I'd not planned on weighing in on any of this, primarily because it's my belief the Occupy Wall Street/City Hall/Insert Target Of Dissastifaction Here is merely a symptom of a much larger problem, which I've been addressing over the last couple of weeks. A number of people however have asked my thoughts on it, so I wanted to take some time in putting together what we, the Suburban Dad Nation, should take from all of it.
First, and this may surprise a number of you, let me go on record as saying I understand why so many young people are voicing dissatisfaction with our government and economic system. This frustration, stemming no doubt from that demographic's ability to find work in this economy and beginning to understand the gargantuan public debt load they will soon inherit, would lead most people to take action such as peaceful demonstration. And for that, I stand with them.
The OSW movement demonstrates, with Dolby Surround Sound clarity, is how financially, politically, legally and economically illiterate our nation has become. Note I am not calling these people in the protests stupid (although some of them clearly are), but their comments are simply inane. Here's one of many:
Now I realize I am picking and choosing videos here, but this gentleman clearly has made a lot of effort to express his frustration....and yet he has no high school level understanding of American government or economics. And he is one of many. This is what should concern us; I'm far, far more worried about the fact our fellow citizens make little to no effort to understand the most basic of principles in our capitalist system/republican form of government.
And what precisely is wrong with what he's saying? Well, for starters, unless he made his own clothes and walked from California, the resources he used to get there were made by corporations. It's ironic these protesters condemn corporations as evil and yet make no explanation/apology for utilizing the fruits of corporations for their protesting efforts.
Next, the reason no one is going to jail over bank bailouts is because - get this - it's not illegal. Don't you think the Justice Department would be prosecuting Wall Streeters if they could? They can't, of course, because they didn't break any laws.
Further, to criminalize decisions on what corporations do with bailout money would only discourage them from taking it. Now before we go any further, I just want to say up front I opposed TARP and all of the other bailout programs - the reason we're in this mess in large part is because the government decided to pick winners and losers. Attaching criminal liability to bad business decisions would only further stifle the recovery.
Finally, corporations don't vote. People vote. If the majority of people don't like the fact their particular elected official accepted contributions from corporations, they get a chance every few years to fire them. These OWS people need to quit whining about corporate money...especially when they are soto voce on political contributions from big labor and groups like the Tides Foundation. Note I have no objection to labor or a Soros-funded group from engaging in the political process; I simply think if you're going to exclude funding for those causes you despise, then you should be willing to have your own funding limited as well.
I always try to give you some action items in response to the things I blog about. Here are a few on this subject:
- Make sure you are educating yourself and your family on not only current events, but also the fundamentals on how our country works. That means we need a healthy understanding of what capitalism is and isn't. You can be a socialist if you'd like, but I would submit calling yourself a socialist just because you think poverty and lack of health insurance were caused by capitalism reflects poorly on your understanding on both capitalism and socialism.
- Continue to monitor this and pray it doesn't turn into something violent. Sadly, I think there are Americans - primarily on the left - who sickly hope this turns into a riot.
- Become the expert your friends and families come to for guidance on these issues. You can be "for" corporations without supporting bailout money going execs. You can be "for" changing laws which create more transparency in our financial system without being a socialist. More than ever, our nation is in dire need of people who are willing to educate themselves on the issues and be thought and opinion leaders - not advancing a Republican or Democratic agenda, but rather advocating for more fiscal responsibility, more transparency at the Federal Reserve, and more policies which have been proven to strengthen our economy and put people back to work.
Rain Barrels Filling Up/Horticultural Drag Race On A Rain Delay
The Good Lord has seen fit to send some much needed rain our way. My new rain barrels are filling up nicely; however it became quickly apparent I had not tightened the manifold connections to the barrels. I finally got them tightened up so that they would stop leaking. The radar currently has more rain coming this way...I'm hoping I can bank another 275 gallons or so.
I prepped the wading pools last week for my gardening experiment. However, with all the rain, I'm reluctant to fill them up with dirt and plant the seeds tonight. I'm hopeful I can get them set up tomorrow; if so, pictures will follow.
"An Entire System Of Global Trade Is At Risk."
I may need those gardens to produce faster than normal if we are truly at the brink of a major problem in our global trade system. I found this quote from the Telegraph's editorial most poignant: "But now it appears that the difficulties of 2008 were but a foretaste of what was to come. With the European banking system again on the verge of collapse, there is a sense that politicians and economists are out of options, that governments and central banks are powerless before events."
The British media isn't the only outlet foretelling doom. CNBC printed an article on its website earlier this week using "Greece" and "death spiral" in the same sentence.
Remember - The EU takes in over 20% of the U.S. exports. If they cannot get credit at their banks to buy our goods, our economy will suffer. (All that stuff I said earlier about the need for being up to date on current issues? This is a prime example of why.)