American Elephants

Drums, Signs, Music, Evil Corporations and Pathetic Protesters. by The Elephant's Child

The Occupy Wall Street protests are spreading to other cities. It’s very appealing to idealistic and ignorant young people: instant community, drums, music, lots of young people of the opposite sex, and all united in a cause.

What cause? Something or other about corporations. Corporations aren’t creating enough jobs. (Over 70% of new jobs are created by small business). Corporations have too much money. (How much is enough, and who decides?) Corporate CEOs are paid too much. (CEO pay is determined by the Board of Directors on the basis of how well the CEO is running the company). Corporations have too much influence on government (Government has a lot on influence on corporations. Congress doesn’t know much about how business works, and makes laws regulating business — corporations have lobbyists to make their case to Congress).

The protesters want very badly to be taken seriously, which is difficult, so they are issuing manifestos and statements and lists of demands. They can’t quite make up their mind about who they are protesting against— the banks, the corporations, the government.  It is not evident that any of them can explain how banks work (banks are the most heavily regulated entities in business). Can they explain what a corporation is? They are sure that corporations are too big, are sending jobs overseas (studies show that although manufacturing may be done overseas, it simultaneously creates more jobs here at home).

The protesters, the students, have way too big student loans and want someone else to pay them. And many just want to soak the rich. One of the themes is that the richest one percent are exploiting the 99 percent who aren’t rich. Several influential New York state lawmakers have received threatening letters saying “it’s time to kill the wealthy” if they don’t renew the state’s surcharge on millionaires. Mobs are unpredictable.

Fatuous journalists love the excitement of a good protest, and are sure that the Wall Street Occupiers will help Obama’s re-election effort.  Other leftists are trying to associate the protests with the Tea Party.  “Think Progress” had a very funny article claiming the Occupy Wall Street Protests embody the values of the Real Boston Tea Party.  As usual, they are a little weak on history.  Much as they’d like to make the Boston Tea Party a protest against the East India Trading Company, the Tea Party was a protest against the British government and a tax they were levying, unjustly, on the people. ” Taxation without representation as I recall.” History is not a strong point of the left.

Here’s a bit of the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

And the Unions have turned up. The government unions, supported by the taxpayers, are there because unions are becoming an ever smaller percentage of the population, and they don’t want to have to pay co-pays for their health insurance. 

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