didn't outsource dick! We were screaming until we lost our voices to not pass NAFTA and things like that. But of course the mentally ill brain of the american conservative never thinks things thru so he just blames his countrymen and not the people that hold the real money and the real power. Oh no, the corrupt are to be looked up to and emulated. God I fucking hate you sheep.

[-] 1 points by bethechange2012 (54) from New York, NY 8 years ago

moediggity, there is no need for this sort of negativity and name calling. Please abstain from posting hateful blabber. You are only hurting this cause and turning people away.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

So how many products do you own that say "Made in America" ?

Nobody made you go buy a phone, television, and computer made in China or clothing made in Indonesia. YOU made those decisions.

Keep your hands off what I have earned through my own hard work, and I'll let you complain all you want. As it stands, you and many people like you seem intent on blaming me and taking what I have to help fix problems of your own making.

[-] 1 points by leesang82 (32) 8 years ago

I agree with you on many points here. The movement lacks a clear focus, but I think the spirit of the movement is correct in that people are tired of the way the economy is going. There are solutions here and it starts with the government. Explanation in my posted link below.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupy-wall-st-occupy-dc/#comment-58854

[-] 1 points by moediggity (646) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

The number of jobs is leaving this country and its our fault...fuck off moron. You obviously couldn't give a rats ass about the rest of america only yourself! Guess what dipshit? YOU ARE GETTING SCREWED TOO!

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Actually, I feel remarkably fortunate to have been able to overcome my lack of formal education and still provide well for my family through nothing but hard work. Compare my situation to 90% of the people in the world and to 90% of mankind throughout history, and I'm doing quite well. As for not caring, I suppose a child frustrated that I'm not giving them what I've earned might feel precisely that way.

[-] 1 points by moediggity (646) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

Truly what I expect to hear from someone that is willful blind. Well, don't blame us when your banks,wallstreet and federal reserve with their crooked political leaders crash this economy. I can't wait to see your house burn down from angry mobs of your starving countrymen.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I'm guessing 17 to 18 years old, right ? Never paid taxes in any amount and caught up in the excitement of being part of a "movement"

[-] 1 points by moediggity (646) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

Yes everything you say is true. Everyone fits into your easily packaged stereotypes because your mentally ill mind can easily manage and process them. I can't wait until the economy falls in a couple of weeks. Most of us tried to warn you and yours but you live with blinders on and refuse to even listen to literally anything anyone else says.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

So how much DID you pay in taxes last year? I showed you mine, now you can show me yours.

By the way, until you understand what the economy IS, you can't really talk about it with any authority. It won't "fail" unless uninformed children manage to get their hands on some power by attracting the attention of a few pandering politicians willing to meddle in things simply to get elected.

[-] 1 points by moediggity (646) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

I showed you yours? Uhh I don't really have to show you my personal fiances at all. Thats a breech of my personal privacy. AAAAAAAAAAAAnd you lost me with the rest of your dribble. Good night and fuck off.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I was just wondering if I was dealing with someone who actually pays taxes or simply receives benefits. No matter. Good night !

[-] 1 points by atki4564 (1259) from Lake Placid, FL 8 years ago

True, it's not them, it's you, and although I'm all in favor of taking down today's ineffective and inefficient Top 10% Management Group of Business & Government, there's only one way to do it – by fighting bankers as bankers ourselves. Consequently, I have posted a 1-page Summary of the Strategic Legal Policies, Organizational Operating Structures, and Tactical Investment Procedures necessary to do this at:

http://getsatisfaction.com/americanselect/topics/on_strategic_legal_policy_organizational_operational_structures_tactical_investment_procedures

Join

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/StrategicInternationalSystems/

if you want to support a Presidential Candidate Committee at AmericansElect.org in support of the above bank-focused platform.

[-] 1 points by smate1 (72) 8 years ago

What happened was we let money buy our elections and we lost our voice. We need to unite on getting the money out of elections. We can argue who's to blame and who's at fault later.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree 100%

The politicians just LOVE the fact that it's Taxed Enough Already (TEA Party) vs. Occupy Wall Street (OWC)... we're buying into their game. We should UNITE, elect some real Public Servants, and pass some Constitutional Amendments reforming the election system. For starters, how about Representatives in the House are selected by random selection (like Jury Duty), Senators can't serve for more than 2 terms, Elections are 100% Federally Financed, and no user of the Public Airwaves can broadcast compensated political ads supporting one candidate or another during an Electrion year ?

