I believe I’m in the majority when I say that I don’t know much about the Occupy Wall Street movement or any of its satellite protests. Given that the protesters themselves don’t have a clear agenda or end-game, I would imagine that many of them don’t know very much about it, either. Watching the local news last night, however, I was shown a clip of the Occupy Atlanta protesters that left me fit to be tied.
I’ve seen the silly clips of the George Washington Law Student who lied very loudly about what Chase Bank was doing to his parents’ house. I also saw video of the ludicrous “debate” over whether or not John Lewis should be allowed to address the Woodruff Park Tenement Camp during its supposed celebration of First Amendment liberties. These insights, while blatant in their hypocrisy and childishness, were mostly amusing and ultimately harmless. The message that was broadcast on local news last night, however, was a completely different animal.
While watching a story on what the Occupy movement is all about (because, as noted above, no one really knows this), I saw a clip of a group of protesters shouting “GIVE US BACK OUR MONEY!” rhythmically and repeatedly. This infuriated me, and is the only thing you need to hear to know what these protests are really all about.
Now, there are a couple of different ways you can interpret the demand “Give us back our money!” Granted, I wasn’t there, so I do lack the context surrounding that sound bite. So, viewing the demand in a light most favorable to those making it, let’s assume that they actually gave their money to a bank, and now they want it back. Well, that should be no harder than going to the ATM or teller, presenting such with your account number, and withdrawing your previously deposited funds. This would hardly require an organized protest, so this must not be what the protesters meant when they made their repeated demand.
Another possibility is that they are talking about the taxpayer bailout funds that were given to the banks. That makes a little more sense on the surface, but let’s make some fair assumptions here. First of all, these people had nothing else to do on Tuesday, October 11, besides camp out in the worst part of downtown Atlanta and scream at buildings. Therefore, I can assume that they either do not have jobs, or they are such low-demand workers that it doesn’t matter what they actually do during business hours. If you don’t have a job, or are a low-paid, unskilled worker, it is highly likely that you DON’T PAY TAXES, and therefore that bank doesn’t have any of YOUR money in the form of government bailouts. Indeed, they have my money, my wife’s money, my parents’ money, etc., but they do not have your money. You know who else has my money? People who don’t pay taxes, yet have still received tax credits and welfare over the past several years, i.e., the protesters. Shut up and find a job so you can give me back MY money.
“But Mr. Hagen,” you say, “the economy is so bad because of these evil banks that nobody can find a job.” Really? Unemployment is currently at 9.1% Meaning that more than 9 out of every 10 people in the work force are employed. No, it’s not the 5% we’re all accustomed to, but its still over 90% employment. Last month, the unemployment level rose by 25,000, but the employment level rose by 398,000. I have a job. My wife has a job. Everyone in my immediate family who wants work has work. Almost all of my close friends have work. Are my wife and I paid at a level commensurate with our expectations given our education and qualifications? No, but we still have plenty because we know how to save money and live within our means. (Neither of those things require skill or specialized education, by the way. Just good, old-fashioned sense.)
My point is: if you want a job, you can find one. The hippies living in the Woodruff Park Tenement Camp would rather spend their days engaging in hypocritical and paradoxical debates about “democratic societies” and screaming at no one in particular about nothing in particular than get paid for digging a ditch or flipping a burger. They would rather demand money they never paid from an institution they have no relationship with than try to earn it honestly. While not paying a single penny in taxes, they want to use the ballot box to raid coffers built upon the backs of earners, producers, and servers. THAT is the true purpose and goal of the Occupy movement.
Give you back YOUR money? Screw that. Give me back mine.