Occupy This

Many of the videos coming from Occupy [your town here] do viewers the comedic favor of showing feckless tag-alongs who have no real idea why they’re doing what they’re doing. Generally you’re seeing a ragtag collection of young, unserious hangers-on who are wandering aimlessly, using and wearing products made by the same corporations they’re supposed to despise. It’s all great fun, but in the end you’re told in subtext everything you really need to know: Occupy Wall Street isn’t really occupying Wall Street, because even New York City knows who butters its bread.

But when it comes to Oakland – amongst the sexual assault, graffiti, rats, urination, and sex – you get a higher breed of derelict advancing the kind of old, studied class warfare that comes only from years of studying dogeared copies of Marx’s greatest hits. Jonah Goldberg linked to an eight-and-a-half minute video of Oakland occupiers telling you exactly how they’d like the United States to be – the Marxism isn’t surprising. But the extreme lack of forethought is.

One woman explains she has no sympathy for people “with obscene amounts of money.” Asked when mere money making becomes obscene she answers, “I, you know, honestly, anything over $200,000 is like, you’re, that’s, no one spends that amount of money on anything. That’s ridiculous.” She would be surprised to know that building a mile of road in a small, Midwestern town costs about $200,000, but no doubt she would explain that when a government spends this much money, it’s worthwhile.

Question: How does the government get $200,000? It’s a trick question – the federal government either borrows it or continues printing inflationary currency; but how does a small Midwestern town get it? Taxes, mostly, in their various forms: income, sales, property, vehicle registration fees, et cetera. When it comes to this, government actually really likes wealthy people because they make the kind of income, rack up the kind of sales, own the kind of property, and drive the types of vehicles that collect much higher taxes than those in lower income brackets.

A man says, “There’s a class war going on in this country. We’re the richest country in the world, and we have the most inequality between the rich and the working people and the poor.” Well, yes. Of course. That is an inevitable byproduct of a society where a man is allowed to rise as high as his abilities and talents will take him. Some people will always do better than others, and because becoming rich is hard work, there will always be many more poor than rich. How else would they like it to be?

Glad you asked. Our friends in Oakland would have you believe that if government brought the rich down to the level of the poor, and redistributed the pilfered cash among the proletariat, the distribution of wealth would finally become fair. More questions: (1) For how many years do they think this is possible? Once you’re in the business of collecting all excess wealth, what is the incentive to create a dollar above the level deemed excessive? In the name of brotherhood we’ll say that some of the formerly rich will stick out for awhile, but at some point you’re going to bump up against diminishing returns, and then what do you do, when there’s nothing left to redistribute?

(2) What about income tax? Notice that when they say “redistribution of wealth” it always begins and ends with the rich being done in by the poor; they forget all about the government wanting its share. Hell, even illegal income is taxable (Al Capone could have told you all about that), so once the poor absorb this windfall, they’ll have to pay taxes. And if they think they’re going to pay the same tax rate they did when they were womens’ studies majors, they’re going to be sadly surprised. See, the IRS is going to get what it wants, and it doesn’t care whether it comes from millionaires and billionaires, or a few million hundred-thousandaires.

Sooner or later, our Oakland classists would get to the ugly truth: Poor people don’t make the world work. There are plenty of countries that behave exactly as they would like America to behave; they could live in one, if they really wanted.

Author Bio:

Brian S. Wise used to be the lead columnist at IntellectualConservative.com and a fairly well known pundit; now he’s just some dude. He has cool ideas for books and columns, but hardly ever stays out of bed long enough to get started on any of them. He is available via email at brianwisedotcom@gmail.com and via The Twitter at @BrianSWise
  • serge

    Before you go around talking about how the poor don’t make the world work I think you should first define what “poor” is to you and secondly consider what would happen if all the “poor” (I put “poor” in quotes because I’m thinking of that song “Coat of Many Colours”) people just disappeared tomorrow, this is of course subject to interpretation since we might disagree on what the world looks like when it “works”

  • John Miller

    Ha ha jew – trying to be one of us. 75 pct of ows are you people.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    TELL OCCUPY TO MOVE TO THE SOURCE AND PROTEST
    1600 PENN, BUT THE PROMOTERS, UNIONS WONT LET
    THEM GO THERE. ITS ALL STAGED

  • Will Swoboda

    I have been poor and now am retired. I don’t do bad. I retired not poor. But when I was poor it was a result of very bad choices. As a matter of fact, most of my fellow poor friends were also poor because of very bad choices. I have traveled through a lot of the world and in many communist countries and poor people in America can do far better than in any other country in the world.
    Will Swoboda

