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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Roaring With Laughter

The Occupy Wall Street "Joy of Outraged Incoherence" crowd have met their match, Chicago Style:

The protesters are making signs about being the 90% or the 99%, so these boys hung signs out the window announcing "We are the 1%".

One admires their willingness to state it as it is, although many of the workers at the CBOT aren't the 1%. But they are at least aspiring to get there, and frankly by now I am more in sympathy with them than the protesters.

I had enough of incoherent wild-eyed demonstrators when I was growing up. By the 70s it was all drugs, alcohol and "how dare you make me work for a living or get good grades to get a good job", so the romance of the 60s never took hold in my unredeemed little heart.

I think the Occupy Wall Street gang is rolling votes from the Dems to the GOP by the millions. If they can just keep it up for another two or three weeks, the Senate will go over 60% GOP, and we'll have a solid GOP federal government in 2013. It all depends on the weather - one good cold snap and these hippies will have to move to SF and boycott the local head shops for their outrageous pricing cartel.

The popular anger at the financial gurus is so very great that I would have sworn that nothing could defuse it, but NPR's desperate attempts to make the OWS (Occupy Wall Street) crowd look, well, sane have convinced me that the specter of the 70s is still haunting the country. I think the OWS crowd also has a lot to do with Cain's rise in polling - people want the country to work again, and you don't have to contemplate the wild-eyed or vacantly smiling, tattooed free-food crowd milling around urban centers for very long to realize that whatever their goals may be, they do not constitute anything most would describe as "working for a living".

So the JOIsters (Joy of Outraged Incoherence-sters) are rolling the country red in a big way. From Mr. Punch-A-Hippie to the Anchoress, a broad swathe of ordinary Americans are staring at the Occupy Wall Street crowd and recoiling in distaste. They want to get as far away as they can from That Sort Of Thing, and as far as they can get is pretty much Herman Cain at the moment and most definitely not another vote for Obama. I suppose Romney is really the leader, and Perry has a very good chance, but the reality is that Americans are fed up with the current powers that be and would like to put some more ordinary people in office, and Cain is the type of ordinary American most ordinary Americans aspire to be.

Americans really aren't that conservative, but they do want this era of misery to end! It's tremendously hard to follow even favorable coverage of the whacked-out movement without developing the suspicion that these people only agree about wanting to get their hands on Other People's Money, and Main Street has had some experience as to how that really works out. They can feel hands in their own pockets already, and those hands are sort of grubby and disgusting hands that they don't even want to shake.

The Hippie-Marxists on DU are roaring with joy and breathless anticipation over this, but they are not in touch with reality or the popular psyche.

I've been dropping hints on various Occupy sites on a possible mission statement, and I actually got one positive response, and not much else.

I suggested a mission statement that would change the banking rule of "Debt restructuring first requires a default" to "Debt restructuring does not require a default".

Just adding two words "does not" to the existing banking rule of law could save main street from continued robbery of their personal wealth by the bankers. I wrote it about it at the link article below.

One of my more disgusting jobs in the Navy was as a recruiter on college campuses in the late 60s.

For me the OWS crowd is deja vu all over again. The 60s protestors were filled with angst at having to serve in the military or get a real job. Now, with the draft gone, it's just about having to really earn a living.

It does prove, in my mind, that the urge toward collectivism and slackerism is genetic. Or maybe it's contagious. Whatever, it never seems to go away.

I hope you're right about the demonstrations driving people into voting conservative or Republican. My recollection is that the MSM successfully used those 60s demonstrations to drive us the other way as a society.
Yeah, well Uncle Walter also used Tet to convince the public that Vietnam was lost. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but Tet certainly didn't demonstrate that it was lost. I don't think they have that kind of power anymore.

I'd wager that the seed money for this little "Occupy" shindig came from the old-money tax-free foundations, leveraged with federal dollars by way of social-organizing groups. The people running this show are the scions of the idle rich and their social-climbing hangers-on. They've always been with us, and always will be. If this were the Victorian era, they'd be lazing around living off the interest from their gilts and engaging in tragicomedies of errors.

Or maybe I'm just in a really cynical mood today.
I'd like to know how leveraged Godfather's Pizza was/is before I'm willing to support Cain. I'm just not convinced he won't do bailouts.
I was an RA for Vietnam and served from 66-67, First Air Cav, front line duty. The kids in the street were right about the war,it should never have started and certainly stopped before killing 50K Americans and wounding 500K.
The Vietnam War was popular until the middle class college kids were drafted and sent to Nam and killed or wounded in large numbers. The Public pressure to end the draft after the War along with the public response during the war has changed how America's military planners have conducted our military adventures up to the present time.

