Colbert occupies Wall Street protesters

To his great credit, Stephen Colbert is an equal opportunity satirist.  A tip of the hat to Bruce Gee for alerting me to this interview with two Occupy Wall Street protesters.  The thing is, they, being stone-cold serious, are much more funny than Colbert being humorous!   But here is his interview with the “female-bodied” human named Ketchup, in which you can also learn the Robert’s Rules of Order equivalent for running a meeting by consensus (something you all should adopt for your church meetings).

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    OK, I admit, that was funny.

  • Dan Kempin

    OK, I admit, that was funny.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Now that we thrown off the shackles of the capitalists, returned to the great outdoors and adopted the virtues of a simpler, more ordered lifestyle – one question remains: Where’s the nearest 7-Eleven?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Now that we thrown off the shackles of the capitalists, returned to the great outdoors and adopted the virtues of a simpler, more ordered lifestyle – one question remains: Where’s the nearest 7-Eleven?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Tom Hering

    The point of Colbert’s satire is made in Part Two (link below). Big Money will always try to co-opt grassroots movements. It happened to the Tea Party. It hasn’t yet happened to OWS.

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/401261/november-01-2011/colbert-super-pac—stephen-colbert-occupies-occupy-wall-street-pt–2

  • Tom Hering

    The point of Colbert’s satire is made in Part Two (link below). Big Money will always try to co-opt grassroots movements. It happened to the Tea Party. It hasn’t yet happened to OWS.

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/401261/november-01-2011/colbert-super-pac—stephen-colbert-occupies-occupy-wall-street-pt–2

  • Joe

    I don’t have any sympathy for the parts of the OWS movement who seem to be calling for the end of capitalism, but the movement does speak to a real problem – the influence of wall street on gov’t regulation of wall street. The issue I have with those who are rightly focused on this problem is that I think they are focused on the wrong entity. If we reigned in the scope of the federal gov’t, the ills of regulatory capture would necessarily be less because the gov’t would not have the power to give special treatment or favors. It would not have the power to pick winners and losers. Thus, wall street would spend less time and money attempting to capture its regulators. Remember that much of our modern regulatory state was put in place because large corporations wanted it. They wanted to be regulated because a regulated industry is an industry that favors mature companies and keeps out competition. This is not capitalism.

    Vilifying wall street for taking advantage of a system that gives the gov’t the authority to pick winners and losers misses the mark. They are just playing the game by the rules established. We can change the rules – but it will be just a matter of time before they corrupt the rules again. Or we can fundamentally shift the power away from the rule maker and into the market and thereby eliminate the possibility that the regulated will overtake the regulator.

  • Joe

    I don’t have any sympathy for the parts of the OWS movement who seem to be calling for the end of capitalism, but the movement does speak to a real problem – the influence of wall street on gov’t regulation of wall street. The issue I have with those who are rightly focused on this problem is that I think they are focused on the wrong entity. If we reigned in the scope of the federal gov’t, the ills of regulatory capture would necessarily be less because the gov’t would not have the power to give special treatment or favors. It would not have the power to pick winners and losers. Thus, wall street would spend less time and money attempting to capture its regulators. Remember that much of our modern regulatory state was put in place because large corporations wanted it. They wanted to be regulated because a regulated industry is an industry that favors mature companies and keeps out competition. This is not capitalism.

    Vilifying wall street for taking advantage of a system that gives the gov’t the authority to pick winners and losers misses the mark. They are just playing the game by the rules established. We can change the rules – but it will be just a matter of time before they corrupt the rules again. Or we can fundamentally shift the power away from the rule maker and into the market and thereby eliminate the possibility that the regulated will overtake the regulator.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, that sounds an awful lot like a revisionist, conspiracy view of history. Maybe we should have a medium contact Teddy Roosevelt so we can ask him if big corporations welcomed regulation with open arms.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, that sounds an awful lot like a revisionist, conspiracy view of history. Maybe we should have a medium contact Teddy Roosevelt so we can ask him if big corporations welcomed regulation with open arms.

