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#OccupyWallStreet: A Protest, Or A Temper Tantrum?

Ezra Klein points this morning to a Tumblr account called “We Are The 99 Percent” purporting to tell the stories of people taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protests, or at least supporting it from a distance. Klein says that it was reading through this website that convinced him that this was a story worth covering:

These are not rants against the system. They’re not anarchist manifestos. They’re not calls for a revolution. They’re small stories of people who played by the rules, did what they were told, and now have nothing to show for it. Or, worse, they have tens of thousands in debt to show for it.

This is why I’m taking Occupy Wall Street — or, perhaps more specifically, the ‘We Are The 99 Percent’ movement — seriously. There are a lot of people who are getting an unusually raw deal right now. There is a small group of people who are getting an unusually good deal right now. That doesn’t sound to me like a stable equilibrium.

The organizers of Occupy Wall Street are fighting to upend the system. But what gives their movement the potential for power and potency is the masses who just want the system to work the way they were promised it would work. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans are really struggling. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans want a revolution. It’s that 99 percent of Americans sense that the fundamental bargain of our economy — work hard, play by the rules, get ahead — has been broken, and they want to see it restored.

So, let’s take a look at some of the “grievances” that convinced Klein:

“I am young. I am educated and hard working. I am not able to pay my bills. I am afraid of what the future holds.”

“i am a 19 year old student with 18 credit hours and 2 part time jobs. i am over 4000 dollars in debt but my paychecks are just enough to get me to school and back. next year my plan was to attend a 4 year college and get my bfa, but now i am afraid that without a co-signer i will have no shot at a loan and even if i can get a loan i am afraid that i will leave college with no future and a crippling debt.”

“i am a 19 year old student with 18 credit hours and 2 part time jobs. i am over 4000 dollars in debt but my paychecks are just enough to get me to school and back. next year my plan was to attend a 4 year college and get my bfa, but now i am afraid that without a co-signer i will have no shot at a loan and even if i can get a loan i am afraid that i will leave college with no future and a crippling debt.”

The first thought I had when I looked through the Tumblr account is that these people can’t be doing all that bad if they’ve got access to the internet and a computer with a webcam necessary to create the posting that they put up at Tumblr. In any event, though, what strikes me more than anything else is that alot of these people are frustrated 20-somethings who have gotten out of college and found that the road to the good life isn’t quite as smooth as they thought it would be. Of course, things are more difficult today than they were ten years ago but that doesn’t mean they were easy back then. Establishing yourself in life is always a challenge, especially if you run up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt without really thinking about how you’re going to pay it off.

What comes across to me the most, though, is a sense of entitlement from some people and they idea that the situation they’re in clearly can’t be their fault so it must be the blame of someone else. There’s an attitude about the protests that there is something morally wrong about the fact that not everyone is suffering equally in the current economy as well. So when they look up and see that some people have managed to succeed during these rough economic times, that sense of entitlement becomes intermingled with a sense of envy and the belief that the only way these other people could have succeeded is by cheating. As a result these protester blame their situation on someone else, blare out largely incoherent slogans, and engage in a protest that has no discernible purpose.

As one writer at The Economist’s Democracy in America blog notes, these are the same people who have, for the most part, separated themselves from the political process:

Many of these aggrieved youth believe that the government has become unresponsive, that their voices have been silenced, and therefore protest is the only option. But this strikes me as a fundamental misreading of the past three years. It is likely that few of the protesters have actually taken part in the more mundane aspects of the system they’d like to take down—for example, only 24% of 18- to 29-year-olds voted in the 2010 mid-term elections. And while they were quietly seething, the tea-party movement was showing America what democracy actually looks like, pushing their candidates forward and holding them accountable. When liberals complain that the Republicans are beholden to the tea-party movement, is that not an admission that the system is responsive?

Some on the left have already started the claim that “Occupy Wall Street” is a left-wing Tea Party, but in order for that work they have to actually be involved in the system. More importantly, though, it’s fundamentally clear that these protesters are directing their anger in the wrong direction. It wasn’t Wall Street that created easy-to-get student loans and gave young people and incentive to apply for them, the government did that. It wasn’t Wall Street that has made college tuition so absurdly high that four years of student loans ends up creating a crushing debt load, for the most part government did that too. It wasn’t Wall Street that created the monetary conditions that made the Housing bubble possible and used Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac to encourage banks to give out loans to people who shouldn’t have gotten them, government did that. It’s not Wall Street that is saddling their generation with a crushing National Debt and an entitlement system that is unsustainable in its current form, government is doing that. A protest on Wall Street is not going to fix any of these problems. Heck, any kind of protest isn’t going to fix any of these problems. You want to have your voice heard, then you need to get involved in the system not hang out in some park in Lower Manhattan.

The other thing that is missing from the laments of the “99%-ers” is personal responsibility. Running up huge student loan debts getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and then complaining when you can’t find a job to pay them off, like this woman does, doesn’t strike me as very responsible. Even in a good economy, you’re going to find more people with B.FA.’s waiting tables at the local bar than giving tours at some museum somewhere. There just isn’t much demand for that kind of work, and it doesn’t really pay well. That’s how our economy works. Switch your major to something useful, like chemistry, or biology, or engineering, and you’re likely to find your job prospects just a little bit better, even when the economy is slow. When you make choices that put you in a bad situation, the person to blame isn’t the broker on Wall Street, it’s man or woman in the mirror.

There’s something pretty immature about blaming other people for your situation in life. There’s no question that the incestuous relationship between business and government is a bad thing, that’s why I’ve said repeatedly that the answer is to get the government out of those situations where it is entering into “partnerships” with business and picking winners and losers through direct and indirect subsidies. Those are the situations in which business is indeed taking advantage of taxpayers and it ought to be stopped, but to a large degree that won’t happen unless and until we drastically reduce the size and scope of government involvement in the economy.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd isn’t asking for that, though. To the extent they’re asking for anything, they’re clearly asking for more government involvement in the economy. They want what they think they’re entitled to, which apparently includes a job and forgiveness of all their student debt. Their main priority seems to be taking from one group and giving to another, but what they don’t realize is that all the government will do is take from one politically disfavored group and give to another, politically favored, group, thus creating an entirely new group of “others.” Moreover, from a moral point of view, taxing the rich to help pay down the deficit is one thing, taking from the rich and giving to another group is quite another. One is, as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr put it, the price of civilization. The other is nothing more than naked theft fueled by resentment and envy. If that’s the agenda the Occupy Wall Street crowd wants people to sign up for, then count me out

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CJ Robinson says:

    “It wasn’t Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac that encouraged banks to give out loans to people who shouldn’t have gotten them, Wall Street did that all on their own.”

    There. Fixed that for you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 31

  2. dr says:

    I didn’t think it was possible for me to become supportive of these protests, but you may have done the trick. Don’t worry Doug, you are smarter than anybody!!!!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 21

  3. reid says:

    Is this just trolling? When will the hippie-punching stop? You’ve lost all credibility with your spin on this issue.

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  4. Sorry reid, I didn’t realize I wasn’t permitted to disagree with a bunch of college grads half my age

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  5. G. Vince says:

    What they should be protesting is to end corporate welfare not create more of it. Has it ever been more clear to these folks that they don’t see a dime of any of this and it’s just the government throwing money at the big wigs so they can continue to fly their private jet in hopes that they remember them come election time.

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  6. Abdul says:

    I’m not offering a solution or any type of answer. Only a simple observation. When kids grow up being taught that in America they can be anything they want to be, then having advisers in college telling them liberal arts majors can be successful, and charging the same tuition for science and arts, we have a problem. If the liberal arts pay less doesn’t it make sense that that education should cost less. It is a less valuable degree.

    My issue here is the whole idea that people misbelieve that in America you truly can be anything you want to be. Is that the students’ fault, or the people telling them that?

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  7. @G. Vince:

    Exactly. They need to realize that the government is as much the problem as the people who try to use government for their own ends.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 23

  8. WR says:

    What Doug misses when he says:

    “There’s an attitude about the protests that there is something morally wrong about the fact that not everyone is suffering equally in the current economy as well. So when they look up and see that some people have managed to succeed during these rough economic times”

    is that the “some people” who have managed not only to succeed but to vastly enrich themselves during these rough economic times are the very same people who made millions by destroying the world’s economy and creating these rough economic times.

    But Doug’s got his, so these kids should just FOAD.

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  9. Alex says:

    I think the thing that you are missing is that these stories of hardship are not occurring in a vacuum. At the same time that an increasing number of youth have little to no job prospects and are saddle in debt, the richest 1%’s share of wealth and income is sky rocketing. I am sure you have seen the statistics. The top 1% now control 40% of all wealth and take in over 24% of all income.

    These protests are about the total lack of political will by the leadership of both the GOP and Democrats to address this rampant inequality. The banks got bailed out of their horribly awful investments that crashed our economy in 2008 and the actual people who simply did what they have been encouraged to do their entire life–get a college education–are being crushed under debt.

    You say: “You want to have your voice heard, then you need to get involved in the system not hang out in some park in Lower Manhattan.”

    The point is that in the Citizens United status quo, money is voice. Unfrotunately, all but a very small group of the wealthiest in our population has the ability to exert this voice in favor of their interests. This is an empirical fact: http://assets.motherjones.com/politics/2011/inequality-p25_averagehouseholdincom.png

    If we do not interrupt this process and try and give a voice to the majority people–not just the wealthy–we will continue to see this process of wealth concentration at the top accelerate.

    Protesting in the streets might seem ineffectual to you, but given the circumstances, it is a last ditch effort to take our economy back and make it for everyone.

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  10. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You aren’t grasping the situation, Doug. First of all, they’re not protesting because they’re lazy college grads who don’t want to work – they’re protesting because they’re college grads who cannot get jobs, because all the entry-level positions are full of 40-year-olds who would otherwise be laid off themselves.

    They’re protesting because they literally have nothing else to do with their lives.

    Major unions, like the AFL-CIO and the NYC Transit Workers’ Union (20,000 members all by itself) are throwing in with these “dirty hippies” because they see that it really is a case of “us vs. them”.

    Similar protests are popping up all over the country – there’s an OWS march later today in downtown Boise frigging Idaho. Still think it’s just a handful of lazy college kids, Doug? It’s not the protesters who are lazy, Doug – it’s you and your intellectually lazy dismissal of their statements and the problems that are driving this demonstration.

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  11. legion,

    Someone needs to tell them that their little protest isn’t going to do a darn thing to change their personal economic situation not matter how “good” it makes them feel.

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  12. WR says:

    @Abdul: Here’s how the game is played:

    We tell young folks: The only way to succeed in America is to have a college education.

    We jack up college tuition because of the increased demand.

    We tell students that we won’t give them scholarships, but we’ll make it easy for them to borrow money to finance their educations. (Just as we’ve told their parents we will not raise your pay as your productivity soars, but we will give you access to almost unlimited credit instead.) Which they must do because without a degree they have no hope of a future.

    They borrow the money because it’s their only chance of a future.

    Meanwhile, the banks that lend the money engage in wild speculation, reaping billions and tanking the entire global economy.

    Kids get out of college with the degree they were told was the only way they could get a job to discover there are no jobs because the bankers to whom they owe tens of thousands have destroyed the economy. And they have to start paying.

    Doug says “tough luck, punk. If you were dumb enough to take out college loans, you get what you deserve. I’ve got mine.”

    Or maybe if he’s in a better mood he says “if they can’t afford bread, let them eat cake.”

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  13. reid says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Sorry, Doug, I mistook your honest disagreement with the protestors for name-calling and libertarian, “FYIGM” tripe.

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  14. reid says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Yeah, when did protesting ever accomplish anything? It’s so lazy and unseemly and dirty. They probably aren’t even showering daily. Stupid kids.

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  15. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Funny, a bunch of white trash morons in tricorner hats managed to take over the entire Republican party with their “little protests.” Of course, they were funded by giant corporations, so they had a louder megaphone. But I don’t recall Doug telling the Teatards to go home and starve quietly.

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  16. John Burgess says:

    @WR: Not ‘these kids should just FOAD’, FOADIAF.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  17. WR,

    I’ve been pretty critical of the Tea Party so you must’ve missed that.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 13

  18. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Are you completely deranged? Have you literally not paid attention to a single story about this? These people are living in the streets of NYC, getting beaten, maced, and arrested by the hundreds, and insulted by the likes of you for their powerlessness, and you think they’re doing it because it makes them “feel good”? You insufferable, pompous boob!

