Let Them Eat Cake: An Observation on Occupy Wall Street

I feel like utter crud, so this won’t be long or comprehensive. My apologies.

Recently I told a blogger it was his job and his responsibility to research the religions he writes about, in other words, it’s his job to do his job. Not his reader’s job, not his critic’s job, HIS job.

So a lot of people seem to be commenting that Occupy Wall Street isn’t offering solutions. That these unemployed, powerless people camping in the cold streets aren’t fixing the issues they are angry about. And I thought this line of reasoning sounded familiar. It seems someone else when told that people were poor, hungry and angry was reputed to say “Let them eat cake!”

Here’s the deal though, it’s not the job of an unemployed, powerless person camping in the streets to fix the economic disaster this nation is in, because they are an unemployed, powerless person. We actually have people with power, with salaries, who live in comfortable homes whose job it is to fix our nation. That’s right, it’s their JOB. It’s what we pay them for.

So the people who are comfortable and complaining that the angry people in the Occupy Wall Street movement aren’t offering solutions should remember what happens to people who say “Let them eat cake!” Pretending you have no idea what they are so angry about when our economy is down the toilet and holding up your hands and saying “Well, YOU aren’t offering any solutions!” is not doing your JOB.

So stop pretending some person who’s lost their home and job is supposed to fix this mess. Do what we pay you for and stop trying to invite Mme. Guillotine to the party. Do your JOB.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • cara

    I think those protesting absolutely have a responsibility (and the right) to offer solutions.  If the premise is that there are a very small number of people in power who make decisions/laws/rules which primarily benefit them while hurting/ignoring/disenfranchising the 99% -why on earth would you look to those same people in power for solutions? 

    It appears that the Occupy Wall Street groups are starting, through their discussions and assemblies, to offer ideas for possible solutions.  The deck may be stacked against them, but they are not powerless.  They also aren’t  all unemployed persons who are taking part in this. 

    When I went to a protest in Minnesota I did some demos to see just who these people are.  I went during a weekday so if anything,my numbers are skewed towards more unemployed people, not less. Only 15% were unemployed.  43% were in the top 25% of earners in the USA.  Only 11% didn’t at least some college under their belt.  They are fully capable of thinking up solutions.

    Where you are correct is what happens after they offer their solutions.  Will elected officials act on their ideas or ignore them?  Are their solutions ones that the majority of other Americans agree with?  What happens if the majority of Americans don’t agree with Occupy Wall Street solutions?

    Asking the demonstrators to come up with solutions isn’t asking them to “eat cake” – it’s acknowledging they are adults with the right to participate in and influence government, which is what they are asking for.

    Now, if they turn to violence, that’s all on them.  When someone chooses to hurt or kill someone, they are solely responsible for making that choice and acting on it.  I don’t advocate violence and I’m not going to shift blame nor act as if it is excusable.  The political Left, rightfully, pointed out to the various Tea Party movements that the quote from Jefferson about the Tree of Liberty needing to be watered with the blood of Patriots is a somewhat veiled threat of violence if they don’t get their way.  (Or at least, tacit approval)  The same is true of this current meme coming from Occupy Wall Street supporters about “Let them eat cake’ and visions of angry mobs.  Both invoke the Reign of Terror and that’s nothing to invoke for our country.  The majority of Occupy Wall Street protestors have remained peaceful, even in the face of repression, and I hope they remain that way.  

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      In the closest town, Kalamazoo, over 1/2 the protesters were there as their professors were giving them college credit.  This is a BAD idea.  Not only does it promote a liberal mindset, giving a reward for certain activities, but it also gives the message that hollering and marching are more important than a work ethic.

      • EWU Jenn

        I have been given an assignment to attend a political or public demonstration for credit (after I wrote a paper on it). There is an incredible amount of value in this type of assignment. It is absolutely NOT promoting a liberal mindset but a rather free-thinking one. For example, my political science professor is quite conservative and asked us to attend an Arab Culture appreciation celebration. Mind-opening.  

  • cara

    I think those protesting absolutely have a responsibility (and the right) to offer solutions.  If the premise is that there are a very small number of people in power who make decisions/laws/rules which primarily benefit them while hurting/ignoring/disenfranchising the 99% -why on earth would you look to those same people in power for solutions? 

    It appears that the Occupy Wall Street groups are starting, through their discussions and assemblies, to offer ideas for possible solutions.  The deck may be stacked against them, but they are not powerless.  They also aren’t  all unemployed persons who are taking part in this. 

    When I went to a protest in Minnesota I did some demos to see just who these people are.  I went during a weekday so if anything,my numbers are skewed towards more unemployed people, not less. Only 15% were unemployed.  43% were in the top 25% of earners in the USA.  Only 11% didn’t at least some college under their belt.  They are fully capable of thinking up solutions.

    Where you are correct is what happens after they offer their solutions.  Will elected officials act on their ideas or ignore them?  Are their solutions ones that the majority of other Americans agree with?  What happens if the majority of Americans don’t agree with Occupy Wall Street solutions?

    Asking the demonstrators to come up with solutions isn’t asking them to “eat cake” – it’s acknowledging they are adults with the right to participate in and influence government, which is what they are asking for.