[-] 1 points by smate1 (72) 8 years ago

All reasonable and debateable ideas. For now I think we need to keep it simple and focused so as not to muddy the message.For now we need to get our voice back.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Amen. On that we agree.

[-] 1 points by smate1 (72) 8 years ago

I have yet to have one dissent...as long as I don't bring up other divisive ideas. It can be done.

[-] 1 points by bangbang (61) 8 years ago

No it is THEM, The World Bankers, Rockerfeller, Jp Morgan, Rothschild, Vanderbuilts, Warburgs, and about 5 more, google them, http://www.rense.com/general79/tril.htm

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I think you forgot the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Catholic Church, the Masons, the Illuminati, and a few others. If you're going to believe in global conspiracy theories, you should at least make sure all the conspirators are properly identified. Alternatively, you could actually try and learn how the banking system works and why the Fed plays a critical role in favor of "We the People"

[-] 1 points by Esposito (173) 8 years ago

You forgot to add KAOS but at least we got Maxwell Smart & Agent 99 helping us there!

[-] 1 points by steve005 (256) from Cincinnati, OH 8 years ago

we need freedom back, not some list of demands.

[-] 1 points by Flsupport (578) 8 years ago

How did freedom start? With a list of demands. Actually a list of grievances. And this group has a list of those grievances.

[-] 0 points by sometimes (0) 8 years ago

so when are banks going to pay back tax payers for the overvalued toxic assets purchased by our government during the bailout? While it was the only way to shore up private financial institutions, it was shit deal for the public. We bailed out banks who couldn't keep their balance sheets clean, why aren't we bailing out homeowners who can't afford the mortgage that's worth more than the value of their home? No one made these banks loan money to individuals who couldn't pay them back, no one forced them to repackage these sub prime mortgages into toxic Collateralized Debt Obligations that could then be resold and hedged till the Americans who were borrowing money to buy a home were now investing in what they were told was a AAA-rated security. When the stack of cards fell apart, the Kings and Queens stayed on top. We bailed out wall street, when can we start living again too?

[-] 3 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

Boy does Rico have it wrong. I don't think the 99% are against the guy who worked all his life and pays his taxes. Or the poor person who overbought on their home because they wanted to be part of the "American Dream". Or about Americans being wooed by cheaper imports... though I do wish we would buy domestic. Just think of what would happen to all those companies that shipped our jobs overseas.

It is about Wall Street Gambling on 1.4 quadrillion dollars of derivatives, a big potion that has no meaning to our economy or well being... except that it could potentially crash the worlds economy. 70% of all trades on Wall Street are made by computers not humans (High Frequency Trading). Wall Street is spending billions on computers , software and co-location spots in the HUGE Stock Exchange's Data Centers. Computers don't look at a companies value, but if a trader is trying to buy some stock. Trades are made in nano-seconds, between the computers in the data centers. Computers are amoral. See 60 Minutes - High Frequency Trading [14:09]: http://goldmanbanksters.com/work-ethic/high-frequency-trading/

Speaking of amoral, unlimited Commodities Speculation that artificially increases prices on oil and food and causes people all around the world to starve to death should be stopped. Also, Naked Short Selling that can take down a company in weeks (case in point, Bear Stearns) should be stopped. Derivatives should be regulated and shouldn't be allowed to trade untill they are explained well enough to be understood by both the regulators and the buyers.

Speaking of regulators, we need regulators with balls. We need to stop the Revolving Door policy between Wall Street and Regulatory agencies. We need to re-establish the laws that were dismantled during 1999-2001 by Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Phil Gramm and their gang. We need to put into jail the people who caused the 2008 crash and who are still perpetuating the frauds (bubbles). See http://goldmanbanksters.com/home/ "How Goldman Sachs Takes Your Money" (Matt Taibbi's (Rolling Stone) article "The Great American Bubble Machine" put to video... a good 10 minute watch).