    They’re not doing it just to “change their personal economic situation”, they’re doing it because the media has been totally bought off of the story – only _long_ after the first protestors persisted & got noticed on the Internet did _anyone_ start covering them at all, and even then the major players only did it as a “look at the pointless lazy hippies” kind of story – which is exactly how you’re still treating it. They’re trying to bring attention to the fact that our economy bears more similarity to pre-revolutionary France than the US of just a few decades ago – something the media won’t do. They’re doing it because the modern Landed Gentry simply doesn’t care that the entire concept of class mobility is disappearing from this country.

    I’m sure a lot of people who marched for civil rights or against the Vietnam war were trying to change their “personal situations” too, but the fact is they were right, and so are these people.

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  19. legion says:

    @WR: Hells yeah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  20. legion,

    I stopped reading when you got to “pre-revolutionary France.”

    As James has said twice here at OTB already, this street theater is just proving how immature and ineffective political protests have become in the last 40 years or so. If you really think that dressing up like a zombie with Monopoly money in your mouth is an effective way of getting your message across then you’ve got a strange idea of how to communicate ideas.

    I don’t think there’s a person in this country who doesn’t know the situation the economy in. The question is, what exactly do these people think they’re going to accomplish? Their agenda is incoherent, their demands are mostly absurd. That’s why they look to me like people having a temper tantrum. They’re upset, but they have no idea how to do anything with their lives.

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  21. Drew says:

    “A Protest, Or A Temper Tantrum?”

    Infantile, and Impotent are adjectives that come to my mind.

    Skip the fine arts, get a degree in something useful, and eliminate the mush for brains thinking and maybe an employer will consider you. Else, pass the bong.

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  22. Alex Knapp says:

    So let me get this straight: a bunch of Wall Street punks make their money because the government doesn’t properly regulate them to ensure that fraudulent transactions don’t take place. Then, as frauds inevitably do, they lost a bunch of money. Then the government bailed them out. And their profits and bonuses are right back where they were before they lost their money. Also, virtually none of them are under any kind of criminal investigation.

    As a result of those actions by folks in Wall Street, the economy collapses and unemployment more than doubles as a result. The government is doing nothing to improve the economy because one of the two major political parties and a good chunk of politicians in the second insists that the only solution solution to the massive deficits created by bailing out the Wall Street folks who made the mess in the first place is to cut money going to help people who got screwed over by Wall Street.

    Then when those people got out and protest, and get maced, arrested, and beaten by the cops because all the want is the opportunity for a decent job, they’re just “throwing a temper tantrum.” Seriously?

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  23. Nikki says:

    The funny thing is I read through a few pages on the site this morning. So I know that Doug specifically went only for those posts that would prove his point. There were several people who stated that they were in their 40s and 50s and 60s, several who got laid off, or had health issues and we terrified of the future. One man said he was with a Fortune 100 company, but because the company wouldn’t cover the cost medical insurance for his wife and children, they have all moved to Costa Rica.

    What, Doug…you couldn’t find those stories?

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  24. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Again, if protests are so ineffectual, why is the Tea Party running the entire Republican party? Or are you finally willing to credit that to the overwhelming wave of corporate cash that’s funding them? It’s got to be one or the other…

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  25. WR says:

    @Drew: “Mush for brains thinking.” How appropriate you decide to quote your hero Limbaugh for your post.

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  26. @WR:

    It wasn’t protests that won the 2010 elections, it was grass roots political action

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  27. WR says:

    @Alex Knapp: Right. What they should do is go vote. Oh, except that Republicans are making sure it’s impossible for them to vote by passing restrictions on ballot access. So they should spend their time trying to figure out the rules that will allow them to vote. Or they can die. Really, as long as Doug doesn’t have to be see them, it’s ok.

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  28. TheColourfield says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I used to think you were just a misguided ideologue. Thanks to your postings of the last few days plus your twitter fed (thanks to ponce for alerting us to that) it’s become apparent that your just not very bright and a partisan hack to boot (your twitter buddies like the Hot Air crew and Ben Domenech confirm it)

    Alex has pointed out exactly what the protest is about and anyone that spent more than 5 minutes looking into it would have seen the same.

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  29. WR,

    Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not impossible to vote, it’s not impossible to get politically involved. They can do it if they want to. These protests are a waste of time.

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  30. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Way to dodge a question, Doug!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

  31. @Alex Knapp:

    Where did you see me justify the NYPD’s actions? Because I didn’t

    What I don’t see, however, is a coherent message from these people. All see is resentment and anger and the idea that they didn’t get something they were entitled to. Yea, things stink right now but how is engaging in ridiculous street theater going to change that?

    Here’s what I want to know — what realistically achievable public policy proposals are these people advancing and how, exactly, do they think those proposals will make things better for them? Or, are they just advocating things to punish people for the heck of it?

    So far, from what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of the former and very little of the later.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 26

  32. Nikki says:

    @TheColourfield: No, Doug is the honeypot and we are the bears that keep giving page views to Outside the Beltway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  33. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: There are thousands – possibly tens of thousands – of people on the streets of NYC, who have trickled in over the last couple of weeks. There is no central leadership – no “Che” – to interview & demonize, so they demonize the entire movement in broad strokes. As has been pointed out in numerous corners, there’s been a fairly concentrated effort by major media to downplay this entire thing – that’s why you get news stories about idiots in zombie outfits goofing off, while the one intelligent person Fox ever interviewed gets spiked – you are part of the problem, Doug.

    They’re drawing attention to the fact that class mobility and the American Dream don’t exist anymore. They’re trying to force people exactly like you to notice that society has changed since you grew up, and not in a good way. That’s what they’re trying to accomplish.

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  34. @Nikki:

    Please tell me how ridiculous street theater is going to help people in unfortunate personal situations?

    Here’s a clue, it’s not.

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  35. @legion:

    Even if everything they say is true

    1. How is their protest going to change anything? and.

    2. For that matter, what makes them think that there is anything that can be done to change things?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 24

  36. reid says:

    @TheColourfield:

    your just not very bright and a partisan hack to boot

    Don’t worry, he makes up for it in smugness, which is a libertarian virtue. Healthy dollops of condescending sarcasm as well. (I know, I’ve been using sarcasm here myself.)

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  37. MBunge says:

    Doug, what the hell happened to you in college to leave you this screwed up? It can’t just be that you didn’t get laid, could it? I’m not just trying to be insulting here. You’re capable of fairly clear thinking but you’ve got some kind of massive hang up that twisting your brain into knots on this subject.

    Mike

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  38. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Why do you persist in thinking that these people’s unfortunate situations happened in a bubble? Perhaps street theater won’t help, but how else do you expect their voices to be heard? Clearly no one has been listening to them for the past 30 years. You can’t seem to look at the core of the movement, only at the images that the corporate-owned media wants you to see.

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  39. MBunge says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “1. How is their protest going to change anything? and.

    2. For that matter, what makes them think that there is anything that can be done to change things? “

    1. If nothing else, these sort of protests move the Overton Window by making it hard to demonize somebody like Barack Obama as a crazed Marxist who wants to confiscate all private property. They can also serve as a beacon to other people pissed off with the current situation but who’ve had a learned helplessness beaten into them.

    2. For a libertarian to criticize others because their views have no chance of becoming reality is to take cognitive dissonance into outright schizophrenia.

    Mike

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  40. Nikki says:

    For that matter, what makes them think that there is anything that can be done to change things?

    Wow. So the message you wish to pass to future generations (your children and your children’s children) is “Give it up now. No need to even attempt change.”

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  41. JKB says:

    @Abdul:

    You can grow up to be anything you want to be. Well, unless you live in a non-right-to-work state where you can’t be in a trade unless your uncle can get you in the union. Or you live in a high regulation state that requires substantial capital to open a lemonade stand. Or you want to go into a field tightly controlled by the government, such as liquor distribution, then you have to have the right political contacts. Or you want to sell coffins direct to individuals and the government mandates they can only be purchased through mortuaries.

    But, if we ignore all that, you can be anything you want to be but you may not necessarily be able to make a living at it just because no one needs the services of someone who does what you do.

    As for college expenses, well, for some reason those Liberal Arts professors feel they should earn something similar to the STEM professors. if you are on the same campus, then you have access to the same amenities. So discounting the Liberal Arts would be hard although we should limit the amount of loans based on prospective income of your major. For the children, of course. Perhaps at the start of every Fall, the universities should have students sign a sheet showing current salaries by major rather than pledges of kindness.

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  42. Jacob says:

    So when they look up and see that some people have managed to succeed during these rough economic times, that sense of entitlement becomes intermingled with a sense of envy and the belief that the only way these other people could have succeeded is by cheating.

    There is something wrong with our country when success is defined as escaping responsibility for nearly destroying a $15 trillion economy.

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  43. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: How is their protest going to change anything? Did you actually study American history when you were in college? How did the Civil Rights protests change anything — after all, the people who protested, despite wearing nicer clothes than the hippies you despise — had no power to effect any change. So I guess nothing ever changed.

    Except that the protests proved that there was a substantial proportion of the American public that cared about civil rights. And that forced the government to act.

    That’s how protest movements always work, Doug.

    And by the way, this one is already giving some Dems in congress the spine to stand up and support them. No one in Washington has been willing to fight for the middle class for years — and maybe that’s because congress thought the middle class didn’t care enough to make it worth their while.

    Now that’s changing.

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  44. WR says:

    @Nikki: Well, that’s the message of the Republican party, which Doug consistently pretends not to belong to. “Oh, no, American can’t do anything. It’s too hard.”

    To which the libertarians add “yeah, and actually doing anything in unconstitutional, too.”

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  45. Fiona says:

    What I don’t see, however, is a coherent message from these people. All see is resentment and anger and the idea that they didn’t get something they were entitled to. Yea, things stink right now but how is engaging in ridiculous street theater going to change that?

    Funny, that’s pretty much how I saw the Tea Party when they started up and yet they’ve managed to take over a significant section of the Republican Party.

    Who’s to say that the protesters won’t become politically involved in the next election cycle and produce some candidates of their own. In the meantime, as Alex pointed out, their anger is not undirected. They’re protesting against the people who own the country and have the power to buy a lot of political clout (not to mention politicians). Bringing visibility to the issues is the first step to actually doing something about them.

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  46. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Wow. So your entire response to protests about social injustice devolve to: “That’s the way things are, kid. Suck it up.”

    Of course, if they _did_ do what you suggest, then they really would be lazy hippies waiting for someone else fix the world for them. Like Fiona points out, these people probably _will_ become much more involved in the next election cycle. Apparently, they should simply sit in their homes (if they can afford them) and be quiet until the next election. And hopefully not starve or get sick & die before then. I really don’t understand your brain, man.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

  47. WR says:

    @JKB: Right. Who needs art and culture? That’s all fag stuff. All good Americans need is engineering. Everyone should be engineers. Oh, and MBAs. The hell with anything that rises above the basic needs of mankind. Ants are content being nothing but soldiers and drones, and why the hell should humans think they’re any better?

    The lovely world of JKB…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

  48. ponce says:

    Whatever Occupy Wall Streets’ goals are, they are certainly pissing off all the right people.

    Keep it up, kids!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3

  49. Drew says:

    @Alex Knapp:

    Look, Alex. We already have one children’s book author on the site. Save the fantasy portrayal.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 19

  50. Drew says:

    I’m wondering how many lefty commenters here live with their mommy. Yell up from the basement apartment “I want macaroni and cheese tonoght!!”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 25

  51. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It wasn’t protests that won the 2010 elections, it was grass roots political action

    What the hell do you think “grass roots political action” is, Doug? This is what it looks like.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 4

  52. @WR:

    Comparing zombies eating Monopoly money to the Civil Rights movement is so silly and pathetic it isn’t even funny

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 27

  53. Davebo says:

    Here’s a clue, it’s not.

    Thanks for the clue Doug. Clues from folks apparently untouched by the economic downturn are so useful. Myself, I have to go from 6:00AM to 10:00PM trying to roll out a new software application and convince corporations who are sitting on cash but not demand to pay for it.

