Two Brief Observations about OWS Critiques

Well, maybe not so brief...

In reading any number of posts and comments both here at OTB (like some of the comments in this thread from a James Joyner post) and elsewhere, I am inspired to make three related observations as sort of an open letter to critics of OWS (and, really, to those who don’t understand why there a lot of people upset in general about the politico-economic circumstances of the country today).  The short version is:  dismissing all of this (both OWS itself and the general spirit that animates it) as nothing more than young whippersnappers who have Lliberal Arts degress, look down on their noses are real work, and who love themselves some hippie drum circles is to miss some radically important issues.  None of this is especially original, I suppose, but I think it bears repeating and emphasizing”:

1.  It is not clever (let alone useful) to try and characterize OWS/any young person unhappy about the state of the economy, as simply someone who either a) earned a useless degree and is now whining about the lack of jobs in said useless field, or b) someone unwilling to take a “lesser” job.  Such assertions ignore the simple fact that one of the groups hardest hit by the current recession are young people seeking to enter the workforce.  Concerns about the structure of the current economy or questions about whether the political deck is stacked in favor of specific industries and classes of people are not unwarranted.

Also:  given the jobs picture, the problem is not people being picky about the jobs they will take, it is the general lack of jobs (note the breakdown of unemployment by age here).

Are there some Fine Arts types who perhaps should have majored in something else?  Sure.  Are there people out there unwilling to take a job that they feel is “beneath” them?  Absolutely.  Are either of these factors explanations for OWS/serious and widespread concern across the country/globe.  Not at all.

As has been noted before:  there are at least three specific and important issues that cannot be dismissed by playing the Liberal Arts (if only they had majored in math!) card (which, to me, is just a more sophisticated sounding version of the Dirty Hippie card):

a.  Many of the OWS participants and their sympathizers were told that the rules were:  go to college, even it it means debt, and there will be a job for you.  This has ended up not being the case.   That this has elicited a bit of anger should not be a shock.

b.  The financial sector received a massive tax-payer funded bailout, and said sector is doing just fine now.  Of course, it was said sector that was a major participant (it not the participant) in facilitating the Great Recession in the first place.   To link this back to the first point:  part of why students have to go into debt to get a college education in the first place is because states have continually cut back suppose to colleges and universities, and therefore said schools have had to increase their tuitions to cover costs.  They are told that there is no money for things like education, yet they see the powerful financial sector getting help.  To repeat myself, that this has elicited a bit of anger should not be a shock.

The now indebted and/or unemployed graduates are being told:  it is time for austerity (and being told by one of the major political parties that tax cuts at the upper levels are the most important policy agenda item) and while there was money in the coffers to help Wall Street, there is not money for anything else.  To their point of view, the actors who cause the recession that now has them struggling to find work were helped and they are being told that there is no help for them.

2.  There is also a serious current of “kids these days” or “when I was young…” that also strikes me as analytically beside the point.  First, if you are a 30-, 40-, or 50-something who has a job, it is easy to say “in my day…”.   Further, the fact of the matter is:  it is always easy to look back on the past as another land wherein all the inhabitants did the right thing, worked hard, etc.  But of course, at best this is rose colored glasses and at worst nothing more than tautology (i.e., because you/your contemporaries turned out ok, then you all, at least retrospectively, made the right choices and did the right things, unlike, you know, these punks today).  This is reactionary fantasizing.

3.  The income inequality issue.  And, I think, it bears noting that the issue is not, per se, about simple redistribution.   The issues is a) the fact that over the last couple of decades, the amount of wealth controlled by the wealthiest has grown while other segments of the society has seen stagnation; and b) that tax policy has seen less money for investment in infrastructure and education in a way that makes it less likely for lower class persons to be upwardly mobile.  It is this latter point that is key and needs to be the focus of our national debate:  the issue is no about handouts, it is about sufficient investment in society as a general proposition.

Such is my understanding of the zeitgeist of OWS. It isn’t angry English Lit majors who refuse to work at jobs outside their fields but instead like drum circles and urban camping.  It is a lot more complicated than that and I think that those who attempt to be dismissive aren’t making a very good case for their position.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. My problem with OWS boils down to the simple fact that nothing they or the pundits sympathetic to them (i.e, Klein, Yglesias, etc) have proposed in terms of policy would do one darn thing to solve the problems they claim to have motivated them.

    And, quite honestly, it’s hard to take people who whole “consensus meetings” over drum circles all that seriously,

  2. john personna says:

    The financial sector received a massive tax-payer funded bailout, and said sector is doing just fine [with continued, more hidden, subsidies]

    The zero percent short term interest and quantitative easing benefit those with established Wall Street interests.

