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We are the 99 percent


Age 66. Retired. I am better off than some, but still part of the 99%

Ideas for the #OWS movement

Wall Street, stocks and the banks are not the problem. The problem is that we have politicians that are more influenced by large campaign contributors than they are by the good of the people. The unscrupulous who wish to influence our laws give large contributions and then send lobbyists to remind the elected officials where the money comes from. The politicians then pass laws that give special treatment to those whom have bought them by paying for them to get elected. There are two changes that would stop this now legal sellout: Limit campaign contributions and outlaw lobbyists.

Limit campaign contributions, outlaw contributions by corporations and limit individual contributions to $100.00 per individual. This may not stop the flow of influence money but it would at least drive it under the table.

Outlaw lobbyists, the idea of a person being paid because they can influence our laws to the benefit of their employer is a subversion of representative democracy. This may require an increase in the paid staff, as the elected officials could not rely on the lobbyists to write the laws for them.

Two of the most damaging practices that this influence has allowed are “short” sales of securities and ultra short term speculative trading.

In a short sale a person is allowed to sell something that they do not have in hopes that the price will go down and they can buy it later. If a person has enough money to bet, this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The law of supply and demand states that when the supply of a thing for sale goes up relative to the demand, then the price will go down. The short sale results in an artificial increase in the supply. Profits from this short sale come directly out of the pockets of those who have invested based on traditional values. It should be against the law to sell something that you do not own.

The original idea of shares of stock was for a group of individuals to pool their resources to fund a productive enterprise. The value of those shares was based on the sustainable success or failure of that enterprise. In the present environment of significant blocks of stock being bought or sold by individuals or computers in milliseconds, the price of the shares is determined by those trading those large blocks of stock. In other words if you have enough money you can influence the short term market to your advantage. It is not reasonable to outlaw the buying or selling of something that is owned by an individual but it is reasonable to tax short term profits at a much higher rate than earned income. One number that has been suggested is an 80% tax on profits from the sale of assets held less than 24 hours.

The thoughts expressed above should be reasonable to anyone who believes in a fair and just society.

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