    Perhaps I should work on an RFID tag that could warn people when walking down the streets that a smug asshole who seems to produce nothing for the economy short of blog ads is passing by.

    But seriously, who would by that?

    2. For that matter, what makes them think that there is anything that can be done to change things?

    Nothing. As long as the invisible hand is where it is currently.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  54. Nikki says:

    @Drew: Yawn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  55. Alex Knapp says:

    @Drew: I would think that, given your profession, you’d be just as willing to have fraudulent speculators and rent seekers run out of the financial business in favor of real investment as I am. They choke the life out of real entrepreneurship and stand in the way of economic growth.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3

  56. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Do you really believe that the Civil Rights marchers automatically knew to dress in their Sunday best, especially since the stakes (their lives were on the line) were so high? They were told to do so by the march organizers. There are no organizers for the Wall Street protesters. Yet. The unions are coming…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  57. Davebo says:

    I’m wondering how many lefty commenters here live with their mommy.

    That’s because you wonder about a lot of stuff Drew.

    Let’s face it, you aren’t the sharpest bowling ball on the rack.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

  58. legion says:

    I’m certainly no stranger to making sweeping generalizations, but after actually looking through all of Doug’s comments on this, I feel pretty secure in concluding that Doug’s main problem with this whole thing is that since he’s comfortable in his “personal economic situation”, nobody else should be complaining. And they should also get off his damn lawn.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 3

  59. Alex Knapp says:

    @JKB: Several studies have verified that scientists and engineers who engage in the arts in their daily lives are more successful than those who simply focus on STEM. In particular, Nobel Prize winning scientists are 17 times more likely to be engaged in the arts than non-Nobel-winning scientists.

    Also, I object to your profoundly un-American attitude towards the arts. As John Adams once said, “I am a revolutionary so my son can be a farmer so his son can be a poet.” The Founders had the highest respect for the arts and saw them as a great calling.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  60. @Nikki:

    Oh great. The Unions. That will civilize them. Not.

    My father belonged to a union. They negotiated basically decent contracts but they also gave my Dad hell on a regular basis because he dared not participate in their political nonsense and didn’t really like voting for New Jersey Democrats.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 23

  61. @legion:

    I’ve been through tough times in life. Never once have I believed that engaging in some stupid protest was the solution to my problems

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 24

  62. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: A union man in New Jersey? No wonder you have no respect for the unions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. @legion:

    Not it’s not legion. It’s getting involved in politics, starting at the local level, going to political meetings, backing and working or candidates, running for office. That’s how elections are won.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

  64. JKB says:

    @WR:

    You can have all the Art and Culture you want. You can buy your paints with your tip money. But you don’t deserve a salary to pursue your art unless you can get some rich productive member of society to pay you one. Government support of ugly art isn’t something we should be doing.

    And if you wish to spend your evenings reading cultural works and writing expositions on them, more power to you. Again, if you can find someone to pay you to do that, good for you. But it isn’t a right or something government should be doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

  65. Andy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Please tell me how ridiculous street theater is going to help people in unfortunate personal situations?

    Doug, right now, they won’t. But that’s not the point. The early Tea Party protests were equally silly “street theater” full of heat with little light. But over time the Tea Party coalesced into a political movement that actually did things (that’s undeniable whether one agrees with them or not). It’s much too early to write these people off since they’re just getting started. Maybe they’ll just fade away, but maybe they will organize and become a political force. It would be a mistake for you to conclude they are only just a bunch of dumb college buffoons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  66. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Comparing zombies eating Monopoly money to the Civil Rights movement is so silly and pathetic it isn’t even funny

    The fact that you really think this protest is comprised solely of performing goofs truly highlights your own intellectual bankruptcy. It also shows that you don’t actually read the comments here, since that specific point has been addressed quite some time ago. Yet you keep bringing it back from the dead… Oh. My. God.

    DOUG IS THE ZOMBIE!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 5

  67. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: During your tough times, did you know that your situation and that of your neighbors, friends, various family members, college classmates, etc., was caused by the fraudulent actions of a few assholes who still haven’t suffered anything for their actions?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  68. Steven Donegal says:

    It may be a temper tantrum, but tantrums occasionally become something more coherent. I’m not quite sure how this is different than the early formation of the Tea Party, which, while perhaps not yet up to coherence, is at least a movement that needs to be reckoned with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  69. John Peabody says:

    Doug, here is a letter in support of your post’s analysis. Man alive, though, people are against you here. I don’t know why you keep it up / respond at all!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  70. See NIkki, I reject your premise. There is much more to the roots of the economic crisis than the populist cries of “fraud” you keep repeating. Besides, when you’re in a bad situation, there’s no point in worrying how you got there the key is finding a way out.

    So far, the protesters are offering more of the same policies that got is into this mess.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 21

  71. CB says:

    It wasn’t protests that won the 2010 elections, it was grass roots political action

    as if the two are completely divorced from each other? really?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  72. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You can reject it all you like. The proof is in the pudding. And the bottom line is that even though various banks were obviously on the brink of collapse, the bankers continue to get their bonuses. Goldman Sachs laid off some of their support staff (2,000 I believe) and the bankers still got their bonuses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  73. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The two major political parties have show, over the last 10-20 years, that they flatly don’t care about people who don’t make at least 6 figures. The people in NYC are protesting because the parties won’t listen to them & don’t even want them. And the corporate media that refuses to cover things like this allows those parties – and people like you – to believe that the problems being protested only affect a tiny, loud, lazy minority of people.

    This is not about winning elections. These people can’t live on fresh air & sunshine until the next election cycle and hope for the best. It is about changing society. It is called a revolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  74. JKB says:

    @Alex Knapp:

    Hey, if you can make a living in the Arts, more power to you. But you aren’t owed a living. Nor is it a governmental function. As for the STEM graduate, I support their investigations into the arts, especially the manual arts where beauty and function are merged and false beliefs are revealed instantaneously in the form of the product.

    One presumes that Adam was hoping that his son could prosper as a farmer and leave wealth to his son who could then be a poet on the proceeds. Perhaps I’m wrong but I don’t think Adams meant that the government should keep up his grandson so he could write poetry, perhaps that only his mother could love.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  75. Yes Nikki, and I will bet you that the vast majority of the people taking part in OWS voted for Barack Obama, who supported those bailouts completely, and that they’ll vote for him again in 2012.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  76. Nikki says:

    Besides, when you’re in a bad situation, there’s no point in worrying how you got there the key is finding a way out.

    Yes, and the key is shared sacrifice with the government increasing spending to get demand flowing so that businesses will hire people. Or did you forget that Congress has a hand in this mess, too?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  77. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: And what’s your point? I’m voting for him, too. I understood the need for the bailouts (started by the Bush admin, don’t forget that). Now it’s time for Main Street to get some bailout. Where is Congress on that? And if you ask why the protesters aren’t in DC, they are already here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  78. The key, Nikki, is getting the government out of the way by reforming the tax code, getting entitlements under control, and cutting spending. As I suspected, you, like the OWS crowd, seem to believe in the same old Keynesian nonsense

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 30

  79. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Besides, when you’re in a bad situation, there’s no point in worrying how you got there the key is finding a way out.

    So far, the protesters are offering more of the same policies that got is into this mess.

    Wow. That is so completely the opposite of true on so many levels I’m not sure where to begin. To hit the last point first, they are _not_ offering the same ideas that got us here. What got us here was trusting corporations and wealthy people to do what’s good for the economy rather than expecting them to do what’s only good for themselves.

    And secondly, it _is_ important to understand what got you there when the only solutions even being considered by those in power really are the same ones that got us here.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

  80. Alex Knapp says:

    @JKB: Nobody thinks they’re owed a living. What they want is the opportunity to get a job. Just the opportunity.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  81. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    same old Keynesian nonsense

    Keynes wasn’t omniscient, but he predicted this situation _exactly_. You have a butt-ton of hubris on your side of that argument, but I’ve got multiple Nobel Laureates who’d call you an idiot for that statement.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 7

  82. WR says:

    @Drew: No, we all live with your mommy, and she’s hot!

    Geeze, is this really where you want to take this discussion? Do you really have nothing of substance to say?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  83. Nikki says:

    As I suspected, you, like the OWS crowd, seem to believe in the same old Keynesian nonsense

    Suspected? I thought I had “flaming liberal” tattooed prominently across my forehead. Now, though I will admit that entitlements and spending need to be brought under control, I don’t believe it should be done on the backs of the least among us. Sorry, but I was raised in a strict Christian household and my Jesus would not be pleased with what Congress is currently attempting to do. Raise taxes on the wealthy, close tax loopholes, cut out a lot of that corporate welfare (and try to make it a truly FREE market), and cut defense spending.

    Oh…that isn’t what you had in mind?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  84. WR says:

    @Alex Knapp: What a beautiful Adams quote. I’d never seen that before.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  85. WR says:

    @JKB: Why? You state as if it’s writ from God that government shouldn’t be involved in funding arts. And yet you’ve got no reason for that, besides your own personal prejudices.

    You want to make a case why a culture shouldn’t fund it’s own culture? Be my guest. But don’t think that if you simply say “this is what it is and that’s it,” anyone’s going to take you seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  86. Rob in CT says:

    I have no idea whether this will have a positive impact. If it does, it will do so indirectly, by changing the conversation.

    The politicians, pundits and “Masters of the Universe” live in a bubble. I know, because I largely do too. When I see statistics re: unemployment, poverty, etc., the reality is that they’re just numbers to me. Hardly anyone *I* know is in dire straights (though many are feeling at least somewhat squeezed). I sympathize, but don’t really (at least not without real effort) empathize.

    And that’s precisely the problem with the politians and talking heads (but I repeat myself). Everybody they know is college educated and employed. The problem is abstract to them.

    If this protest highlights the degree to which unemployment and vast & growing inequality are problems in this country, it will do some good even if not 1 specific policy proposal is put forth by the protestors.

    The comparisons to the TP work on some level. There is a lot of anger & fear out there, because people are struggling. A whole lot of people on both the Left and Right are looking at their situations and saying “hey, I did things ‘right’ and I’m screwed.”

    As for Drew and his screed against liberal arts grads – this is a common refrain from the engineers of the world. There is some truth to it, but in typical fashion, he overstates it. The reality is that even a skilled engineer can see their job vanish. Just ask those folks known as “software engineers.” They’re no namby-pamby liberal arts types, and they got it good and hard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  87. WR says:

    @JKB: Good going. You take a statement on the evolution of man’s soul and turn it into an argument against the inheritance tax. I guess money really is the only thing that matters to Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  88. coogan says:

    This “protest” would be over in a day if their parents would just threaten to cut off their pizza and beer allowance if they don’t stop this foolishness and get back to class!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  89. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Right. The way to help the poor and unemployed is to eliminate the safety net entirely, cut Doug’s taxes, and then everything will be fine. If only those dirty hippies could see how much they’re harming the economy by accepting that $200/week in unemployment that could be spent on tax refunds for the Dougs of the world, I’m sure they’d happily give up their protests. Too bad they’re so naive.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  90. CB says:

    Funny, that’s pretty much how I saw the Tea Party when they started up and yet they’ve managed to take over a significant section of the Republican Party.

    i wouldnt gloat over this, or point to it while making triumphant predictions. i can see both the pros and the cons of the tea party as a movement, so while i disagree with alot of their aspirations and motivations, i am still fairly ambivalent on the whole. what i will say without equivocation, however, is that their sweep into congress has taken a disorganized, inept mess, and turned it into bedlam, and in alot of cases, all out war. so i would be very wary of a liberal analogue taking control and acting in kind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  91. Nikki:

    Comprehensive tax reform that includes elimination of nearly all deductions, credits, and loopholes — including those that the middle class loves like the mortgage deduction — is essential. If that’s done, we can lower tax rates, broaden the base, and actually increase revenue. Making taxes simpler would go a long way toward reducing the transaction costs the IRS imposes on business and individuals. Additionally, as even President Obama has said, we need to look at the Corporate Tax Rate, which is among the highest in the world and is among the chief contributors to the kind of corporate loopholes that people complain about.

    Entitlement reform is also necessary.

