Reform Occupy Whatever

by pjamesbeardsley

I’m not some yuppie Republican out to tell the Occupy protesters to take a bath, stop smoking pot, and go get a job.

I’m not a Republican. I suspect Occupy protesters bathe as much as anyone else .  I may think smoking pot is bad for the  health of (most) folks, and I don’t do it or recommend it, but I’m against the War on Drugs and don’t particularly care if peaceful people engage in moderate, responsible marijuana consumption.  Either way, I see no reason to believe marijuana use is any more rampant at the Occupy protests than it is in the rest of society.

The jobs thing is dumb.  Many of the protesters are protesting because they can’t find one, and they blame systemic problems.  I largely concur.

I am with you when you say you want monetary reform, and especially when you hint at free market money.  I am with you when you complain about bailouts, which are really just welfare for rich people.  I am with you when you say that the current wealth distribution is likely very unnatural and harmful to the economy.

So please believe me, Occupants, when I say I am not one of those people.  I am, however, someone who says you are misguided in your goals and need to refocus your energy.  Why do I say that?  Because things like this are real

That’s right.  “1%ers” find what you do quaint.  Adorable.  Not a threat.  They’ll even buy your signs for fun little lawn chairs and posters.

There’s a reason why.  You’re not a threat.  The problems you notice are either very real or probably real.  The solutions you propose stink.  More government regulation of financial markets, more power granted to unions, and higher income taxes on those making large salaries are not threats.  Those things protect the “1%” from the “99%”

More government regulation of financial markets makes it more difficult for people outside the 1% to get wealthy in a variety of ways, but mainly by limiting potential returns and making laws more confusing.  Large, established financial firms have the capital and people to search through new regulations and find ways to comply with them.  Small, upstart competitors do not.  This keeps markets more unstable than they would otherwise be.  This massive unknown in return on investment, due to more unstable markets, due to less quality speculation, due to diminished returns and a large number of laws and regulations keeps interest rates that banks pay to small time investors and account holders artificially low. That hurts the 99%.

More power granted to unions is a problem for large corporations, but much, much more of a problem for their upstart competitors.  It squashes competition, and drives up prices for consumers by both limiting the supply of goods and raising the cost of production.  That hurts the 99%.

Higher income tax rates keep the 1% as the 1%.  1%ers already have wealth.  They aren’t “earning” anything more than they have to, that all gets automatically reinvested.  It’s people on the cusp of becoming 1% or 2% or 3% that a “progressive” income tax hurts.  It hurts the ability of the 99% to become 1%.  It also decreases the incentive of the most productive people to be as productive as possible.  That hurts the supply and quality of goods, which makes things more expensive.  That hurts the 99%.

In the end, I don’t dislike you.  I’m with you on many things.  I love the energy.  You need to refocus and think about the impact of your goals.  Right now, the 1% isn’t scared, as well they shouldn’t be.