Thursday, October 06, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

When I first read this list of proposed demands from the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, I thought it must be a fake, put up by someone to discredit the movement--I didn't want to be taken in by an Onion article.  I'm fairly convinced this is genuine, which frightens me.

Their demand list from here:
Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market
In general, cheap goods increases our standard of living more than the accompanying job loss harms it, but the lost jobs are easier to point to.  Free trade benefits both sides of the deal.  Remember the lack of quality in American cars when they were only competing with each other?
To level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages.
The argument that it is not fair to compete with goods manufactured without enviornmental controls is somewhat valid, but competing with low wages is self-correcting over time.  Competing environmentally may be--developed countries are almost always better environmentally than developing.  And don't people in poor countries deserve jobs as much as we do? 
Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.
...which will cause immediate inflation, increase unemployment, and drastically increase entry-level unemployment.   Few people who haven't had a job are worth $20 per hour.
Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.
A better argument would be to disconnect health care and health insurance from employment--End the policies and tax benefits that artificially make self-purchased health insurance uncompetitively expensive compared to employer-paid.   We need some sort of cost controls, some method to prevent consumers spending on health care as if it is someone else's money.
Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.
Not sure what this means--if you don't feel like working, you still get a living wage?  If you aren't willing  to do more than show up at work, an employer still has to pay you 'a living wage"?  If you are just unqualified or unable?
Demand four: Free college education.
  Not everyone needs or can benefit from a college degree, and almost anyone willing to work at it can get one now.   If college is free, then it becomes the equivalent of a high school diploma, required for a job at Target.
Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.
Unless you count nuclear as 'alternative to fossil', this requires either a repeal of the laws of physics, or a drastic reduction in our standard of living.  We can do better at conservation, and we will--Chances are we are at or near 'peak energy', as measured by consumption.
Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.
Where does this trillion dollars come from?  Immediately? These sorts of things need years or decades of planning to do even remotely efficiently.
Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America's nuclear power plants.
OK, nuclear is NOT considered alternative.  
Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.
What would this cover, and how would it be enforced--If women aren't as interested in sports as men, would colleges still have to restrict men's sports?
Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
Almost anyone who is willing to work for a living and isn't a criminal, sure.
Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.
Probably the most realistic and important demand.  I'm not sure of the exact mechanism, but that would be better than what we have now.
Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "Books." World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "Books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.
Wow.  This would wipe out our economy faster than just about anything else, and may be the most ridiculous demand in this manifesto.   People should really be forced to rent until they can afford to save up for a house?  Even if this were a 'one time' forgiveness, no rational business or bank would be willing to loan substantial money ever again.
Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
If loans are illegal, what's the point?  
Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.
There are many good reasons for secret ballots, and very few good reasons to require open ballots--whether we are talking about government or union elections, we should go to great lengths to avoid coercion or retaliation for voting 'wrong'.
These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.
More wishful thinking.


  1. You can't believe everything you read. This may--or may not--in fact, be written by them as a group or by an individual there, keep that in mind.

  2. I said that in the first sentence of this post. I've looked for a more 'official' version but like the Tea Party it is hard to nail down what their actual stand on issues is.

  3. It isn't so much frightening, I don't think, as unrealistic. Wildly unrealistic.

    That said, I'm all for 'em.

  4. Unrealistic in the sense of "it couldn't happen", or unrealistic in the sense that the demands shouldn't happen?

  5. Anonymous7:05 AM

    Lol...demand eleven
    Which side of the contract gets debt forgiveness??? Both????
    The borrower doesn't owe the remainder of the money, and the lender is forgiven the debt of transferring the deed! Lmfao!