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Sunday, October 16, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET, MAIN STREET and the BACK ALLEY


The most consistent criticism that I have heard regarding the recent “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations has been, “What do these protesters want?” or “What is their message?”

I think this guy has an idea.

That might be a tad over the top.  However, I would consider the following as a decent top 5 to get the conversation started:

Issue #1
The de-coupling of the U.S. economy. The gap between the haves and have-nots has gotten so wide it’s embarrassing. If you and I were working within the same company, don’t you think my salary should at least be within the same zip code as yours?

Is that unreasonable?

Issue #2
The U.S. taxpayers have bailed out the banks, now; homeowners are given the heave ho. Another example of big-time corporate disconnect. On top of that, some firms had the nerve to pay out bonuses afterwards.

Issue #3
CEO pay scales and the concept of “pay for performance”. The same rules that apply to the ordinary working person don’t seem to apply to the executive office.

The latest example being that of Hewlett-Packard's ousted CEO, Léo Apotheker. He is walking out the door with nearly $10 million cash in severance and bonuses.  All of this for a post he held for 11 months, during which time the company lost billions in value.

Issue #4
Getting money out of politics. Sometimes it seems as if corporations can practically buy elections outright. That may be a bit of an exaggeration but money definitely buys access. Everyone decries the state of affairs but nonetheless, it continues.

Issue #5
Failed leadership. Sometimes it’s enough to make you question your sanity for even voting at all. Fighting wars that we can’t afford, that have no clear objective.

Of course, I’m not naïve enough to believe that the billions being dumped into Iraq and Afghanistan would have ever gone into healthcare or the education system but that certainly seems like it would have been the better investment.  And don’t even mention the state of the country’s infrastructure.

The final indignity to me is that several of these Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested but so far none of the Wall Street players responsible for the mortgage meltdown have.

I don’t know if this movement will have a long life but as tone deaf as most politicians and business executives seem to be I’m sure that the anger that fuels this movement will continue to burn bright for quite some time.



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