  • Joe

    Tom – I see it first hand every day, in all kinds of industries.

    But from a historical perspective, why start with Teddy, the regulatory state was born on the state level before Teddy was president. One of the most famous of these historical laws that has been studied was New York’s Bakeshop Act. This law set restrictions on the number of hours per day and per week that a baker could work. It was ultimately struck down by the US Supreme Court in Lochner v. New York. But the more interesting historical aspect of it is its genesis. The Bakeshop Act was adopted in 1895. Two very powerful lobbies pushed for it. Unionized bakery workers and owners of large bakeries. At that time, there were few large bakeries, most bakeries were very small and were in the basements of tenement houses. They worked long hours in order to meet the demand for their product and keep prices low. These small shops were generally not unionized. Labor wanted to see the gains it had already made in its contracts with the big shops set in law and the big shops wanted to foist onto the small shops the same labor practices they agreed to in order to blunt the economic and competitive disadvantages of their labor deals. (As a side note the small bakeries also tended to hire immigrants who needed the long hours in order to make enough money to live).

    Thus one of the (if not the) first instances of regulation of the bakery industry of New York also gives us an example of regulatory capture in the baking industry of New York. The pattern generally continues from then till now. No doubt there were times when business was not driving the regulation but there are many, many times when it was and when it is and when it will be. Without removing the power from the gov’t, there is no way to stop it.

  • Joe

    Tom – I see it first hand every day, in all kinds of industries.

    But from a historical perspective, why start with Teddy, the regulatory state was born on the state level before Teddy was president. One of the most famous of these historical laws that has been studied was New York’s Bakeshop Act. This law set restrictions on the number of hours per day and per week that a baker could work. It was ultimately struck down by the US Supreme Court in Lochner v. New York. But the more interesting historical aspect of it is its genesis. The Bakeshop Act was adopted in 1895. Two very powerful lobbies pushed for it. Unionized bakery workers and owners of large bakeries. At that time, there were few large bakeries, most bakeries were very small and were in the basements of tenement houses. They worked long hours in order to meet the demand for their product and keep prices low. These small shops were generally not unionized. Labor wanted to see the gains it had already made in its contracts with the big shops set in law and the big shops wanted to foist onto the small shops the same labor practices they agreed to in order to blunt the economic and competitive disadvantages of their labor deals. (As a side note the small bakeries also tended to hire immigrants who needed the long hours in order to make enough money to live).

    Thus one of the (if not the) first instances of regulation of the bakery industry of New York also gives us an example of regulatory capture in the baking industry of New York. The pattern generally continues from then till now. No doubt there were times when business was not driving the regulation but there are many, many times when it was and when it is and when it will be. Without removing the power from the gov’t, there is no way to stop it.

  • Tom Hering

    I don’t know, Joe. This article (link below) says the issue – in both establishing and challenging the Bakeshop Act – was worker health. Though the Supreme Court decided the case in view of the state’s police power. So … a conspiracy between big labor and big business against the small businessman? During the Gilded Age? Like I said: revisionism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochner_v._New_York

  • Tom Hering

    I don’t know, Joe. This article (link below) says the issue – in both establishing and challenging the Bakeshop Act – was worker health. Though the Supreme Court decided the case in view of the state’s police power. So … a conspiracy between big labor and big business against the small businessman? During the Gilded Age? Like I said: revisionism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochner_v._New_York

  • Joe

    Well gee Tom if its on Wikipedia it must be a complete and accurate historical account. ;)

    There has been an upsurge in scholarship around Lochner in recent years both by historians and lawyers. The history of how the law came to be is not really hotly debated. The debate generally focuses on the court’s ruling and whether it should be revived. The how the law came to be and who supported it is generally not hotly debated. This article is a good bit of background on the history of the law:

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/09/14/new-at-reason-damon-root-on-th

    But to the larger point, just because a law is justified as a X does not mean that a constituency lobbying for it is not supporting it because of the effect it will have on its competition. A great modern example of this is a recent enactment in Wisconsin re: how much insurance coverage a propane company must carry (think about the trucks that deliver propane to homes in rural areas for home heating – not the local hardware that fills up the tank on your grill). The large companies wrote this bill and lobbied hard for it. They wanted it even though it would add an expense to their business (most of the large were under insured by the standards of this law) because it effectively froze small companies out of the market place. The large companies could absorb the cost and the small could not. I watched this happen with a front row seat as an employee of one of the large companies pushing for the law and I watched as two of our competitors folded under the weight of it.