  3. Hey Norm says:

    As SLT said…the whole drum circle thing is not clever.
    If I am prohibited from using the term “Tea Baggers”…because of meaning others apply to it…then I would ask that “drum circles” be non grata as well as it is a gross generalization that offends me deeply.

  4. ponce says:

    And, quite honestly, it’s hard to take people who whole “consensus meetings” over drum circles all that seriously,

    Haha,

    By my last count, Doug had over 1000 anti-OWS tweets.

    http://twitter.com/#!/dmataconis

    I think you’re missing the point, Steven.

    In the end, no matter what the issue, Republicans are always the real victims.

    It’s taken McMegan and the usual Christlike suffering wingnut bloggers a while to get to this inevitable position on the OWS topic…but by god they’re here now.

  5. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    My problem with OWS boils down to the simple fact that nothing they or the pundits sympathetic to them (i.e, Klein, Yglesias, etc) have proposed in terms of policy would do one darn thing to solve the problems they claim to have motivated them.

    WTF man. We are getting leaks today that the deficit committee is going to cut Social Security by 3% (across the board?) while leaving tax levels alone. It boggles that you think OWS just has to “suggest something” at this point.

    OWS is the first, strong, negative American reaction to the “austerity in face of unemployment and inequality” plan.

  6. rodney dill says:

    Ass War?

  7. Rick Almeida says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I am not a fan of either Klein or Yglesias, but to argue that neither has put forth policy proposals regarding unemployment or income inequality, to name just two, is patently dishonest.

    Here is, for example, an Yglesias post discussing a proposal to link the tax system to the income earner’s age.

  8. @john personna:

    Then why are they playing Camper John? They are acting like silly children out on an adventure not people who are serious about politics and policy

  9. @john personna:

    Tighter Federal Reserve policies and higher interest rates would help nobody right now and, sadly, we’re at the point where there’s very little that the Fed can do

  10. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Then why are they playing Camper John? They are acting like silly children out on an adventure not people who are serious about politics and policy

    For the same reason you make zero-content comments?

  11. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Tighter Federal Reserve policies and higher interest rates would help nobody right now and, sadly, we’re at the point where there’s very little that the Fed can do

    There are alternate strategies even with the same basic rates. Much comes down the mechanism by which you choose Wall Street partners for each action. I mean, who gets to be a primary broker-dealer? Can I be one?

    But more to the point, you didn’t address my point that WS does sit at the nexus of the programs, and does profit from them. Many of the formerly failed or at-risk firms sit in the cat-bird seat.

  12. Dave Schuler says:

    I think that the outrage and complaints are legitimate. The one and only reservation I have with the OWS protests is what appears to be a general disconnect between ends and means.

  13. jan says:

    Speaking of there not being enough jobs, here is a business who had to lay off 21 workers of his 97 workers, including cutting back on his hours of doing business.

    Marc Epstein, owner of the Milk Street Cafe at 40 Wall St., said he had no choice but to let nearly a quarter of his staff go last Friday after he saw his sales drop by 30 percent in the six weeks since the protests started.

    “What are [the protesters] trying to accomplish here?” Epstein asked Monday.

    “The end result is that I and all the wonderful people who work for me are collateral damage.”

    Epstein went on to say he has about 3 weeks of staying power before he has to shut down altogether. Then there will be another 76 workers joining the ranks of the other 21 unemployed. Will these newly unemployed join the OWS movement that put them out of work?

  14. Liberty60 says:

    I am a 51 year old architect, 30 years of experience, with a Masters in Construction Management from USC; in other words, the holder of the sort of experience and degrees these whippersnappers should have obtained.

    During the past 10 years, I would regularly get phone calls from corporate recruiters offering me signing bonuses, company cars, etc. Again, in other words, I had economically valuable job skills that the Marketplace craved.

    Today? I cling to a job, knowing full well that if I were to become unemployed tomorrow, I would spend at least a year being unemployed.

    30 years of experience? Multiple degrees, acceditations, professional affiliations, yadda yadda?

    All worthless. I might as well have majored in Womyn’s Studies. With job experience in Community Drumming.

    When you read the list of grievance of the Occupy movement
    the common thread is that the 1% are not playing by the rules that the rest of us do; the overarching theme is cheating and self-dealing.

  15. sam says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Then why are they playing Camper John? They are acting like silly children out on an adventure not people who are serious about politics and policy

    Isn’t that a pluperfect example of the kind of attitude Steve was warning against? Why don’t you just toss out “dirty hippy” and save the bandwidth?

  16. @sam:

    Let them put forward serious policy proposals rather than ridiculous rants against capitalism and I’ll consider what they have to say. After almost two months, I’m still waiting.