    Now, if they turn to violence, that’s all on them.  When someone chooses to hurt or kill someone, they are solely responsible for making that choice and acting on it.  I don’t advocate violence and I’m not going to shift blame nor act as if it is excusable.  The political Left, rightfully, pointed out to the various Tea Party movements that the quote from Jefferson about the Tree of Liberty needing to be watered with the blood of Patriots is a somewhat veiled threat of violence if they don’t get their way.  (Or at least, tacit approval)  The same is true of this current meme coming from Occupy Wall Street supporters about “Let them eat cake’ and visions of angry mobs.  Both invoke the Reign of Terror and that’s nothing to invoke for our country.  The majority of Occupy Wall Street protestors have remained peaceful, even in the face of repression, and I hope they remain that way.  

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      In the closest town, Kalamazoo, over 1/2 the protesters were there as their professors were giving them college credit.  This is a BAD idea.  Not only does it promote a liberal mindset, giving a reward for certain activities, but it also gives the message that hollering and marching are more important than a work ethic.

      • EWU Jenn

        I have been given an assignment to attend a political or public demonstration for credit (after I wrote a paper on it). There is an incredible amount of value in this type of assignment. It is absolutely NOT promoting a liberal mindset but a rather free-thinking one. For example, my political science professor is quite conservative and asked us to attend an Arab Culture appreciation celebration. Mind-opening.  

  • kenneth

    The solution, in broad-stroke form, is really not that complex. We need to outline a new vision for the “social compact” – the semi-official understanding between the elites and little people which keeps a society running.

     We had a fairly successful model of that from World War II up until recently. Roughly speaking, the compact was this: We agreed to make the 1% very well off. They agreed to break off enough to make most of us middle class. It was a very tidy arrangement, held in place partly through the strength of unions, but also through some enlightened self-interest of the rich. They were smart enough to know that the best way to manage the mob is to make sure the mob had a livable wage and retirement and enough mindless entertainment to keep them off the streets and in their cubicles and assembly lines. 

    Since then, that sense of order has gone out the window. The 1% feel entitled to take 100% of everything, and our elected government doesn’t even make a pretense of serving the interests of the people or the nation as a whole. They’re paid lobbyists of corporations who scoff at the very idea of national purpose. A country is just an artificial construct and a set of resources to be exploited and disposed of.

     What the bulk of these protesters want, and what I want, is nothing more radical than a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Before we can get into specific proposals, we need to come to that over-arching consensus that the economic security of the average person is (at least) every bit as much a matter of national security as the “war on terror.”  We need to agree that our leaders have a duty to all of us, not just the CEOs who bought them their jobs. 

    The demonstrations have been peaceful because there’s still hope that with enough sustained pressure, our political system, as sick as it is, will still hear and respond to the cries of its own people. I hope they are right. If not, we are in for a rough ride. Violence solves nothing, but it is the inevitable outcome of people denied hope. The explosions we’re seeing in the Middle East right now are the result of elites who for decades stole all of the common people’s wealth and opportunities, invested nothing in their societies and then contained them with prisons and police. We are not yet as bad off as Mubarak’s Egypt, but we are heading down that path farther and faster than I ever thought I would live to see. 

  • kenneth

    The solution, in broad-stroke form, is really not that complex. We need to outline a new vision for the “social compact” – the semi-official understanding between the elites and little people which keeps a society running.

     We had a fairly successful model of that from World War II up until recently. Roughly speaking, the compact was this: We agreed to make the 1% very well off. They agreed to break off enough to make most of us middle class. It was a very tidy arrangement, held in place partly through the strength of unions, but also through some enlightened self-interest of the rich. They were smart enough to know that the best way to manage the mob is to make sure the mob had a livable wage and retirement and enough mindless entertainment to keep them off the streets and in their cubicles and assembly lines. 

    Since then, that sense of order has gone out the window. The 1% feel entitled to take 100% of everything, and our elected government doesn’t even make a pretense of serving the interests of the people or the nation as a whole. They’re paid lobbyists of corporations who scoff at the very idea of national purpose. A country is just an artificial construct and a set of resources to be exploited and disposed of.

     What the bulk of these protesters want, and what I want, is nothing more radical than a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Before we can get into specific proposals, we need to come to that over-arching consensus that the economic security of the average person is (at least) every bit as much a matter of national security as the “war on terror.”  We need to agree that our leaders have a duty to all of us, not just the CEOs who bought them their jobs. 

    The demonstrations have been peaceful because there’s still hope that with enough sustained pressure, our political system, as sick as it is, will still hear and respond to the cries of its own people. I hope they are right. If not, we are in for a rough ride. Violence solves nothing, but it is the inevitable outcome of people denied hope. The explosions we’re seeing in the Middle East right now are the result of elites who for decades stole all of the common people’s wealth and opportunities, invested nothing in their societies and then contained them with prisons and police. We are not yet as bad off as Mubarak’s Egypt, but we are heading down that path farther and faster than I ever thought I would live to see. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/chkraemer13 Christine Hoff Kraemer

    Well said. Economics is an incredibly complex field; it’s not the job of protestors, even college-educated protestors, to determine how to best mend the economy. Even elected representatives have teams of experts to advise them on how to vote on economic (and other) issues. It’s not the average person on the street’s job to come up with specific solutions; it’s their job to get their representatives’ attention and make it clear that policy change needs to happen NOW.

