How I Agree With Occupy Wall Street

While the Occupy Wall Street movement may not have a very coherent message as a whole, there are some messages that stand out more than others.  Some of these messages I agree with, some I don’t.  One message of the Occupy movement that I wholeheartedly endorse is one that calls for the cutting of special tax cuts and deductions from the tax code.

occupy-wall-street

The Occupy Movement

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been one that has fascinated me over the last month or so.  It first appeared to be a ragtag group of youngsters that had no coherent message, and to a certain extent, there is still very few cohesive themes for all the Occupy protests.  Part of the reason for this uncertainty of message is the insistence upon direct democracy instead of having leaders of the group.  One of the interesting aspects, for instance, is the “human microphone” that has been used in many of the protests. In the most memorable use of the human microphone, the Occupy Atlanta protest voted not to allow Congressman John Lewis to speak at the protest.

The use of direct democracy instead of having a group of leaders, as most protests have, has left the movement without an overarching message.

Another thing that has stunted the growth of the OWS movement is the almost-constant bad news at the protests.  There have been reports of widespread theft, kidnapping, rape, and violence against police in Oakland and confrontations with police in Chicago, which have brought comparisons to the violent protests of the 1960s.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has legitimate complaints

But while some people say that these things will cause the Occupy movement to wilt and die during the wintertime, I think that OWS has some legitimate complaints, though there is a case to be made that they are focusing their complaints against the wrong people and institutions.  They are protesting the lack of jobs, and the inequality of taxes, which to me are quite legitimate issues.

For instance, if you look at the availability of jobs over the last decade, it has been lacking.  College graduates of the last few years are now facing a job market that cannot support them.  In 2011, the average monthly job growth has been 119,000 jobs, which is far below the 150,000 that’s needed in order to keep pace with the population growth, much less the number that’s needed to bring down unemployment.

Furthermore, the price of a college education has risen exponentially over the past ten years… college tuition and fees has doubled over the past ten years, as opposed to only a 52% rise in health care costs over the same period.  So, not only can college graduates not get jobs, but they’re shackled with a debt that they cannot pay off, a debt that bankruptcy will not erase.

They’re also right to say that there’s a great inequality in taxation.  Small businesses pay more in taxes than larger corporations.  General Electric is the classic example.  GE has been paying a smaller and smaller amount in taxes each year because they have a legion of lawyers, accountants and lobbyists to lower their tax burden.  Here’s the New York Times’ account:

“Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.

“While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well. Although the top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less.”

So, while the U.S. corporate tax rate is 35%, most large businesses pay less because they have aggressive lobbyists, and the small businesses in America suffer.

Solutions for 2012

The government shouldn’t be in the business of choosing winners and losers through the tax code.  Washington should not enact legislation that gives special interest tax breaks.  All of these “tax expenditures” should be repealed, and the entire corporate tax rate should be lowered.  This will accomplish two things: first, it will level the playing field for all businesses in the United States (because no one will be getting special treatment); second, it will make America more competitive in the world economy.  Our 35% corporate tax rate is, as the New York Times asserts, among the highest in the world.  If we were to lower the corporate tax rate, many companies who now park their money overseas for tax purposes will no longer have reason to do so.  If capital is repatriated to the United States, it will be invested here and will create jobs.

We will solve two problems in one fell swoop.

For all of you out there who think that the Occupiers are a bunch of semi-educated young people with no common sense, cut them some slack.  They may not have a complete solution that’s been infused with economic sense and years of experience, but they have some legitimate complaints that Washington should address.

Question: What do you think about the Occupy Wall Street protesters?  You can leave your comments by clicking here.

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

    Bob,
    I am not sure if you didn’t address it in your post because you disagree, or if you don’t feel it is a central focus of the OWS movement. Either way the one message coming out from OWS is financial inequality.  Yes apart of that inequality has to do with the tax structure and I will address that point late on however, the message which OWS is centered around and the message which is in the picture you used; it is the 99% and the 1%.  The enormous amount of wealth which continues to gravitate and accumulate to the top 1% while the 99% (realistically 90%) see stagnate wages, an ever harder to find “living wage, and a disappearing middle class.  All the while during this economic hardship, Washington DC has become more gridlocked than ever due to ideology, partisanship, and election politicking. In a time where America has needed its government to problem solve and help create solutions, it has become an breeding ground of finger pointing and “party-over-country” attitude. 
     
    As for your solutions which you see in tax code:
    The only issue I see in see in regards to tax reform is what is result of the tax reform? Is it a net loss of revenues, gain of revenues or revenue neutral?   With a mounting budget deficit, any future budget plan which does NOT increase revenues to the government is either naive or foolish, since you can not balance the budget without increasing revenues or dramatically altering the social safety net.  However since there does seem to be bipartisan support for corporate tax reform it must lower rates, eliminate loop holes and increase net revenues.  This is absolutely possible theoretically BUT “tea party” members will have to break their tax pledge to Grover Norquiest to accomplish this.  Corporate tax reform is almost certainly going to be apart of the “super committees” plan.  There is a growing coalition of congress people who are supporting a big deal to be reached by the “super committee”. Again it is hovering around that magic $4 Trillion number which eluded Speaker Boehner and President Obama and led the US credit downgrade. This big deal is rumored to include spending cuts and revenue increases (much like the Simpson-Bowles plan). 
     
