Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

We better Occupy Wall Street, because if “Money Never Sleeps,” it’s probably making some unreasonable decisions.

At current, I am not sitting out on the street with a sign, nor am I boycotting Wall Street products – which are what, again? – so I’m kind of a weenie for jumping on the bandwagon.

But that said, all bandwagons need weenies, and I like this particular bandwagon.

I hope that Occupy Wall Street becomes the great political movement of my lifetime. I realize it’s not nearly there yet (more people need to get on the street! Lazy motherf*ckers…), but it’s already exceeded my expectations—let’s keep driving in the direction we’re going.

Now, clarification time:

Do I want Wall Street overrun with dissenters? Of course not. I don’t think anybody wants that, except for maybe this guy:

Hey, a man’s gotta eat...

With complete sincerity though, I think that these people are on to something.
At least in sentiment.

The Tea Party – whose 2009 emergence is the one most immediately used in drawing OWS parallels – was/is angry at the state of the country (parallel), and tried to/is trying to strike back at the perceived regulatory bodies they felt/feel responsible (perpendicular).

The Tea Party’s biggest problem? (Besides issues of gay rights and religion creeping into their agenda and soiling what was originally a semi-earnest brand…)

I think they’re angry at the wrong people.

Occupy Wall Street, at its most focused, I believe is more in tune with the country’s issues.

The income divide – by definition, really – is the greatest threat to mass “American exceptionalism” since, let's say, the eighties. The reason our economy is faltering seems to be, to borrow a percentage from the OWS movement, that 99% of us don’t have any money to spend on anyone else’s products. Thus, the multi-nationals grow (because they can sell to a wider base), while everything local continues to fade (thus, exacerbating the problem).

So how do you fix that?

Tailoring the tax code (or even less drastically, tailoring the regulatory bodies that watch over multi-national businesses) to favor/aid the lower-tied consumers has been accused of being socialistic (which in my view isn’t the worst thing in the world) and wealth redistributive.

It is.

But should we really be fighting that?

Consider this: With the income divide as severe as it currently is, isn't not layering the economic system in such a way also wealth redistribution?

Isn't it redistributive even more so?

If everybody keeps 80% of their annual pay, but executive compensation continues to soar while the compensation of the middle and lower classes continues to stagnate...won't the income divide just continue to grow with each passing year?

So, I think then very practically, a (the?) solution to stimulating the economy is quite likely the alternative not acting...which would be to more radically tier the tax code/corporate regulations to favor the consumer, and to favor those suffering the stagnation.

We shift money from the very wealthy to the government, and then from the government to the very poor/middle-class. In theory then, the poor would immediately spend the money (they have no other recourse – if you had to choose between buying dinner or opening an offshore investment account, you settle on dinner…) on local businesses, thus increasing the quality of life for the poor and middle-class (the latter of which hopefully still own the local businesses), while bolstering the economy around them. It’s “trickle up,” economics, and it seems to me that with TUE there’s far less to go wrong than there is with the TDE.

And while I think that Occupy Wall Street’s centrifugal message (or at least what I hope it to eventually be) is “Get Money Out of Politics,” and not TUE... I actually believe that getting money out of politics will represent the most significant step possible toward the enacting of my latter economic musings.

You’d have a hard time convincing me that what I wrote above doesn’t make sense, and for that reason, I’ve got to think the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is the lack of cause-associated political capital. Political capital costs money, and the money would rather see opposite agendas go down.
If we're able to take money out of the equation, the most obvious fix becomes more likely to step to the forefront. (Truth be told, even if we ended up with more conservative action post-the years of ridiculously hefty clandestine political investment, I’d feel better knowing that the policies enacted were at least enacted with the purest of intentions.)

And there you have it. Occupy Wall Street through the eyes of a layman.

It’s a step in the right direction, and I hope it continues to build.

Take it from me – I’m an English major.

By Ryan, for the Center for American Progress Illustrated. (Guilty little secret: It’s just a link to this site.)

No comments:

Post a Comment