I haven't followed the current protest Wall Street saga but the middle class and their children have been over promised economically the last 30 years and they have responded by loading up on debt. Given the very high rates of college grad unemployment, elderly workers,foreclosures, short sales along with general high unemployment I would not be surprised to see more signs of discontent. How that benefits one political party I don't know but if the middle class gets p*off the phones will be ringing in D.C.
Ron - the point is that Vietnam gave the protests real oomph. It doesn't matter what you think about it - what matters is that it fed a core of revolt.

"Give me Warren Buffet's money" does not carry the same, especially since Buffet's entire stash won't carry this debt-loaded society more than a few paces forward.

We could get out of Vietnam - we cannot deal with our current problems by seizing the assets of the 1%.

I think we have tremendous discontent - how could we not with this unemployment rate and declining real wages? But look again at the property tax graph I referenced at the end of the last post (the Rockefeller Institute one).

You can't claim free education when it requires seizing the property of the middle-class. Which it does.

I think Neil is right about where the money comes from for this exercise, but I think people are lost in the past and not dealing with the problems of the present. The problems of the present are jobs and public financing.
You must be realize that some of the message from
OWS is being selectively filtered by the main street media.
Wall Street has been putting the message the SS is
Bankrupt, not because they care about you as a citizen,
but because they want you to invest your money with
them. If they can end SS and push more money into
Wall Street all the better for them. The real problem will
come when citizens are ignored until they take extreme
measures. I sure hope it doesn't come to that.
I like Cain's message and think that it would have worked well if tried in 2008, but the unfortunate downside of government by the people is that we get the government we deserve. In 2008 we made choices that will have consequences for a generation. We made those choices willingly and overwhelmingly. I am reminded of the joke "What's the difference between a lightbulb and a pregnant woman?" "You can unscrew a lightbulb."
We started to see the mistake and come to our senses in 2010, but after one bout of indiscretion we are left with the question of "How do you unscrew a pregnant woman?" The answer is that it takes 18 years at a minimum. Electing Obama was not a simple lightbulb that can be unscrewed with minimal consequence, and whether we like it or not we will live with it.
Cain's medicine might be too much too late. The system has been made so dependent that it is now brittle and will break with an unfortunate crash at a lower than design pressure. All I can say to those who placated their white-guilt with a drunken, one-night stand of a vote is Thanks, Buddy!

BTW, was "Buddy is only half a word" a common saying in your day, JimmyJ?
Can't say that I heard that expression. The standard response to any complaint in Vietnam was, "Sorry 'bout that!"

That doesn't really cut it when the uninformed and apathetic voters, along with the college age slackers, gave us Obama.

Here's a run down of some broken Obama promises:
1. To put all bills on the White House web site for five days before signing them.

2. To have the congressional health care negotiations broadcast live on C-SPAN.

3. To end earmarks.

4. To keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent.

5. To close the detention center at Guantanamo in the first year.

6. To make peace with direct, no precondition talks with America's most hate-filled enemies during his first year in office, ushering in a new era of global cooperation.

7. To end the hiring of former lobbyists into high White House jobs.

8. To end no-compete contracts with the government.

9. To disclose the names of all attendees at closed White House meetings.

10. For a new era of bipartisan cooperation in all matters.

11. To have chosen a home church to attend Sunday services with his family by Easter of last year.

His promises have been notable by the fact that few, if any, have been honored.
Spork - SS IS Bankrupt. I don't think we can abandon it, but changes have been made and will continue to be made to extend it for at least the lower income retirees.

Heck, SS disability is bankrupt.

The two problems are that there the trust funds themselves are inadequate and the trust funds are a sham - they contain no independent funds from which payments can be made.

But even if you want to ignore the chimerical nature of the "trust funds", the disability trust fund will be exhausted in 2017 - about five years from now. If payments are shifted from the DI trust fund to the OAS trust fund, the OAS trust fund will be exhausted in 2036-2037.

If disability payments aren't shifted from DI to OAS, then beneficiaries by 2018 will be getting somewhere between 75-80% of their scheduled checks, which would be brutal for many (average check is under 1K monthly).

It is not WS that is putting out propaganda - it has been politicians who are putting out propaganda.

Nor can we afford to raise the payroll tax rates - young people have it hard enough right now.

And please remember that federal retirements are pretty much in the same boat - there aren't assets to continue these payments.

You can claim that this is propaganda, but believing it will put you and everyone else in the Greek fix in less than a decade. Anything is better than that.
I found the website interesting, since the majority of their complaints have to do with student loans and medical costs. It's high time that politicians tackle Sallie Mae. It's insane that taxpayers are on the hook for student loan debt. It's also insane that those loans can't be discharged in bankruptcy or for disability. (you can get out of them if you die, but that takes about a year.) as for those without medical insurance, isn't Obamacare the fix for all of that? It's what we were promised after all.
Wall Street has been putting the message the SS is
Bankrupt, not because they care about you as a citizen,
but because they want you to invest your money with

About the only entity more dishonest than Wall Street is FedGov. The two are leveraged to the hilt and joined at the hip. The market is trying to force Wall Street to deleverage and if it succeeds then FedGov will be forced to deleverage, too.