    Also as you know I support not only is incentivizing business to bring their money back to America, but I support punishing those business which ship funds and jobs out of the country.  Tariffs should be increased.  It generates revenues and supports American business, manufacturing and jobs.  America should NOT be supporting “free trade” because its real free trade is so rare. It should be supporting “fair trade, and there is a BIG difference.  Free trade is only possible if there is a level playing field.  Free trade is only possible if both sides are regulated the same.  America can not compete with countries who do not share the same regulatory restrictions for safety, worker rights, and environmental concerns. So what is the solution? Cut regulation? Should we cut our environmental regulations, cut corners on safety to that of China’s so we can compete?  No we should push other countries to protect workers and protect the environment by placing a tariff on import from their country.  (http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/2011/07/tariffs-protection-or-hindrance.html)
    As for the rag-tag appearance of OWS protest, I believe it is more genuine without a “leader” or singular voice. I believe it represents real America, in that we all want something a little bit different from our government but that common unifying thread is equality.  The OWS message is that the 1% shouldn’t be the strongest voice heard in Washington D.C., the 99% should be heard in Washington D.C.  as well. 
     

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Broc, I disagree with your assertion that corporate tax reform “must lower rates, eliminate loop holes and increase net revenues.” You say that you cannot balance the budget without increasing revenues or dramatically altering the social safety net. I disagree. I think that we can balance the budget by making dramatic cuts to “discretionary” spending, and modest cuts to the social safety net. Here’s the problem: liberals say “you can’t balance the budget without dramatically altering the social safety net” and then directly move on to “we must raise revenues” without even looking at cuts to the social safety nets. What about means testing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? I think that you and I both could agree on that. That would save us a bundle of money. What about eliminating the income cap for Social Security taxes? That’s a highly regressive tax (where the rich don’t pay as much as the poor), and reforming that is something I could get behind. What about altering the Social Security formula so that it keeps pace with inflation rather than outpacing it? Furthermore, what about changing Medicare to a block grant program, and let the states disburse the monies?

      And what about discretionary spending that can be drastically cut? What about cutting programs that pay billions of dollars to companies like Solyndra, in an effort to subvert the competitive market? What about narrowing the scope of our military a bit and cutting the defense budget? Or closing some bases overseas where our national security isn’t clearly at stake? What about privatizing some government agencies like the TSA?

      Liberals say that we have to make government bigger in order to solve our
      budget and debt problems. That’s just dishonest. Our government has
      historically been much smaller than it is now, and the liberal narrative
      that we have to keep growing government to save our economy is just wrong.

      About tariffs: tariffs do as much harm as they do good, and in my view are
      just a gimmick to raise government revenue, which is to say that it takes
      money from private enterprise to fund government programs. This in itself
      is a bad idea. If there were some good economic reasons for tariffs,
      though, I could swallow the tariffs. But tariffs have proven to be
      detrimental to the economy.

      First, tariffs raise the prices of the things that they are protecting; if
      a lower-priced good can be produced overseas, the tariff raises the selling
      price to consumers for that good produced. This is bad for consumers in
      the United States, and slows the rate of consumption in the U.S. economy.

      Secondly, tariffs create trade wars. We put tariffs on trinkets built in
      China, and they slap tariffs on goods that we export there. It’s a bad
      cycle, and ultimately hurts us.

      Third, if your worried about the poor around the world, tariffs are bad
      global economic policy. If you’re worried about the 99% here in the
      United States, why aren’t you worried about the 99% in the rest of the
      world?

      Fourth, tariffs don’t necessarily create jobs in the United States, or at
      least the number of jobs that you’re thinking. A job in China doesn’t
      equal a job in the United States. A job in China is manual labor… you’re
      actually paying a person to do that job. That same job in the United
      States is done by a machine. If we eliminate 50 jobs in China, we
      might create 5 jobs here in the U.S., with the other 45 jobs being
      done by machine.

      Fifth, tariffs don’t necessarily create jobs here in the United States at
      all. If we put a tariff on goods produced in China, who’s to say that
      those jobs won’t go to the next-cheapest place to create that good,
      perhaps somewhere in Eastern Europe, or in Mexico? Then we have to put
      tariffs on all the places that are cheaper to produce that good than in the
      U.S. So, we’ve made all those countries mad at us by slapping tariffs on
      them, and we haven’t created all that many jobs.

      No, I think the preferred way to create jobs in the U.S. is to make the
      business environment in the U.S. more friendly: (1) make it easier to
      repatriate profits from overseas, (2) eliminate the capital gains so that
      people can move their investments to new places, which will create jobs
      here, (3) eliminate unnecessary regulations (not all of them, I might add),
      and (4) lower the overall corporate tax rates here in the U.S.

      Lastly, regarding free trade vs. fair trade: I think we can do some things
      to encourage other countries to have fair labor laws, etc., but I don’t
      think that should stop us from having free trade agreements with them. A
      business looks at all aspects of a country before doing business there.
      Yes, how much it costs to create something in that country is a factor.
      Other factors considered are political stability, economic climate, taxes,
      costs of moving goods, etc. So, we can still have higher standards for
      labor and the environment here in the U.S. without losing a ton of business
      to countries overseas. Now, that’s not to say that we can go crazy with
      regulations for our businesses, because eventually they do outweigh other
      concerns, but just saying “we should push other countries to protect
      workers and protect the environment by placing a tariff on import from
      their country” is counterproductive to business (see my discussion of
      tariffs above).

      Side note: placing a tariff on a foreign country doesn’t encourage
      them to better protect their workers. In fact, a tariff lowers the overall
      wages in that country, because it eliminates jobs in that country (again,
      see my discussion of tariffs above).