    The fact is, no single individual has enough information to make an informed call on every issue. Cain’s 9/9/9 plan sounds refreshingly straightforward to my ears, but tax experts are warning that Cain is wrong, and that it will actually *increase* the middle class’s tax burden. I’m not in any kind of position to know whether that’s true — the system is too complex.

    It’s easy to propose plans that sound good — often because they’re simple — but those plans won’t necessarily narrow the gap between rich and poor or advance the cause of economic justice, and they may have negative consequences that are hard to foresee.  It’s better for protestors to focus on the results they want (more jobs, a living wage, the breakup of bank monopolies) than to try to work out the details of exactly how to do it. That’s what people with graduate degrees are supposed to be for.

    • kenneth

      Flat taxes in general are very bad deals for the working and middle classes. They’re regressive, meaning that poorer people pay a much larger amount relative to their income and wind up subsidizing the very wealthy. That’s especially true for consumption taxes like sales taxes or one of Cain’s “nines” which would be a value added tax. If you tax everything people consume to get by, the poor will always be paying a much higher percentage of their earnings on that than the rich. Even though a billonaire might be buying much nicer food and clothing, it will always be a pittance relative to what they make.  Flat taxes sound enticing because they are simple, but simple isn’t always good. Loan sharking is simple…..

      • Matthaios

        In fairness to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, it is not a VAT. A VAT tax is similar to a sales tax except it is taxed at every step from production to final sale. Cain’s plan adds a 9% tax to the final sale HOWEVER because of the reduction in other taxes (no more payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, or death tax), certain taxes that are already embedded in the products we buy will be eliminated causing the good’s price to go down. The 9% sales tax Cain is suggesting would be included in the price. Theoretically, a jacket that was $100 before would still be $100 (the 9% tax essentially displaces the previously existing embedded tax).

        Also, there is a chance for the 9-9-9 tax system to help the middle and lower classes. First, payroll taxes would be eliminated. Second, only new goods would be taxed. In other words, if you buy a used car: no sales tax. If you buy a used house: no sales tax. If you buy a used book: no sales tax.

        True, simple does not always equate to better…but the complex monstrosity tax code we have in place certainly isn’t the best of all possible tax codes. I would personally prefer the FairTax since it would essentially eliminate the tax burden on the lower class through the prebate system.

    • cara

      Actually it is our job, in a participatory form of democracy (which our Republic is) to become informed and then act on issues that are important to us.  Our elected officials aren’t experts we hire to rule over us and make decisions for us, their job is simply to be the voice the people they represent. 

      If they have forgotten that, it’s time we remind them of that.  If we have forgotten that, Gods help us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chkraemer13 Christine Hoff Kraemer

    Well said. Economics is an incredibly complex field; it’s not the job of protestors, even college-educated protestors, to determine how to best mend the economy. Even elected representatives have teams of experts to advise them on how to vote on economic (and other) issues. It’s not the average person on the street’s job to come up with specific solutions; it’s their job to get their representatives’ attention and make it clear that policy change needs to happen NOW.

    The fact is, no single individual has enough information to make an informed call on every issue. Cain’s 9/9/9 plan sounds refreshingly straightforward to my ears, but tax experts are warning that Cain is wrong, and that it will actually *increase* the middle class’s tax burden. I’m not in any kind of position to know whether that’s true — the system is too complex.

    It’s easy to propose plans that sound good — often because they’re simple — but those plans won’t necessarily narrow the gap between rich and poor or advance the cause of economic justice, and they may have negative consequences that are hard to foresee.  It’s better for protestors to focus on the results they want (more jobs, a living wage, the breakup of bank monopolies) than to try to work out the details of exactly how to do it. That’s what people with graduate degrees are supposed to be for.

    • kenneth

      Flat taxes in general are very bad deals for the working and middle classes. They’re regressive, meaning that poorer people pay a much larger amount relative to their income and wind up subsidizing the very wealthy. That’s especially true for consumption taxes like sales taxes or one of Cain’s “nines” which would be a value added tax. If you tax everything people consume to get by, the poor will always be paying a much higher percentage of their earnings on that than the rich. Even though a billonaire might be buying much nicer food and clothing, it will always be a pittance relative to what they make.  Flat taxes sound enticing because they are simple, but simple isn’t always good. Loan sharking is simple…..

      • Matthaios

        In fairness to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, it is not a VAT. A VAT tax is similar to a sales tax except it is taxed at every step from production to final sale. Cain’s plan adds a 9% tax to the final sale HOWEVER because of the reduction in other taxes (no more payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, or death tax), certain taxes that are already embedded in the products we buy will be eliminated causing the good’s price to go down. The 9% sales tax Cain is suggesting would be included in the price. Theoretically, a jacket that was $100 before would still be $100 (the 9% tax essentially displaces the previously existing embedded tax).