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

sewen,

I just stumbled across your post.

YOU'RE DEAD ON !

This one of the RARE examples of a post talking about the real problems that need to be fixed.

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

This is why I created http://www.just-gov.com/introduction/ and http://goldmanbanksters.com/home/ . I call these Video Journals, because they put in one place all the Great videos about our Financial Crisis. I think people can use these to refer to when they are talking to friends.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Check your facts.... Most of the TARP money has been paid back, and we collected sufficient interest on what HAS been paid that we've made a handy profit even if no further funds are repaid. We came out ahead.

We bailed out the banks because the money that was about to be lost wasn't theirs, it was OURS; our savings accounts, checking accounts, 401Ks, etc. Did you follow how we even bent the rules and let FDIC cover Money Market Accounts during the crisis? That wasn't Bank money, that was OUR money we were protecting.

When trying to place blame for the mortgage meltdown, you're right on target with the rating agencies (who the heck rates THEM and THEIR performance?), but don't forget how Freddy and Fannie, urged on by Sen Dodd and Rep Frank, kept raising the Conforming Loan limit right in step with the bubble. THEY could have stopped a lot of the madness by simply limiting the growth of the COnforming Loan limit to say 5% a year, bu they didn't.

I don't get your statement ".. till Americans who were borrowing money to buy a home were now investing in what they we're told was an AAA-rated security." Folks who bought homes weren't buying the CDOs, it was their mortgage that was being bundled and sold in CDOs around the world (thanks the the rubber stamp "AA" the rating agencies put on them).

LOT'S of folks got loans that they couldn't afford. For some people it was a Godsend to be able to get a loan based on their word alone, and some number of them are probably still working multiple jobs to pay as they promised. There are others who simply didn't have enough sense to know they couldn't afford what they we're signing up to and could have used a Parent to help them. Unfortunately, that Parent would have ALSO told the guy who just needed someone to take him at his word that HE couldn't afford the loan either. I prefer creating the opportunity for the guy to just needs someone to take him at hist word over having a Parent step in and tell us what we should and shouldn't do.

By far, the most egregious and surprising COMMON case is that of the small "get rich quick" investor who watched "Flip-This-House" on television, bought into the whole "you can't lose money in real-estate" story and bought a house hoping to turn it over in a year for a quick $50,000 profit. Jut as soon as the house went upside down, these folks determined it made more "financial sense" to walk away and leave the Banks, the Investors, and ultimately US holding the bag. These people should be hunted down one by one and made to pay what they committed to when they signed the loan contract !

No matter which home buyer we're discussing, THEY are the ones who signed a contract for a loan and promised to repay it. They ALSO signed a Federal Truth in Lending Act Disclosure that spells out in very simple language what they're going to pay. I know, because I've signed five or six of the myself.

Government isn't our Parent, and we can't create a system that keeps folks from buying things they can't afford without doing serious impact to freedom and opportunity. Folks try to sell us silly stuff ALL THE TIME, and Government can't be there to "protect" us from our own decisions. All they can do is make sure there's no fraud and that people understand what they're signing. Folks who signed for a mortgage should not have done so if they didn't understand what they were signing and or couldn't afford to pay back the money per the terms they agreed to. It's that simple !

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

I liked Mother Jones' - 12 Better Uses for the Bailout Bucks

http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/01/what-else-could-14-trillion-buy

10 years of vaccines for kids in 117 countries.... $110 billion

10 years of $10,000 bonuses for all US public school teachers...... $318 billion

Sending all 2009 US high school grads to private college..... $347 billion

Doubling US spending on HIV/AIDS and cancer research for 20 years..... $493 billion

10 years of CO2 offsets for all Americans...... $559 billion

Meeting UN anti-poverty goals by 2015...... $757 billion

20 years of universal preschool in US...... $860 billion

-- House

Buying a house for every homeless American....... $878 billion

10 years of helping developing countries deal with the effects of climate change...... $2 trillion

-- iPhone

Buying the world an iPhone 3GS...... $2 trillion

10 years of private health insurance for uninsured Americans...... $2.2 trillion

Paying off 1/3 of US home mortgages...... $3.5 trillion

-- Total: $14 trillion

Buying an iPhone for everyone I don't endorse, what I think they are trying to say is that 14 Trillion dollars is a lot of money for the FED to spend in our name without any 99%ers representation.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Wait a minute! Where on EARTH did you get a $14 trillion figure? TARP, at $700 billion was the only money authorized for TARP. We haven't spent it all and never will because and we're getting more payments coming than are going out.