      I’m for common-sense environmental regulations and common-sense labor
      regulations. We can push other countries to have these same common-sense
      regulations while at the same time getting rid of some over-bearing
      regulations in our country that keep our economy from thriving. President
      Obama took a good first step in this direction by pledging to eliminate 500
      regulations earlier this year.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      BTW, I don’t deal with the 99% vs. 1% in my post because I think that the Occupy movement has gotten away from that as a “theme.”  While they may still use the signs, and it has been the rallying cry of the movement, they’ve gotten away from the class warfare rhetoric, because it’s less politically palatable than some other issues that they’ve brought up.

      Yelling about rich people is less politically viable than “campaign finance reform” and “no death penalty.”

      I also think that the “99% vs. 1%” message has been hurt by the arrival of certain members of the 1% lending their support to the protesters.  Having Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin visit your protest against the richest people among us says to me, “We’re not against the 1%; we’re just against certain people in the 1%.”  It speaks to political motivation.

      Also, I agree with you that the “leaderless” approach to the OWS movement seems more genuine, but I also think that it leads to the incoherance of the OWS message.  I read an entire article today entitled “Occupy Wall Street protesters are driven by varying goals,” and there was very little mention of what these people actually believe.

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

        Bob, Bob, Bob…
        First, I would like to see some of your numbers which support that “discretionary” spending could be cut dramatically, what areas would you cut and/or eliminate.    
         
        As to means testing entitlement programs I am afraid to allow the government to do that because of where they will draw the line for who “needs” those programs who doesn’t, especially when you state…
         “What about altering the Social Security formula so that it keeps pace with inflation rather than outpacing it?”
        Seniors used to be able to retire on Social Security, now seniors are just getting by so your assertion that Social security has “outpaced” inflation strikes me as flat out incorrect.  Why not go after the Fraud, Waste, and abuse in the system first?  The GAO reported a few months ago it found over $300 BILLION of fraud, waste and abuse in the government, coming from all sections. 
        –          In entitlements, payments to dead people, fraud, duplication etc
        –          In Defense payments to contractors for services not provided, lost funds, under regulated assistance money got paid directly to terrorist organization in Iraq. 
        –          In Domestic spending across the board. 
        Before you start going after peoples benefits lets eliminate the Fraud, waste and abuse that WE KNOW about and go from there.
         
        As for turning the government program into a voucher program with the block grant, um… NO. It takes away the security of a guarantee, and then sends families out the market place to fight for themselves which will not work for a sick senior or sick child who will be viewed as a poor investment by insurance companies.  Now if you wanted to support a public option and I would reconsider the block grant system because the public option would be available as an option in the market.
         
        You talk about “companies like Solyndra” but the Department of Energy gave money to 40 other companies for that program but you are not hearing about those because they didn’t go under.  Also it’s not like the government was the only one to guess wrong on Solyndra, the Wall-Street journal placed Solyndra on a top 50 venture back companies before they fell on hard times.  However to your overall point of the government not “subverting the market.” The government places incentives to innovate in certain markets because those in charge view it has being in America’s best interest to grow in certain areas; such as it is in America’s best interest to lead the world in the development of solar panel technology, which we currently do NOT.  It’s also in America’s best interest to run on more green energies than running on fossil fuels.  You hug the free market like a drowning victim to a life raft, but you fail to acknowledge the short comings of that system, and that your “free market” crippled the American economy not but 2 years ago because it was not regulated and controlled properly with loss to the total economy being in the TRILLIONS of dollars, and those effects would have been much WORSE if not for the intervention of the government. 
         
        As for privatization of TSA, TSA doesn’t need to be contracted out it needs to be completely overhauled.  We don’t need to crappy government security to a private security doing crappy security at airports we need a better security approach.  Our airport security is reactive instead of proactive and provides the illusion of security with the complexity of a Tonka truck.  American airport security should adopt the Israel model of behavior profiling.  If it is good enough for Israel and their security concerns it is good enough for the United States.  It would be a better security, less processing time for most travelers, and POSSIBLY a smaller budget. 
         
         
        “Liberals say that we have to make government bigger in order to solve our budget and debt problems….” I am not saying the government has to be bigger, I am saying the revenue that the government takes in has to be bigger.  If we grow government then our bills just get bigger, that won’t work.  To properly balance the budget we need to make government a bit smaller and make revenues a bit bigger. 
         
        Tariffs wouldn’t take any money from private enterprise if they keep their business here in America that is the whole point, HOWEVER if they choose to out source business or jobs to other countries, i.e. manufacturing, then they will pay a penalty which helps level the playing field for the American worker.  You say…
        “If there were some good economic reasons for tariffs, though, I could swallow the tariffs. But tariffs have proven to be detrimental to the economy…”
         
        I disagree with your statement entirely, proven when?  You call tariffs a “gimmick”.  Our nation began using tariffs since 1789 and continued until 1980’s under Roland Regan. Tariffs have a long track record, free trade does not.  When our country had a more protectionist approach our economy was still growing, and the middle class was stronger.  Since Ronald Reagan and then Clinton enacted NAFTA the American middle class has been in DECLINE.  Yes tariffs have a POSSIBLITY to create trade wars if they absorbent or excessive, but America consumes more stuff than anyone else in the world, by far.  So if someone thinks that they will hurt us more in a trade war than they would be hurting themselves they are sorely mistaken. 
         
        To your point of the world’s 99%, it is this same “citizen of world” thought process that gave us NAFTA.  I am a citizen of America first, then the rest of the world, so my responsibility to Americans first then the rest of the world. This is the same thought process our elected leaders should have.  I am not saying ignore the world or those who struggle in it however the government of the United States has the role of doing what is the best interest of America. 
         
