I've been watching with amusement the preposterous, unhelpful and ill-informed protests known as OWS, "Occupy Wall Street" as it were. There are "Occupy" protests in other cities, including our own Boston locally, as well as Toronto, Oakland, Sydney, LA and a host of others. Most are comprised of a relative few individuals, who claim, without justification, to represent the "99%", as in the 99% who aren't among the top 1% of annual income in the nation.
Every day there's another howler coming out of the movement. We'll go randomly through a few of the amusing and occasionally disturbing vignettes.
Both Ace of Spades and James Taranto today wrote about the discovery that if you appear to be giving out free food (or anything else, really, for free), freeloaders will want to partake. Imagine that. OWS is slapped with the realization that resentment and a feeling of being abused can result from someone usurping your property rights and taking your stuff. From Taranto a serious take:
In truth, the Obamavillians are learning why Obama is wrong--why socialism doesn't work. A society that makes a virtue of dependency ultimately encourages freeloading and grifting. The instinct to prevent it is a healthy one. A lot has been written about the similarities and differences between Obamaville and the Tea Party, and here is one: Whereas the latter arose out of the instinct to reward self-reliance and discourage dependency, the former is having it awakened by an encounter with the real world.
Ace's more humorous look at the dustup:
Yeah,what right do the homeless and prisoners have to represent themselves as society's downtrodden. Impostors! They're not oppressed like the college graduates with too much debt from pricey private colleges!...
Amazing... they don't want to share their own stuff with people they don't have any particular common bonds with. And they're resentful of Other people coming in and acting like they have the right to take their stuff...
But note within their little society, they themselves set up a hierarchy "those who belong" and "losers and derelicts we wish to exclude."
Do they not get that that's what they are to us?
Here Ace explains why money exists, a concept seemingly foreign to the occupiers. Short answer: it's a medium of exchange for items of value.
I think you guys (again, the guys in this video) are working for the same reason as Peter Schiff: Money. Which is, in turn, simply a convenient unit of exchange for the most precious commodity in the world: Time.
When you buy a loaf of bread, you are giving up some of your time, in the convenient unit of exchange called money, by which you were paid for your time, for someone else's time.
This is why virtually everybody works.
And have you heard about the drummers? The percussionists threatened to disrupt the occupation, as if identifying disruption were possible in such a ragtag organization.
The drummers’ refusal to be silenced has opened cracks in the leaderless movement. The general assembly that has formed to oversee the protests proposed to limit the drumming to two hours per day, but the drummers fought back.
Ah, but those cracks were healed when an historic accord was reached.
The Heritage Foundation took a conservative's look at what are, as best as anyone can tell, the demands of the occupiers. Hijinks ensue. Here's a snippet, with Demand #9 and parts of its response, but the whole piece is worth a read.
9: Passage of a comprehensive job and job-training act like the American Jobs Act to employ our citizens in jobs that are available with specialized training and by putting People to work now by repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure. We also recommend the establishment of an online international job exchange to match employers with skilled workers or employers willing to train workers in 21st century skills.
James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at the Center for Data Analysis:
Public works projects will not reduce unemployment. Government spending does not create new wealth in the economy, it reallocates existing spending. Some workers get jobs on the public works project, at the expense of jobs that do not get created elsewhere in the economy...
Sadly, government job training programs also do not live up to their hype... The government has not learned how to do effective job training. Fortunately, OWS do not have to wait for the government to act. Private sector online job exchanges like Monster.com already match millions of employers with workers every year.
Read the whole list of demands. It's a giant Marxist wish-list. I particularly like the demand for student loan relief. Hey, no one held a gun to your head forcing you to go $150k in debt for your degree in primitive cultures, why should others be forced to pay it off for you? I paid off my student loans, you pay off yours. You know what else? My wealthiest friend started out owning a gas station and working construction jobs. Figure it out.
Finally, perhaps the most unintentinally amusing comment on the OWS protests comes from Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who claims, with curious pride, that
“I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,”
"Intellectual foundation." You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.