Thursday, October 6, 2011

Understanding "Occupy Wall Street"... An Independent Conservatives's Perspective

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Occupy Wall Street - Sad, But Understandable

There are times one must simply go with their gut. This is one of those times for me. I'll just come right out and say it plainly, I understand the angst of those protesting Wall Street. In fact I'll go one step further, it is a good thing. A movement conservatives, moderates, and liberals ought to come together on.

Before anyone gets in an uproar over this independent conservative/libertarian being a turncoat or supporting socialism, the end of capitalism, or any other fictitious BS please read my Conservative Manifesto. I still stand by my belief in limited constitutional government and the positive societal value and benefits of capitalism. When capitalism is true capitalism. Which it is unquestionably not today.

At the onset of "Occupy Wall Street" I had made a vow I would not get involved in the what I knew would likely become bigger than its beginnings. And so it has. Just as it should have.

Most of my working life has been in the role of supervisor, middle manager, and executive management. During those 35 years I fought the good fight for management, and I'm proud of what my people were able to accomplish with my help. I also saw many changes which I believe are at least partly responsible for "Occupy Wall Street."

I provide no reference points or links, although they can be found if one wishes to look. Tonight I am writing from my personal experiences and or observations. Please feel free to disagree, or agree at your pleasure.

  • When this independent conservative/libertarian entered the business world in 1971 a senior executives compensation {on average} in round numbers was about 50 to 1 of that of the average wage of their employees.  Today it is closer to 500 to 1.
  • In 1971 we still had a strong manufacturing base and the opportunity for making a decent wage was more the norm rather than the exception. Today corporations are off shoring more and more because they can make the bigger and faster buck.
  • In 1971 corporate executives and Wall Street tycoons I am sure made bonuses, but you never heard of the extravagant multi million dollar bonuses that have become commonplace today. One must question the rationale of a CEO of a company I will not name getting a 7 plus million dollar bonus at the same time the employees that help to make him or her very wealthy settle for a 1.5%  to 2.5% increase on an average wage of  $15.00 to $16.00 per hour.
  • I may be getting old but back in the late 1950's and early 1960's my memory tells me we were a lot freer, more prosperous as a nation with a growing middle class, and there was a LOT less regulation. I suppose though I'll need to check in with some really old farts to verify this one. ;)
  • The evidence is there. Corporations, while suckling at the government's subsidy teats, and taking every advantage the government offers {don't forget everything those donor dollars by from corrupt congress critters} the gap between the very wealthy and the average American continues to widen.
If this sounds to some like "class warfare" It absolutely isn't. Most people don't begrudge those who work hard and invest in a business making more money. Most people understand, and expect the risk takers and those who work 16 hours a day every to sustain their business to make more. What they don't understand is why jobs keep moving overseas. Why when the business prospers they barely see growth in their own standard of living.

To make matters worse many view this nation as being run by the invisible corporate hands of the banking conglomerates with a complicit federal reserve behind them. In short many feel the nation is being run by a few invisible billionaire corporate tycoons that have only the interest of maintaining their wealth and power.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, and perhaps we are years from the nations seams bursting. What I do know is this, the seams are starting to bulge. It is time politicians, lawmakers, and pundits start looking beyond their own front yard.

Being a advocate of limited constitutional government and capitalism shouldn't mean sticking ones head so deep in the past that the sense of reality is lost. We can keep fighting for a more fiscally responsible and limited federal presence in our lives but we should ignore the reality that "Occupy Wall Street" is the reaction to something quite real.

Rather than Come out as Herman Cain recently did conservatives ought to rapidly begin rethinking their position and work to capture the high ground and the opportunity to forge a better and more prosperous nation that is really based on the vision of our founders. Benjamin Franklin immediately comes to mind.

I leave you with a link to a progressive site. I do not hold with the vitriol, however I do understand the validity of the points being made. How conservatives and libertarians respond could very well determine the political and government landscape for the next 100 years or so.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. Les,

    Good points and I agree that our Capitalist system today is not what it should be. Everyone hates crony capitalism, left and right.

    On that issue I side with these protesters. If only they could cut out their Bolshevik rhetoric and completely anti-Capitalist notions they would have my support. All you need to do is look at the majority of their signs to see what part of the political spectrum they are on, which happens to be with the likes of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.

  2. Hack - I understand, and that is why I believe conservatives and libertarians need to stand up now and support the need for change to the realities of what capitalism has become in America.

    If we don't my friend we will ultimately lose everything we, and even many rational progressives cherish.

    Handled properly this could very well become the defining moment that will keep capitalism alive and healing.

  3. Les,

    Hmm. I understand your appeal to making capitalism what you think it should be.

    However, I cannot get past the whole 'wanna-be hippie, unemployed, spoiled, entitled, winy losers' that make up the protesters. They don't need a second chance. They need spankings and to be sent to their rooms without dinner and their parents' money.

    This 'under 30' generation is determined to destroy itself.

    This Wall Street thing is pure anti-capitalism, true. We are a capitalistic nation. We now have Socialists running about, planting seeds of cancer.

  4. And the plot thickens...

    Unions have now joined forces with the entitled masses of liberalism and anti-Capitalism. Hmmm. Where else is the money coming from?

  5. What Hack and ecc102 said.

    Les: I agree with your assessment of The Crony Crapitalist States of America, and that is about as far as I go with the protesters.

    I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with and totally repudiate their "remedies."

    They are an unwashed socialist rabble.