        “If we eliminate 50 jobs in China, we might create 5 jobs here in the U.S., with the other 45 jobs being done by machine…”
        In your scenario its not just the workers for that one site, it’s everything that machine does too…who built that machine, who installed that machine, who services that machine.  The machine itself would also create jobs, if only the manufacturing was done HERE in the US.  We don’t see any of those benefits when stuff is made in China.
         
        Now as for tariffs not creating jobs in America, I understand that it’s not a guarantee to create jobs HOWEVER it is designed to level the playing field between the costs of doing business in the US verses say China.  But I must say that nothing is guaranteed to create jobs, cutting regulation and tax cuts can’t do that either as seen during the years after Clinton under G.W. Bush, cuts to regulation, huge cuts in taxes yet a decline in middle class wages and more wealth gathering for the top 1%.
         
        Side note: I hate the use of “common-sense” anything in regards to how to run a country. There aren’t easy answers when talking about running a country as large and diverse as America, which is why it’s so difficult to find real solutions.  So when Republicans talk about bringing “common-sense” to Washington I shutter because what that really means is short catch praise legislation that probably wont solve anything, I.E. The 9-9-9 Plan. 
         
        Finally, OWS has NOT gotten away from the message of the 99% verse the 1%.  They have continued with that same message because it is generally supported by America that the wealthy SHOULD pay more in taxes.  Poll after poll shows over a majority support increased taxes on the wealthy, and the only ones who shout “class warfare” are Republicans who protect and defend the 1%.  Now campaign finance reform may be the most impactful issue that OWS can effect because money and corporate influence is so interwoven into our politics true reform will require a new Supreme Court to overturn the INSANE “Citizens United” case which stated Corporations can provide unlimited funds and the are people. 

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Broc, you say that the DOE gave money to 40 other companies other than Solyndra, and that’s true. But why do we need to subsidize these companies at all? You say that the government needs to place incentives in certain markets. I disagree. You say that it’s in our interest to lead the world in solar panel technology. Why? If it’s in our interests, why aren’t private companies doing it? You say it’s in America’s best interest to run on more green energies than on fossil fuels. Why? I would say that it’s not currently. I would say that, if it were in our interests, then the private market would be doing it. You think that the government sees further into the future, but I say that it’s not the smartest people that are working in Washington.

          You might say, “Oh, the politicians see that 20 years down the road, we’ll need that solar technology; that’s why they’re investing in it now.” That’s a silly statement to me. If solar energy were the next big thing down the road, it would already be in development in the private industry. In fact, it is in development. The government wants to SPEED UP that process, when it doesn’t need to be sped up. The market introduces innovations at the time (and in the time) that they’re needed. This is primarily why Solyndra failed. Solar energy is not yet at the stage where it can be sustained, but government politicians want to push the technology before the time is right.

          Government shouldn’t give grants to companies to push this type of
          companies. It shouldn’t be involved in picking winners and losers. The
          market should be.

          Lastly, you say, “You hug the free market like a drowning victim to a life
          raft, but you fail to acknowledge the short comings of that system, and
          that your “free market” crippled the American economy not but 2 years ago
          because it was not regulated and controlled properly with loss to the total
          economy being in the TRILLIONS of dollars, and those effects would have
          been much WORSE if not for the intervention of the government.” The free
          market did not cripple the economy in the last recession. Government did.
          The recession was caused by a collapse of the subprime mortgage market,
          which was directly caused by government regulation. The government stated
          that banks had to lend to people that were not worthy of loans (the
          very definition of “sub-prime”). This cause the subprime crisis in the
          first place. THEN, the government makes matters worse by participating in
          massive bailouts of companies around the country, not allowing the free
          market
          to work. In a free market, companies that did not properly
          handle their risk would have collapsed, and would have immediately been
          replaced with the companies that were properly managed. Companies like
          Citigroup, General Motors, Chrysler, Bank of America, and CIT would not
          exist, or would have been sold off to other, more healthy companies.

          You might say, “If the government hadn’t bailed out these companies, we
          would have lost thousands/millions of jobs.” Not true. Yes, there would
          have been a period of uncertainty. But the jobs of GM and Chrysler would
          have been absorbed into Ford and Toyota, etc, and the jobs from Citigroup
          and BOA would have been absorbed into JP Morgan Chase and Fifth Third,
          etc. And all of the remaining companies would be stronger (because the
          remaining companies would be the ones that properly handled risk), meaning
          that the economy would be stronger overall. Furthermore, the savings to
          the U.S. government/taxpayers would have been close to $1T.

          So, bottom line: the government caused the subprime mortgage crisis by
          over-regulation; the free market did not cripple the American
          economy, as you say. If the government did not require banks to lend to
          unworthy borrowers, and did not reward the banks that made bad business
          decisions (bailouts), and would leave the market alone, there either
          would not have been a recession in the first place, or the recession would
          have been much shorter.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Bob,
             
            Why does the United States subsidizes certain companies… Why does government subsidize marriage with tax breaks?  The government recognizes the benefits of independence from fossil fuels perhaps business does not care because its only concern is the bottom line.  Secondly, I did not say that government NEEDS to subsidize certain markets I said…
             
            “The government places incentives to innovate in certain markets because those in charge view it has being in America’s best interest to grow in certain areas…”
             
            Why is it in America’s best interest to get off of fossil fuels….really?  Is this a legit question? Maybe because fossil fuel are killing our planet (global warming is real), maybe because our nations dependence on foreign oil has the US paying money to support governments that are not allies to America (how much foreign policy has been dictated by America’s need for stead oil production?), perhaps because green energy (not just solar but  wind, bio fuels) is going to the energy of the future and it COULD fuel the next wave in manufacturing in America but with China and Korea dumping billions of dollars into its technology we may not see the benefits. 
             
