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Ask the Readers: Please Explain Occupy Wall Street to Me?

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Confession time... I don't watch a lot of news. In fact, I probably wouldn't watch the news at all, but it ranks high up there with my wife's favorite "shows." However, I did get myself out from under the rock to catch a bit about this "Occupy Wall Street" stuff. I would have likely written about it before, but I went to a conference to learn to be a better Personal Finance Blogger. As you might be able to tell, the first dose didn't take.

So today I'd like trick readers into educating me allow you to take the stage and tell me what this is all about. It seems like it might have something to do with the bank failings in 2008, but I missed that as well since I was in Australia at the time. If it were about that, it seems to me like the protests are about 2 years and 11 months too late.

Don't limit yourself to explaining Occupy Wall Street - tell me how you feel about it. I'm leaning towards agreeing with the movement. One thing giving me pause is that there are so many protests here in San Francisco and Berkeley that it is hard to take any of them seriously anymore.

Posted on October 11, 2011.

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12 Responses to “Ask the Readers: Please Explain Occupy Wall Street to Me?”

  1. I feel that the “Occupy” protesters had some legitimate gripes (banks and investment houses such as Goldman Sachs have too much power – probably correct). But recently, large unions like the SEIU have joined forces with the protesters. I believe the SEIU and many other unions to be some of the most corrupt organizations around. Since many “Occupiers” seemed to welcome the unions with open arms – I question the movement. I’m no fan of incompetent bank executives that led this country to the brink in recent years – but large unions are as far from worthy leadership of our society as any group can get.

  2. NatalieMac says:

    I highly recommend you check out the Planet Money podcast from last Friday where they covered Occupy Wall Street and explained a lot! http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/10/07/141158199/the-friday-podcast-what-is-occupy-wall-street

  3. give me, give me, give me…… whine, whine, whine…….. give me, give me, give me….. that about sums it up.

    The Occupy Whatever Protests are largely directionless, except for some vague complaint against corporations by protesters who walk around in designer clothes carrying cell phones and cameras made by corporations. There’s plenty to complain about with crony capitalism and horrible regulations coming out of Washington, DC., but all the protesters are looking for in their demands is their own personal bailout. I won’t even get into the unions and paid protesters that have showed up in the past week.

  4. Brent says:

    It is a giant protest because people are unhappy with the direction of the country. In years past, if a conservative was in the White House, this unhappiness would have been directed towards the government. This would have been “Occupy D.C.” But since the protesters have the government they wanted and help get elected, they decided to protest by proxy and use the banking sector their straw man. The Occupy protesters just can’t bring themselves to admit that part of the mess we are in is due to the policies and regulations set forth by the politicians they support.

  5. My take is this, let’s focus on encouraging the government, our elected officials, to work together to cut spending and reduce the deficit. Dare I say, even a bit of a tax hike might help this country get back on track. I have no idea what the protests are going to accomplish. It’s not as if individuals are going to be helped by cutting out their 401 k contributions.

  6. Tommy Z says:

    The group is basically the “Tea Party” of the left. They are protesting capitalism and supporting socialism. The funny thing is that they really support the opposite, but they do not understand that Wall Street bailouts & TARP is NOT really capitalism, but socialism.

    China gives socialism a good name and America gives capitalism a bad name. The reality is that China has MORE capitalism than the USA.

    Here are the group’s demands:

    Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

    Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.

    Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

    Demand four: Free college education.

    Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

    Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

    Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

    Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

    Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

    Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

    Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

    Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

    Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thank for the comments thus far people.

      It seems like everyone just wants to protest to protest and get their voice heard. That voice doesn’t seem to be very unified, which is the difficulty I’m having in understand it. When the people in Berkeley protest they are have a very specific cause. For example, I thought it was a cliche, but when I moved to Silicon Valley, I was surprised to learn that the news covered a Berkeley protest to save a very old tree – every day.

      I’m usually not a Podcast person – I prefer to scan articles because it is faster than putting aside 20 minutes – but that was a good link NatalieMac.

      I also saw this from a comedy website about Occupy Boston – http://youtu.be/MrYH4TnbSjk. It reinforced the idea that many of these people are there to push their own thing and it’s not really for a cause. Perhaps it’s a little like Billy Joel’s Matter of Trust video – a crowd attracts a crowd. I like the movement by the comedy site though. I might have to spread pirate dog to the west coast.

  7. thomas wides says:

    As far as foreclosures plenty of blame to go around.Starting with Clinton and Bush 2 pushing Fannie Mae to lower standards so everyone who wanted a house could have one. This opened the door for greed to take over with the free money enter Countrywide, banks, mortgage CDS’s,and underwriters giving AAA ratings to junk mortgages.Now Dodd Frank are regulating the banks. Who is regulating the regulators? Fannie Mae was a huge scource of campaign funds for both parties in congress.

  8. […] Not really sure what Occupy Wallstreet is all about? Neither does LazyMan and Money. But see how his readers explain it all in the comments. […]

  9. For me it has been very simple – they are not 99%…those are the people who are staying out of the job and draining our money.

    I think it should be made clear: no revolution is allowed here. If the rich do not want to share their wealth, create more jobs or provide any security- so be it. This is what makes the economy great and free.

    For communism we should look elsewhere – Cuba, China, Sweden, Venezuela. Honestly, the best thing the “over qualified” people could do is get back to work.

  10. Tommy Z says:

    @Financial Independence:

    Sweden realized socialism did not work and they have made some big changes lately which has helped turn things around. China too.

    I think the problem here is crony capitalism…not true free market capitalism. These protests should really be in Washington DC where our leaders keep handing out money to bankers. That my friend, is socialism. These occupy Wall Street people should protest socialism, instead they are asking for more.

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