        Also, there is a chance for the 9-9-9 tax system to help the middle and lower classes. First, payroll taxes would be eliminated. Second, only new goods would be taxed. In other words, if you buy a used car: no sales tax. If you buy a used house: no sales tax. If you buy a used book: no sales tax.

        True, simple does not always equate to better…but the complex monstrosity tax code we have in place certainly isn’t the best of all possible tax codes. I would personally prefer the FairTax since it would essentially eliminate the tax burden on the lower class through the prebate system.

    • cara

      Actually it is our job, in a participatory form of democracy (which our Republic is) to become informed and then act on issues that are important to us.  Our elected officials aren’t experts we hire to rule over us and make decisions for us, their job is simply to be the voice the people they represent. 

      If they have forgotten that, it’s time we remind them of that.  If we have forgotten that, Gods help us.

  • kenneth

    A suggestion for Star’s misery too: You can break an Influenza infection with the right sort of chemical assault. I’ve found that a cocktail of tamiflu, amantadine and sambucol, given early enough, will break that fever within 24 hours and head off most of the hacking cough and terrible aches that otherwise set in. It can make the whole thing a 3 or 4 day ordeal instead of 10…

  • kenneth

    A suggestion for Star’s misery too: You can break an Influenza infection with the right sort of chemical assault. I’ve found that a cocktail of tamiflu, amantadine and sambucol, given early enough, will break that fever within 24 hours and head off most of the hacking cough and terrible aches that otherwise set in. It can make the whole thing a 3 or 4 day ordeal instead of 10…

  • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

    This

    “Recently I told a blogger it was his job and his responsibility to research the religions he writes about, in other words, it’s his job to do his job. Not his reader’s job, not his critic’s job, HIS job.”
    very much does apply to OWS’ people.  Being one, part of my responsibility, as Cara pointed out, is to provide solutions where I am able.  

    OWSers are organizing, writing, and demanding a new way of being, and it does fall on us to pave the way, through direct democratic decisions at our GAs and similar functions.  The OWS movement is slowly offering solutions; in fact, it offers some of them.  They aren’t all-inclusive.  Hell, they aren’t as well thought-out as policy statements or legislation.  It cuts, though, to the bone of where many of us are coming from.
    Here:  http://occupywallst.org/article/a-message-from-occupied-wall-street-day-five/

    That said, I agree with Ms. Kraemer and Star in that is is not the responsibility of OWSers and those not educated in economics to fix the system itself.  The math alone is boggling.  Where I do see our place as OWSers is, is in demanding that the ‘game’ many play with our economy end, and that economists are required to act in the interests not just of the bottom line, but of the nation, We the People.

    What I think the OWS movement does best right now, and should continue to do for the time being, is air our grievances.  By acknowledging these we can actually address them.

    Here was the first release from OWS: http://occupywallst.org/forum/first-official-release-from-occupy-wall-street/

    OWS’ power right now rests in that it is rousing people to do something.  It’s power in the future will come in its own time, inspiring and pushing people to change the system from within it, or without it.

  • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

    This

    “Recently I told a blogger it was his job and his responsibility to research the religions he writes about, in other words, it’s his job to do his job. Not his reader’s job, not his critic’s job, HIS job.”
    very much does apply to OWS’ people.  Being one, part of my responsibility, as Cara pointed out, is to provide solutions where I am able.  

    OWSers are organizing, writing, and demanding a new way of being, and it does fall on us to pave the way, through direct democratic decisions at our GAs and similar functions.  The OWS movement is slowly offering solutions; in fact, it offers some of them.  They aren’t all-inclusive.  Hell, they aren’t as well thought-out as policy statements or legislation.  It cuts, though, to the bone of where many of us are coming from.
    Here:  http://occupywallst.org/article/a-message-from-occupied-wall-street-day-five/

    That said, I agree with Ms. Kraemer and Star in that is is not the responsibility of OWSers and those not educated in economics to fix the system itself.  The math alone is boggling.  Where I do see our place as OWSers is, is in demanding that the ‘game’ many play with our economy end, and that economists are required to act in the interests not just of the bottom line, but of the nation, We the People.

    What I think the OWS movement does best right now, and should continue to do for the time being, is air our grievances.  By acknowledging these we can actually address them.

    Here was the first release from OWS: http://occupywallst.org/forum/first-official-release-from-occupy-wall-street/

    OWS’ power right now rests in that it is rousing people to do something.  It’s power in the future will come in its own time, inspiring and pushing people to change the system from within it, or without it.

  • Anonymous

    I’m more with Star on this, I think. The criticism targeted toward OWS — that they aren’t already proposing solutions — is either ignorant or malign. The Tea Party came right out of the box with “solutions” that make no sense at all (“Keep the gub’mint’s hands off my Medicare!”). I’m sure OWS could have done the same thing, but they didn’t — because they apparently want a real solution, not a bunch of angry bumper-sticker slogans.

    A lot is said about how “complex” economics is, but I was trained in physics to solve hideously complex problems by two general methods: break down the problem into smaller pieces, and always keep the outlines of the big picture in mind. The latter is what is particularly lacking in these discussions.

    Here are a couple of big-picture concepts.

