What I Want Occupy Wall Street To Be
My rant for today...
I love the concept of Occupy Wall Street. There are injustices in society that need to be corrected and I'm all for people voicing those injustices.
The problem is that most of the people protesting are morons and have no clue what really goes on in the economy. And the few that do are drown out by the crowd.
So I thought I would write a few of the things I've observed in watching the protests and what I would like Occupy Wall Street to have as their talking points.
- Wealth inequality has become extreme in this country
Real wages haven't risen in decades for the average worker, a vastly disproportionate about of wealth resides at the top of society, and it feels like social mobility is harder than ever. In short as the U.S. has grown and become more successful only a few of us participated in the fruits of that success.
How do we fix it? I have no idea. But I think stating the problem could open up some discussion. Let me know if you have a fabulous idea.
- The 99% saved the 1% and we're pissed off about it
The bank and auto bailouts were paid for by everyone but it feels like a very small portion of people really benefited. That pisses people off and for good reason.
A great fix to this would have been many of the provisions in the Barney-Frank bill that was gutted. Instead we're left with a financial system that looks a lot like the financial system we had before.
This time I do have a solution! Chop the big 4 banks into about 20 pieces. There's no reason that i-banking and mortgage units belong in the same business. Bring back some competition and chop them up.
- It's not about you or me, it's about us (the 100%)
Fellow fool Brian Stoffel wrote a good article yesterday about how it should be about all of us and not 99% vs. 1%. click here to see the article.
I agree with the premise that too much of business and politics has become about power, greed, and winning. Why can't we all win? Why can't companies pay a good solid wage, people work hard, and generate a profit for shareholders. Everyone wins.
I started my career at 3M where I often heard about the "good old days" when wages were higher (relative to cost of living), options made many people wealthy, profits grew quickly, and everyone worked hard. Employees weren't looked at as a wage or a number but instead as an asset. And employers weren't looked at as evil, they were partners and provided the means to accomplish something great that would help everyone. We've lost that loving feeling.
I think there's a lot of responsibility for this that falls on Corporate America and the leaders in our country. As layoffs were happening around the country there was very little remorse as corporations reported record profits. The little guy is out a job and the boss rakes in a record bonus because of cost cutting. The incentives are perverse.
But it's more than a single company that we can blame, it's an entire mindset. It's the mindset of the mega corporation. Maybe what Occupy Wall Street needs to do is start a new movement in the spirit of "Made in the USA" a few decades ago. Maybe we should "Buy Local" or "Buy Small Business". There has to be something we can do other than patronizing the same companies that are making this mess worse. And if we help smaller, local businesses we may just improve the employment picutre in the process.
Thus completes my rant for the day. Thought Fools?