Sunday, October 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street!

This is what the protest should be about.
An interesting phenomenon that hasn't gotten much air play out here (yet) is the fledgling "Occupy Wall Street" sit-in.  It started out with a handful of protesters on September 17th, and I pretty much thought they'd be gone by now.  But being "maced" a couple of times by New York's finest seems to have gotten them the PR boost they needed, and the result is that the protest is growing day by day.  In fact, the "occupation" tactic has now spread to other major financial centres around the world.  And notice that I said "protesters" - not "rioters", they run the gamut from retirees to off-duty first responders, and from academics to young mothers.  Regular readers of this space will know that - although there's certainly lots of blame to go around for the 2008 Financial Meltdown and the mess we're in today - I place the bulk of the responsibility at the feet of Wall Street hotshots who sliced and diced and packaged tranches of worthless mortgages and derivatives, and then flogged them around the world as "investments".  (Several times I've wondered in print where the paddy wagons were, but the first casualties of any financial turn-down are the Ponzi schemers - it takes time to catch the rest of 'em.)  The fact is, these over-leveraged investment "banks" should have been allowed to fail, but instead they were propped up by you and me, the taxpayers, such that now we are now on the hook for sovereign debt and the hotshots are living life large with huge bonuses while they spout "it's Obama's fault" every chance they get.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm slightly right of Attila The Hun, but the greed and avarice shown by Wall Street over the past three years picks my ass.  I'd say the Occupy Main Street movement is not "right versus left", but more "the 99.9% versus the 0.1%".  I'm not ready to join the sit-in myself (last time I did that was 1969, I believe), but I can understand the frustration of the masses at the opulence of a few.  (There's that Gini Coefficient thing again.)  With luck the serious peaceful protestors won't be co-opted by the anarchists and other misfits that usually get the headlines.  We'll see.

The Good News:  Enjoying a visit from B&B!