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Occupy Wall Street Is Finished

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November 17, 2011 – Comments (26)

I’m calling it. Everyone go home. Occupy Wall Street is done. This may not make me many friends, but it’s true and sometimes the truth hurts. And the thing is that it didn’t have to be this way. So where did it all go wrong?

A quick recap

The real beginning of the movement traces back well before the financial crisis. Wall Street has always had its way and seemingly lived life according to its own rules. From the savings and loan crisis, to the fall of Long Term Capital Management to today’s mess, Wall Street has earned a reputation for calling risky shots and relying on the great American taxpayer to bail them out when it all hits the fan. And I think that sucks.

The subprime mortgage crisis and the effects it has had on our economy via mortgage-backed securities, collateral debt obligations and all the other exotic (and worthless) financial instruments was the last straw. Folks on Wall Street had gotten to a point where they didn’t even know the snake oil they were slinging. They only knew that everyone else was doing it so it must be OK. Heck, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is still dealing with the ramifications of their ill-advised acquisition of Countrywide to the tune of billions of dollars in litigation as the contagion of worthless loans still haunts their balance sheet today.

That brings us to now

Fast forward to today and here we are. Our nation is broke as a joke with a total public debt outstanding at an all-time high of almost $15 trillion. Think about that for a minute; it’s almost, in the immortal words of Vizzini from The Princess Bride, inconceivable! The current US population stands at about 307 million. This breaks down to approximately $49,000 of debt obligated to each and every citizen of this great land of ours.

But wait, there’s more. Don’t forget folks we aren’t all grown-ups here and there are children to account for. Even as we reach historically low levels of children as a percentage of the population, they still make up about 25% of the total. Further, it’s projected that by the year 2050 this number will slip to around 23%. That leaves only about 230 million who can be realistically held accountable today which translates to a smooth $65,000 per citizen. And forgive me for sounding pessimistic, but I don’t see our debt situation getting any better any time soon.

Let’s go occupy something

And so Occupy Wall Street was born. The disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street had reached its boiling point and on September 17th in New York City’s Zucotti Park people started gathering, voicing and venting. And for a while it seemed like it was gaining some legitimate traction too. Movements spread to cities around the world. Renowned author Michael Lewis even stopped by Fool HQ one day and said that we’d be wise to not dismiss the movement. And I think we all felt that way to a degree. We all knew there was something to it.

Don’t color me with the brush of an “anti-Occupier.” It’s extremely important to recognize that we live in a country where people can voice their opinions. Many are upset with the behavior of the rich and powerful, including me. Just yesterday my colleague Brian Richards published an article that referred to some interesting statistics. One that caught my eye in particular is that more people have a favorable opinion of the Occupy Wall Street movement (35%) than they do of our elected officials here in DC (21%) and I'm right there with them; I’m quite disgusted with our politicians.

But why is it now game, set and match for OWS? Simply put, they have failed to assemble any kind of clear, concise message that communicated any kind of reasonable and achievable goals. Instead of focusing on something, they have formed a cacophony of different and sometimes contradicting opinions. The worst part in all of this is that it’s getting violent.

Know your limits

My argument from the get-go for Occupy Wall Street was that they needed to focus on something that could make a difference. One change, not one thousand complaints. What about term limits? Granted this is just a personal opinion, but I believe that one of the biggest problems we face today in our country is the fact that senators and congressmen and women have no term limits. None.

Just to refresh your memory, members of the US Senate have unlimited six year terms and members of the US House of Representatives have unlimited two year terms. They can do it for as long as people vote for them. And while our democracy is something we should fight to protect, voter turnout is a perpetual disappointment. Voter turnout in the last presidential election in 2008 (one of the better turnouts in recent history) was a little better than 60% and I’d argue it should have been much higher.

Career politicians are a problem, not the solution. The incentives in DC are completely out of whack and term limits would most certainly curb some of their outrageous behavior. Over time I believe that this could result in politicians who place the people’s interest first, not the other way around. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying politicians are 100% culpable. But they are complicit for sure and we have to start somewhere.

Until next time

So Occupy Wall Street, while I’m not part of the 1%, I’m not part of the other 99% either. Your message has been unclear and lacking from the beginning. Even the Oracle of Omaha himself thinks that the movement is lacking the clear goals needed to spawn change. So I’m afraid your time has come. See you next crisis.

 

26 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 17, 2011 at 7:19 PM, awallejr (79.57) wrote:

The current US population stands at about 307 million. This breaks down to approximately $49,000 of debt obligated to each and every citizen of this great land of ours.