FedGov and Wall Street are in a deadly embrace; they've admitted as such. The market is trying to unclench the fingers of Wall Street. The only way to unclench the fingers of FedGov is via the voters - and all I see is voter denial.
Even George Will.has admitted that the push to privatize
SS was a thinly veiled attempt by Wall Street to extend
It's skim operation. That combined with money as speech
And corporations as people have severely tilted the
Political and economic playing fields. MoM, I wasn't
arguing for no changes to SS but I was arguing that
The debate has been controlled by parties that wish
to strip what left of the safety net from the bottom 80

Maybe you need to realize that "social safety nets" have always been used to justify redistribution scams. It doesn't much matter who controls the debate, the truth is never part of it.
This country has spent more money redistributing the
Wealth upward not downward. The bailouts to the banks
According to a recent estimate now total close to two
Trillion dollars. That money will be paid by those who
Earn wages and hold their wealth in dollars.even former Reagan budget director David Stockman has called for
a massive tax on the wealthy to right the ship. The game
Is rigged to favor the wealthiest. I'm glad you have managed to convince yourself that there is no role for
The government concerning the general welfare of it's

Do you seriously think that a surtax on high-income earners will reduce the power held by the already-wealthy? All it does is cement their power by preventing new people from getting wealthy. That's why ultra-wealthy people are so enthusiastic about this tax--they know it only increases their power.

The other problem is that increasing taxes high incomes won't "right the ship". There have been several excellent analyses showing why this is so. It simply won't bring in enough money. We've got to come up with something else.
We can't tax corporations, we can't tax the uber wealthy,
we can't impose tariffs. We do devalue the dollar, we slash
the safety net, and we have no problem with the bottom
80 percent paying a greater percentage of their dwindling
Incomes in taxes then the top 20 percent. This is not
1980, the solutions to aiding the economy are not the
same. The longer concrete actions are put off, the more
extreme the eventual proposals will be. In the meantime
mpre money gets shoveled to the banks.
Taxes are going up, popular deductions will be cut or eliminated and government programs will be eliminated and it will not matter who controls the WH or Congress. Stockman was on TV the other day and ran down the numbers and what will happen, seems pretty clear.

Why do you think that the bottom 80% pay a higher percentage of their incomes as taxes than the top 20%? That's true for a very small number of high-earning people who don't take earned income (like Warren Buffett), but most people who make $200K or over have the bulk of it as earned income. Read this for a thumbnail sketch. And in truth Buffett, who apparently makes most of his money from dividends (being famously reluctant to take capital gains), is probably paying more too. The dividends were taxed twice, once at the corporate 35% and once at the personal tax rate. Well, Buffett may not be a good example, since his business plan is built around tax loopholes and getting favors from his buddies in government. But not everybody is so hypocritical.

And, lest we forget, 40% of the country pays no income tax at all, and some of them get enough refundable tax credits to cover their FICA payments. I know that for a fact--my returns have looked like that, on a couple of occasions.

No, I'm sad to say that it's the middle class that's going to foot the bill for this, whether the taxes are on income, consumption, or tariffs (or cutting back middle-class entitlements). If we straighten out corporate taxes, we can increase the personal tax rates on the upper brackets just for the sake of appearances without destroying investment. But that won't pay the bills. It's going to come out of the middle class's pocket, 'cause that's where the money is.
Here is the link to Stockman on CNBC.

The top 20 percent control 85 percent of the wealth in this
Country. The top 1 percent control 35 percent of the wealth. The middle class does not have the means to
carry the burden.

You are conflating wealth and income. The fact is the income generated from that wealth will not cover our bills. That's just the way it is.

The total payroll is sufficient, however, at a reasonable rate of taxation.
Well it brought out 200-300 in Portland. I hope they can bring out the tear gas and clubs, so they can really relive the 60s.
Spork - you are getting lost when thinking about "wealth". Have you ever heard the term "land-poor"?

You can literally have a person with a net worth of millions who is dependent upon gardening and hunting to eat regularly.

A person with a government-guaranteed pension pf 45K and government-paid health pension has in effect a personal wealth of about 2 million in Treasuries.

Bottom line - if you tax wealth instead of income this country is going to fall like the Soviet Union did. Never eat your seed corn!

Now I do maintain that eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid and food stamps should be predicated on net worth, not income. Otherwise you are taxing the working stiffs who are trying to acquire wealth and security in favor of supporting those who already have it.

But that's utterly different than taxing people by asset value, which is what you appear to be advocating. You can go right through the billionaires list and confiscate all their wealth, and you won't even get enough money to close the deficit for a couple of years.

Spork, I really like you, but you are not dealing with reality right now.
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