    1) Capitalism by its nature involves the “accumulation of capital.” If there is no downward path for wealth, capitalism will inevitably move all of the wealth upward into a very few hands. In the past century, the main downward path for wealth was through taxes, which were 90% on the top tax bracket after WWII. They dropped to 50% in the early 80′s, and to 28% in 1988, and the current screaming about “taxing the rich” has to do with the difference between 35% and 40%. If the wealth moves only one way — up — then of course you will see growing inequities. Unless and until there is a way for wealth to flow downward to the masses, the 1% versus the 99% is inevitable. Unavoidable. Obvious.

    2) The world economy can’t grow exponentially forever. Everyone talks about “economic growth” in percentages, but a percentage growth means exponential growth, which means doubling growth. We have only one world. If we keep doubling the population, we start to run out of food and water and the population stabilizes “naturally” through starvation and hardship — or we might run out of “economically valuable activity” first, in which case we can actually feed people, but they can’t “earn” their way. If we don’t keep doubling the population, the existing population has to keep doubling its economic efficiency — producing, and in particular, consuming more all the time. At some point, this has to stop — if nothing else, we run out of time to shop for all the “stuff” we have to consume to keep up — and economic growth ceases. Either way, economic growth eventually stops. Indications are that we’ve either reached that point, or are very close to it and are starting to feel the back-pressure. Look to Easter Island for an example of how to manage such a situation very badly: continuing to do the same thing you always did, because it worked so well in the past.

    Two questions the Nobel-prize-winning economists aren’t asking (or aren’t talking about):

    What general mechanism moves wealth out of private hands and into the common (public) wealth?

    What happens when the economy CAN’T grow any more?

    • cara

      “The Tea Party came right out of the box with “solutions””
      No, we didn’t.  We were meeting to discussing things for close to 6 months before we got our first mainstream mention on the news.  So it may have appeared that way to you, but that doesn’t match reality.

  • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

    I’m more with Star on this, I think. The criticism targeted toward OWS — that they aren’t already proposing solutions — is either ignorant or malign. The Tea Party came right out of the box with “solutions” that make no sense at all (“Keep the gub’mint’s hands off my Medicare!”). I’m sure OWS could have done the same thing, but they didn’t — because they apparently want a real solution, not a bunch of angry bumper-sticker slogans.

    A lot is said about how “complex” economics is, but I was trained in physics to solve hideously complex problems by two general methods: break down the problem into smaller pieces, and always keep the outlines of the big picture in mind. The latter is what is particularly lacking in these discussions.

    Here are a couple of big-picture concepts.

    1) Capitalism by its nature involves the “accumulation of capital.” If there is no downward path for wealth, capitalism will inevitably move all of the wealth upward into a very few hands. In the past century, the main downward path for wealth was through taxes, which were 90% on the top tax bracket after WWII. They dropped to 50% in the early 80′s, and to 28% in 1988, and the current screaming about “taxing the rich” has to do with the difference between 35% and 40%. If the wealth moves only one way — up — then of course you will see growing inequities. Unless and until there is a way for wealth to flow downward to the masses, the 1% versus the 99% is inevitable. Unavoidable. Obvious.

    2) The world economy can’t grow exponentially forever. Everyone talks about “economic growth” in percentages, but a percentage growth means exponential growth, which means doubling growth. We have only one world. If we keep doubling the population, we start to run out of food and water and the population stabilizes “naturally” through starvation and hardship — or we might run out of “economically valuable activity” first, in which case we can actually feed people, but they can’t “earn” their way. If we don’t keep doubling the population, the existing population has to keep doubling its economic efficiency — producing, and in particular, consuming more all the time. At some point, this has to stop — if nothing else, we run out of time to shop for all the “stuff” we have to consume to keep up — and economic growth ceases. Either way, economic growth eventually stops. Indications are that we’ve either reached that point, or are very close to it and are starting to feel the back-pressure. Look to Easter Island for an example of how to manage such a situation very badly: continuing to do the same thing you always did, because it worked so well in the past.

    Two questions the Nobel-prize-winning economists aren’t asking (or aren’t talking about):

    What general mechanism moves wealth out of private hands and into the common (public) wealth?

    What happens when the economy CAN’T grow any more?

    • cara

      “The Tea Party came right out of the box with “solutions””
      No, we didn’t.  We were meeting to discussing things for close to 6 months before we got our first mainstream mention on the news.  So it may have appeared that way to you, but that doesn’t match reality.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Solid advice:  Before you go marching, find out a little something about investing
    money in stocks, bonds, and learn about small corporations, small
    businesses, and self-employment.  That way people like me won’t roll our
    eyes when protestors say things like, “All corporations are bad,” or
    “We want, like, jobs, man.  Gimme a job!”  Read the article in Forbes
    about the protests. 

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2011/10/18/some-tips-for-the-simpletons-of-occupy-wall-street/
    Some Tips For The Simpletons of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ – Forbes

    Yeah.  That really IS what business people think about the protestors’ ignorance.  It’s mean-spirited, but dude has a point.  Hollering “Jobs, Jobs” does not actually create any jobs.

    It really IS up to us to propose our own solutions, not wait for the Nanny Government to solve our problems for us.  We are teaching dependency, which is not a good thing. 