            Your statement of “necessity if the mother of invention” in the private sector does not take into account if we truly did reach a point of NEEDING a new energy source what would the price of oil be then.  When is necessity going to kick in?  $5/gallon, $10/gallon, $20/gallon.  Instead of waiting for hardship which will create necessity, why not get a jump on it now to curb the growing pains out of fossil fuels and into renewables? The only winner and loser that America is trying to pick is “Winning the future”…LOL
             
            Housing Crisis-
            Your assessment of the housing crisis is wrong. Yes the government opened the door to Subprime mortgages however rates for subprime mortgages were supposed to be higher making the investment riskier to take on, but lenders chose to drive down their rates in “free market” competition to attract more and more business.  Then these same banks who now have billions of dollars tied up in BAD housing investment decide to bundle all these bad investments together and sell them off as good investment, looking to make a buck as the free market says they should, all the while betting that the investment will fail and when it did they collect the profit. 
             
            You idea that if the government would have just “let the free market work” and not done the bailouts is crazy, one of the reasons we were in so much trouble was because these banks were so large and had invested so much money poorly that it created a environment which threatened the global market, yet YOU want these banks to be absorbed and form into in larger banks.  There are two things that I find most disturbing about the bailouts. 1) That the banks were not broken up but were allowed to continue operating.  2.) None of these banksters were held accountable. 
             
            The government may have opened the door to subprime lending but it was done with the intention of spurring growth since home ownership is/used to be a good investment, however the “free market” took that idea abused it, twisted it, and with regulators asleep at the wheel let the free market crashe our economy underground. 
            –          No government forced banks to lower subprime rates to compete with other banks for business
            –          No government forced banks to bundle these poor investments together and sell them off
            –          No government force banks to bet against the very investment they were selling to catch a profit
             

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Broc, you say “There are two things that I find most disturbing about the bailouts. 1) That the banks were not broken up but were allowed to continue operating. 2.) None of these banksters were held accountable.” I agree with you on both counts. If the free market were allowed to work, instead of the government bailing out these banks, both would have been accomplished. These banks probably WOULD have been broken up. Yes, some of the parts would have been absorbed by the other large banks, as I said. But parts of them would have been absorbed by smaller banks, which are well-run and had the capital to buy up a division of the large bank. Also, the smaller banks would have taken up some of the slack in the competitive marketplace. Secondly, those bankers (or banksters, as you call them) that participated in the bad policies (lowering the rates, etc) would have been put out of a job if the free market were allowed to operate. They would have been held accountable. As it was, these bankers still have their jobs, and they will continue to make bad decisions.

            You ask, “When is necessity going to kick in? $5/gallon, $10/gallon, $20/gallon. Instead of waiting for hardship which will create necessity, why not get a jump on it now to curb the growing pains out of fossil fuels and into renewables?” There is a very certain point at which solar energy will make sense, when wind power will make sense. There’s a point at which solar power becomes less expensive than fossil fuel power. That point is not right now. We saw that with Solyndra. That’s why it didn’t work. Solar power and wind power, etc, will have their day, and there will not be
            “hardship” or “growing pains” when that day comes closer. The government
            doesn’t need to “invest” in these technologies in order to save our
            national security. The market will accurately predict when solar and wind
            will be needed, and it will meet that need seemlessly. The reason why
            Solyndra failed is because the government thought that they needed to force
            this technology prematurely.

            America can “win the future” without massive government investment.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Bob,
            How would BOTH of those things be accomplished? How is the “free market” going to hold banksters accountable? Losing their jobs with golden parachutes is not being held accountable.  Your “free market” does not have the power to hold these banksters accountable. The “free market” can’t put people in jail which is where some of these banksters belong. 
            Also, while it may have been possible that the banks would have been broken up and absorbed by smaller banks its more likely that since larger banks have more capital, they (other large banks) would have been the ones to pick up pieces of those banks which would have collapsed.  The government should have broken up those banks as apart of its bailout and ensured that they were simply creating more large banks that would do the same things all over again.  Which by the way, many people are saying Wall-Street is at it again already. 
             
            “There’s a point at which solar power becomes less expensive than fossil fuel power…”
            Yes of course that is going to be the point at which business will want to switch over, and investment into that technology will help that transition come sooner by making the technology better, more efficient and more available.  How does the “Free market” gauge the damage fossil fuels does to our environment, it doesn’t.  Does the “free market” care that thousand of miles everglades were destroyed by the oil spill, no it doesn’t.  Your statement that government doesn’t need to invest to save our national security is flat out wrong.  You have to recognize the limitations that the “free market” has.  The sooner we can get off of foreign oil the sooner we will have energy independence and that is a huge factor in our national security whether you want to admit it or not.  Every President since Nixon has been trying to get America off foreign oil because they all recognize how it dictates policy and limits our options internationally.  Do you think America would be spending TRILLIONS of dollars in the middle east if our supply of oil wasn’t a factor?  Come on now, of course not. Maybe we would be involved here or there but nothing like the 10 year war in two different countries and billions of dollars in aid.  How the does the “free market” settle that? It doesn’t and THAT is the point. 

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Broc, the fact is that solar and wind power is too expensive to be viable, and the government spending billions of dollars to force the technology won’t also force people to adopt that technology (as we saw with Solyndra). It’s too big a boondoggle at this point to force it.