  17. Maxwell James says:

    I’m very sympathetic to the OWS protesters, whose numbers include several friends of mine. And I think the (mostly) Republicans who are tarring them as “whiners” or some sort of crypto-Marxist front may come to regret that decision. It is readily apparent that the game is rigged, and leaping heroically to the defense of those who rigged it does not show much political foresight.

    But Dave Schuler is right: the protesters have not yet coalesced on a strategy that will bring about the changes they seek. “Occupying” Wall Street or other urban centers is useless as anything other than a cri du coeur. If they can take that energy and convert it into some actual political organizing then they will be on to something.

  18. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Then why are they playing Camper John? They are acting like silly children out on an adventure not people who are serious about politics and policy”

    Because no one in the political, financial or media elites would listen to them until they did. Geeze, how hard is this to understand? It’s like asking why all those Negroes felt compelled to commit acts of civil disobedience that had little or nothing to do with their primary goals.

    How many times did you hear major politicians or press outlets talking about income inequality before the big camp out? Never. It was about the phony austerity crusade. Now things have changed.

    But you keep whining about drum circles.

  19. Vast Variety says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You mean serious proposals like those that the Tea party made… oh wait.

  20. @WR:

    How many times did you hear major politicians or press outlets talking about income inequality before the big camp out?

    Indeed–one does not typically expect social movements to produce a specific set of legislative proposals (especially at early stages). However, they often do end up shaping (or reshaping) the debate.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Let them put forward serious policy proposals rather than ridiculous rants against capitalism and I’ll consider what they have to say. After almost two months, I’m still waiting.

    Do you realize most of your readers feel the same way about you?

    You were obviously formed philosophically and politically at about the same age as the younger of the protesters. You adopted an absurd philosophy that has no application in reality. And you never advance any practical way to apply your beliefs in real life.

    You write sneering dismissals of all and sundry, your own drum circle if you will, but you don’t connect up the dots, you don’t explain how we are to get from where we are to your Randian fantasy world. You don’t come to grips with big questions that apply to you. You blow off challenges, you refuse to engage meaningfully on underlying issues, and you attack in every direction at once.

    So in what way, exactly, are you, a middle-aged professional, intellectually superior to these young people in the parks?

  22. Hey Norm says:

    Again…the conversation in Washington has gone from a fantasy about a debt crisis to the real crisis of jobs and demand. So…in spite of Doug’s obsession with policy proposals, which would seem to run counter to his Libertarian fantasies…OWS has already been successful.
    Though I am amused by this sudden demand for effective policy proposals as a litmus test of movement credibility. The Tea Baggers were screaming for tax relief when effective tax rates were already at historic lows. And don’t get me started on “Keep government out of my Medicare”.

  23. MBunge says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Let them put forward serious policy proposals rather than ridiculous rants against capitalism and I’ll consider what they have to say.”

    You can find such serious policy proposals all over the lefty blogosphere. Seriously, just go look. Or do you think it’s reasonable to expect a street protest movement to generate position papers like a Beltway think tank? And if OWS ever presented some list of policy proposals, does anyone think Doug would suddenly change his view of the movement?

    Mike

  24. Michael,

    Over the past month or so, I’ve written about the reasons the movement needs to be taken seriously, possible options for dealing with the student loan problem, and income inequality. I’ll address the proposals of OWS when they make them, if they ever do. It is possible to take ideas seriously and still consider the people playing protester in Zuccotti Park to be posers

  25. DMan says:

    @john personna:

    Doug is a troll. He’s almost not worth any response except a thumbs down at this point. Sad that he is the most active poster of a site otherwise worth reading.

  26. DMan says:

    Also, this post best exemplifies Doug’s trolling, a thoughtful post quickly derailed in the comments as everyone feels the need to respond to the troll. Sad that it’s a co-blogger doing the damage.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Life isn’t much about policy proposals. You don’t believe what you believe because of policy proposals, and neither do I. People are driven by need and by emotion, by right-brain not left brain.

    Many people have summarized what OWS is about. It’s not complicated. 1) All our lives we were told to work hard, stay in school and we would succeed. Now it turns out that was bulls-it. 2) We’ve been brought up to believe we are free and equal citizens in a democracy, but it is increasingly clear that we are serfs.

    They’ve been lied to systematically their entire lives. They’re angry about that. They know perfectly well who made their lives a lie, it wasn’t their parents, it was a system run solely for the benefit of the rich. They have correctly identified the cause of their pain.