    And, yes, eliminate corporate welfare in all forms, including President Obama’s much-beloved and highly suspect “green jobs” subsidies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  92. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’ve been through tough times in life. Never once have I believed that engaging in some stupid protest was the solution to my problems

    Then you’ve never been in a situation tough enough that hollerin’ was the only action available.

    There are no jobs for these kids to go get. There are no political candidates that care about them to vote for. They are protesting simply to remind you that they exist, even when JPMorgan pays the NYPD $4.6 million dollars to clear them out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  93. Roman says:

    Who says we dont want a revolution. Corporate America and their political goons whose services are paid for by their CEO friends – you are the problem. Capitalism by the bankers (including IMF and WB) will not work for us any longer. Times have changed and so must you. America belongs to its people – not corporations and their “laws”. WE ARE MAD AND WANT IT BACK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  94. Moosebreath says:

    From the noted leftists and anarchists at Merrill Lynch through Tim Noah, an explanation of the economic history of last 2 decades and why these DFH have no prospects and are revolting. But of course all we need to do is lower marginal tax rates for the rich and all will be paradise, right Doug?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  95. Dave Schuler says:

    Doug, you’re making a distinction without a difference. All protests are cris de coeurs. The #OccupyWallStreet demonstrations are no different.

    I think there’s a unifying theme behind a lot of what they’re complaining about and it’s not an abrogation of individual responsibility. As I see it the complaint is about risk and reward. Just as physicians see their educations as risk-free investments so did the youthful protesters. Are both right? Both wrong? Or are only the college kids with huge debts who can’t pay back their student loans wrong?

    The problem now is that higher education is so ridiculously expensive, jobs so hard to come by, and income growth for all but a relative handful so small that what used to be thought of as an investment has become speculation. They didn’t realize they were speculating. They thought they were investing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  96. Dave,

    That’s a good point, but blaming Wall Street for the Higher Eduction Bubble seems ill-placed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  97. Roman says:

    @legion: That’s right Doug. You nailed the problem. Corporate America has you too dumbed down to protest wars, inequalities or even plain robbery of our nation in broad daylight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  98. jan says:

    Here is a list of demands from the Occupy Wall Street Movement.. Personally, they seem to be pie-in-the-sky utopian kinds of ‘wishes,’ which returns to answering the question posed in this thread’s title, is this movement more of “A protest or a Temper Tantrum?” I would call it more of an arrested development temper tantrum.

    While there are some underlying good reasons for this crowd’s discontent, their desires/solutions on how to resolve economic issues and who they are holding liable is irrational. Yes, some on Wall Street and Corporate America make lots of money. But, so do Hollywood Actors (Johnny Depp recently admitted this), recording artists, professional athletes, writers, practically anyone in the entertainment field who has “made” it, are all paid exorbitant amounts of money compared to the rest of the population. However, these people, more often than not, are socially exonerated because they are perceived as cool, glamorous and often identify with the socially progressives themselves — making them one of their own.

    So, the focus of ‘blame’ is on the more amorphous other’s our there, the often faceless business entity who is making money and tagged with a “R.” as those “D’s” with wealth, The Kennedy Family, Teresa Heinz/John Kerry, George Soros, Nancy Pelosi, are also given rhetorical passes, absolving them of being a part of this country’s unworthy rich.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

  99. So when they look up and see that some people have managed to succeed during these rough economic times, that sense of entitlement becomes intermingled with a sense of envy and the belief that the only way these other people could have succeeded is by cheating.

    Not everyone doing well right now succeeded by cheating. But not everyone doing well right now succeeded honestly either. We’re stuck in a false dilemma between useful idiots like the Occupy Wall Street crowd who want to argue that all businesses are evil and useful idiots like you who want to argue that all businesses are blameless. We’re stuck between the anti-business and the pro-business, when we need a party that’s pro-market. And that means distinguishing between good businesses and bad businesses. Part of the reason there’s so much push for more regulation is because people like you continually block attempts to hold bad actors accountable.

    It wasn’t Wall Street that created the monetary conditions that made the Housing bubble possible and used Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac to encourage banks to give out loans to people who shouldn’t have gotten them

    No, buti t was Wall Street that went along with it. Now you are (supposedly) a lawyer. If someone tells you to do something reckless and you go ahead and do so, does the fact it came at their request absolve you of legal responsibility for your actions? Wall Street, at best, did not do its due dilligence and in many cases (e.g. Goldman Sachs) appears to have been engaged in deliberate fraud.

    It’s not Wall Street that is saddling their generation with a crushing National Debt

    You mean like the hundred of billions in bailouts amd trillions in sweet heart deals that Wall Street received in order to spare it from the natural results of it’s own stupidity? Are you arguing that has nothing to do with the National debt or the lack of economic growth?

    The other thing that is missing from the laments of the “99%-ers” is personal responsibility. Running up huge student loan debts getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and then complaining when you can’t find a job to pay them off, like this woman does, doesn’t strike me as very responsible.

    Nor is buying trillions of dollars in poorly thought out financial derivatives and then complaining when they’re worth crap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  100. Vast Variety says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Protesting is in part getting involved in the process.

    Also While I completely agree with you on this…

    Comprehensive tax reform that includes elimination of nearly all deductions, credits, and loopholes — including those that the middle class loves like the mortgage deduction — is essential.,

    It’s never going to happen.

    Corporations will never willingly give up things like the oil and ethanol subsides and the Middle Class isn’t going to give up it’s mortgage deductions among other things. Continuing to protest the current tax system (in the form of blogging about it continually) is about as effective as what those folks sleeping in tents on Wall Street are doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  101. G.A.Phillips says:

    This ain’t what democracy looks like…this is what brainwashed idiots look like….

    Been seeing this crap all spring and summer…

    Class warfare brought to by the Democrat party and their indoctrination apparatus….

    One last question:why do real zombies dress up like movie zombies? I can can still tell the walking dead from the walking brain dead. The walking dead eat brains and the walking brain dead choke on hotels and then sue Hasbro cause it’s an evil corporation that’s trying to choke the life out of them….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 15

  102. Terrye says:

    I agree Doug. My folks grew up in Oklahoma during the Depression. These kids do not know what tough times really are. They think they are giving something up if they don’t have cable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

  103. PD Shaw says:

    @Dave Schuler: The BFA students I knew in college knew and joked about their job prospects. That was the 80s though. I wonder if higher college costs require a greater degree of self-denial to the realities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  104. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: How about blaming Wall Street for the education bubble this way? In the 1970s, worker productivity and salary became decoupled. Instead of workers sharing in the success of their companies, their wages stagnated while corporate profits, stockholder bonanzas, and CEO bonuses went through the roof. Because incomes stagnated while prices went up, it became impossible to live a good middle class life with a blue collar job. (Of course, the offshoring of work contributed both to this and to soaring corporate profits.) Thus, the only way to get ahead, several generations were told, was through a college degree.

    Again, increased demand for seats in college, increased cost of going, banks making student loans available. Oh, and look who’s making a fortune on student loans, even though they’re completely risk free? The banks. At least until the Obama administration put an end to this sleazy practice over the objections of bought and paid for libertarians — I mean, republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  105. TheColourfield says:

    @ jan

    Hollywood actors and athletes didn’t crash the economy and get rewarded for it, did they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  106. WR says:

    @TheColourfield: You have to forgive Jan. She’s just running through old talking points, because Fox hasn’t given her new ones yet. This babble about the Kerrys having money and athletes being paid a lot is just boilerplate dragged up from a dozen old discussions.

    It is fascinating, though, that they haven’t found their talking points on this yet. All they can do is make sure anyone who can articulately explain what’s going on is kept off Fox.

    Oh, and talk about “hippies.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  107. anjin-san says:

    I wonder if Johnny Depp has ever robo-signed an unreviewed document that took someones home.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  108. jan says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    ….but blaming Wall Street for the Higher Education Bubble seems ill-placed.

    I agree.

    What’s going on with this protest is blanketing blame on Wall Street, in the same vein in which the “Blame Bush” meme was conceived and universally disseminated. When you over-use and scapegoat a single person, group, event etc. too much, it eventually loses it’s flavor and credibility.

    Regarding the higher education bubble —> that probably should be laid at the doorsteps of prodding parents and the enticing but oftentimes out-of-touch, expensive classes offered at elite universities, than on Wall Street. Michael Ellsburg, the son of Daniel Ellsburg, has just finished a book entitled, The Education of Millionaires, where he takes apart the current wave of thinking asserting one must go to college in order to become successful.

    Ellsburg spent 2 years interviewing and writing about millionaire entrepreneurs, who either dropped out of or never went to college, pursuing instead real life work experiences from which highly successful business careers were forged. His interviews showed people, engaging in the work force early, learning the important art of networking and selling themselves and their ideas — something that is not taught in the ivory towers of Ivy League educations. Ellsburg felt the time he spent at Brown, getting a degree, not only wasted money but a good four years of his life, slowing down his maturation process where he wasn’t able to find his focus or niche until his late 20’s.

    So, useless BFA degrees, coupled with overwhelming student loans, are more individual, personal choices, having little to nothing to do with noxious forces on Wall Street It’s the same with much of the displaced anger being generated by this current movement of the disillusioned…….

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 14

  109. James H says:

    Doug, I think you’re rushing to judgment on the protesters. They’re unfocused, largely street-theater-oriented, and agendaless … for now. A political movement takes time to incubate; this one has only had a few weeks. It may turn into something greater … or it may not.

    The Tea Party turned into something greater thanks to some alchemy of passion, political acumen, organization, and a constituency. The ironic postmodern “Rally to Restore Sanity” “movement” went nowhere because it lacked much of the above. So far, OWS has passion and a (small) constituency. We’ll see if it has the rest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  110. DMan says:

    You gotta love a libertarian who thinks people should STFU when the system is rigged against them.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  111. john personna says:

    The college loan bubble is part of it, but when under-30 unemployment is at a 60 year high(!) it sure isn’t all of it. As much as I argued against low-returns degrees, we can’t explain the unemployment of the whole cohort that way.

    You need to put the parallel threads together for context. I won’t link these headlines, lest I go over the limit and get tripped in the spam filter, but you can Google them:

    – U.S. Median Income Falls in 35 States
    – Poverty Rate Increases in 46 States‎
    – Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit
    – Income inequality explodes

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  112. WR says:

    @anjin-san: Sure, right between Pirates 3 and 4.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  113. legion says:

    @jan:

    So, useless BFA degrees, coupled with overwhelming student loans, are more individual, personal choices, having little to nothing to do with noxious forces on Wall Street

    Indeed, Jan. How dare people attempt to make a living wage doing things they actually like or have a talent for, rather than just pursuing the highest-paying fields. Heck, let’s just outlaw anything except business degrees – that’s all America needs to get out of this slump: more greed-headed businessmen!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  114. john personna says:

    @Alex Knapp, @legion:

    There might have been a point where we thought 20th century prosperity had made the “starving artist” a historical anachronism … but no, I don’t think we ever got there.

    And of course, when the 21st century’s Great Recession pulls the carpet from under a generation, it hits the artists that much harder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  115. Fiona says:

    @Doug:

    The key, Nikki, is getting the government out of the way by reforming the tax code, getting entitlements under control, and cutting spending.

    The thing is all of these things could have been in place during the Bush administration and it still wouldn’t have prevented the 2008 crash and the lackluster recovery. Canadian banks remained healthy during the period when American banks were falling apart and required a massive taxpayer bailout to remain afloat. Why? Regulation that prevented them from speculating in the kind of derivative crap and mortgage-backed securities US banks gorged on. Leveraging killed off Lehman Brothers and would have killed off the other major investment banks if the government hadn’t stepped in.

    Moreover, none of the steps mentioned above would have prevented the housing bubble and the creation of the false sense of wealth it brought along with it. Yeah, we need to reform our byzantine tax code and revise entitlements a la Bowles-Simpson, but doing all those things will not solve our current set of problems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  116. jan says:

    @James H:

    The Tea Party turned into something greater thanks to some alchemy of passion, political acumen, organization, and a constituency.

    The Teas’ original formation and means of expression was to question the political elite in townhall meetings and through larger rallies across the country and in DC. However, they did not disrupt other people’s lives, stage sit-ins or close off bridges, streets or government buildings to vocalize these government grievances, unlike what ‘Occupy Wall Street’ groups are doing.

