Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why Every Capitalist Should Support Occupy Wall Street

Some intrepid readers may be wondering why I haven't posted in over a month.  No, it is not because I have been camping out in a park in New York City.   It is because of some increased obligations at my paying job.  Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not a profitable endeavor, so my real job must take precedence.  However, that doesn't mean that my brain hasn't been churning out article ideas. 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that there is a protest movement called Occupy Wall Street (OWS) which has taken over New York City.  The goal of the protest is somewhat nebulous.  The general concept is that they are protesting the fact that the greed of the 1% is screwing up the country for the rest of us.  While there seems to be many threads of protest running through this group, one of the recurring themes is that Wall Street greed caused the current economic downturn.  However, those that caused the problem were rewarded with millions in bailout money while the rest of us who tried to live by the rules ended up getting screwed.

You know what?  They are absolutely right.

Some on the right might be snickering at what they see as rabble rousers; however, they aren't far off from those darlings of the right known as the Tea Party Movement.  The Tea Party came about as a protest against... wait for it... the Government bailouts.  Sound familiar?  The difference, of course, is that the Tea Party's prescription for America is that Government was too big and had to be cut back significantly.  We ought to cut Government down to size.  No more tax increases.  No more out of control spending.  We need to cut everything:  education, health care, the arts, welfare.  Is this fair?  Not on your life!

The capitalist system is predicated on survival of the fittest.  Those who work the hardest, have the best ideas, make the best decisions, have the opportunity earn their fortunes.  On the flip side, those who fail go out of business.  The bailouts turned this on its head.  The Wall Street firms that screwed up ended up getting propped up at the taxpayers expense while those who did everything right didn't get a dime.

Whether or not you agree with the bailouts, they are over and done with.  That money has already been spent.  Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time and not spend that money.  The Tea Party proposes to pay back this spending through lower Government spending while not raising taxes on anybody.  That seems wrong to me.  Those who caused the problem should have to foot the bill, while those who paid for the bailouts (i.e. the rest of us) shouldn't be punished.  When Government spending is cut to the bone, who gets hurt the most?  The poor and middle class.  Does it seem fair to you that they should bear the brunt of the bill?  Not to me and not to OWS.

The fair thing is that those who made the bad business decisions should have to accept at least some of the bill.  That is capitalism.  You can't go all Ron Paul on us on the one hand when things are going well, meanwhile going all Fidel Castro on us when you screw up.  In a capitalist society, if you do well, you get the keep the rewards.  However, if you screw up, you have to pay the bill.  Not me.  You!  You have to accept higher taxes.  You have to accept more regulation to keep you from screwing up the economy again.

Maybe I should get the tent out of the closet and camp out, huh?