    Of course, the bill was justified as protecting the public from the costs of an accident while the company was filling the homeowner’s tank.

  • Joe

    Well gee Tom if its on Wikipedia it must be a complete and accurate historical account. ;)

    There has been an upsurge in scholarship around Lochner in recent years both by historians and lawyers. The history of how the law came to be is not really hotly debated. The debate generally focuses on the court’s ruling and whether it should be revived. The how the law came to be and who supported it is generally not hotly debated. This article is a good bit of background on the history of the law:

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/09/14/new-at-reason-damon-root-on-th

    But to the larger point, just because a law is justified as a X does not mean that a constituency lobbying for it is not supporting it because of the effect it will have on its competition. A great modern example of this is a recent enactment in Wisconsin re: how much insurance coverage a propane company must carry (think about the trucks that deliver propane to homes in rural areas for home heating – not the local hardware that fills up the tank on your grill). The large companies wrote this bill and lobbied hard for it. They wanted it even though it would add an expense to their business (most of the large were under insured by the standards of this law) because it effectively froze small companies out of the market place. The large companies could absorb the cost and the small could not. I watched this happen with a front row seat as an employee of one of the large companies pushing for the law and I watched as two of our competitors folded under the weight of it.

    Of course, the bill was justified as protecting the public from the costs of an accident while the company was filling the homeowner’s tank.

  • SKPeterson

    Regulatory capture by Wall Street was accomplished under the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 – a little late for T.R. to make it to the party, although the Bull Meese were actively pro-regulation, and liked to identify “good” and “bad” trusts, i.e. pick winners and losers. Oddly enough, Wilson entered office as the pro-free trade, low regulation candidate as a Democrat in the old Democrat mode aligned with Grover Cleveland. Wilson, under pressure from the top financiers of the day, like J.P. Morgan, signed the act into law and essentially knee-capped the traditional Bourbon wing of the Democrat Party, and bought into much of the prevailing Progressive Party ideology that had generally confined itself to the Republicans. Twenty years later, FDR performed the coup d’grace and put the traditional Democrat party out of its misery, although some remained in the reaches of the deep South that eventually became part of the renascent Republican Party in the 1980′s and 90′s. So, 100 years later we have the Progressive Republicans of the Democrat Party, going up for election against the limited government Bourbon Democrats of the Republican Party. No wonder these OWS types are confused.

  • SKPeterson

    Regulatory capture by Wall Street was accomplished under the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 – a little late for T.R. to make it to the party, although the Bull Meese were actively pro-regulation, and liked to identify “good” and “bad” trusts, i.e. pick winners and losers. Oddly enough, Wilson entered office as the pro-free trade, low regulation candidate as a Democrat in the old Democrat mode aligned with Grover Cleveland. Wilson, under pressure from the top financiers of the day, like J.P. Morgan, signed the act into law and essentially knee-capped the traditional Bourbon wing of the Democrat Party, and bought into much of the prevailing Progressive Party ideology that had generally confined itself to the Republicans. Twenty years later, FDR performed the coup d’grace and put the traditional Democrat party out of its misery, although some remained in the reaches of the deep South that eventually became part of the renascent Republican Party in the 1980′s and 90′s. So, 100 years later we have the Progressive Republicans of the Democrat Party, going up for election against the limited government Bourbon Democrats of the Republican Party. No wonder these OWS types are confused.

  • SKPeterson

    Although, most of today’s Republicans would be horrified by the platforms of the Bourbon Democrats – sound money, actual limited government, non-intervention, and certainly no bailouts for anyone “too big to fail.” Modern Republicans still have T.R.’s interventionist streak in spades, having adequately purged the Taft wing.