  • David R. Zukerman

    Have conservatives become a mirror image of liberals — responding with equal venom (if not more) to OWS, considering the lib hostility to the Tea Party Movement? To hear conservative radio talkers, there is not much wrong with the current corporate mentality (just what do they teach these days in B schools — that “Henry F. Potter” is the hero of “”It’s a Wonderful Life?”) except for corporate coziness with the Obama Administration (alluded to by means of the term “crony capitalism). Conservatives on radio thrash about hurling denunciations of the OWS as freeloaders (among other demands). How explain “too-big-to-fail” capitalism. Or will it take a demand by The New York Times for a bailout for conservatives to get stirred up against corporate demands to be shielded against risk of loss — with the taxpayers to pay the bailouts? I have yet to hear a conservative denunciation of 30% interest rates on credit cards — not even the wry point that such uusurious practces did not keep several banks from going belly-up. I have yet to hear a conservative take note of the corporate squeeze on consumers by reducing packaging — suddenly an ice cream point consists of 14 ounzes; a half gallon of orange juice carries 59 ounces.Or is this trend merely the result of inadequate education. I have yet to hear a conservative call to restore our founding legacy with reference to the first half of Federalist No. 57 which opens by takingh note of those seeking the “ambitious sacrifice of the many, to the aggrandizement of the few.” There was a Thomas Hart grotesque cartoon, more than a hundred years ago, showing two grasping creatures looking to consume each other. Today’s reality is no less grotesque.

    Who will drop the partisanship for the common good? Clearly not our prominent conservatives who would be silent in the face of the grossest corporate excesses — except when they might be tied to the Democrats. Or could it be that the conservative radio talkers are…Democrat moles — looking to discredit conservatives. So far, I’d say they are doing pretty good job of that.

  • Richard

    Just lost my internet connection, so have to type this again.

    Yes, there are those at these OWS rallies/protests who probably do not know why they are there. Yes, there are some who may have long hair; may not have taken a shower in awhile; may in fact be hippies.

    But it amazes me that “feckless” conservatives sometimes claim to have no clue what the other side wants; it amazes me that “feckless” conservatives make fun of those less fortunate than they are.

    The author points out the complaint of the income inequality in this country. But the fact is that many CEOs and executives of large corporations are now making more money than they did before the recession started. The wealthy have done very well these past few decades. Yet, the middle class has in fact lost ground in the average wages. It should also be pointed out that the income disparity in this country became quite large right before the Great Depression.

    Yes, some of these protesters wear and use “products made by the same corporations they’re supposed to despise.” The author implies they are hypocrites for doing so.

    I despise Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, yet I sometimes listen/watch these idiots. I despise Glen Beck, yet I watched this clown’s program on some occasions. I do not despise Bill O’Reilly, but I do disagree with much of what he says; yet, I watch him often. Am I a hypocrite for doing so?

    My take on these protesters is that they are not in general targeting specific corporations, except for a few like Bank of America. My take is that they are targeting the system.

    Some of these banks got bailed out of the financial crisis using taxpayer dollars. Yes, some have paid back their loans with interest, but it was taxpayer dollars that helped them. These OWS people are protesting this fact because it was their money that was used, yet these banks gave their CEOs and executives huge bonuses.

    Further, these protesters did not get a bailout. I have seen signs about protesters and their student loans. They have graduated from college, but they cannot get a job; these protesters want to be bailed out of their student loans.

    Even more, banks like BOA are now charging monthly fees ($5 for BOA) just for the privilege of using their debit card. That’s $60 a year. This may seem like peanuts to the author and other people who make a lot of money, but it is real money for some of these protesters.

    I also take issue with this author’s comments about working hard to get rich. This implies that if you are not rich, you do not work hard, and this is BS. This is in line with what Herman Cain recently said….that if you are not rich; if you have no job; then it is your fault.

    I have seen conservatives on Fox News make similar comments. They have said things like teachers “only” work 9 months out of the year, compared to these Wall Street bankers who work 12 months a year, as if that were an excuse for the teachers to only make $50,000 a year, compared to the millions some on Wall Street make. I would suggest that perhaps some teachers (and others) work harder than some of these wealthy millionaires because these millionaires can pay someone to watch after their kids, go grocery shopping for them, cut their lawns, etc., whereas someone making far less cannot afford to do this.

    And, someone who is this wealthy makes much more than they spend; therefore, they can invest and in fact pay someone to manage their investments to make even more money, without even working hard.

