Ok. Apparently, I somehow thought this Occupy Wall Street group was asking for living wages because they were disgusted by high Wall Street pay (which I won’t go into regarding political correctness). As a bi-partisan, ok, I see where you’re coming from, and you deserve the right to protest that.
Then I actually read that fine print on their website. Some demands make sense, and I could see where they are coming from. Things like a “living wage” and bringing the “fossil fuel economy” sound like something one could rationally argue for. In fact, I would even say that they have some good things, such as a “racial and gender equality amendment rights.” What’s more terrible, they don’t have specifications. It is almost like saying “cut government spending!” and not having an exact list of programs to cut. The problem, here, is lack of specification. I am not one to judge ideology, but I am one to judge someone who is trying to force the country to adopt a plan that has not been fully thought out and specifically planned.
Then, some of the things just push them so over the edge, even my friend in a labor union group couldn’t stand it. Firstly, we have demand 12: “outlaw all credit rating agencies.” Ok. If they said “outlaw all credit rating agencies and replace it with _____”, I would actually be able to understand where they are coming from. But a complete elimination? That would literally reduce the financial market down into anarchy. Sure, credit agencies are unreliable, and screws up when it matters (I could just see the guys repeatedly shoving the AAA Lehman rating in your face), credit agencies are financially required to maintain some sort of order in society. What if we didn’t know, let’s say, Bob here defaulted on his mortgage five times in the past, and had a bad credit score? The financial system would be unable to differentiate a hardworking man who is always on time with his credit card payments, and someone who goes on a spending spree and doesn’t think they have to pay their bills. Credit rating agencies are like democracy: it sucks, but you can’t think of a better system. And if you do, I’ll be glad to hop on board. This sort of: “let’s destroy this thing because we think it’s bad, but let’s not bother thinking of a solution” reminds me of an extremist in the Tea Party (sorry, I actually agree with a lot of their ideas, but not how they are executing them). Same problem with the “complete forgiveness of debt.” I’m not so much opposed to this because I’m a “capitalism go go go” type of guy, but more of the fact that there are no exit specifications.
In the same category of “this kinda doesn’t work, so let’s shut it down” idea is the “decommissioning of all nuclear power plants” in demand 7. Nuclear power is around 20% of electricity in the United States. Even overlooking the consequences of abruptly shutting down 20% of the nations power, they seem to be overlooking the fact that it is the #1 source of alternative energy in America (did I already mention they wanted to end fossil fuel and switch to alternative energy in an earlier demand?). Ok, I agree, solar power is a better form of alternative energy. But we can’t have an instantaneous switch. What I hear from these guys is a desperation to suddenly “fix” problems. They are panicking when (as a finance guy, I have my nerves of steel strong enough to not panic even after seeing a 50% drop in a portfolio, thank you) the nation needs their people the most. I feel as though this is another problem amongst protesters in this political environment: they want instant gratification, without realizing that effective change can only come through slow transition.
And there’s two trillion dollars in spending. One trillion on infrastructure, one trillion on ecological restoration. Sure, these are issues of importance, but two trillion dollars in spending would send us back up against the debt ceiling. I would actually like to see a plan that uses two trillion to fully stimulate the economy (hey, if it’s a good plan, it’s a good plan), but they offer no details at all. They ask for something vague such as “infrastructure” and “ecological restoration”, only listing a few examples such as “sewage…roads…reestablishing wetlands…planting forests.” This sounds kind of like what FDR (one of my favorite presidents) tried to do in a less refined form. The problem would be, no specifications. Unfortunately, the amount “1 trillion” shouldn’t be thrown around without specifications. I would say, these demands would be more of “think it through before you propose it.” The problem here is not so much ideology, but more of a “please plan things out in detail before you propose it or else you will look like John Boehner when he was asked what he wanted to cut first in spending and had no answer.”
Or maybe, as an interesting friend of a friend put it: “The goal of these things is not some fucking “reform” bill that “creates jobs.” If you do not understand this you have absolutely no understanding of the Left.” Maybe I’m not bi-partisan enough to see clearly.