    I also think the demands of the teas are aimed at decreasing the role and grip government has on people’s lives and freedoms However, the social progressives, involved in this latest Wall Street movement, want to increase the role and grip of government in order to enact policies which cap wealth and involuntarily redistribute it to others.

    How successful this latest movement will be primarily depends on how well it is perceived by the public at large. So far blustering union protests, bloated pensions weakening city budgets, along with misdirected entitled youth doesn’t fly too well with many out there. Theatrics may play well with the idle audiences found in bigger cities. But, it goes flat in the rust belt, working communities which are scattered across this country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

  117. jan says:

    @legion:

    Heck, let’s just outlaw anything except business degrees

    People can choose what ever major they want. But, in doing so, in free societies, there are no guarantees that such a major will be able to provide a living wage. After all, some kinds of work are in more demand than others, and simply provide more useful service than others.

    I guess, though, what you want are blanket guarantees for everyone, based on the right to do what they want to do and get paid what they deem they deserve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

  118. WR says:

    @jan: “Out here?” “The rust belt?” Have you forgotten where you pretend to live? Last time out it was Sonoma County. If you’re actually in Sonoma, why don’t you walk down the street and ask the first dozen people what they think of the Tea Party and OWS. While you’re at it, you might try asking them where they come down on the choice between slashing teachers’ pay and benefits versus keeping taxes low on the top one percent. I think you’ll find you’re in a minority of one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  119. Racehorse says:

    Many major news carriers have reported the conditions at the protest site: horrible odor from the garbage and litter, sanitary conditions non existent, smell of drugs, beer bottles everywhere, everyone is usually on their laptops and ipods (if they are so bad off, where do they get the money for food, computers, and $500 cell phones), and many instances of obscene behavior. This is just a huge drug festival where everyone just wants to have a good time. Evidently Columbia University must be on fall break. It is time for the mayor to clean this mess up. Guiliani would have stopped this the first day. Think how much this is costing the taxpayers of NYC. Most of these people are espousing socialism and marxism. They state that they are “entitled” to free education, housing, and health care. My parents and I had to work for these things. We did not demand that the government give these to us by using taxpayers money. These young hooligans need to clean themselves up and get back to school. Their parents need to go in there and get them back home to to their dorms.
    This has resulted in one totally unexpected reaction: increased support for Wall Street.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  120. WR says:

    @jan: Nope. We want a minimum safety net of health insurance and unemployment insurance so that Americans can pursue their dreams — entrepeneurial or otherwise — without the fear of being completely ruined by failure. You know, the society that built the greatest middle class in the world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  121. michael reynolds says:

    Doug has of course focused on “kids.” But what I see is a comment thread full of middle-aged, successful people who agree with those “kids.”

    That’s what worries Doug. That’s why he obsessively tweets and posts on this. He’s in full libertarian ideological meltdown.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  122. garretc says:

    “The Teas’ original formation and means of expression was to question the political elite in townhall meetings and through larger rallies across the country and in DC. However, they did not disrupt other people’s lives, stage sit-ins or close off bridges, streets or government buildings to vocalize these government grievances, unlike what ‘Occupy Wall Street’ groups are doing.”
    -jan

    It’s probably worth noting here that the Tea Party platform, while espousing the desire to “take back our country”, etc. is really very much in line with the overall political trends since, say, the 1980s, if not before. Taxes have been on the decline, industries are being privatized, multinational corporations are successfully stripping away regulations and socialism in much of the world, so on and so forth. You don’t necessarily have to throw a wrench in the gears of the machine if it’s already driving in the direction you want it to go. It’s when you want to make it stop and change direction when you need to cause disruptions if you want anything to happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  123. michael reynolds says:

    @Racehorse:
    That’s parody, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  124. michael reynolds says:

    @WR:
    Hey, get it straight: Jan has conquered the limits of the space-time continuum and can exist simultaneously in however many locations she needs to make her ludicrous arguments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  125. john personna says:

    Boing boing links to an Interactive map of Occupy Wall Street protests. It seems like a lot of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  126. Nikki says:

    However, they did not disrupt other people’s lives, stage sit-ins or close off bridges, streets or government buildings to vocalize these government grievances, unlike what ‘Occupy Wall Street’ groups are doing.”
    -jan

    No, the Tea Partiers were much more clever than that. They brought guns with live ammo to the public square.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  127. concreteblue says:

    Wow. So ONE post on the website with suggestions by ONE poster is held up as the “Demands” that the WHOLE group want, and this disingenuous ploy is then flogged to death by the CONservative faction of the corporate state. Fn brilliant. Your intellectual honesty is only eclipsed by your malicious ignorance. I will be willing to bet that in time a few well-thought out demands will be in place. Perhaps ending corporate personhood? Public financing of political campaigns? Ending the “Carried interest” rule, as well as the capital gains discount? Why don’t we discuss the pros and cons of ideas, instead of confusing the map with the territory?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  128. john personna says:

    Interesting, from the above mentioned map:

    Libertarians Occupy Coachella Valley

    It is from Reason magazine no less, and begins:

    Jayel Aheram, a libertarian and anti-war activist, gave the final speech at yesterday’s “Occupy Coachella Valley” event. It featured one of the shortest lists of demands I’ve heard thus far: “End the corporatism, end the wars, and END THE FED.”

    Ah well, I’m sure it is just a “tantrum.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  129. john personna says:

    @Nikki:

    No, the Tea Partiers were much more clever than that. They brought guns with live ammo to the public square.

    You should know better ;-). Happy people changing is “mob rule.” Sullen gun owners is “democracy.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  130. jan says:

    @WR:

    …“Out here?” “The rust belt?” Have you forgotten where you pretend to live?

    With regularity you distort what others say.

    …doesn’t fly too well with many out there.

    ‘Here’ is a proximal term. ‘There’ is a distal term.

    Where I live I know I am in the minority. But, I am not so full of myself as to think the whole country is as disillusioned as many who live here in CA. The ‘there’ part of the country has a different work ethic than the ‘here’ part, unfortunately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  131. JKB says:

    @Alex Knapp:

    Nobody thinks they’re owed a living. What they want is the opportunity to get a job. Just the opportunity.

    WR has already negated your assertion. Or do you consider demanding others paying for healthcare and unemployment insurance so they people can pursue their dreams as not owed a living?

    Still, given the current economic situation, it is odd that the protesters aren’t demanding a streamlining of regulations and reduction in fees so they could create their own opportunities through their own business. Or is it just to wait and beg for a job from the evil corporations they are protesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  132. jan says:

    @Nikki:

    No, the Tea Partiers were much more clever than that. They brought guns with live ammo to the public square.

    I never heard of such an incident with any tea gathering. And, if you can find one, it will be an isolated one, and maybe one that is misreported. It’s just like the signs that were supposed to be at tea rallies. A total fabrication to discredit this group. And, the few that were photographed were later found to be ones brought in by outsiders, as a set-up, to sully the teas name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

  133. john personna says:

    @jan:

    Here, let me google that for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  134. Nikki says:

    Hmmm….college students unable to find jobs in a depressed economy with soaring food prices, begin a series of demonstrations throughout major cities. In Tunisia, it took the self-immolation of one man to finally break the dam. Is that what we need to happen here in America…?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  135. concreteblue says:

    @Jan: Only watch FOX, huh? “A total fabrication to discredit this group. And, the few that were photographed were later found to be ones brought in by outsiders, as a set-up, to sully the teas name. ”
    Nice parroting of the FOX line…unfortunately, it isn’t remotely true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  136. jan says:

    @Racehorse:

    Many major news carriers have reported the conditions at the protest site: horrible odor from the garbage and litter, sanitary conditions non existent, smell of drugs, beer bottles everywhere, everyone is usually on their laptops and ipods .

    Along with expectations of cradle to grave financial support, these protesters will also expect others to clean up their mess, after they leave, when it becomes too ‘cold’ out there on the streets, their electronics don’t work any more, or they just become bored with the entire event. I heard a news snippet today that some of these people were in a muddle about whether to make their own sleeping bags or reward the capitalistic system by ‘buying’ them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

  137. Nikki says:

    @jan: Ok…you really are a parody, aren’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  138. jan says:

    @concreteblue: @concreteblue:

    Only watch FOX, huh?

    Can’t you be a little more creative than that tired line? Guess what…I rarely watch cable news, don’t listen to Limbaugh either (another favorite of those who have nothing to say). Some liberal stances are so obviously wrong that it doesn’t take the interpretation of conservative or liberal media to influence whether it’s a negative or positive approach…..it’s called coming to conclusions by common sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  139. john personna says:

    Wow, just 3 days ago, in these pages I said “700 is in the grand scheme of things, nutthin’” and “wake me when it’s 10,000.”

    I am hearing reports that it is 10,000 in NY today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  140. Nikki says:

    @john personna: I wish that app would do Google Images show we could show jan all the pictures. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  141. Tlaloc says:

    Someone needs to tell them that their little protest isn’t going to do a darn thing to change their personal economic situation not matter how “good” it makes them feel.

    Gosh if only someone would have told blacks that we could have skipped the whole civil rights messiness!

    Sometimes protests really do work. Particularly when they tap into a lot of anger among a lot of people. Just ask Louis XVI.

    And we even have Erick Erickson volunteering to play the part of Marie Antoinette: the tool speaks

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  142. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug

    That you’ve again argued tax reform and austerity will improve economic performance tells me you suffer from a closed mind. There is no, I repeat zero empirical evidence either of these actions will be economically beneficial. Find me one country embracing austerity experiencing any economic growth. Greece and Ireland are the proof in the pudding that austerity under the current economic conditions will produce a counter-intuitive result by worsening their deficits. Yes, you read that right, spending cuts can and are causing deficits to rise.

    You’ve made very clear you will reject any evidence which conflicts with your ideology, but then you’re the same man who made the claim that jobs in government literally do not exist because, “government doesn’t create jobs”. I’ve often disagreed with you but never before considered you intellectually dishonest.

    Such a waste.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  143. WR says:

    @jan: “I heard a news snippet.” Gee, wonder where you and Racisthorse keep hearing these fascinating snippets?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  144. jan says:

    @john personna:

    The increases in the Wall Street movement has largely been due to this:

    Thousands of union workers joined protesters in downtown Manhattan Wednesday for Occupy Wall Street’s largest rally yet against corporate greed.

    Members of the city’s biggest labor unions put on their marching boots and picked up banners to walk in solidarity with the hundreds of people who have camped out in the Financial District for more than two weeks

    When various interest groups are added to the event it will become larger…at least, for a while.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  145. WR says:

    @JKB: All I want is what every other first world nation provides their citizens — because in those countries the people banded together and decided that everyone should be entitled to a certain minimum way of life, even if that meant sacrificing the dream of shovelling the country’s entire wealth at a handful of individuals. I realize that libertarians are nothing but perpetual adolescents whose entire political philosophy consists of screaming “mine! mine! mine!” but adults learn it’s better to live in a country without extremes of wealth and poverty, even if they have to give up their dream of being able to buy and sell everyone else there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  146. WR says:

    @jan: And yet magically your common sense answers inevitably use exactly the same words as Fox and Rush, to which you never listen. I guess you think you’re fooling somebody, but I can’t imagine who.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  147. Lit3Bolt says:

    Every young generation thinks it invented sex, and every older generation thinks it invented hard work, thrift, and elbow grease.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  148. WR says:

    @jan: “Various interest groups,” eh? Tell me, exactly which groups of American citizens should we not listen to, in the world according to Jan? Whose interests should always be ignored. Clearly you put union members and the unemployed in that camp. Pretty sure government employees go there. Probably anyone who actually does work for a living. Brown people, black people, gay people.

    Who gets listened to in Jan world? Just gun nuts and frightened seniors.

    Tell me, Jan, do you agree with the congressman from Iowa who today lamented the days when only male landowners were allowed to vote?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  149. john personna says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    As you may have seen:

    IMF warns that countries may need to reverse cuts

    Europe’s stronger economies should avoid imposing drastic budget cuts at the expense of growth, a report by the International Monetary Fund has said.

    If things worsen in the UK, Germany or France, they should “consider delaying” cuts, because they can borrow “at historically low” interest rates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  150. john personna says:

    @jan:

    I did link to you a Libertarian joiner above, and I linked yesterday that Ron Paul was a supporter.