    In the history of social movements their evolution has been very fast. Much faster than the anti-war movement or the Civil Rights movement. So, sorry they haven’t drafted the equivalent of 1967 Civil Rights act, but you know when Rosa Parks rode her bus? 1955. Twelve years earlier.

  28. ponce says:

    Sad that it’s a co-blogger doing the damage.

    OTB visitor count last month was the lowest it has been in over a year:

    http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=sm8drjjoyner&r=36

  29. MBunge says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “It is possible to take ideas seriously and still consider the people playing protester in Zuccotti Park to be posers”

    And if they are posers, so what? You talk about your posts of the past month on income inequality and the student loan problem. How many posts did you write on those or other such subjects before OWS?

    And you’ve made it perfectly clear that the number or quality of the ideas coming out of OWS mean nothing to you. These protests have tripped some Pavlovian trigger in your brain and made you respond to them like Frankenstein to fire.

    Mike

  30. Drew says:

    Again, just a bunch of hand wringing, bitching, moaning, scapegoating and Rube Goldberg explanations and exculpatory rhetoric for the plight of people facing problems……….as if problems never before existed……………..and yet no meanigful proposals – just eat the rich.

    Let’s just all just come to grips with it: the world has changed; there’s no hope or solution. Its either keep doing what we have been doing, government control and eat the rich……or crawl into the fetal position and wait to die.

    This all reminds me of the scene from the Godfather with Johnny Fontaine weeping and moaning about “what can I do,” and Marlon Brando slapping him in the face and saying “you could act like a man!!”

    C’mon, people. This is just so much worthless faux intellectual noodling. If you’ve got enough time to spend here on this website, you’ve got time to get off yer arse and do something about your plight.

  31. Ponce,

    Actually Sitemeter (which isn’t the most accurate measure of traffic to begin with) shows traffic to this site was higher last month than it had been since the beginning of the summer. Nice try.

  32. ponce says:

    shows traffic was higher last month than it had been since the beginning of the summer. Nice try.

    Doug,

    ???

    OTB had 645,084 visits last month.

    646,283 in September
    648,249 in August

  33. michael reynolds says:

    C’mon, people. This is just so much worthless faux intellectual noodling. If you’ve got enough time to spend here on this website, you’ve got time to get off yer arse and do something about your plight.

    My plight is fine. This is what I do between writing pages or chapters. If you could peek over onto the rest of my Mac desktop you’d see all kinds of profitable work being done.

  34. You’re looking at something that aggregates traffic for three different sites. The stats for this site in particular, which are not pubic and no I’m not going to give you access to them, show the traffic that comes here specifically.

    And that’s all that I’m going to say on this issue. Now, if you want to continue attacking me personally, I suggest you consult the comment policies.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    I know it’s juvenile and off-topic, so I apologize in advance:

    The stats for this site in particular, which are not pubic

    Probably get bigger numbers if they were pubic.

    Again, sorry.

  36. Perhaps. It’s Sitemeter, so it’s not really worth much.

  37. Peter says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    “traffic was higher last month than it had been since the beginning of the summer ”

    Actually it shows there is a drop in late spring that stabilized. There wasn’t any summer drop last year, so it’s not a seasonal thing.

    Nice try.

    I think it is related to your increased production these last months. You’re drowning this site with petty cable-news type of stuff.

  38. ponce says:

    Now, if you want to continue attacking me personally, I suggest you consult the comment policies.

    Posting OTB’s visit count is an attack on you personally, Doug?

    Kinda like OWS is just about you?

  39. Peter,

    As I said to ponce, and will say only one more time, those stats do not reflect traffic to this site alone.

  40. Hey Norm says:

    “…C’mon, people. This is just so much worthless faux intellectual noodling. If you’ve got enough time to spend here on this website, you’ve got time to get off yer arse and do something about your plight…”

    My plight? I’ve been doing what I love for over 30 years and have been very successful. There are currently 3 projects worth around $9M on my desk. However as a fiscal conservative, unlike the so-called republicans of today, I am not the type to pull the ladder up behind me.

  41. Rob in CT says:

    Let’s just all just come to grips with it: the world has changed; there’s no hope or solution.

    Well then.

  42. mannning says:

    I believe Doug has an honest point. The collective brainpower languishing in the park does have the wherewithall to come up with all sorts of concrete, written proposals and analyses for consumption by the powers that be. But they haven’t. Further, I do believe that there was never such a thing as a rule that you get a degree and you then get a good job. This was true as an outcome for some who managed to graduate in needed skill areas, but as a promise or rule—never.