It really drives me crazy whenever I see this type of comment.  So basically you are saying that an unemployed homeless person is responsible for $49,999 and a single Billionaire (with a B) is only responsible for $49,000.  It simply doesn't and never will work that way.

You can easily wipe out the public debt with one flash of the magic wand over the printing press.  Poof! Debt is gone.  Now that Billionaire may not be happy with the inevitable inflation, but that unemplyed homeless person's daily lifestyle won't really change, tho he might have to beg a little longer.

I think the OWS message has been crystal clear.  I can equate it to the 1976 movie "Network" where Peter Finch just lost it and shouted "I am made as hell and am I'm not going to take it anymore."  People today are "mad as hell."  I agree that there is no organization but that doesn't dilute that message of anger.

They are still protesting only now they are being forced to be mobile, and making it mobile means more people may join the ranks.

I have seen two big movements which started small and grew over time in my life, the civil rights movement, and the anti-Vietnam war movement.  I wouldn't discount OWS.

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#2) On November 17, 2011 at 7:20 PM, awallejr (79.57) wrote:

Bleh both numbers I posted should have read $49,000.

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#3) On November 17, 2011 at 8:05 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

It really drives me crazy whenever I see this type of comment.  So basically you are saying that an unemployed homeless person is responsible for $49,999 and a single Billionaire (with a B) is only responsible for $49,000.

So you want equality when it's convenient (that's what your statement implies). Of course the reality of the situation is not that we'll all be responsible for cutting a check of that size to wipe out the debt. It's to make a point on a per capita basis of how much we as a country owe. It's relatable. It's not so easy to relate to how much $15 trillion is for most. In fact I'd say that when you offer up a figure like that to most their eyes tend to glaze over. So offering it up on a per capita basis makes it easier to understand the gravity of the situation. That is all and the numbers are the numbers.

You can easily wipe out the public debt with one flash of the magic wand over the printing press.  Poof! Debt is gone.  Now that Billionaire may not be happy with the inevitable inflation, but that unemplyed homeless person's daily lifestyle won't really change, tho he might have to beg a little longer.

Seriously? I mean that's just for effect right?

I agree that there is no organization but that doesn't dilute that message of anger.

I would hardly call anger a message. Many of us (including me) are angry. Anger is an emotion. They should have taken that anger and done something productive with it. The point is that they have done nothing other than demonstrate that they're angry. A wasted opportunity in my book. OWS is now in riot mode. I'm not saying their anger isn't justified at all; it is. But as far as I'm concerned they've lost any chance they may have had at being taken seriously. And like I said in the article, I am nowhere close to the 1%, but I'm not in their 99% either. So is it one or the other? Not for me it isn't.

Granted this is obviously all one man's opinion and you know what they say about those.

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#4) On November 17, 2011 at 8:47 PM, caterpillar10 wrote:

The Vietnam anti-war movement had many premature obituaries...until the end of the war - then it was over, but no obit necessary then of course.

It definitely had a measure of chaos - I met and heard my 1st real live commies at the demos - and my 1st libertarians as well. And a whole garden variety between while politicians, naysayers, doubters, haters(as the kids say nowadays)  ect. ect. called out for our 'blueprint'... 

It certainly devolved into rioting from time to time and produced some shanty tent villages - especially after Cambodia/Kent State. It definitely picked up a good helping of grifter/predator/groupie:)/paint huffing & otherwise clueless camp followers along the way, howevah, when it was done its' roots - civil rights - and branches - womens lib, environmentalist, and gay rights movements kept right on going. I believe you speaketh too soon, suh! and underestimate the power - over time - of ouah democratic traditions................:) 

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#5) On November 17, 2011 at 10:00 PM, awallejr (79.57) wrote:

So you want equality when it's convenient (that's what your statement implies). Of course the reality of the situation is not that we'll all be responsible for cutting a check of that size to wipe out the debt. It's to make a point on a per capita basis of how much we as a country owe. It's relatable. It's not so easy to relate to how much $15 trillion is for most.

My statement had nothing to do with addressing equality.  I think most people's eyes don't glaze over when they hear 15 Trillion (with a T).  I guarantee everyone would play the powerball if it was that high.  Now if that was your intent to simply drive home how high 15 trillion is well ok, but I think people who read these blogs on this website are smart enough to know how much that is.

Seriously? I mean that's just for effect right?

Of course I was being somewhat facetious (I wasn't when I submitted the impact would be nil on someone who has nothing tho), but Binve has written quite a few well argued blogs on the deficit/debt topics.  I urge all to read them.