            Also, we’re throwing money at technology that MIGHT be the next way to power the world, not something that WILL be. Why should the government be choosing what technology will replace our current technology? History has shown that government-induced technology is far inferior to technology that’s developed by the private, free market.

            You say that I must recognize that there are limits to the free market. I do recognize that. I recognize that government can/should be involved in things that the market has no incentive to develop (for example, environmental regulations). In this case, however, the market has EVERY incentive to develop innovative technologies when the time comes. My problem with the government doing it is (a) they will do it badly, and (b) they will do it at the wrong time, imposing a “solution” on the country that doesn’t make sense and is not cost effective.

            In this case, the market is much more efficient than the government is. I’m not saying that this is true in all cases. There are areas in which I agree with you that the government needs to be involved, but this is not one of those cases.

            Re: breaking up banks. I agree with you that they should have been broken
            up. However, whether the breaking up was done by the government or by the
            market, it likely would have turned out the same way, with one significant
            difference. If the government broke up the banks, they would have given
            the pieces to their friends, which likely would have been the larger banks
            with huge lobbying forces. At least in a bankruptcy auction (the free
            market approach), anyone and everyone is free to bid.

            Broc, something I think you should look into, because I think you and I
            could agree on this, is I think that it was a mistake to repeal the
            Glass-Steagel Act, which was actually a deregulation of the financial
            services industry. The GS Act kept bank holding companies from also owning
            investment firms, among other regulations. I think that the repeal of this
            act was something that partially led to the financial crisis, don’t you?

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Quick answer Glass Steagel Act: I was going to put that in my response but it was getting long again.  I completely agree with you that Investments and Holding should be two separate institutions. 

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Bob,
            I will agree that RIGHT NOW solar is too expensive, and it is for that exact reason that we should be investing and researching better, more efficient, cheaper ways to produce solar power.  Coal, Gas, and Oil are all limited resources on our planet and using them the way we do has detrimental effects to our environment. However the sun will always shine, the wind will always blow and harnessing the power of these unlimited resources (which DO NOT harm our environment the ways fossil fuels do) in cost effective ways should be the priority over continued use of harmful fuels.  I do not understand you view that solar power MIGHT be a fuel source…its not like the sun is going anywhere. 
             
             
            “…History has shown that government-induced technology is far inferior to technology that’s developed by the private, free market…”
            Again I disagree, how much technology was invented/discovered by NASA or DARPA, quite a lot, and while the private also innovates very well also, it is historically inaccurate not to give credit to agencies like NASA and DARPA that have done a lot. 
             
            Now to the Banksters, again the “free market” does not have the power to put these banksters in jail and to your second point….
            “…If the government broke up the banks, they would have given the pieces to their friends, which likely would have been the larger banks with huge lobbying forces. At least in a bankruptcy auction (the free market approach), anyone and everyone is free to bid…”
            I see your point about “everyone is free to bid” however tell me who would have the most money to bid in those auctions?  The same large banks with lobbing forces, now I am not saying that “hand-shake” deals won’t occur however this is where government transparency is needed and is why campaign finance reform is so need in our political system.  We can agree that campaign finance reform is vital, correct? “Citizens United”….
             

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Re: energy, you say, “I do not understand you view that solar power MIGHT be a fuel source…its not like the sun is going anywhere.” I said that solar and wind might not be the next power of the future, not that it might be a fuel source. Who’s to say that solar and wind are the energy of the future? Why not hydrogen? Why not thermal? Why not wave energy? Why not nuclear?

            There are many different types of energy to be developed, but the government is pushing certain ones that they think are best. This is my point. The government does not know best. Politicians do not know best. But they’re trying to force these technologies on the market before their time comes, if at all. So we spend trillions of dollars developing solar technology, only to find out two things: (a) we can’t make it cheaper, and (b) there’s a much cheaper, cleaner energy out there.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Re: bank auctions, you say, “I see your point about “everyone is free to bid” however tell me who would have the most money to bid in those auctions? The same large banks with lobbing forces.” This is not true. A bank with a lobbying force can get 10x or 100x the return on their lobbying, meaning that they can get a special favor from their government buddies and get a piece of a bank. However, at a public auction, the people with the money are the people that get the pieces. So, whereas a big bank that’s stuggling financially could spend $100,000 in lobbying to get a $100M asset from a government buddy, that same bank might not want to spend $25-50M to get that $100M asset at an auction. The government action is both promoting cronyism and devaluing the asset that’s getting sold.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Re: campaign finance reform, I think that everyone should be able to donate the money that they want to campaigns. We shouldn’t have publicly funded campaigns. If we want to ban corporations from donating money to campaigns, then we have to do it uniformly. If companies can’t donate, then ALL companies can’t donate. We can’t have some special interest companies that can donate, and all other ones can’t. That means that oil companies can’t donate, news organizations can’t donate, banks can’t donate, lobbying companies can’t donate, law firms can’t donate, hospitals can’t donate, unions can’t donate, securities and investment firms can’t donate, pharmaceutical companies can’t donate.

