Market Overview

Why Occupy Wall Street?


There's something happening here.
What it is ain't exactly clear.
-Buffalo Springfield

Americans are tired of being pushed around and bullied by corporate America. They're tired of being voiceless in what should be a democracy, and they're tired of seeing the top one percent of the country profit immensely while the bottom 99 percent of us slip further and further into debt, despair and decline.

The truth is, we've been slipping for decades. Ever since Ronald Reagan scammed his way into the White House, the middle class has been in a steady decline. Reagan's war on the middle class came along with all the usual Republican talking points: cut taxes on the wealthy, cut taxes for corporations, reduce regulations, kill unions, and we'll all prosper.

And we did...if the "we" in "we'll all prosper" only includes the very top of society. Everyone else saw their incomes decline. In the interim period, between Reagan and the Great Collapse of 2008, Americans were unaware of the decline. Primarily, we fueled our lifestyle and kept up appearances through debt.

It happened sort of like this. Let's say you made $55,000 in 1980 (in today's dollars). Today you make $45,000. You made up the gap with debt: primarily by refinancing your house, but also with credit cards, car loans, and student debt. In the meantime, corporate America went ahead and skimmed that money off the top. What used to go to you in the form of raises and COLA increases now went to the richest of the rich.

It wasn't until 2008, when the entire system broke down under the weight of too much debt, that society really stopped to notice that it was unsustainable. Corporate profits are at an all time high, and yet, unemployment remains high. They're hoarding the cash for themselves, not even pretending to trickle-down what little they used to. This has put American citizens at a distinct disadvantage, because we, as a society, have become accustomed to things like "being able to feed our families" and "finding a livable wage job for all who can work".

In the mean time, corporate America has done more than just hoard all the cash in the system. They've been spending some of that cash buying the entire political system. They donate to both parties, and use those connections to buy whatever legislation they want. Entire industries name their own regulators, when regulations even exist.

One can hardly look at our current political landscape and call it a democracy, or a republic. It is, for all intents and purposes, a corporate-government merger — fascism, by its very definition. Factor in our world-wide Empire desires, and other than the genocide, we are the Third Reich...wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross, just as Sinclair Lewis predicted 65 years ago.

Well, we're sick of it and we are beginning to wake up to the realities of the situation. And guess what? We're not happy. We're protesting. We're occupying Wall Street. We're occupying hundreds of cities across the country. We are demanding — not asking nicely, but demanding — our rights, our voices, and our government back.

We are witnessing the beginnings of a revolution that has really only two endings: freedom or fascism. There is not much middle ground left. The current system of fascism will either win this battle, crush the revolution and remain in power, or we will overthrow it. There are no negotiations to be had. If they are lucky, the one percent will be lucky to escape with anything but pure socialism and some beheaded bankers.

Trust me on this one. Those bankers? They are scared; as well they should be. Plutocrats have backed themselves into a corner. Americans do not like to be screwed over and we do not suffer fascism quietly. We went to war for independence over a tax on tea. You think we won't take to the streets and overthrow this government and this world order, once a critical mass realizes the banks and such are screwing us over? All it takes is a spark.

Do you remember the scene in "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie, tired of being pushed around and beat up by Scut Farkus, snaps? Ralphie unleashed a beat down on Farkus, pummeling the snot-nosed punk to the ground, and then beating him senseless while screaming obscenities. Farkus never bothered Ralphie again.

Occupy Wall Street is simply America waking up and realizing it, too, has had enough of Wall Street's Scut Farkus' bullying. It would behoove the elites in this country to let go of the reins of power, lest they face the same fate as befell Farkus.

If not, I think they will find the 99 percent has far more strength and political will than either side ever imagined. We've rebelled before. We can, and will, do it again.

You can reach the author by email or on twitter @johndthorpe.

To comment on this (or any of my columns), visit my user page at Benzinga.


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