    Here are some REAL solutions:

    Instead of marching in the streets and shouting slogans, attend local government meetings.  Go to your local and state representatives’ offices.  When a small to medium-sized business asks for rezoning or tax breaks, put pressure on town councils and city managers to comply.  A local firm asked for a $100,000 tax break and created twelve mid-to-upper level jobs.  A Meijer store asked for a zoning variance and is creating 250 jobs in the store, entry-level to management, with another 30-50 jobs in construction (not counting the jobs of creating the building materials).  If you have the time and means to get to “occupy” protests, you have the time and means to get to your representatives’ meetings.

    Likewise, complain about policies that remove jobs by over-regulation or that favor huge corporations.  Don’t forget to give praise for policies that are helpful.  I participate in “town hall” meetings online and by phone with two different state representatives.  These can be found on their websites.  You don’t even have to leave the house.

    Go to school.  Grants are free.  Loans must be paid back, eventually, but they provide the money to pay for classes NOW.  Take something practical — there are few jobs in “liberal arts” and many jobs in healthcare, computer sciences, and skilled trades.  There are mini-courses in trades like locksmithing, plumbing, gunsmithing, daycare, welding, some cosmetology, glazing, etc. which take six months to a year, an instant career that can be accomplished at home.

    Create your own job.  What can you do well?  Not many working people have time to sew, take care of their pets, cut their lawns, clean their houses, clean out their cars, or prepare meals every day.  They want people to come to their houses and do tasks.  Advertise in your local paper (less than $20) or on Facebook (free).  Young friends created their own jobs in photo retouching, dog walking, helping carpenters, auto detailing, making custom cakes, canning and freezing, decorating for parties, gardening, tailoring, cleaning junk out of garages.  They don’t have time to “occupy” as they’re too busy working.

    • Anonymous

      They aren’t saying, “Like, give me a job, man.” They are looking around and saying, “Where the Hell did the Land of Opportunity go?” It isn’t personal. It’s a sense of national identity.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Themon, some of these kids are utterly clueless.  They’re protesting as it’s fashionable.  It’s their version of Woodstock.  America is still the land of opportunity… create your own job, don’t be dependent on the government, stop buying stuff created by the 1% you profess to despise.

        • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

          How do you create your own job? Without start-up capital? I’d be curious to know.

          • Matthaios

            If you don’t qualify for a small business loan and cannot start up a business buying equipment piecemeal, then one can go to family and friends. Joining the local Chamber might enable the would-be entrepreneur to network with someone willing to give a person-to-person loan.

            Otherwise, like me, you work at a soul-sucking job and living extremely frugally for a little while until you have enough money to start your business that, as part of its business plan, allows for you to do what you do without as much expense and overhead as your competitors.

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            So if you are unemployed with no banks, friends or family willing to lend you money, then how do you create your job?

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            If you don’t qualify for a small business loan and cannot start up a
            business buying equipment piecemeal, then one can go to family and
            friends.

            Great idea that assumes one has family and friends that have the money to spare (not everybody does, by the way — just thought you might like to know that).

            Otherwise, like me, you work at a soul-sucking job…

            And when even that “soul-sucking job” isn’t there?

          • Matthaios

            Which is why I also mentioned networking with other business owners. If you have a good idea, a good business plan, you have an opportunity to meet someone who will give you a loan. I’m not saying it won’t be difficult…just the opposite. But responding to Star’s “what if you have no start up capital,” question, I’m answering with a few options.

            My dad and I were talking about this the other day. In the late 70s/early 80s he said that he knew a lot of people who lost their jobs. The ones who were resourceful always found work.

            If all else fails, A.C. makes plenty of other suggestions above.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            And people are telling you, those options aren’t guaranteed to work, either.

            My dad and I were talking about this the other day. In the late
            70s/early 80s he said that he knew a lot of people who lost their jobs.
            The ones who were resourceful always found work.

            And this is called “blaming the victim”.  Sometimes, people are plenty resourceful, and still can’t find work — but oh no, in your fantasy world, it’s all their fault they can’t find anything, cos they just aren’t being “resourceful” enough.

          • Matthaios

            I’m just saying…I was able to put together a business that has enabled me to live comfortably during a recession. I put that business together on a minimal shoestring budget. I found a way to charge my customers for the service I provide at a fraction of the cost they’d pay my competitors because I am able to keep my overhead incredibly low.

            Call it a fantasy world that I have experienced what it is to be making below what many would call a “living wage” but managed to figure out a way to start and operate a business. Call it a fantasy that I am resourceful enough to figure out what my next step is when things get rocky (and they have at times). Call it fantasy that I see success as a possibility. I’d call such optimism the crux of magical work.

            Guaranteed? I never said it was…I did say, though, that there are other options out there. Many have already been listed. It is your obligation to exhaust them.

          • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

            People have exhausted them, that’s why they’re angry and protesting.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            And when those options have been exhausted?  You seem to be of the belief that everybody is playing with the same deck of cards or at least will turn up cards in a way that will ultimately and absolutely lead to success.  Did you ever play “War” as a kid?  Life, in all honesty, is like that:  There’s really nothing more than pure luck at hand, and you can turn up all the cards you’ve been dealt and still lose.

