This year, we’re having Thanksgiving at my Mother-in-Law’s place. A 55+ community with a restaurant right in the building. I’m told that while turkey is a menu item, it’s just one of many choices, so as my way of protesting, I am not going to eat turkey tomorrow. What am I protesting? I don’t know, I’ll get back to you with that. What are my demands? I am certain I have just one demand and I will demand it once it’s been formulated. I’m thinking it will be big, I may demand world peace, or an end to hunger. Maybe that’s not thinking big enough, maybe I’ll go right to the Big Guy ™ and demand He stop with the earthquakes, tornadoes, and flooding. I know, He promised never the flood the entire planet again, but these little floods seem to circumvent that promise, to those flooded, it may as well be the world, to them, it seems that way.
Joe, (that’s me, talking to myself, poetic license) have you lost your mind? This is a load of nonsense, you been hitting the eggnog a bit early?
I wish. Actually I’ve been trying to understand the demands of those who are part of Occupy Wall Street. I know they’re upset with the 1%. As my friend and fellow blogger Kay Bell wrote, Who’s in the top 1 percent of earners, it takes about $350K adjusted gross income to be in this elite group. And I’m pretty sure their are Doctors, Lawyers, and other professionals whose lives are far from Wall Street yet they are in this group. Is 1% the point, or are they really protesting the $1 million a year income folk who are mostly on Wall Street? I’m not so sure of that, as I read an article in the National Review, What the Wall Street Protesters Want, in which the protesters ask “Why does a municipal worker make $30,000 a year when Matt Damon and Johnny Depp manage to extort $20 million for a month’s work……” Huh? When did Matt Damon become a symbol of Wall Street gone crazy? Put that way, it appears OWS is questioning the very nature of compensation. One can ask what makes anyone worth their salary, why do teachers make $X but (fill in your favorite profession) make $Y? Actors, Singers, Sport figures, all successful ones are in the spotlight and make the big bucks, should we applaud them or protest this?
In a “communique” nearly two months ago, a list of demand was offered;
- Ending capital punishment is our one demand.
- Ending wealth inequality is our one demand.
- Ending police intimidation is our one demand.
- Ending corporate censorship is our one demand.
- Ending the modern gilded age is our one demand.
- Ending political corruption is our one demand.
- Ending joblessness is our one demand.
- Ending poverty is our one demand.
- Ending health-profiteering is our one demand.
- Ending American imperialism is our one demand.
- Ending war is our one demand.
I’ll accept their use of “one demand” as a rhetorical device, and just look at the content of this list. In hindsight, the demands of my introduction were pretty reasonable compared to these. Ironically, I’m ok with most of these goals, who doesn’t wish to end poverty for instance? But to end wealth inequality seems the antithesis of both capitalism and democracy. Just for laughs, let’s say I agree with this goal. How would it be implemented? Would everyone earn the average, and there be no distinction between the pay of a fast food worker and a brain surgeon? How would the economy absorb the loss of those high end earners? Would all businesses catering to the wealthy simply cease? Or are they protesting (again) the million dollar incomes, and want to tighten the range of income, not actually bring it to parity? End joblessness? Hasn’t that been the goal since Bush
destroyed the economy left office?
The truth is, I don’t know what they really want. And since I have no idea how to solve these major issues, I doubt any of these protesters do either. When they figure it out, I hope they let us know. Happy Thanksgiving.