  • SKPeterson

    Although, most of today’s Republicans would be horrified by the platforms of the Bourbon Democrats – sound money, actual limited government, non-intervention, and certainly no bailouts for anyone “too big to fail.” Modern Republicans still have T.R.’s interventionist streak in spades, having adequately purged the Taft wing.

  • Booklover

    That was funny. Are Ketchup and the male-bodied person real, or are they plants by Colbert? They can’t possibly be real.

  • Booklover

    That was funny. Are Ketchup and the male-bodied person real, or are they plants by Colbert? They can’t possibly be real.

  • Tom Hering

    Booklover, I agree these people are funny and can’t possibly be real. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Booklover, I agree these people are funny and can’t possibly be real. :-D

  • kerner

    Tom, they’re right, and not revisionist. The big (be it labor, business or government) always tends to collude with the other bigs. It’s how they propose to stay big, by freezing out any competitive little guy whose competition would reduce the bigness of their power and wealth. But that collusion is what stifles initiative and inovation, and creates stagnation. Just look at the people who become regulators. They almost always come from the ranks of the entity regulated (that’s certainly true of banks). When the government regulation system is almost always dominated by the eneity it regulates, do you seriously believe they are ever looking out for the little guy? No, they are protecting the status quo, because they have a vested interest in the status quo. So, the regulators decide that the big is too big to fail, and here we are.

  • kerner

    Tom, they’re right, and not revisionist. The big (be it labor, business or government) always tends to collude with the other bigs. It’s how they propose to stay big, by freezing out any competitive little guy whose competition would reduce the bigness of their power and wealth. But that collusion is what stifles initiative and inovation, and creates stagnation. Just look at the people who become regulators. They almost always come from the ranks of the entity regulated (that’s certainly true of banks). When the government regulation system is almost always dominated by the eneity it regulates, do you seriously believe they are ever looking out for the little guy? No, they are protecting the status quo, because they have a vested interest in the status quo. So, the regulators decide that the big is too big to fail, and here we are.

  • MHB

    Thanks, Tom and Joe, for the thread. Thumbs up, Cranach!

  • MHB

    Thanks, Tom and Joe, for the thread. Thumbs up, Cranach!

  • Booklover

    I’ll answer my own question. Ketchup appears to be real. Here’s an article on her pre-Colbert:

    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/7810-why-the-elites-are-in-trouble

  • Booklover

    I’ll answer my own question. Ketchup appears to be real. Here’s an article on her pre-Colbert:

    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/7810-why-the-elites-are-in-trouble

  • Cincinnatus

    The point has already been made here, but not so concisely (in response to Tom): I’m against most regulation of business because business always molds such regulations to benefit its biggest members. No big business in the United States–not Microsoft, not Wal-Mart, not GM, not the banks–could survive without dozens of subsidies (both direct and indirect) and regulations that ensure a noncompetitive environment. Both OWS and the Tea Party are missing the point insofar as both are only looking at one half of the problem.

  • Cincinnatus

    The point has already been made here, but not so concisely (in response to Tom): I’m against most regulation of business because business always molds such regulations to benefit its biggest members. No big business in the United States–not Microsoft, not Wal-Mart, not GM, not the banks–could survive without dozens of subsidies (both direct and indirect) and regulations that ensure a noncompetitive environment. Both OWS and the Tea Party are missing the point insofar as both are only looking at one half of the problem.

  • Purple Koolaid

    Another example of big business loving regulations is Marlboro and government intervention in cigarette advertising. At first glance, you might think Marlboro would be against a ban of cigarette advertising. Wrong. Phillip Morris already controlled 50% of the market, so supported the bill so they would lock in market share.

  • Purple Koolaid

    Another example of big business loving regulations is Marlboro and government intervention in cigarette advertising. At first glance, you might think Marlboro would be against a ban of cigarette advertising. Wrong. Phillip Morris already controlled 50% of the market, so supported the bill so they would lock in market share.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X