Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Face of the Wall Street Occupation

Until recently left-thinking people thought that occupation was a bad thing. Or perhaps it is only a bad thing when the supposed occupiers are Israelis.

Nowadays, leftists consider occupation a good thing, especially when the target is Wall Street bankers.

You have to wonder whether “Wall Street bankers” is code for a certain religious group. After all, the occupiers are not lathered up about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They have nothing to say about the regulators that forced the banks to make sub-prime loans. Not at all, their target is the rich bankers of a certain religious group.

One cannot mention it too often, but these bankers do deserve some opprobrium for having helped making Barack “tax-the-rich” Obama president.

Now, most outsider observers have been channeling Freud and trying to figure out what the occupiers really, really want.

On its face, the occupation is really just a political rally, Obama style. It’s retail politics, the way they do it in Chicago and Madison, WI.

Yet, a political movement that does not have an organizing principle risks becoming mindless. If we want to know what makes the occupiers occupy, we should find a face for the movement.

Happily enough, Dan Primack has provided us with a glimpse of one comely protester who asserts her grievances in her own words.

Writing her own manifesto, this woman explains that she attended a top state university where she received an M. S. degree and accumulated $135,000 in debt.

Primack comments that she ought to be thinking that she has a grievance against the university, and I think that he is right.

Then again, she could only know where the fault lay if she had actually learned something in school. Neither her degree nor her debt taught her that the educational system failed her.

Next the newly minted M.S. explains that she has lost two jobs in the last three months. To me, and hopefully not only to me, that looks like a bad sign.

What does it take to lose two jobs in three months? How bad do you have to be to get yourself fired within six weeks of your first two jobs?

Now, this woman is announcing to the world that she has a dubious work history. If you were an employer with a job opening that suited her would you be trying to contact her?

As for the great Freudian question: What does she want?,  the answer is easy. She wants to go to school to become a nurse. It’s a noble profession. I wish her success.

When she adds that she needs a degree in nursing to get a job, I am somewhat perplexed. Didn’t she just say that she had just gotten two jobs? Is she trying to say that she wants to get a job where they can’t fire her, no matter how badly she performs?

Be that as it may, she tells us that she does not know whether anyone will give her a loan to go to nursing school. But, if she doesn’t know this, that suggests that she has not done any substantive research into the availability of loans for nursing school.

Like many young people today this young protester is on anti-depressants. Apparently, her medication did not help her enough to ensure that she could hold on to either of the two jobs she did obtain.

If she had a good education, perhaps she lost her jobs because of her bad attitude.

Now she needs her pills more than ever and cannot afford them. This might be a blessing in disguise.

Perhaps if she stopped complaining she could get to work on improving her attitude. She could start by taking up aerobic exercise.

A good pair of sneakers and a place to run will suffice to get her on the road to not needing her antidepressants. They also cost much less.

Right now she is living with friends, but explains that that cannot last forever. True enough.

Facing a similar difficulty many young people are moving back in with their parents. We do not know whether that is possible for her.

Finally, she does not need anti-depressants as much as she needs guidance. Since I do it for a living, I am happy to offer her some free advice.

If she wants to become a nurse and cannot get a loan, then perhaps the military has a program that will pay for her nursing school in exchange for several years of service.

That’s one solution that comes to mind immediately. Even if it will not pay for her nursing school, she could join the Navy. It would provide her with a job and a place to live. It would also do wonders for her bad attitude.

Ironically, while she is out blaming the banking system for her debts, the solution lies in… the government. At least, it lies in one of the functions that everyone agrees is proper to government.


Valo said...

It looks to me there are many suppositions in this article.
You may have a case that the protesters do not know what they are doing, but your suppositions about this woman are not giving you the respect you deserve for your blogging.
On the bankers subject, are you trying to say that they are not responsible in any way or form for the mess we are now? The mortgage bonds packages that were sold everywhere on the planet were a creation of Wall Street. The fact that a lot of mortgages were approved to a lot of borrowers without good credit , this was banks responsibility.
Please next time when you blog about anything related to Wall Street, please mention what the bankers did, at least to preserve some sort of credibility on this subject.
I like most of your articles, but sometimes you sound like Fox News who the other day mentioned the protesters were protesting Wall Street and big government, and this while showing only Wall Street signs.
Please stick to good writing without making propaganda or suppositions.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, Valo, for the comments and the clarifications.

I was assuming that while Wall Street and the banking system-- which is not identical to Wall Street-- bears some responsibility, the responsibility mus be shared.

Keep in mind that the banks that were making subprime loans were doing so because the regulators and other political influences were forcing them to do so. Also, remember that when they made those loans Fannie Mae was buying them... thus seriously limiting their risk.

Then Fannie Mae sold them back and Wall Street packaged them at AAA debt instruments. Should they have know that they were selling junk? Yes. Were these AAA packages rated highly by the credit agencies? Yes.

One might ask whether Wall Street was doing this to try to control the risk it was incurring in holding these mortgages or whether it was just trying to make a lot of money off of a scam. Probably there some of both.

The problem with the protests, especially where the protesters are against corporations, is that the protesters need jobs. Corporations hire people. Would the corporations, left to their own devices, relatively unhindered by government regulation and mandates, hire more or fewer people. I suspect that they would hire more. At the least, everyone who is involved with corporate hiring practices says that regulation and legislation has prevented them from hiring.