            You seem to be under the impression that a loser is only a loser because s/he “gives up” or “stops trying”.  The reality is that more people exhaust all conceivable options that you think, and your only solution is “try harder”.  Your only solution is to blame the victim.

          • Matthaios

            Which is why I also mentioned networking with other business owners. If you have a good idea, a good business plan, you have an opportunity to meet someone who will give you a loan. I’m not saying it won’t be difficult…just the opposite. But responding to Star’s “what if you have no start up capital,” question, I’m answering with a few options.

            My dad and I were talking about this the other day. In the late 70s/early 80s he said that he knew a lot of people who lost their jobs. The ones who were resourceful always found work.

            If all else fails, A.C. makes plenty of other suggestions above.

        • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

          You know, at the Occupy in my town most of the protesters were 50+ years old.  Are they still ‘kids’? 

    • Seriously?

      Dog walking? Many of the protesters are people with families to feed and mortgages, not 16 year olds who need pocket scratch so they can get a latte at the mall.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Solid advice:  Before you go marching, find out a little something about investing money in stocks, bonds, and learn about small corporations, small businesses, and self-employment.  That way people like me won’t roll our eyes when protestors say things like, “All corporations are bad,” or “We want, like, jobs, man.  Gimme a job!”  Read the article in Forbes
    about the protests. 

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2011/10/18/some-tips-for-the-simpletons-of-occupy-wall-street/
    Some Tips For The Simpletons of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ – Forbes

    Yeah.  That really IS what business people think about the protestors’ ignorance.  It’s mean-spirited, but dude has a point.  Hollering “Jobs, Jobs” does not actually create any jobs.

    It really IS up to us to propose our own solutions, not wait for the Nanny Government to solve our problems for us.  We are teaching dependency, which is not a good thing. 

    Here are some REAL solutions:

    Instead of marching in the streets and shouting slogans, attend local government meetings.  Go to your local and state representatives’ offices.  When a small to medium-sized business asks for rezoning or tax breaks, put pressure on town councils and city managers to comply.  A local firm asked for a $100,000 tax break and created twelve mid-to-upper level jobs.  A Meijer store asked for a zoning variance and is creating 250 jobs in the store, entry-level to management, with another 30-50 jobs in construction (not counting the jobs of creating the building materials).  If you have the time and means to get to “occupy” protests, you have the time and means to get to your representatives’ meetings.

    Likewise, complain about policies that remove jobs by over-regulation or that favor huge corporations.  Don’t forget to give praise for policies that are helpful.  I participate in “town hall” meetings online and by phone with two different state representatives.  These can be found on their websites.  You don’t even have to leave the house.

    Go to school.  Grants are free.  Loans must be paid back, eventually, but they provide the money to pay for classes NOW.  Take something practical — there are few jobs in “liberal arts” and many jobs in healthcare, computer sciences, and skilled trades.  There are mini-courses in trades like locksmithing, plumbing, gunsmithing, daycare, welding, some cosmetology, glazing, etc. which take six months to a year, an instant career that can be accomplished at home.

    Create your own job.  What can you do well?  Not many working people have time to sew, take care of their pets, cut their lawns, clean their houses, clean out their cars, or prepare meals every day.  They want people to come to their houses and do tasks.  Advertise in your local paper (less than $20) or on Facebook (free).  Young friends created their own jobs in photo retouching, dog walking, helping carpenters, auto detailing, making custom cakes, canning and freezing, decorating for parties, gardening, tailoring, cleaning junk out of garages.  They don’t have time to “occupy” as they’re too busy working.

    Our military is always hiring young folks, and there are many non-combat jobs.

    • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

      They aren’t saying, “Like, give me a job, man.” They are looking around and saying, “Where the Hell did the Land of Opportunity go?” It isn’t personal. It’s a sense of national identity.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Themon, some of these kids are utterly clueless.  They’re protesting as it’s fashionable.  It’s their version of Woodstock.  America is still the land of opportunity… create your own job, don’t be dependent on the government, stop buying stuff created by the 1% you profess to despise.

        • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

          How do you create your own job? Without start-up capital? I’d be curious to know.

          • Matthaios

            If you don’t qualify for a small business loan and cannot start up a business buying equipment piecemeal, then one can go to family and friends. Joining the local Chamber might enable the would-be entrepreneur to network with someone willing to give a person-to-person loan.

            Otherwise, like me, you work at a soul-sucking job and living extremely frugally for a little while until you have enough money to start your business that, as part of its business plan, allows for you to do what you do without as much expense and overhead as your competitors.

          • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

            So if you are unemployed with no banks, friends or family willing to lend you money, then how do you create your job?

          • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

            If you don’t qualify for a small business loan and cannot start up a
            business buying equipment piecemeal, then one can go to family and
            friends.

            Great idea that assumes one has family and friends that have the money to spare (not everybody does, by the way — just thought you might like to know that).

            Otherwise, like me, you work at a soul-sucking job…

            And when even that “soul-sucking job” isn’t there?