Anger can absolutely be a message.  It has started many movements.  You don't think minorities weren't angry about lynchings?  You think the family of those Kent State kids that were killed weren't angry?  Anger can drive people.  Anger can cause unions between many people of differing social sects.  Anger can start a movement.

I don't suggest that people go out there and rape, pillage and kill.  But raising ones voice in anger to how they perceive the establishment is treating the 99%? Absolutely, because people are seeing how the game really is rigged against the vast majority.  Eventually people will take on the banner and do what needs to be done, namely kicking out all the political incumbents as a start. 

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#6) On November 17, 2011 at 11:04 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

Eventually people will take on the banner and do what needs to be done, namely kicking out all the political incumbents as a start.

I can't agree with you more there; well said. It's my hope that a byproduct of all of this will be that individuals realize that a true difference can be made by simply taking the time to vote and take part in the process. If they don't this is all for nothing.

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#7) On November 17, 2011 at 11:47 PM, VExplorer (29.81) wrote:

Of course I was being somewhat facetious (I wasn't when I submitted the impact would be nil on someone who has nothing tho)

WRONG! I've seen hiperinflation twice in my life. In USSR ~1991/92 and in Ukraine in ~1996. I'm even not talking about one day >100% devaluations in Russia/Ukraine in 1998 and in Ukraine in 2008 again. People had nothing to eat! And I'm not talking about people which were rich before. ALL those events increased gap between top 5% and bottom 50%. Totally killed middle class. Put 70% of pupulation under povetry line.

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#8) On November 18, 2011 at 2:13 AM, awallejr (79.57) wrote:

Umm. wrong I wasn't being somewhat facetious?  Take my word for it, I was.  Germans are still spooked over Weimer Republic hyperinflation, although I don't know why since most alive never endured it.  And it is this paranoia that is what is delaying the Germans to eventually agree to what needs to be done to save the Euro, namely allowing the ECB to intercede.  Merkel is just delaying the inevitable with the whole "treaty" revisiting issue.

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#9) On November 18, 2011 at 11:35 AM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

And the beat goes on:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/45355495

"This morning at Zuccotti Park, where the movement has been based since Sept. 17, there are fewer than two dozen protesters...

Certainly many New Yorkers would welcome the ending of the movement. In the past two weeks, I’ve noticed a definite turn against the OWS movement among my fellow New Yorkers. They’ve gone from being a fascinating new development to an annoyance to many."

Not surprising at all, especially if you're not one of the 1% OR the other 99% (and you know you're out there). If they want to be successful, they will need to bag the riots and become politically active. That is the way to reach out and bring to light what is wrong with the system. And there is plenty wrong with the system; I'm sure we can all agree on that.

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#10) On November 18, 2011 at 12:48 PM, BillyTG (29.02) wrote:

Michael Lewis was right. Don't be so quick to dismiss the movement. You might be right in that OWS is finished. That doesn't make it unsuccesful.  I would argue they have already proven enormously successful, in much the same way that Ron Paul has been enormously successful at spreading ideas of liberty even if he fails to win the presidency. Though they may not directly impact the here and now, they are shaping the future in ways we can't yet see.

Mark these words: If OWS dies, there will be a sequel movement, larger and more forceful, perhaps as soon as next year. Things WILL get scary in this country.

“He who influences the thoughts of his times, influences all the times that follow. He has made his impression on eternity.”

Good recap. +1

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#11) On November 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM, DJDynamicNC (24.96) wrote:

To say that "each American owes $49,000 to cover the debt" is disingenuous at best. It ignores the corporations that are also responsible for paying in to the deficit, even Bank of America, much as they may deny any such responsibility. It also ignores the fact that the United States government is allowed to continue to carry debt while it gets paid off. In other words, if the budget were balanced next year and stayed balanced (as it did under Clinton), each of us would be responsible for $49,000 towards the deficit over the course of the rest of our lives - again, ignoring the billion dollar tax payments that corporations are shirking.

As for OWS - we aren't going anywhere. This is the fight of our lifetimes, and the world literally cannot afford for us to lose. Even if they kick every OWS supporter out of Manhattan, we'd regroup and try something else. We'll keep at this until we win. There is no alternative. The power brokers have had their chance and they're driving the nation into the ground, and the planet into collapse. And since I can't vote for the director of Goldman Sachs without enough money to buy the shares to give my vote some weight, there is no accountability at the ballot box for the people who have been running this nation - so we're finding another way.