    Yes, the tea parties should be protesting some of what the leftists are protesting, but our march should be upon the Capitol, since that is the source of this evil.

  6. I must wonder...

    Instead of focusing their vitriol on "Wall Street", (a phantom entity), why not go after really big corporations like:

    Walmart, Sears, JC Penny, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, GM, GE, any local mega-mall with over 300 stores, Dell, Apple, Microsoft, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, the Federal Reserve, Best Buy, Staples, Planned Parenthood, etc, etc...

    Just an observation. I wouldn't waste my time going after the symptom. I would go after the disease itself.

    I am the 99%. (That being the normal, middle-class Americans who aren't entitled whiners and liberal academics who are failures and losers. The 1% is them, not me.)

  7. First, we are not a capitalist nation in the truest sense of the word.

    We are a mixed economy and have been for many years. A mixture of capitalism and government regulations and subsidies.

    As to socialism, social security, medicare, medicaid,unemployment, food stamps, etc... are all forms of socialism. Socialism this country started accepting during my grandfathers generation. he was born in 1906.

    My parents generation, as well as my own grew through these and fully expected "a return on their investment." In other words to get back what they put into the system with interest. From the government.

    Having said the above I agree completely with the assessment by ecc 102 and Silverfiddle that 1) the protesters ought to be targeting the federal governments wasteful spending, 2)crony capitalism. and 3) the business entities mentioned.

    However, my main point is there are valid and legitimate concerns that have not been addressed. To focus only on reducing taxes and cutting spending when income for the vast majority of Americans has stagnated, jobs disappear never to return, we continue to grow tyhe largest military industrial complex the world has ever known, continue to give away billions in foreign welfare, and the list goes on we are asking for perhaps the greatest social upheaval since the great depression.

    All I am saying is conservatives and libertarians need to start thinking outside the box. The solution to the problems we all know exist won't happen over night because the root of the problem gos back many years and continues to grow.

    It seems to me the process of correcting the problem will take years and it will require "weaning" corporations, the public, and foreign governments off the teats of the United States Government... And after all folks we the people still make up the government.

    The complexities are huge, interconnected, and the ultimate solutions will require more than the Tea Party, Obama, or any of the current field of republican candidates are offering.

    Past generations of Americans have grown the problem over many years. To shrink the problem and return to a limited constitutional government and a truer form of capitalism will take many years as well. It won't happen overnight.

    And I haven't even mentioned the educational system or the media's role in the problem/ solution.

    In short folks we the people, over many years are responsible for the lack of independence, and the growing dependency on the state. Think about it... deeply.

    Now... Off to earn a living...

  8. We're still in agreement, Les. When I said march on the capitol, I wasn't just talking about the old tax and spend issues.

    My point is that our government has failed us by allowing big banks and big business to run roughshod, while doling out to them special exemptions and favors to boot. That has to stop.

    Government needs to set the boundaries, maintain a simple set of laws that apply to everyone (no special exemptions!) and enforce.

    Government's job is to set up and police the marketplace, not pick winners and losers. That is where we've gone wrong.

  9. Les,

    You said:
    "In short folks we the people, over many years are responsible for the lack of independence, and the growing dependency on the state. Think about it... deeply."

    I do and I am. As a matter of fact, I think about this very thing every single time JMJ and the other Socialist rabble come here and leave their comments. The proof is indeed in the pudding, and their comments only serve to cement your point.

    Long Live the Republic.

  10. Huh. I swore I left a comment here. Anyway, I think it would be great if the Tea Partiers and Paulists would get in on the protests. This is one thing we should all be on board with.


  11. The guys that we really need to string up (figuratively, of course) are Paulsen and Greenspan. Those 2 fellows pushed the panic button way too fast and didn't allow the markets to engage in ANY form of natural self-correction (propping instead these troubled institutions up). I especially like the way that Thomas E. Woods put it in his fine book, "Meltdown", "The profit and loss system was rapidly shedding the 'loss' part. More accurately, perhaps, the profit and loss system was beginning to mean guaranteed profits for business, and losses for taxpayers and wage-earners." And the very fact that they actually referred to Mr. Greenspan AS "Mr. Bailout"!!

  12. Too many of the protests want left-wing fascism (socialism). Sorry, we need less government intrusion, not more.

  13. What a slog. OK. Interesting post, RN. Ron Paul would be pleased. (He's the only candidate left or right that gets the MIC, its costs and dangers right.) To be clear, capitalism is not democracy. The issue, as you point out, is equality of opportunity. What we see in the US is not "crony" capitalism, it's oligarchy and kleptocracy. Most ventures have some "cronyism" attached, networks of friends, and so on. The current situation goes well beyond that. It's the planned hijacking of the US government for corporate purposes, and is deeply into corporate welfare (government bailouts, single-sourced trillion dollar mercenary contracts, etc.).

    The OWS bunch gets at least that. I think a significant percentage of the Tea Party gets the military side of it, too.

    As I keep saying on another blog, it's not left vs. right. It's top vs. bottom. And the top is busy working both sides of the aisle, while we rabidly defend our right-left positions. What a bunch of idiots we've all been. And the corruption of our politicians (Newt and Fanny Mae and Obama and his criminal finance dream team: Geithner, Paulson, Summers et. al.) as well as the indebtedness of the nation pretty much says it all. The corporate takeover of the US has got to end.

    And the Dems are just as bad as the Repubs and vice versa.

    As to capitalism being the only motivator, tell that to the social democratic Finns and Swedes, whose lifestyles and work ethics blow the Americans all to hell.


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