          • Matthaios

            Which is why I also mentioned networking with other business owners. If you have a good idea, a good business plan, you have an opportunity to meet someone who will give you a loan. I’m not saying it won’t be difficult…just the opposite. But responding to Star’s “what if you have no start up capital,” question, I’m answering with a few options.

            My dad and I were talking about this the other day. In the late 70s/early 80s he said that he knew a lot of people who lost their jobs. The ones who were resourceful always found work.

            If all else fails, A.C. makes plenty of other suggestions above.

          • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

            And people are telling you, those options aren’t guaranteed to work, either.

            My dad and I were talking about this the other day. In the late
            70s/early 80s he said that he knew a lot of people who lost their jobs.
            The ones who were resourceful always found work.

            And this is called “blaming the victim”.  Sometimes, people are plenty resourceful, and still can’t find work — but oh no, in your fantasy world, it’s all their fault they can’t find anything, cos they just aren’t being “resourceful” enough.

          • Matthaios

            I’m just saying…I was able to put together a business that has enabled me to live comfortably during a recession. I put that business together on a minimal shoestring budget. I found a way to charge my customers for the service I provide at a fraction of the cost they’d pay my competitors because I am able to keep my overhead incredibly low.

            Call it a fantasy world that I have experienced what it is to be making below what many would call a “living wage” but managed to figure out a way to start and operate a business. Call it a fantasy that I am resourceful enough to figure out what my next step is when things get rocky (and they have at times). Call it fantasy that I see success as a possibility. I’d call such optimism the crux of magical work.

            Guaranteed? I never said it was…I did say, though, that there are other options out there. Many have already been listed. It is your obligation to exhaust them.

          • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

            People have exhausted them, that’s why they’re angry and protesting.

          • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

            And when those options have been exhausted?  You seem to be of the belief that everybody is playing with the same deck of cards or at least will turn up cards in a way that will ultimately and absolutely lead to success.  Did you ever play “War” as a kid?  Life, in all honesty, is like that:  There’s really nothing more than pure luck at hand, and you can turn up all the cards you’ve been dealt and still lose.

            You seem to be under the impression that a loser is only a loser because s/he “gives up” or “stops trying”.  The reality is that more people exhaust all conceivable options that you think, and your only solution is “try harder”.  Your only solution is to blame the victim.

        • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

          You know, at the Occupy in my town most of the protesters were 50+ years old.  Are they still ‘kids’? 

    • Seriously?

      Dog walking? Many of the protesters are people with families to feed and mortgages, not 16 year olds who need pocket scratch so they can get a latte at the mall.

  • Jack Heron

    One aspect of the Occupy protests that has been less focused on is the aspect of fairness and morality. It doesn’t seem to me to be entirely about more prosperity for the working person – there’s also a component concerned with the appropriate level of greed/profit acquisition and the degree of inequality that should exist in a civilised society. I don’t know about Occupy Wall Street first-hand (there’s an ocean between me and it), but there have been protests where I am that are less interested in what they have and more interested in the difference between what they have and what the rich have.

    Whether that is more or less worthy of support is a matter for debate.

  • Jack Heron

    One aspect of the Occupy protests that has been less focused on is the aspect of fairness and morality. It doesn’t seem to me to be entirely about more prosperity for the working person – there’s also a component concerned with the appropriate level of greed/profit acquisition and the degree of inequality that should exist in a civilised society. I don’t know about Occupy Wall Street first-hand (there’s an ocean between me and it), but there have been protests where I am that are less interested in what they have and more interested in the difference between what they have and what the rich have.

    Whether that is more or less worthy of support is a matter for debate.

  • http://twitter.com/chorisschema Corc Hamr

    I would only add that, according to Jefferson and other so-called “Founding Fathers”, the Occupy Wall Street camp is doing their job, of rising up when there’s injustice and speaking out. Granted, he was talking more about revolt against an unjust king, but it seems we’re not far off from that (the banks and corporations, I mean; King George wasn’t exactly in control of his country, either). Unfortunately, the next step in this camp’s “career”, if people in charge want to take the guillotine route, is a little less non-violent than the protests have been. 

    -C

  • http://twitter.com/chorisschema Corc Hamr

    I would only add that, according to Jefferson and other so-called “Founding Fathers”, the Occupy Wall Street camp is doing their job, of rising up when there’s injustice and speaking out. Granted, he was talking more about revolt against an unjust king, but it seems we’re not far off from that (the banks and corporations, I mean; King George wasn’t exactly in control of his country, either). Unfortunately, the next step in this camp’s “career”, if people in charge want to take the guillotine route, is a little less non-violent than the protests have been. 

    -C

  • http://thissideoftypical.com/ This Side Of Typical

    I like to think of it this way–we wanted the politicians to start taking the needs of the poor seriously–this starts when they actually have to address those needs.  The occupy movements–while disjointed and unorganized in the grander scheme–is AT LEAST making washington look up and start paying attention.  Right now those in power are beginning to get an inkling that they hold that power tenuously.  ANd i will give the Occupy movements absolute credit for this.

    As a former history teacher, i would often point out to my students that when the masses are hungry and poor, shit starts to go down.  Perhaps its time for Washington to heed those lessons as well.


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