$14 trillion is even more than Quantitative Easing ! Here's a link to the consolidated statement of the Federal Reserve banks as of October 5th. Take a look at Table 8 and you'll see their ENTIRE BALANCE SHEET sums to only $2.8 trillion, and that includes gold, currency, etc as well as the Quantitative Easing Treasuries and Maiden Lane accounts !

Where does the $14 trillion figure come from ?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Oh ! You were referring to the total federal debt. Well, if y'all are pissed about THAT, then we at least agree on ONE thing !

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

I don't normally look at Glenn Beck, but I have to admit some of the numbers are a wake up call: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVOuC0qSrR8 .

What I'm protesting about is corporations gambling (grabbing) short term gains not caring what the long term ramifications are. Case in point... Goldman Sachs helping Greece get into the EU using a scam, and then betting on Greece to fail. It makes them money, but it screws the rest of us!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Can't disagree there. Our corporations are notoriously short sighted.... that part of why our car companies had to be bailed too. Maybe we should redefine Long Term Capital Gains" to be something like 10 years rather than 2 ?

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

I think we are on the same side. There are people who like to work at a job and some will become millionaires by working hard, or being innovative, or are just lucky. And then there are people where money isn't all that important... and they don't really expect the mac-mansion. What they want is a roof over their head, simple food on the table, and a chance to have minimum health care. If we can provide decent jobs for people who want to work for a simple life-style I think we as a country will be much better off.

I think Government Street is jeopardizing all of the above. We all have to remember that sovereign governments are fixed (at least for now), the corporations we are worried about are global.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yes, I do suspect the banks, and perhaps business in general are playing the countries back and forth against one another. Maybe all the coutries DO need to agree on some solid international rules?

The only problem is that there are a zillion folks on "my side of the table" who will scream "One World Government!". Never mind them, the various countries probably do need to settle on some regulation that these big multi-nationals can't sidestep.

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

I still think we are on the same side. But I didn't realize there are a zillion folks screaming OWG or NWO. I think most people (all around the world) want their own sovereign country. But they don't want a privatized water system, and they don't want people owning the seeds that grew into the food they eat. I believe in free enterprise, but with controls. No corporation should be able to destroy the air, the water, or land, or peoples rights to a happy life.

Also corporations like nike pay celebrities millions of dollars to make 30 second commercials, and then pay the workers $2.00/day to make quota (100 shoes). Where is the fairness in that?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yea, years ago I used to think we SHOULD impose "quality of living" tarrifs on imports from other countries. We'd tax their products for the "hidden costs" they we not incurring like population health, air quality, water quality, and so forth. We'd then actually REFUND the taxes to the originating country in order to help them address these issues. That way, we'd be LIFTING everyone UP the quality of life curve instead of being SUCKED down to the "lower cost is king" curve.

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

You would have to pay the workers directly since most governments seem to be endorsing Crony Capitalism.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Ha! better yet, we could give the money to American corporations to go in and build what's needed ;o) <just kidding, don't flame out! >

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

Over and out

[-] 1 points by sewen (154) 8 years ago

Take a look at Bill Blacks videos and the PBS video on what happened to Brookley Born.. the one regulator that tried to stand up to Wall Street (Government Street): http://goldmanbanksters.com/our-thinking/regulators/

[-] 1 points by FuManchu (619) 8 years ago

I think people are upset that the guys who made collosal mistakes by betting were helped to keep their jobs and get free money to lend out or trade with so they could make profits. Some of that was used to repay TARP. I understand the government had a big role in facilitating the housing bubble. At least we have Goldman Sachs doing God's work :)

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yep, I agree it's a bit perplexing that folks who screwed things up are still in charge. We bailed them out for our own sake, and they've repaid us, but they DID screw a lot of stuff up and seem to be suffering no consequences as a result !