    It’s not so simple that it is just left wing special interests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  151. john personna says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Every young generation thinks it invented sex, and every older generation thinks it invented hard work, thrift, and elbow grease.

    Heh, yeah. And when times are good it’s that much easier for the young to blow off the grumbles of the old.

    Harder when you have to move back in with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  152. G.A.Phillips says:

    You gotta love a libertarian who thinks people should STFU when the system is rigged against them.

    The system is rigged against communists and fake a$$ zombies!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  153. Ben Wolf says:

    @john personna: I sincerely hope Germany has already learned its lesson. Its economy was humming right along at 2 – 3% growth with the 2009 stimulus. In late 2010 they withdrew their stimulus, and as of the 2nd quarter of this year economic growth fell to zero.

    There are a number od young people whom I care about, who graduated from university last year. They’re working $8 per hour jobs (or less) and counting themselves lucky because nearly 80% of students graduating that year moved back in with their parents due to lack of work. They didn’t live beyond their means, or take out mortgages, or financialize the economy, but they’re bearing the brunt of the sufferring for their elders’ stupidity. Despite Doug’s inferrence there’s a tremendous amount government can do to get the economy back on track and create jobs, but unfortunately our politicians misunderstand economics as badly as Doug does, assuming he’s intentionally ignorant and not dishonest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  154. jan says:

    @WR:

    Seriously, WR, you interpret comments and attribute their sourcing as you see fit. It does no good to refute your stuff, because you’re simply argumentive, and only listen to your own words and judgments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  155. jan says:

    @john personna:

    It’s not so simple that it is just left wing special interests.

    I wouldn’t really call them left-wing special interest groups as much as a combination of leftist leaning groups, university students (which are idealistic and liberal), labor and public sector groups. You’re right in that it is ‘growing,’ and with additions to their throngs, more coverage by the news media it will continue to gain momentum until interest wanes and goes elsewhere.

    While I support protest, I see this current one being more akin to what has gone on in Europe, following austarity measures. In doing so, I didn’t see any good that came from those gatherings that turned into riots and violence. The big picture, all over the world, is a shortage of money and jobs squeezing in on the benefits promised to people. All these societal variables are at odds with each other. IMO, taxation does not create more jobs or improve the economy. All it does is tap into the resources of people who have money and pass it around to those that don’t. It’s basically a short-term solution to a long term problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  156. john personna says:

    BTW OTB, since “you can find guns and racists at any protest,” isn’t it about time you found some at the OWS?

    lolz

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  157. john personna says:

    Ooooh, Ben Bernanke on OWS:

    BERNANKE: I would just say very generally, I think people are quite unhappy with the state of the economy and what’s happening. They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess, and they’re dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington. And at some level, I can’t blame them. Certainly, 9 percent unemployment and very slow growth is not a good situation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  158. Ben Wolf says:

    @john personna:

    BTW OTB, since “you can find guns and racists at any protest,” isn’t it about time you found some at the OWS?

    If that’s original John, I’m impressed. Best quote of the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  159. jan says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Every young generation thinks it invented sex, and every older generation thinks it invented hard work, thrift, and elbow grease.

    Actually that is very true, and just shows you how cycles, within generations, keep repeating themselves.

    @john personna:

    Heh, yeah. And when times are good it’s that much easier for the young to blow off the grumbles of the old.

    Harder when you have to move back in with them.

    That is layering insult upon injury, to move back in with your parents!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  160. WR says:

    @jan: So how much good have you seen from European austerity measures? The big bankers are getting their asses saved, and meanwhile the austere economies are tanking. Austerity is a fraud.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  161. jan says:

    @WR:

    Nothing is working at the moment, WR. It seems that European austerity measures were applied too late. Greece will probably default, and then we’re see what happens after that. In the meantime, the U.S. is heading in that direction with it’s rising deficit and muggy, slow economy.

    One facet that I do agree with the social progressives on is that a big disparity of wealth between the classes, with a shrinking middle class, is a recipe for disaster. I just don’t see reducing that disparity, though, by jacking up federal taxes on the rich, as being the end-all-be-all antidote.

    Restructuring our taxation system, eliminating a variety of deductions, spreading out the tax base more, reformatting our SS, medicare and health care system, so it meets and fits a broader category of needs, is a generalized direction that I think merits exploration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  162. JKB says:

    @jan:

    I know, isn’t WR that way. He was just saying we should provide free healthcare and unemployment insurance so people could follow their dreams but then asserts that to provide those things others must give up their dreams of acquiring wealth and enjoy the success of their hard work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  163. Barb Hartwell says:

    I do not know if the protests will provide a positive outcome, but I applaud their efforts. We are a nation hurting and we need to stand unified as do all unions to get the word out. It makes people feel better when they are among others who feel the same as them. We can console each other We are all ages and have all different education levels and backgrounds and we will stand together..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  164. john personna says:

    @jan:

    It seems that European austerity measures were applied too late.

    That sentence works as a tactic, in argument, but it doesn’t actually work in economics at all, does it?

    “Austerity” means clamping spending down to hardship. When would you have them do that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  165. Ben Wolf says:

    It seems that European austerity measures were applied too late.

    .

    This is the new meme, huh? The right is now going to claim Europe is faltering not because austerity is counter-productive, but because austerity was too late. I’ll wait while you explain the mechanism whereby timing dictates whether spending cuts are helpful or not during a recession.

    Jan, you don’t understand economics. You don’t. You can either continue to mistake ignorance for wisdom, or you can acknowledge it and try to learn something but these foolish, fact free opinions are making you look silly to those who actually devote serious time to studying the subject.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  166. john personna says:

    @jan:

    I’ll also say that “US = Greece” is economics for imbeciles.

    Basically on any “to GDP” ratio we are in another world. The only reason right wingers like the Greek comparison is that it is scary, and it gives them a little jolt to the amygdala.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  167. John Cole says:

    I’ve just updated the Balloon Juice Lexicon. The term “Glibertarian” will now be directed to this post.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  168. @John Cole:

    Yawn

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18

  169. racehorse says:

    @WR: CBS news on line was the source of some of the descriptions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  170. anjin-san says:

    @ Jan

    Can’t you be a little more creative than that tired line?

    Can’t YOU be a little more creative? I mean, the way you have mastered cut and paste technology is impressive, but do you have anything to offer beyond warmed over right wing talking points?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  171. bob & babs says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “using government for their own ends” is not separate from “the government”, they’re not two different things..that is the problem…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  172. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, despite a lot of the snark you’re being subjected to right now, I do appreciate many of your posts. At least you attempt to be serious, unlike Dodd.

    However, I have to agree with the many commenters who take issue with your stance here, in particular, this one:

    What I don’t see, however, is a coherent message from these people. All see is resentment and anger and the idea that they didn’t get something they were entitled to. Yea, things stink right now but how is engaging in ridiculous street theater going to change that?

    Why is it that when 900 Tea Partiers show up, we’re all supposed to genuflect to them and take them seriously, but when tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters–or even 80,000 protestors in Wisconsin–show up and bang a drum, why, they’re just dirty hippies who should be grateful for the little they have? Why are they uniquely unserious? Is it because they’re mostly young and have Hollywood support and are not old and scared?

    I mean, seriously, the Tea Party has an even less coherent message–and they even looked at least as dumb (maybe even dumber) with their colonial dress up costumes and tea bags hanging from their hats and their “Keep Government Out of My Medicare” signs as the hippies banging drums or twenty-somethings dressed like zombies that you characterize as “entitled” and “ridiculous.” Even the Tea Party name is based on a mistaken view of the actual Tea Party events.

    Yet, tell me, did you or anyone else act perplexed about the Tea Party message? Did you spend post after post talking about how incoherent the Tea Partiers message was? Did you continually remark about how ridiculous they looked? I don’t recall too many posts on that.

    Your position here seems almost willfully naive and dismissive, particularly given the fact that much of what these OWS people protest is rooted in real events that hurt many real Americans, and not based on things that didn’t even happen nor some nostalgic view of what American never was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  173. WR says:

    @racehorse: As filtered through your own unique perceptions. Give me a link or leave me alone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  174. WR says:

    @JKB: Apparently you can’t tell the difference between “acquiring wealth” and “acquiring enough wealth to be able to buy 99% of the country.” I’m all in favor of wealth. I’m opposed to feudalism and serfdom, which seem to be the states you desire for this nation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  175. Damocles says:

    @Abdul:
    I have a better idea

    make liberal arts MORE expensive, and the sciences LESS, so that kids have an incentive to do something PRODUCTIVE with their degree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  176. WR says:

    @john personna: Forget about Greece, look at the UK. Cameron’s government has imposed harsh austerity measures — well, at least on the poor and the middle class; the bankers are doing just fine — and the economy has grown something like half a percent in a year. And they keep saying that austerity leads to growth, when all it’s doing is strangling their economy.

    But Jan can’t acknowledge that, because she lives in a world without evidence, just ideology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  177. An Interested Party says:

    Look, Alex. We already have one children’s book author on the site. Save the fantasy portrayal.

    This from the same person who loves to tell the rest of us how much money he supposedly has and what a Master of the Universe he supposedly is…the works of Michael Reynolds seem most realistic by comparison…

    When you over-use and scapegoat a single person, group, event etc. too much, it eventually loses it’s flavor and credibility.

    Oh, like the way you and your fellow travelers view the President…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  178. Ben Wolf says:

    @WR: Apparently neither can Doug. It’s fascinating to see a person proud of their immunity to reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  179. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Reason? Doug don’t need no stinkin’ reason. He’s got his battered sophomore year copy of Atlas Shrugged.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  180. michael reynolds says:

    I believe we’re getting close to the OTB record for comments. 178 comments from mostly middle-class, middle-aged people who think Doug’s wildly off-base with his “dirty hippies,” reaction.

    I kind of think maybe there’s something more going on with Occupy Wall Street than Doug has figured out.

    Come gather round, Dougie, wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown, and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone, if your time to you is worth savin’, then you’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, cause the times they are a changin.’

    Feel free to quote me on that.

    You conservatives always figure out what’s right. About 20 years too late. How about you break the mold, Doug, and figure it out early rather than having to play “Me too!” in 20 years?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  181. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds: Libertarian = Sociopath – that be Doug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  182. @shoshido says:

    I actually don’t blame the kids. Their parents say, “Study hard and listen to your professors,” and they do that. But then the colleges encourage or even require that they take all kinds of classes that are just a waste of tuition: literature classes reading novels they could as easily enjoy in a book group, sociology classes that would be more accurately labelled Marxist studies (not kidding: Marx is the founder of sociology), minority studies classes that aim to replace minority kids’ individual ambitions with identity politics, and community studies classes where students actually pay tuition to get academic credits for volunteering at non-profits that would gladly let them give their time for free. What I’m saying is, academia today is largely a works program for the faculty and administrators employed by it; and only incidentally a place where promising young people might invest time and money in themselves and see a return on that investment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  183. @shoshido says:

    @Damocles:

    The problem is that sciences are actually more expensive to teach, and science faculty more expensive to recruit. The dirty little secret of colleges is that social studies, though often useless, are academia’s cash cows. Faculty are plentiful and cheap as dirt, and no expensive lab equipment is necessary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  184. Jay says:

    Clearly Doug has touched a nerve. I’m not sure why his point is so controversial. Protesters are annoying in general. The war protesters were annoying. The Tea Party protesters were annoying. Now the OWS protesters are annoying. The average protester is a little angrier, crazier, and mob-ish than the average person who stayed at home. Keep in mind that the original protesters were hipsters from manhattan or brooklyn. they are not poor or down-trodden. however, as unsympathetic as they may be (especially to those of us who have lived in the northeast and dealt with them):

    (1) if they can force the Gov to hold Wall Street accountable, that will be a good thing

    (2) I think it’s more useful to focus on the fact that the NYPD, likely at the request of Wall Streeters, has been violent towards them and that this is a huge 1st amendment issue

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  185. Brian Garst says:

    Right on, Doug. They’re nothing but a bunch of economically illiterate, spoiled children who refuse to take responsibility for their choices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  186. yeah right says:

    astroturf this time

    this is obama’s meme to distract the issues

    he doesnt want to be the issue

    he instigates these and tries to ride in as the healer again

    a sham

    a shame

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  187. yeah right says:

    e will see many more of these before the election

    obama’s intifada

    community organizer/alinsky student is happy this tested positively with focus group

    pure deception, pure scum, sorry

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  188. anjin-san says:

    Protests can be annoying. I went to see Foreigner & Journey tonight, there were tea partiers protesting outside because they heard one of the bands was taking jobs away from real Americans…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  189. john personna says:

    @Brian Garst:

    Right on, Doug. They’re nothing but a bunch of economically illiterate, spoiled children who refuse to take responsibility for their choices.