            All in all, I think that it’s pretty futile to do “campaign finance reform.” You prohibit one type of donations to campaigns, and the people who gave that way will find another way of giving. Money will find its way into politics. Campaign finance reform, oftentimes is about trying to stop money from going to your opponent’s campaign. It really has nothing to do with the actual issues or the actual governing of the country.
            On Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 8:54 AM, Disqus <

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Broc, you say “There are two things that I find most disturbing about the bailouts. 1) That the banks were not broken up but were allowed to continue operating. 2.) None of these banksters were held accountable.” I agree with you on both counts. If the free market were allowed to work, instead of the government bailing out these banks, both would have been accomplished. These banks probably WOULD have been broken up. Yes, some of the parts would have been absorbed by the other large banks, as I said. But parts of them would have been absorbed by smaller banks, which are well-run and had the capital to buy up a division of the large bank. Also, the smaller banks would have taken up some of the slack in the competitive marketplace. Secondly, those bankers (or banksters, as you call them) that participated in the bad policies (lowering the rates, etc) would have been put out of a job if the free market were allowed to operate. They would have been held accountable. As it was, these bankers still have their jobs, and they will continue to make bad decisions.

            You ask, “When is necessity going to kick in? $5/gallon, $10/gallon, $20/gallon. Instead of waiting for hardship which will create necessity, why not get a jump on it now to curb the growing pains out of fossil fuels and into renewables?” There is a very certain point at which solar energy will make sense, when wind power will make sense. There’s a point at which solar power becomes less expensive than fossil fuel power. That point is not right now. We saw that with Solyndra. That’s why it didn’t work. Solar power and wind power, etc, will have their day, and there will not be
            “hardship” or “growing pains” when that day comes closer. The government
            doesn’t need to “invest” in these technologies in order to save our
            national security. The market will accurately predict when solar and wind
            will be needed, and it will meet that need seemlessly. The reason why
            Solyndra failed is because the government thought that they needed to force
            this technology prematurely.

            America can “win the future” without massive government investment.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Bob,
             
            Why does the United States subsidizes certain companies… Why does government subsidize marriage with tax breaks?  The government recognizes the benefits of independence from fossil fuels perhaps business does not care because its only concern is the bottom line.  Secondly, I did not say that government NEEDS to subsidize certain markets I said…
             
            “The government places incentives to innovate in certain markets because those in charge view it has being in America’s best interest to grow in certain areas…”
             
            Why is it in America’s best interest to get off of fossil fuels….really?  Is this a legit question? Maybe because fossil fuel are killing our planet (global warming is real), maybe because our nations dependence on foreign oil has the US paying money to support governments that are not allies to America (how much foreign policy has been dictated by America’s need for stead oil production?), perhaps because green energy (not just solar but  wind, bio fuels) is going to the energy of the future and it COULD fuel the next wave in manufacturing in America but with China and Korea dumping billions of dollars into its technology we may not see the benefits. 
             
            Your statement of “necessity if the mother of invention” in the private sector does not take into account if we truly did reach a point of NEEDING a new energy source what would the price of oil be then.  When is necessity going to kick in?  $5/gallon, $10/gallon, $20/gallon.  Instead of waiting for hardship which will create necessity, why not get a jump on it now to curb the growing pains out of fossil fuels and into renewables? The only winner and loser that America is trying to pick is “Winning the future”…LOL
             
            Housing Crisis-
            Your assessment of the housing crisis is wrong. Yes the government opened the door to Subprime mortgages however rates for subprime mortgages were supposed to be higher making the investment riskier to take on, but lenders chose to drive down their rates in “free market” competition to attract more and more business.  Then these same banks who now have billions of dollars tied up in BAD housing investment decide to bundle all these bad investments together and sell them off as good investment, looking to make a buck as the free market says they should, all the while betting that the investment will fail and when it did they collect the profit. 
             
            You idea that if the government would have just “let the free market work” and not done the bailouts is crazy, one of the reasons we were in so much trouble was because these banks were so large and had invested so much money poorly that it created a environment which threatened the global market, yet YOU want these banks to be absorbed and form into in larger banks.  There are two things that I find most disturbing about the bailouts. 1) That the banks were not broken up but were allowed to continue operating.  2.) None of these banksters were held accountable. 
             
            The government may have opened the door to subprime lending but it was done with the intention of spurring growth since home ownership is/used to be a good investment, however the “free market” took that idea abused it, twisted it, and with regulators asleep at the wheel let the free market crashe our economy underground. 
            –          No government forced banks to lower subprime rates to compete with other banks for business
            –          No government forced banks to bundle these poor investments together and sell them off
            –          No government force banks to bet against the very investment they were selling to catch a profit
             

  • John

    file://localhost/Users/johnkevinwilson/Desktop/Why%20I%20Want%20OCCUPY%20WALL%20STREET%20To%20Continue.webloc

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

    Energy – Yes go after all those renewable energies bio, hydrogen fuels cell, geo thermal, solar, wind, hyrdo, not so much with the nuclear because of the waste created.  Invest in ALL those alternative fuels, I know our discussion has centered on wind and solar but I support investment in ALL renewable/clean/green energies.  I know your view is that is not the governments role, but I believe government should invest in energies which create energy independence because our dependence on foreign oil has negative effects on our nation’s policy decisions.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      I support the development of all types of alternative energy as well, but (a) I don’t think it’s the government’s job to develop them, and (b) the government develops them much more poorly than the private sector.

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

        So we really agree on green energies…we just disagree with the role of government (as usual) in the development of those energies. 

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Yes.

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

    Banksters – I disagree with your view of how the hypothetical auction would have played out, however your specific point about banks lobby investment and how much they get on return is valid, which is why they do it. 

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Exactly, which is why the government shouldn’t do bailouts or breakups.

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

        OR we could hold our government to a higher standard than cronyism and actively seek accountability and transparency allowing the government to function as a regulatory body, the way it should. 

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Broc, there are already laws that prohibit a give and take agreement for these things. We already “hold them accountable.” There are just things that can’t be tracked, and politicians are too careful to cover their greedy little tracks. We can set a higher standard for politicians, but they’ll just continue to do what they do, with very few of them getting caught.