As I understand things, we're stuck with these guys simply because the world's finance, on which we ALL depend, does pass through them, and there simply aren't enough qualified people so that we can just fire them and get new ones. That sucks!

Maybe an appropriate reaction by Government would be to FLOOD our finance schools with unemployed people "retrained" for finance (and ETHICS) so there's a flood of qualified folks. That way, salaries in finance will trade, the losers can be fired, and fewer folks will eek it as a profession due to it's depressed wages!

I had a similar thought in regards health care cost... send ZILLIONS of people on unemployment into med school (heck, we're paying them ANYWAY), so the salaries and expectations salaries by people in the field collapse! This way, we could reduce costs, eliminate shortages, AND put some folks to work !

[-] 1 points by guru401 (228) 8 years ago

I couldn't disagree with you more. The banks should have been allowed to fail. Bank of America is on the verge of failing again. Should we save it again? And do you really believe the government when they say "we made it all back?" Come on. Look at the world. Banks are failing all across the globe and the bailouts continue. You think this is the proper course of action?

If we allowed the banks to fail, this economy would be on its way to the restructuring it so badly needs. Bad banks would be replaced with healthy banks that lend to the public and make sound investment decisions. Our economy would become less dependent on the financial industry, an industry which has zero tangible value and creates no products. Your suggestion to create more financial professionals is the complete opposite of what we should be doing.

The continuing bailout of banks is going to lead to a financial collapse that makes 2008 look like a cakewalk. You claim that we needed to save people's 401ks, etc. You just wait until the market collapses this time, and it will be much worse than what we saw in 2008.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I understand your point, and I hope you're wrong. I don't want to live through a depression, and I hope we can save the game without having the clear the board. Isn't it possible that we can EASE banks into restructuring rather than let it all happen abruptly with no control at all? I sure hope so.

[-] 1 points by guru401 (228) 8 years ago

I hope I'm wrong too, but if you look at Japan since 1989, they've done exactly what our government is doing, and they've been mired in an economic mailing for every 20 years. And take a look at the NIKKEI...it's down about 75% from where their initial crash was in late 1989-early 1990. Their market has established several new lows over this time span. History often rhymes, so there's a very good chance that our initial crash was not the low.

[-] 1 points by CommonSensical (27) from San Marcos, TX 8 years ago

Assuring public knowledge of finance is an absolute necessity, but the environment of the financial structures system gave profit motive to people to do just the opposite; this is irresponsible and criminal. Just imagine the number of cases where a lender convinced a signer not to read through all of the fine print, driven subconsciously by inflated profit motive? We still get back to credit reporting agencies and the Big Bad Banks that endorsed their ratings as truth, since it is this pattern that created the bubble. Either way, there is accountability both ways.

[-] 0 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

end bush tax cuts , rebuild America bridges and roads , invest in middle class not banking class thats the occupy wall street message.

[-] 0 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

end bush tax cuts , rebuild America bridges and roads , invest in middle class not banking class thats the occupy wall street message.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Nobody can argue that we need the infrastructure work, and this approach worked well for FDR. If we have to retire the Bush Tax cuts to pay for it, them I'm good with that.

We ALSO, however, need a longer term solution that puts Americans back to work making things. We can't just keep building infrastructure forever! In my opinion, putting America back to work is up to the consumers who simply need to start buying things that employ Americans whenever they can. How else will we make jobs?

As for "investing" in Banks, we we were about to lose every penny you, I, and all our friends and families had in savings, checking, money markets, and 401Ks. We stepped in to save OUR money, not the Banks. Thank God we did or we'd be in ever worse shape ! The Banks have since paid us back and we made a handy profit on deal to boot. It's old news and irrelevant to the current state of the economy.

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

then whats wrong with supporting end bush tax cuts , rebuild America bridges and roads , invest in middle class not banking class thats the occupy wall street message.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Sure, but as I pointed out, fixing the employment problem using Government funded investment in infrastructure is a short term fix. We can't afford to do it for long without becoming Greece (check into the finances of the Green train system). We would gain at best a year or two on the problem. What do we do AFTER that ?

Do you think we have a SYSTEMIC problem or just a short-term problem ?

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

thats republican spin

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Really? It seems pretty obvious to me !