    I had hoped this was parody, but I checked Brian’s site and it looks not. Let’s review the threads:

    – Under 30 unemployment at a 60 year high
    – U.S. Median Income Falls in 35 States
    – Poverty Rate Increases in 46 States‎
    – Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit
    – Income inequality explodes
    – Top tax rates at a historic low

    Basically Brian missed the last 10 years. He thinks under-30s are living in the 90’s, and enjoying the same opportunities the previous cohort did. He’s really offering us a philosophy and solutions matched to that environment, and not this one.

    Buy hey, a lot of people do that, right? They come of age in a political environment and then treat the world as if it works that way for the rest of their lives.

    You need a little flexibility to actually match your thinking to new conditions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  190. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I believe we’re getting close to the OTB record for comments. 178 comments from mostly middle-class, middle-aged people who think Doug’s wildly off-base with his “dirty hippies,” reaction.

    I suppose we’ve been trolled. I mean, the theme of the protests is right out there, that the top 1% have enjoyed a decade of expanding wealth and power, even as the 99% stagnated. But that theme has not been addressed directly at OTB. We’ve had sniping from the edges. It’s been about messy protests, bridge blockage, temper tantrums.

    So, really a lot of people comment and up-vote that OTB has missed the theme … except they probably didn’t miss.

    I think they turned a blind eye.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  191. jpe says:

    Extraordinarily well put.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  192. samwide says:

    I trust everybody notices that for a member of the Church of the Libertarian Transmogrification, Doug sounds an awful lot like a fat-assed, Republican Rotarian in some small-town backwater in the 50s railing against rock-and-roll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  193. AWS says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Besides, when you’re in a bad situation, there’s no point in worrying how you got there the key is finding a way out.

    That is quite possibly the most shortsighted, ignorant statement possible.

    Imagine it this way: When an alcoholic is in a bad situation, there’s no point in worrying how he got there, the key is finding a way out.

    Part of “finding a way out” is dealing with the things that got you there in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  194. TB says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    And you forget, Doug, that this is a nascent movement, possibly coming into its own. And while you are crowing about the differences between the dirty hippies and the true patriotic Tea Party, remember it was the spring and summer of 2009 where the Tea Party held rallies and town hall demonstrations that got its start; they didn’t start fielding candidates until a year later. So before you become so dismissive of them, why don’t you see where it leads first?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  195. TB says:

    @yeah right:

    you’re a real poet, but you didn’t know it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  196. TB,

    Where in my post did I say one word about the Tea Party, or compare it to #OWS? I didn’t, and if you’ve read what I’ve written you’d know I’ve been very critical of the Tea Parry over the last two years.

    I am taking the #OWS people on their own, based on their own words. And, as someone once said about Oakland, there appears to be no there there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  197. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    as someone once said about Oakland, there appears to be no there there.

    That was your early opinion, and you’re sticking to it, even as the thing grows.

    It just racked up an endorsement in the opinion pages of the Financial Times.

    Not something you’d expect on day one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  198. samwide says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And, as someone once said about Oakland, there appears to be no there there.

    I dunno. “The banks got bailed out, we got nothin’ ” resonates with a lot of folks. A lot of folks.

    Critic to guy in feathers and warpaint: “And just what the hell do you think you accomplished by tossing a bunch of tea into the water? Besides dirtying up the harbor, I mean.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  199. Rob in CT says:

    Overheard yesterday afternoon before I left the office, from our resident wingnut:

    “Soros-Funded, Obama-Funded Communists!”

    That will be the meme from the Right.

    He’s pretty much a real-life version of Jan in that he unfailingly regurgitates the RW meme-du-jour.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  200. JKB says:

    Well, given there is no evidence this protest seeks to improve the ability of the poor and downtrodden to compete to produce things of value in a free market by improving the environment for business creation, I must surmise this observation is much in evidence:

    Throughout socialistic literature there is the well-known insistence upon the materialistic interpretation of history – a conception based upon a hunger for things of material enjoyment, and for more and more of them. Fundamentally, they have as much centred their aim on an increase in material possessions as the veriest Napoleon of finance in Wall Street. An existence in which the acquisition of more material wealth is of very large – if not of chief – importance is in the thoughts of both. The ends sought for by the socialists are not, in effect, different from those of the mass of non-socialists who are striving to acquire wealth in order to have ease and leisure for enjoyment. Agreeing in their aims, their differences – which seem to most persons to place them as wide apart as the poles – really consist in choosing different means of accomplishing their ends. The ordinary hustler for wealth, without or within the stock market, may have no definite moral restraint except the fear of the law (in fact, he may even contrive to escape the law), and he accepts existing institutions; but he plans to gain his end, if honest, by productive processes and trade; or, if dishonest, by a thousand ingenious ways of transferring to himself the wealth created by others. On the other hand, the socialist proposes to overturn industrial competition and the institution of private property in the hope – vaguely outlined and not economically analyzed – of transferring the use of wealth from those who have to those who have not. p613-614

    “Socialism a Philosophy of Failure”, Laughlin, J.L., Scribner’s magazine, 1887

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  201. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    There can be more than one cause in the world, you can be both for bottom-up job creation and against government by and for the 1%.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  202. Neo says:

    We tell young folks: The only way to succeed in America is to have a college education.

    We jack up college tuition because of the increased demand.

    Years ago, former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett said that the Education/Industrial Complex can absorb as much money as the government or private sector can throw at it.

    Start with a financial aid system that requires that you tell them about every asset you or your family own. They can tweak your loan/grant/payment plan to get every last dollar you own. This makes for an “inverted market” where you have absolutely no bargaining power.
    Now combine that with the ignorance of those going to college after degrees that just don’t pay in either the government or private sector, and you have a “perfect storm” to suck every dollar out of you and leave you holding nothing but your ….

    Oddly enough, the banks (and Wall Street) have been taken out at least part of this loop by President Obama already. All new federally guaranteed loans are now administered by the federal government and not the banks. This may not help with the older loans, and isn’t helping with the newer loans either (especially when the government can go after any money you make even better than the banks could).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  203. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: They’re not saying that, they’re pointing out that you’re full of it:

    “The first thought I had when I looked through the Tumblr account is that these people can’t be doing all that bad if they’ve got access to the internet and a computer with a webcam necessary to create the posting that they put up at Tumblr. ”

    Note – this could be done at a local library.

    “In any event, though, what strikes me more than anything else is that alot of these people are frustrated 20-somethings who have gotten out of college and found that the road to the good life isn’t quite as smooth as they thought it would be. Of course, things are more difficult today than they were ten years ago but that doesn’t mean they were easy back then.”

    The last time the employment situation was this bad, your father was a gleam in your grandfather’s eye. Do you really not know the current situation? I’m not talking about memorizing daily econostats, just knowing whether it’s summer or winter.

    “Establishing yourself in life is always a challenge, especially if you run up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt without really thinking about how you’re going to pay it off.”

    See my previous point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  204. anjin-san says:

    there appears to be no there there.

    Finally we get to a subject you know something about…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  205. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “legion,

    Someone needs to tell them that their little protest isn’t going to do a darn thing to change their personal economic situation not matter how “good” it makes them feel. ”

    The elite media and right-wing bloggers already are. And do have any basis for what you’re saying, other than what Fox News says?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  206. KVA says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Germany. Germany told Obama to eff of when he suggested his moronic Keynesian plan. They went full on austerity and have experienced actual growth when the rest of us have been dragged down by the Keynesian idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  207. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “WR,

    I’ve been pretty critical of the Tea Party so you must’ve missed that.
    ReplyReply

    Hot debate. What do you think?”

    Bull. Show me your posts from ~April 2009 talking about these people in the same tone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  208. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “These protests are a waste of time. ”

    You keep saying that and saying that and saying that – without backing it up.

    And making voting impossible is not necessary – just make it harder, and shave the numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  209. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “What I don’t see, however, is a coherent message from these people. All see is resentment and anger and the idea that they didn’t get something they were entitled to. Yea, things stink right now but how is engaging in ridiculous street theater going to change that? ”

    Because you’re not looking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  210. Eric Florack says:

    Whatever this protest is, it’s not grass roots.
    My comments and some research on the matter are here:
    http://bitsblog.florack.us/?p=34462

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  211. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Comparing zombies eating Monopoly money to the Civil Rights movement is so silly and pathetic it isn’t even funny ”

    Doug, do you really think that the people like you were saying anything complementary about the Civil Rights protesters back in the day?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  212. Ben Wolf says:

    @KVA: You just told a lie.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/16/us-germany-gdp-idUSTRE77F0Z920110816

    Have a nice day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  213. Barry says:

    @Andy: “The early Tea Party protests were equally silly “street theater” full of heat with little light. ”

    And worse – the Tea Party was a bunch of Republicans who, in the still-smoking rubble of what the GOP had gleefully done, stage a Leninist false-front movement, pretending that it wasn’t *them* who had just trashed the place.

    The dishonesty was staggering in the amount and sheer gall.

    Let’s see if Doug links to his posts back then, where he was at least as scathing as now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  214. Barry says:

    @Steven Donegal: “I’m not quite sure how this is different than the early formation of the Tea Party, which, while perhaps not yet up to coherence, is at least a movement that needs to be reckoned with. ”

    It doesn’t serve the interests of the rich.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  215. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “So far, the protesters are offering more of the same policies that got is into this mess. ”

    You mean corporate corruption and unaccountability?

    Please, better lies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  216. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: So? Do you have a point?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  217. Ben Wolf says:

    Sorry if this is repetitive, but I don’t want KVA weasling out of the blatant lie he posted. In early 2009 Germany passed its largest stimulus bill in sixty years.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/topic/economic_and_financial_crisis/

    The response was strong economic growth for nearly two years. In late 2010 the stimulus expired and Germany initiated spending cuts. By the second quarter 2011 growth had fallen from nearly 3% during stimulus to 0.1% after withdrawing stimulus.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/topic/economic_and_financial_crisis/

    That’s called empirical evidence, folks. I don’t give a damn what your ideology says about government being “the problem”, the data say you need to take a second look at what you believe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  218. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “As I suspected, you, like the OWS crowd, seem to believe in the same old Keynesian nonsense ”

    Which has been correct for this crisis, while George Mason Austrian/Randism has been an abysmal failure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  219. Ben Wolf says:

    @Barry: The incredible irony of someone who knows absolutely nothing about Keynesianism dismissing it as nonsense. Nor does Doug appear to have any understanding of macroeconomics at all, but he’ll go on pretending he does.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  220. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “That’s a good point, but blaming Wall Street for the Higher Eduction Bubble seems ill-placed. ”

    Let me do some remedial education:

    Wall St crashed the global economy.

    This will cause a second decade of sh*t (after the Bush regime caused the first).
    In a twenty or thirty-year period of nastiness, a whole lot of reasonable higher education becomes a lousy investment. Just as opening a business probably would be, or buying a house at a resonable price has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  221. Barry says:

    @jan: “Yes, some on Wall Street and Corporate America make lots of money. But, so do Hollywood Actors (Johnny Depp recently admitted this), recording artists, professional athletes, writers, practically anyone in the entertainment field who has “made” it, are all paid exorbitant amounts of money compared to the rest of the population. However, these people, more often than not, are socially exonerated because they are perceived as cool, glamorous and often identify with the socially progressives themselves — making them one of their own. ”

    Or perhaps, just perhaps, because they made it honestly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  222. Barry says:

    @jan: “The Teas’ original formation and means of expression was to question the political elite in townhall meetings and through larger rallies across the country and in DC. However, they did not disrupt other people’s lives, stage sit-ins or close off bridges, streets or government buildings to vocalize these government grievances, unlike what ‘Occupy Wall Street’ groups are doing. ”

    No, the Tea Party got together after they lost an election. They weren’t holding rallies in the Bush years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  223. Barry says:

    @john personna: “There can be more than one cause in the world, you can be both for bottom-up job creation and against government by and for the 1%. ”

    Apparently this is too complex for the graduates of a certain law school to comprehend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  224. Barry says:

    @KVA: @KVA: “Germany. Germany told Obama to eff of when he suggested his moronic Keynesian plan. They went full on austerity and have experienced actual growth when the rest of us have been dragged down by the Keynesian idiots. ”

    This is a lie. Germany used massive Keynesian buffers, and did better. Now that they are actually doing austerity, things are going downhill.

