Disclaimer: there may be the occasional drip of sarcasm in the following post. I couldn’t help myself.
You’ve all hear of it by now and if not I’m sure you’ve caught a few glimpses on TV or on the radio or hey, maybe there’s even been an Occupy-whatever where you live and maybe you’ve attended a meeting like I have.
I live in a fairly small community in Eastern Canada, I’m close to the city so recently I was invited by someone to an Occupy meeting and I went. It was the first group get together in our area and there were only a dozen orso of us at a local coffee shop. I didn’t say much during the meeting, partially because it takes me a long time to warm up to people and partially because I was baffled at some of the things being said.
I didn’t go to subsequent meetings or protests, but I am happy that I went to get an idea of what all this was about. At the meeting I attended there were various people from all walks of life so we weren’t all the same. There were different ethnicities, education and income levels represented, that’s pretty well where the commonality ended.
Here’s what I think: (excuse me if I sound a little unclear and all-over-the-place, I’m a wee bit frustrated)
I have never seen such a movement with such an unclear vision as this one. I’m not sure if it was just my region but here’s just a grasp of things that were talked about;
– Corporations aren’t taxed enough
– White guilt
– Healthcare for all
– Big bad banks, boohoo
– Education should be free/not as expensive
– rich people should be taxed more
– let’s protest somewhere with music
A few baffling points:
1. One person talked about being close to finishing a two year college degree and graduating with $40,000 of debt. SAY WHAT?!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That’s just plain stupid, that has nothing to do with economics or big bad corporations and filthy rich people. That is the definition of stupidity. This person also (while gasping) exclaimed that it is worse for university students. Dead wrong, it doesn’t have to be like that and I, and 99% (yes that’s a pun) of other financial bloggers out there can conscisely explain to you why life doesn’t have to be this way. You are in charge of your circumstances and 99% of the time you do not have to be victim TO your circumstances.
2. At the meeting there was also someone pushing a white-guilt agenda, what does that have to do with what this movement is about? Wait, what is this movement about?
3. Corporate tax; I know a little bit about this subject and I listened to a well educated man try to tell me that dividends aren’t taxed and rich people blablabla. Actually dividends are double-taxed, first they are part of the company profit (and thus taxed) then as the dividend is paid out it is taxed again to the person receiving it, albeit lower. (correct me, with evidence, if I am wrong there). As well, income pulled out of an incorporated company IS taxed, yes there are tax shelters and ways to reduce your taxes but in the end… we all pay tax, and those of us that make MORE money, generally also pay more tax. The impression I am getting from this movement is that rich people pay less tax and should pay more tax, which isn’t entirely true?
4. Big bad banks. If you don’t like a company, don’t do business with them. Enough said.
My problem with this movement:
Many of the people that are speaking out about this, to me appear to be from a group of people that sticks their head in the sand and whine rather than claw their way out of circumstance. I understand it is not always possible to change your situation and that some situations ARE impossible to get out of.
I am part of the 99% and I have no desire to go on the street and protest things that aren’t going to change by standing on the street and protesting against them. I vote with my cash, I make changes happen with the way I behave and interact with businesses and most of all I am making changes in my own life that reverberate into that of others. Yes there are corporations out there that have way too much power in politics, and the way to change that isn’t by protesting on freaking Wall-street. What the hell does Wall-street have to do with it? We could go protest in the tar sands or at a gold mine… or at a Walmart, really any place where good money is made. Why Wall-street? If anything, some of the hardest working people in the freaking country work there.
I do NOT support raising taxes on the wealthiest, or any person in this world. Many people that have money have earned that money through working very hard … in fact… according to Stanley & Danko’s book, The Millionaire Next Door, 8 out of ten millionaires in America are FIRST generation rich. That means THEY earned their money, they didn’t hold up their hand to get it.
I’m for smaller government and a decrease in taxes across the board. I am a capitalist and I want freedom, not more regulations. I do not support Occupy-anything because to me it just seems like one big waste of time that will just fizzle out and accomplish nothing.
If you want something, DO SOMETHING, don’t go hold up a sign in front of a place of business with a bunch of other people doing the same thing. Educate yourself and know what you want, then go achieve that.
PS: IMG source here.