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#12) On November 18, 2011 at 1:49 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

To say that "each American owes $49,000 to cover the debt" is disingenuous at best.

It's not disengenuous at all. It's an effort to relate the amount of debt our country owes. You must not have read my comment above to awallejr. Go back up and check it. Sorry but the way I see it our country is up to its eyeballs in debt and I think that's a bad thing. I think you do too.

It also ignores the fact that the United States government is allowed to continue to carry debt while it gets paid off.

You make this sound as if paying it off and carrying excessive loads of debt are a given. Be careful. When interest rates start going up and our debt load is more than we can handle it could get very ugly very fast. Our monetary policy is in a very precarious state right now. As it stands we have politicians in DC at this very moment nitpicking to death and making zero progress. Career politicians have zero incentive to really produce and we are watching it happen in front of our eyes. That's why I focused on term limits in the article. Man I would LOVE to see OWS make that happen. And I think you could.

We'll keep at this until we win.

More power to you. Fight the good fight and make our system better. But what does "until we win" mean? That's the problem. Can you tell me what winning means? Is it the end of capitalism? I honestly have no clue what OWS is fighting for in particular. I get you're angry. Hell I'm angry too. But you've lost me with your 99% vs. 1% platform and I suspect many can't relate to it. My wife and I have worked hard and lived responsible lives to do as well as we can for our family's sake. And the system is corrupt. There's no doubt about that. So we need to clean house. Again, read back over and you'll see I don't disagree. But what is winning? Define that for me please. Is it shutting down Wall Street for good? Do you think that the stock market is a bad thing?

Seriously, thank you for posting. I'd love to hear more about your goals. This is a friendly, civilized space here with open minds and you're always welcome.

Foolish best,

Jason

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#13) On November 18, 2011 at 1:50 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

BillyTG,

Thanks for chiming in. I appreciate you offering your thoughts. You're always welcome here.

Foolish best,

Jason

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#14) On November 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM, mm5525 (< 20) wrote:

The thing I've gleaned about the OWS "movement" is it's evidently about "income inequality." Well no kidding, people. Is income inequality anything new? Nope. Been going on for ages, and will continue to go on for ages. LeBron James will always make more than some guy in the NBA D League. Same with CEOs versus people in the mail room.

I enjoyed the OWS "movement" because I reflected back to my college days. While I was in school, I worked 50-60 hours a week at a financial firm while getting a degree in that area. I used to listen to all these people with Theology and Art degrees talking about how their degree would make them oh-so-much money upon graduation, and how the student loans they took out would be easily repaid with this new income stream. I used to laugh at them under my breath. Now those people are realizing their degree only gets them a job interview, and the rest is up to them. Yet, they want their student loans "forgiven entirely" because they have no way to pay it back. They could work at the very least doing fast food or raking leaves, mowing lawns, but that's just beneath them. They want someone else to pay for their own mistakes. Even some of these pro OWS posts above are utter nonesense. "We will never stop until we win." Win what? Income equality? Good luck with that. That's parked right between the Loch Ness Monster and the unicorns. Let me know when you find it.

To the general people of the OWS "movement" - Protest when you have something to actually say. Something that is coherent, makes sense, and you can say without slurring your words.

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#15) On November 18, 2011 at 3:12 PM, SolarisKing (< 20) wrote:

It's somewhat true that the OWS movement lacks fluency with the complicated subject matter of world politics and economics. But to say their opinion has no worth is like saying i should drink dirty water because i'm not a chemist.

Don't you doubt. Somewhere within the 99% are individuals who possess such fluency. 

Once they learn to quit wasting their energy starving in the cold they will figure out where to put it. OWS is largely fueled by college students, and in case you didn't know this; College students are smart, energetic, and want to change the world.

When they figure it out, i predict they will turn their attention to entering politics at local levels, and that they will use the IRV as the crowbar that moves the big weight. 

It's really not even hard. First the IRV in college politics, then small towns, counties, friendly states, and then constitutional ammendment. Nothing to it, for those of us that have done it before.
Once we have the IRV we can throw out encumbents without electing the 'greater of two evils'. The minority voice doesn't even have to win a chair to win a voice. Our current system doesn't even find the opinion of the poli. For instance, we will not know how many votes Ron Paul would/should get, because our current 'spoiler candidate' system keeps folks from voting for who they want.

And of course that's the reason for voter apathy. Why vote when your vote counts against you?

fairvote.org

I do agree that they might not call it OWS when all is said and done.