    Krugman has covered this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  225. Barry says:

    @Ben Wolf: “Nor does Doug appear to have any understanding of macroeconomics at all, but he’ll go on pretending he does. ”

    He was trained at George Mason, home of Austrians and the odds and ends who specialize in (a) being wrong about facts and (b) keeping their jobs because in the end they’re socialist parasites.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  226. Ben Wolf says:

    @Barry:

    He was trained at George Mason . . .

    I wasn’t aware of that. It explains a lot, and not in a favorable manner. Apparently Doug has the exact same view of the world he learned as a college student; how it’s possible to live for years afterwards and not learn anything is beyond me, but the man has succeeded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  227. accidentalfission says:

    @WR:
    Nailed it.

    Doug says “tough luck, punk. If you were dumb enough to take out college loans, you get what you deserve. I’ve got mine.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  228. Justin says:

    My general impression of the “99%”ers is that its their own fault. I went through around ten pages of those annoying pictures, maybe three of them legitimately got screwed by life. The rest of them are all just people whining “I’m a Arts History major $50,000 in debt! Waaaaahhhh!”.

    Yeah, that’s you all damn fault for blowing $50,000 on an Arts History major. I’m working on a degree that’s actually difficult, one that I don’t particularly enjoy, and these assclowns want me to spend the rest of my life subsidizing their poor decision to party and “chase their dreams” in college. No thanks.

    Even the ones who got screwed over (cancer at 20) are fed, clothed, sheltered, and apparently have a computer and internet access. That makes them the 1% of the world, something like the .00000001% of human history.

    They aren’t the 99%. They’re the 60% that take more from income taxes than they give. The top 40% pay for everything. And they scream that the people paying for everything in society are somehow stealing from them. There’s a big difference between stealing and not giving you more than they already have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  229. john personna says:

    @Justin:

    So, under-30 unemployment is at a 60 year high. Do you think that is because an entire generation chose the wrong major?

    If so, I should have come out even more strongly against low ROI degrees, but I’m not sure that’s true. We have falling median incomes and increasing poverty at just the same time. Surely they aren’t ALL arts majors.

    (and homeless people blog all the time, from the public library)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  230. john personna says:

    @Justin:

    They aren’t the 99%. They’re the 60% that take more from income taxes than they give. The top 40% pay for everything. And they scream that the people paying for everything in society are somehow stealing from them. There’s a big difference between stealing and not giving you more than they already have.

    It’s pretty bad, but it’s not that bad. The news this week was that:

    Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit

    All it takes is one person in the house to qualify, which means that in terms of “people” it is definitely below 60%. And of course there is overlap. In those same houses there are other people who are net payers. So we know that the burden is greater than 50%.

    Still, I’ve only moved you from 60:40 to roughly 50:50. There is a problem here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  231. Ben says:

    @CJ Robinson:
    No it was the gov’t and the1993 expansion of the CRA that forced the banks to make those loans. The gov’t then used Fannie and Freddie to drive the market for those loans. Wall Street just saw a chance to make money, and like any business – took it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  232. Eric Florack says:
  233. Rob in CT says:

    There is a problem here

    Of course there is. Half the population makes jack. The top 20% own, IIRC, ~80% of everything.

    That’s going to manifest itself in unfortunate ways.

    The ranting about “you picked the wrong major!” is overdone, Justin. Seeing as you’re still working on your degree, you really don’t have much experience (no offense, and I’m not trying to shut you up by throwing that at you), but I’ve seen plenty of people with “good” degrees lose their jobs.

    And bear in mind that ~70% of the population doesn’t have a college degree. What is to be done with them?

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  234. Rob in CT says:

    Aaaand, as I predicted, the RW meme will be “SorosCommieObama.”

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  235. gVOR08 says:

    “It wasn’t Wall Street that created the monetary conditions that made the Housing bubble possible..”. Well, maybe not the “monetary” conditions per se. May I take it from that remark that you blame Alan Greenspan for the whole thing? But Wall Street with CDOs and CDSs and Countrywide certainly did contribute to the bubble.

    However, the real issue is not the bubble. The Fed thought they could deal with the fallout from the bubble, and they should have been able to. Financial crises, as opposed to recessions, are caused by only one thing. Excessive leverage. Wall Street, and the European banks, were hugely leveraged. The figure I see is 30:1 and shooting for 40. The housing market hiccuped, and the whole thing came down. The Fed doesn’t seem to have been aware of how brittle the whole thing had become.

    Wall Street spent the last couple decades building a huge, rickety house of cards. It came down,as it was bound to sometime. But all Republicans can think of is blaming whoever sneezed first, hopefully someone poor and brown.

    When your libertarian buddy Greenspan said he thought the banks could regulate themselves, why was he not laughed out of the hearing room?

    Also, please don’t use the word “entitlement” wrt/ poor, middle class, or minority people. I have never met anyone in those groups who can touch the sense of entitlement of the average wealthy conservative.

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  236. Lit3Bolt says:

    Remember kids, banks and corporations cannot fail, they can only be failed by greedy, irresponsible borrowers. There’s no such thing as a bad lender and a lender must always recoup his investment lest the world economy crash.

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  237. Eric Florack says:

    @Rob in CT: So? If you think the link is BS, disprove it.

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  238. DMan says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The New American? Really? The journal that’s published by the John Birch Society, whose founding members include Fred Koch? There’s a certain irony in your stupidity that looks to link Soros to any activity you disagree with. Look in the mirror, you’re a tool for propoganda.

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  239. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    As I said a day or two ago, we shouldn’t be surprised if money (and organization) follows the OWS protests. That’s what’s got to happen, if they aren’t going to fade away. Rich Yeselson’s four habits of highly successful social movements covers that pretty well.

    If you are going to quibble with people who called “astroturf” against the TP, it would only be about timing, and origins. Oh, and whether the grass roots kept control of their movement, or lost it.

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  240. Justin says:

    @john personna:

    Its more of a waste of money than a reason for the high unemployment. Thirty years ago, just having a college degree was pretty special. Now, pretty much everyone looking for a job has one. That communications or sociology degree is nearly worthless, even the more difficult degrees have less value. Without those useless degrees, the signs would read “unemployed” instead of “unemployed an $80,000 in debt”.

    The high unemployment among the young is more due to older workers refusing to retire and businesses being extremely risk averse right now.

    @john personna:

    I was referring to the federal income tax, where the bottom 40% not only pay nothing, they actually take a lot out. The 40-60% range barely pays any of the tax burden (less than the 20-40% bracket takes). So, I was slightly inaccurate. The bottom 40% take, the other 20% of the 60% just don’t contribute anything.

    @Rob in CT:

    I realize even a good degree isn’t a job guarantee, but it’s a whole hell of a lot better than Women’s Lit. The economy’s so crappy I don’t really expect to get a job after graduation. But I’m not going to wave around my degree screaming “See? I have it! I’m entitled to a job!”
    Still, the twenty somethings I saw posting on the 99% site? I feel pretty confident in saying they aren’t engineering students.

    I do think the people with the massive student debt have legitimate complaints. Their degrees aren’t worth anywhere near the money they paid for them, and neither was whatever knowledge they obtained. I just don’t get why they’re taking out their rage on the anonymous rich instead of the whole college system.

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  241. anjin-san says:

    Bit – I recently disproved your claim that Jerry Kellman was an “avowed communist” with two minutes on Google. Your track record for bogus claims is a very long one. Why don’t you cite some credible sources? And while you are at it, why don’t you man up and admit you lied about Kellman? Or was your statement simply made out of ignorance?

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  242. Ben Wolf says:

    @Ben: The CRA did not require a single bank to make a single loan, and only applied to 12% of banks making subprime loans.

    Stop lying.

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  243. Ben Wolf says:

    @Justin:

    I just don’t get why they’re taking out their rage on the anonymous rich instead of the whole college system.

    You don’t get it because you know nothing about how an economy works, how the banking system works, or how national income affects wages and profits. I suggest you try to learn before mouthing off, otherwise you’re just another right radical, and we’ve got plenty of those already.

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  244. john personna says:

    @Justin:

    I was referring to the federal income tax, where the bottom 40% not only pay nothing, they actually take a lot out. The 40-60% range barely pays any of the tax burden (less than the 20-40% bracket takes). So, I was slightly inaccurate. The bottom 40% take, the other 20% of the 60% just don’t contribute anything.

    Guess what?

    The bottom half is POOR. That is the reason we don’t charge them tax, and give them food stamps to boot.

    … and that is where these protests are coming from.

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  245. WR says:

    @Ben Wolf: How can you say that Justin is ignorant about how the world works. He’s partway through an undergraduate engineeering program. As several regular posters here will be happy to tell you, that gives you more knowledge than everyone else in the world combined.

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  246. Chauncey says:

    @Eric the OTB Lurker: Is that the case? Can you present articles that speak to this? Evidence? Maybe news coverage? Perhaps something other than a blog? Please.

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  247. Cargosqu says:

    So…..no one else has noticed the irony of protesters complaining about joblessness and debt marching with protesters demanding “End Capitalism NOW!”?

    No wonder these people have no jobs if this is a sample of their critical thinking skills.

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  248. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Chauncey:

    Is that the case? Can you present articles that speak to this? Evidence? Maybe news coverage? Perhaps something other than a blog? Please.

    I’m not sure what you’re asking evidence for. Normally one doesn’t have to cite evidence for things that are commonly understood and uncontroversial. I mean, seriously, have you been in a cave for the last 3 years?

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  249. DCE says:

    @john personna: “The college loan bubble is part of it, but when under-30 unemployment is at a 60 year high(!) it sure isn’t all of it. As much as I argued against low-returns degrees, we can’t explain the unemployment of the whole cohort that way.”

    Some of this high cost of higher education must be laid at the feet of government. It is government that guarantees the student loans. The banks are the ones writing them, but doing so at the behest of the government. The more money out there available for a product like a college education, the more the cost of that education is going to rise. It’s straightforward economics.

    In regards to jobs for those indebted graduates:

    When the government is sucking $1 trillion+ out of the economy every year by spending that much above what it’s taking in, you can’t tell me that doesn’t have a direct negative effect on the economy. The $878 billion stimulus plan might have worked, except the money was spent on things that had no positive effect on the economy. If every penny had been spent on infrastructure rather than bailing out state governments, adding new government jobs, and rewarding crony capitalists who supported Obama, I doubt we’d be heading back into recession (assuming we ever really got out).

    When the government puts up questionable regulatory road blocks on businesses during a deep recession, which in turn has a negative effect on those businesses, is it any wonder there aren’t more jobs being created?

    When financial regulations that are nothing more than theater, but do more to harm the very people Congress says they’re protecting, then how is that helping the economy and the creation of jobs?

    Almost everything Congress has done since 2007 and almost every action the Obama Administration has taken since 2009 in an effort to ‘help’ the economy has done just the opposite. See the pattern here?

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  250. artemis says:

    @CJ Robinson:

    Banks aren’t actually on wall street robinson. Wall Street is stock land. Banks tend to be elsewhere.

    But hey, don’t let me get in the way of your ignorance.

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  251. Katelyn says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m not sure why this one was voted down as much as it was. It’s true, the protesters need to elect people into Congress (Congress controls tax legislation) that agree with them rather than complain to Wall St. Wall St. won’t do anything to change their ways, but politicians will if you put their job in jeopardy.

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  252. Anna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Not just college graduates, if you bothered to look further through the tumblr you’ll see it’s the young and the old. This is a diverse cause where everyone can have a say though with the ultimate goal to topple the 1%. It’s about time something like this has happened, and maybe you don’t feel as strongly about this because perhaps you are part of that 1%?

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