Do you think Government can hire up 6 million people or so AND keep them on the books indefinitely? How would you propose to pay those wages ?

Here's a thought experiment for you... Is it possible for ALL people to work for Government? Think about it, it's like perpetual motion.

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

republicans demonize the ows protestors but democracts embrace comments like yours gives the media right to assume we have no message

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

After all my little mini-talks, I'm starting to have a grudging respect for some of the folks here. There remain some, however, who are pretty uninformed and throwing around some pretty incendiary comments that scare me... a strong tone of hatred and vengeance in their voices. I suppose I bought into the picture the media gave me. I now see there are some good folks here trying to do good things, and I wish them well. Hopefully, they'll get the "Haters" under control.

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

the media says we have no message so you came to support that

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

No, the media I saw was telling me you were all rabidly anti-wealth and wanted to take from folks like me to may your situation better.. hence my post. Just like the representation of the Tea Party, I see that is overly generalized. There are SOME folks that are way over the top here (like any large group, I suppose), but most seem to be working hard to find fair solutions.

I suppose it's always the "edgy" folks in a movement the media finds most entertaining for public showing.

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

so what do you support?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I certainly support the oft stated objective of trying to get EVERYONE'S money out politics. See here http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?order=A . Like I said in another post, I don't CARE who these people are, unions, companies, whatever, they're doing an END RUN around us and using money to influence our representatives, and that's wrong. If they have a case to make, let them make it to US, not in some back-room political deal.

I had a short but good convo with FaithnHope where we discussed the idea of banning ALL campaign contributions and replacing them with a Federal Campaign Fund... all candidates get exactly the same amount of money, and it's not FROM anyone but the "Nation." I like that idea.

Someone here certainly has me rethinking what the payoff for capital investment should be, and he made some great points about the potential to encourage more employee-ownership of stock to help put some more of the gains back into the pockets of the worker. I think if there's a way we can "nudge" companies in that direction (i.e. tax breaks or something for having a good employee stock ownership plan), it would benefit ALL parties.

I remain unmoved in terms of each individuals responsibility to take ownership of his decisions. Folks need to face the fact that there is and always has been a hidden cost to buying excessive foreign goods just because they're cheap, and we're paying that cost now. Folks need to accept responsibility for the contracts they signed. We're not children. Folks need to come to some middle ground regarding the wealthy (I AM softening here)... they're not ALL bad as people, nor are they ALL bad for the country.

Folks were unlikely to COMPLETELY change my views, but I do have more respect for the fact that MANY here are very well reasoned in their arguments. Others are pretty uninformed and just kinda "going-along" while still others are downright haters. I suppose that's to be expected in a large collection of people. In any case, I met some people I respect here, and I DO have faith that even thoe that are uninformed mean well. I hope the well informed emerge as leaders... you'll need them out front if you are to succeed, and I DO want you to succeed insofar as the nut-cases can be controlled.

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

you are not ows you dont stand for anything that would put people back to work not one time do you mention tax the rich one of our core demands stop the dylan ratigan blame both sides bull

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I never said I was OWS, I said I have come to respect many of the people here, particularly those with well thought out solutions. Blaming the rich is not a solution, it's a knee-jerk reaction to a complex problem. How about we tax EVERYBODY and ALL THE CORPORATION at one flat rate. zero deductions, zero exemptions. That way, we can say all have received "Equal Protection Under the Law."

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

thats why people like you and your comments give the media the right to assume we have no clear message when we do just because we said were the 99 doesnt mean we support republican ideas we are the middle class warren buffet says yes we should pay more republicans say send a check in thats why ows is on the streets inequality

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Nobody who reads all my posts here will come away from the experience thinking this movement is out of control. It's new. It will get it's legs VERY soon as best I can tell, and the media won't be an issue anymore.

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

what do you think about warren buffet says yes we should pay more republicans say send a check in

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Warren Buffet is free to do with his money whatever he wants, but nobody elected him as the spokesperson for all people with money. He speaks for himself, and I haven't heard a lot of other people jumping up to form a chorus !

[-] 1 points by oceanweed (521) 8 years ago

thats why I have ows on the streets protesting in equality