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#16) On November 18, 2011 at 3:43 PM, griderX (96.59) wrote:

These aren't the droids we're looking for. 

Move along... move along

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#17) On November 18, 2011 at 3:46 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

Win what? Income equality? Good luck with that.

The fact of the matter is that in capitalism you have winners and losers. If you don't think that's fair then you might want to move somewhere else I guess. I can't imagine that income equality is OWS's goal. Maybe to close the gap so the disparity isn't so great? Again, no idea as they've not been able to articulate it.

Your LeBron James example is a good one in that he can do stuff that most can't and there's a market that will pay for it so it does. If you whine about it then watch a game on TV or go to one, well then you have to stop whining about it because you are supporting it. Of course the NBA is in a sad state of affairs right now, but the general message still rings true. But there are no guarantees in life and we live in a country where we have the best opportunity in the world to make it happen. I know some people don't think that's the case right now, but it's true. I have lived in Egypt for three years and Kazakhstan for two and trust me when I tell you that it can be much, much worse. And I'm not saying these are bad places to be, don't get me wrong. I have many fond memories of both. I am simply saying that the best opportunities in the world are here, period.

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#18) On November 18, 2011 at 3:51 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

But to say their opinion has no worth is like saying i should drink dirty water because i'm not a chemist.

I assume there was a post here where someone said that. I don't think I did and I don't feel that way.

College students are smart, energetic, and want to change the world.

Ah those were the days; I remember them well.

When they figure it out, i predict they will turn their attention to entering politics at local levels,

The best way to affect change, I hope this is the case.

And of course that's the reason for voter apathy. Why vote when your vote counts against you?

Possibly, but I find this to be a flimsy excuse and no more. If you don't vote then shut up.

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#19) On November 18, 2011 at 9:48 PM, awallejr (79.57) wrote:

Jason you are expecting the right things at the wrong time.  Movements don't start out as organized political machines pushing political candidates and a platform.  Reply #4 gave a pretty good early description of one.

Will OWS movement grow and expand? Time will tell, tho I suspect the 1% hope it doesn't.  But saying if you don't vote, then shut up is silly really.  When you generally just get a choice between 2 candidates from the two predominant political parties, many times it becomes a choice of lesser of two evils, in effect no choice at all. 

Now you would argue then push candidates that are supportive of your views through the political process, and you would be justified in saying so.  But then that, of course, takes organization, funding, and, well, truly qualified candidates. 

Personally I don't see that ever happening, in my lifetime anyway.  The entrenched parties have their own agendas to push. They have the funding.  They are organized.  And they have the power.

For OWS to have any ultimate effect on change they need to threaten the incumbents.  Incumbents want to keep their jobs.  Incumbents want to keep their power.  If an incumbent sees him/herself  losing that job because of consituency losses they might change.

Personally I want to see every incumbent tossed out.  I want to see term limits on every possible electable governmental post.  I also want term limits on the heads of all Federal, State and Local governmental agencies.  I certainly want to effectuate campaign funding restrictions.  Oh and any Elected official engaging in insider trader should be an automatic impeachment and removal from office.

I also want to tax to oblivion people making over a certain amount.  That amount is negotiable since I do want incentive/rewards to still exist.  But what I don't want is a "new Royalty" which we have.  This Country's Federal Government was founded under a unique instrument called the Consitution of the United States.  A remarkable document.  Something that never existed throughout world history up to that time.  It, in theory anyway, eliminated Royalty.  Poof, Kings and Queens and Emperors and Dukes, etc. all gone.

But now we have a new Royalty, called the 1 percenters.  They have the real power.  You can try to sell the con job that this Country gives everyone the chance to succeed beyond their wild imaginations.  But it is a con, whether you see it or not. 

It is true that an INDIVIDUAL can succeed beyond his/her wild imagination.  But EVERYONE can't.  The math isn't there.  So the 1 percenters dangle the potential of anyone hitting the lottery as a way of securing their own ensconced positions, with the suckers taking the bait, despite the fact that most people never ever will win that lottery.

And yes through hard work and dedication many can at least create a comfortable life for his/herself or family, but many simply cannot.  We will always need janitors, etc. And we have seen how power in the end rigged the game against the Average Joe.  The rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

I see no hope in the next presidential election.  It is going to be a choice of one of the silliest groups of Republican candidates I have ever seen (SNL's Alec Baldwin spoof was so spot on), or Obama, who I believe doesn't deserve another term. So I personally hope OWS movement does grow just to start scaring those incumbents at least.  We shall see. 