          If you take the politicians out of the process, however, the market will control things (even if it doesn’t put people in jail, like you want). The government can still be a regulatory body without having to intervene in everything.

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

    Campaign Finance Reform –
    “If we want to ban corporations from donating money to campaigns, then we have to do it uniformly. If companies can’t donate, then ALL companies can’t donate.”
     
    100% agree! No donations from corporations, PAC’s, Super PAC’s, no unions, organizations, or committees.  People, as in individuals, should be able to donate and that’s it.  There should be a limit to how much an individual could give and all donations must be declared. 

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Why should there be a limit? I think there’s 2 answers to that. Either (a) then the rich have more control over government, or (b) then some crackpot person could raise a lot of money and influence votes. The first comes out of a sense of “equality” in voting/government, and the second comes from a mindset that thinks that the average voter is just dumb and can’t see a crackpot when they see it.
      If you subscribe to the first theory (that everything should be equal in government), shouldn’t you also subscribe to a flat tax system, instead of a progressive tax system?

      If you think that the average voter is just dumb, then you shouldn’t mind if the rich have more control over government.

      How about this: Instead of having an equal/arbitrary cap on campaign donations, every person can give a proportion of their income to campaigns, just like they give a proportion of their income to run the government? That would make everything fair, wouldn’t it? So, if you give 28% of your income in taxes, you can donate up to 28% of your income to a campaign. We would, of course, allow for a small maximum amount for those who don’t pay income taxes… maybe $100?

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

        LOL always press that flat tax, no I do not support a flat tax.  Anyways,  YES there should be a limit for individuals to give,  and no it shouldn’t be a percent of taxes, that is basically stating that people who pay more in taxes should have more say in government. Lets just keep the CURRENT individual limits.
         
         To each candidate or candidate committee per electionTo national party committee per calendar yearTo state, district & local party committee per calendar yearTo any other political committee per calendar year[1]Special LimitsIndividualmay give$2,500*$30,800*$10,000(combined limit)$5,000$117,000* overall biennial limit:$46,200* to all candidates $70,800* to all PACs and parties[2]

        • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

          That second paragraph was suppoed to be a table.  http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/contriblimits.shtml 

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Why are you not a supporter of the flat tax? It’s still very progressive (Rick Perry’s version comes with a $12,500.00 standard deduction for each person in the household), so in a family of four, you don’t pay taxes until you’re above $60,000/year, which is about what it is now. But it also broadens the base of taxes, which raises revenue, which is what you’re all about.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            I currently do not support a flat tax because I have not seen a flat tax plan which most benefits the working class and middle class instead of the wealthy how do not need more financial relief . 
             
            http://video.foxnews.com/v/1249929139001/rick-perry-reboots-presidential-campaign/?playlist_id=86913  – Rick Perry taking budget plan (5:20 minute mark)
             
            Also our current budget deficit isn’t going to be helped by Rick Perry’s fiscal plan which lowers revenues (I acknowledge it’s an arguable point at this point since independent analysis hasn’t really had time to be done yet). 

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Here’s the problem: any tax reform that includes tax revenue increases, which the left wants, is going to raise taxes on the middle class because the fact is that you can’t tax the rich enough to get out of our deficit and debt problems. So, if you don’t want to raise taxes on the middle class, then you’ll have to cut spending.

            Check that… I suppose that you could make the argument that you could tax the rich to cover our short-term budget problems, but then you’re talking about tax rates from the 70s, and you’re also talking about putting our economy into a permanent recession.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Almost everyone agrees that spending cuts will have to happen in some way because we already have a budget deficit, and in trying to find solutions to just the CURRENT deficit we have almost complete gridlock in Washington DC.  Now you add more deficit which means a bigger problem to find cuts/revenues for, that isn’t going to be any easier than what we currently have.  Additionally the only way stability and confidence will grow is if the solutions that do passed by congress are solutions that will last (not be appealed at the first change of majority leadership) so the solutions MUST be bipartisan. 

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            This is why we can agree to elminate loopholes, lower the rate, and get a net revenue increase:

            http://news.yahoo.com/thirty-companies-paid-no-income-tax-2008-2010-042531293.html 

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Rick Perry’s Flat Tax Plan – The Tax Policy Center review

            http://taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/Perry-plan.cfm

            “The Perry plan would reduce federal tax revenues dramatically. TPC estimates that on a static basis, the Perry plan would lower federal tax liability by $995 billion in calendar year 2015 compared with current law, roughly a 27 percent cut in total projected revenue. Relative to a current policy baseline, the reduction in liability would be roughly $570 billion in calendar year 2015. If taxpayers were required to file under the flat tax option (that is, they could not opt to remain under current tax law), revenues in 2015 would fall by about $910 billion relative to a current law baseline and by about $485 billion relative to a current policy baseline.”

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Rick Perry’s Flat Tax Plan – The Tax Policy Center review

            http://taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/Perry-plan.cfm

            “The Perry plan would reduce federal tax revenues dramatically. TPC estimates that on a static basis, the Perry plan would lower federal tax liability by $995 billion in calendar year 2015 compared with current law, roughly a 27 percent cut in total projected revenue. Relative to a current policy baseline, the reduction in liability would be roughly $570 billion in calendar year 2015. If taxpayers were required to file under the flat tax option (that is, they could not opt to remain under current tax law), revenues in 2015 would fall by about $910 billion relative to a current law baseline and by about $485 billion relative to a current policy baseline.”