    I have worked my tail off in my career. I have worked 80 hour weeks. I have sometimes foregone vacations and weddings in order to get a project done. I have sometimes worked 2 or 3 months straight with no days off, including weekends.

    While I have done well, I have never been close to a millionaire. Does that mean I have not worked hard?

    This line of conservative thinking is upsetting.

    The author says that “Poor people don’t make the world work.” But the middle class does. They buy the products these corporations make; they work hard to ensure that these corporations make and sell good products.

    A number of wealthy people have said that they understand these protesters. This includes not only Warren Buffet; it includes people like the CEO of CitiGroup; it includes Bill Gross, the founder and managing director of the world’s largest bond fund, PIMCO.

    If people like this can understand the protesters, I fail to see why this author cannot and in fact makes fun of them. If he cannot understand at least the basis of the protests, then he is not “wise.”

    • Brian S. Wise

      Tell you the truth, I tapped out on the second paragraph of your essay and skipped to the end. But good luck.

      • Richard

        Same here…..although I later took the time to read the whole feckless screed.

        Amazing that a so-called professional columnist can’t take the time to read someone else’s opinion.

        Good luck getting out of bed next time.

        • Brian S. Wise

          Nowhere do I claim to be a professional; but if I were, that wouldn’t obligate me to read someone else’s opinions, especially when I don’t care about them. (I’ll tell you a secret about me: I don’t care about most people’s opinions, even when they agree with mine. I write, you read; that’s how it’s going to work 90 percent of the time.)

          But you notice how the shorter comment got a real response? Brevity is the soul of wit, and patience.

          Thanks on the getting out of bed thing. It’s nice there, and my feet stay warm.

  • neil johnston rouse

    wilbur is apparently the front man here for the canned heat misdirection of a desperate left that has become so absurd. it does not matter what the tea party is, or acorn, or any host of other groups. apart from the fact that except for some pro life groups the right does not interfere with the normal egress/access of people going about their everyday affairs with their rallies.
    the comparison to the tea party is like a play ground were one public education disaster excuses his punching some other kid in the face by making an unsubstantiated claim the some other kid might have accidentally stepped on someones toe the day before.
    i have not heard of anyone with the tea party ever having deposited a fecal pile on a police car. there are no doubt a few hangers on with the tea party that are ‘out there’, but at least they all seem to be potty trained.

    • Brian S. Wise

      Ah – I forgot all about the dump on the police car. Good call.

  • Wil Burns

    Brian, How many gun toting “Liberals” did you see in that “Occupy Wall Street”crowd?

  • Wil Burns

    Muammar Gaddafi thought the same as you. See what happened to him! You people better wake up, the 99%ers are getting angry!

    • Homer

      Actually, he was a left winger pro communist.

    • Pundit Pete

      If you really want to know what happened to Gaddafi, check out this news article at the Pundit Pete Press Service.
      http://punditpete.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html
      Gaddafi’s demise was just fufilling an old Arabic proverb.
      يجب على الناس الذين يعيشون في خيام لا رمي السكاكين
      Those who live in tents should not throw knives.

  • Wil Burns

    Rich people across the world agree that the solution to every problem is more suffering for poor people.

    • CCNV

      Rich (and not so rich) people around the world agree that people who sit on their butts, hatch out babies and live off taxpayers – have created their own little hell hole and deserve what they get for their effort…NOTHING! Want sympathy? Look between ‘shot’ and ‘syphilis’ in the dictionary.

    • Brian S. Wise

      (1) None that I’m aware of. Then again, how many rapes, arrests, incidents of graffiti, et cetera have ever taken place, by conservatives, at a Tea Party rally? (Real ones, not the fake ones you people invented in an attempt to portray them as racist, or whatever.)

      Generally speaking, though, I hate groups and I hate group mentality (it doesn’t matter which part of the political spectrum the group occupies).

      (2) I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      (3) Stick with America for a minute. In a progressive tax system, the rich are necessarily going to pay the great majority of all federal income tax. Which is as it should be. I say let’s even the playing field, eliminate most (if not all) federal income tax breaks, and let the poor pay their fair share. Because brother, if you’re really interested in equality, that’s a hell of a place to start.

      By the way, the reason I know poor people don’t make the world work is because I’m one of them. I’ve said so in this column before. It’s a fact. Your not liking it doesn’t make it any less of a fact.

      • Dan L.

        I thought brevity was the soul of wit, windy.

    • Homer

      Including George Soros?
      How on earth would you know what pther people think?

  • Brian S. Wise