 

 

 

 

 

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#20) On November 18, 2011 at 10:07 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

But saying if you don't vote, then shut up is silly really.

We'll just have to agree to disagree here. I respect where you are coming from, and even felt that way for a time in my younger days. But I do feel that if you are not voting then you are not participating and have no room to gripe.

Now you would argue then push candidates that are supportive of your views through the political process,

Not necessarily. Do all the politicians I vote for get elected? Never. Especially as an independent voter. But I know that I am doing my part. That is how OWS can start doing their part. Maybe they'll be able to keep the ball rolling into the 2012 election cycle, though who knows what kind of effect it would really have. It could get more people involved in the process. Kinda like Clinton and Rock The Vote...just get people involved. It can make a huge difference. I like your voting out the incumbents idea. I'd get behind that one in an effort to clean house over a longer stretch. The only way to do that is....you guessed it, to vote. Further, and this is entirely speculation on my part, but I think that most Americans would get behind term limits which I believe could also make a big difference. Like you astutely said though, time will tell in many ways.

I see no hope in the next presidential election.  It is going to be a choice of one of the silliest groups of Republican candidates I have ever seen (SNL's Alec Baldwin spoof was so spot on), or Obama, who I believe doesn't deserve another term.

Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. Well, I guess we can still maybe vote libertarian? ;)

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#21) On November 18, 2011 at 10:14 PM, TheDumbMoney (47.10) wrote:

Meh.

I think it's taking a breather.  It has lost the battle, but shut down my commute to work on Thursday.

Also, I loathe term limits.  Advocating for term limits is one-dimensional thinking.  All term limits do is create a feeder system for additional very well-connected lobbyists.  I could only get behind term limits, especially for Congress, if there were reforms to lobbying, such as making people wait ten years after leaving office before they can be a lobbyist.  All term limits do is make the lobbyists smarter and more educated about the issues (and the system) than the elected officials are.  SoOOOo 1990. 

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#22) On November 18, 2011 at 10:37 PM, awallejr (79.57) wrote:

Perhaps.  The parties remain in power while feeding new recruits, but at least the individual politicians are forced to move on.  Time restriction of lobbying is a good idea.

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#23) On November 18, 2011 at 10:40 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

Also, I loathe term limits.  Advocating for term limits is one-dimensional thinking.  All term limits do is create a feeder system for additional very well-connected lobbyists.  I could only get behind term limits, especially for Congress, if there were reforms to lobbying, such as making people wait ten years after leaving office before they can be a lobbyist.

So was the shut down to the commute a good thing or a bad thing? :) You say one-dimensional; I would say one of a number of steps. I don't think that it's the be-all-end-all solution. I loathe lobbyists and find their existence to be an utter sore on our political system. Nothing more than a fancy word for bribe in my book, so if I had my way I'd eliminate them completely.

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#24) On November 18, 2011 at 10:52 PM, awallejr (79.57) wrote:

I guess we can still maybe vote libertarian? ;)

But that leaves us with Ron Paul who would let little puppies with bows on them to burn heheh.

 

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#25) On November 18, 2011 at 11:13 PM, TMFJMo (70.86) wrote:

Dude I rolled out of my chair...funny!

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#26) On November 20, 2011 at 2:57 AM, TheDumbMoney (47.10) wrote:

All I meant is that people talk about term limits as if it solves anything.  But it has been tried, multiple times, and it can actually make the very problems that lead people to enact term limits simply worse.  California's experience has made me roll my eyes big-time anytime anyone gets wide-eyed and talks about term limits as a solution to anything.  It may be one step, but it's a step we've taken, and it's a pointless and self-defeating step unless one literally bans termed-out politicians from having anything to do with government, which one can't really do.  

If we want to make government more responsive to the people, to individuals, we should, yet again, ban all corporate and union donations to campaigns and politicians (so only individuals can donate, and only in their own names).  That would do far more than term limits to fix our problems, while causing fewer unwanted externalities.  Of course, we can't do that, because the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that corporations have personhood in that respect (though it has denied them personhood in multiple other respects, such as with regard to search and seizure).  One wonders why the Supreme court is so keen to protect the supposed  First Amendment rights of companies in this regard, while it is willing to acknowledge they have no rights under other Amendments.  I would love to see a grass-roots constitutional amendment to overturn that deeply-flawed and destructive line of case law.  

No, I am never thrilled with anything that hurts my commute!  :-)  I do sympathize with OWS, although I don't agree with a lot of what they advocate.  (For instance, I'm not a pinko, and I advocate bathing regularly.)

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