The 99% vs. the 1%. Abuse of Power, Part One

4/25/13

The 99% vs. the 1%. Abuse of Power, Part One

It’s hard to believe that less than two years ago the Occupy Wall Street movement started. It was instantly  lionized by the mainstream media as well as by quite a few politicians.  As you may recall, the OWS crowd, with the modesty typical of grandstanders everywhere, claimed to represent the “99%”  of us in an epic battle against the oppressive “1%” epitomized by Wall Street.

To the extent that OWS was a protest against bailing out private businesses with taxpayer dollars, or the “crony capitalism” of government favors bestowed on private enterprises, maybe for a brief instant OWS did represent the ninety-nine percent of us.  Some initial proposals, such as reinstating the Glass-Steagle Act, were sensible ideas. However, OWS soon morphed into a typical left wing protest: down with corporations, tax the rich, blah, blah, blah.

There was an unofficial list of “demands” posted on an OWS website that “demanded”, amongst other things, a minimum wage of $20 per hour, free college, free health care and, my number one knee slapper: Guaranteed living wage regardless of employment. (My emphasis.)

As Fredrich Bastiat wisely observed a very long time ago (he died in 1850), “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” It seems some things never change.

The Occupy New York website listed 23 grievances against corporations that was almost as nonsensical. You’ll have to read it to believe it. (Google: Declaration Occupy New York.) My favorite: They have donated large sums of money to politicians who are responsible for regulating them. Wow!

In typical myopic fashion, they blame corporations for things that corporations can only do with the backing of the government.  In fact, It is the GOVERNMENT that is abusing power, something it is prone to do on behalf of all sorts of constituents, e.g. unions, seniors, veterans, “poor” people, and on and on and, yes, corporations, too.

I once had a union official tell me that since WalMart received so many taxpayer subsidies, governments should be represented on WalMart’s Board of Directors. he was highly critical of WalMar for the subsidies given to them by governments. What a moron.

For a while, pundits tried to equate the TEA Party to Occupy Wall Street.  This is a fundamentally flawed comparison, because the TEA Party is a reaction to abuse of power by government, an abuse OWS has a hard time seeing.

A perfect example is the housing crisis which caused the recent recession.  Wall Street investment banks, main street banks, mortgage originators, rating agencies, community organizers, et al, all had a hand in it.  However, the number one villain was the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, and HUD‘s legion of political enablers, e.g. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.

HUD was the supervisor of the two government sponsored agencies that were the engines of destruction: The Federal National Mortgage Association, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  I would bet few, if any, of the Occupy protestors know the role former HUD Secretary and now Democratic Governor of New York, Andrew Coumo, had in the housing meltdown.

In fact, I don’t think any of the Occupy crowd has ever picketed the huge HUD headquarters in Washington, D.C. No, most of the Occupy crowd would rather picket the local Bank of America office, holding up placards that, regardless of what is written on them, secretly convey the message: “Look at me. I’m morally superior.”

The fact that no B of A official has ever been indicted for a crime involving the housing collapse is something ignored by the marchers.  Doesn’t matter. I doubt if any of them know the difference between an income statement and a balance sheet, or what an MBS is, or have ever heard of the Community Reinvestment Act.  Pesky facts only get in the way of a good old-fashioned display of righteous indignation.

What do the picket signs say when I read them? “Look at me. I’m stupid.”

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