    It was always a gamble that many have taken, and they are now in the dill for it because of the sour economy that could have happened to anyone in the past, and did! I recall clearly a Kroger store that was 100% manned by aerospace PhDs for a period of economic difficulty. The real shame has been that few or no serious cautions were given to students that in an economic downturn, such as has occurred periodically in the US, their loans would probably become a huge financial burden, which meant that the gambles were not well-founded up front, or that plan-B was not put in place to help in a crisis.

    These people are blaiming industry for having to contract jobs drastically when sales went to near zero; they are blaiming banks for foreclosing on houses that are many months behind in payments; yet they are not blaiming Congress or the President for ramming through lenient mortgage terms via Freddie Mac, etc. so everyone could “afford” a house (not!); or they are blaiming industry for outsourcing jobs to cheap Asian sources on order to meet competition; but they are blaiming the banks and brokers that bundled these subprime mortgages and sold the paper around the world; and blaiming the resulting tactic of bolstering the banks to keep many parts of the economy afloat; and, since many are students with rather high loans to pay off, they are asking for federal relief for their own, very personal gamble that all would be well when they graduated.

    However, all that said, there does need to be a plan devised to help out these people when they show the commitment, energy, initiative and intention to help themselves.

  43. Hey Norm says:

    “…the sour economy that could have happened to anyone in the past, and did…”

    Except that there hasn’t been a contraction like the Bush contraction since the depression.
    That being said…movements are not about policy. They’ve changed the conversation. If it wasn’t for the 24 hour news cycle attention span of the media I would say they can home now. But if they do we’ll be back to the imaginary debt crisis. Because tax cuts for the rich and shifting costs to the poor and the sick and the elderly is the only policy proposal the Republicans have.

  44. sam says:

    @mannning:

    they are blaiming the banks and brokers that bundled these subprime mortgages and sold the paper around the world; and blaiming the resulting tactic of bolstering the banks to keep many parts of the economy afloat

    Oh, you mean blaming the banks like Citigroup that bundled loans into shitty CDOs, and then shorted those very CDOs as it sold them “around the world” — banks like those? And then when that shitty-CDO house of cards came down, and the economy went into the crapper, the banks that created the shitty CDOs got bailed out? They’re blaming those banks? What effrontery.

    since many are students with rather high loans to pay off, they are asking for federal relief for their own, very personal gamble that all would be well when they graduated

    I don’t know if that is true, but, golly, if it is, imagine that — asking the government to rescue you from your own missteps. Where in the hell could they have gotten that idea?

    Don’t drink and post, Manning.

  45. Liberty60 says:

    @mannning:

    yet they are not blaiming Congress or the President for ramming through lenient mortgage terms via Freddie Mac, etc. so everyone could “afford” a house (not!);

    Sorry, this is another resurrection of a discredited lie that needs to be corrected-

    Yes, the banks DID cause the housing bubble:

    From the article:

    More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

    Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

    As economist Robert Gordon has written, the lenders that made the bulk of subprime loans weren’t even covered by government laws to encourage homeownership. In fact, 94 percent of high-cost loans were totally unconnected from government homeownership laws.

  46. ponce says:

    Because tax cuts for the rich and shifting costs to the poor and the sick and the elderly is the only policy proposal the Republicans have.

    And it’s working.

    According to the CIA, since 1997, America’s Gini coefficient has risen from .40 to .45

    And eyeballing this chart, it looks like it bottomed out around .35 in 1968:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gini_since_WWII.svg

  47. Drew says:

    “I’ve been doing what I love for over 30 years and have been very successful. There are currently 3 projects worth around $9M on my desk. However as a fiscal conservative, unlike the so-called republicans of today, I am not the type to pull the ladder up behind me.”

    Flowery words. What, exactly, does that mean??

  48. Drew says:

    “My plight is fine. This is what I do between writing pages or chapters. If you could peek over onto the rest of my Mac desktop you’d see all kinds of profitable work being done.”

    C’mon, Micheal. Don’t be disingenuous. You know by now that wouldn’t be aimed at you.

    BTW – I just finished writing a 114 page Private Placement Memo – I drew the short straw. Writing sucks. Its hard.

  49. Hey Norm says:

    “…Flowery words. What, exactly, does that mean?? “

    It means that unlike so-called republicans I am concerned about the greater good. A party that has as it’s only domestic policy (outside total domination of functioning uteri) tax cuts for the wealthy and shifting costs to the elderly clearly is only concerned with the benefit of a very small portion of the country…themselves and their cronies.

  50. ponce says:

    I just finished writing a 114 page Private Placement Memo

    Couldn’t afford to hire an attorney to write it for you?

    Bad sign…

  51. Ben Wolf says:

    @Liberty60: Mannnnnnnnning still thinks sub-prime caused the financial crash, when it was just the trigger. The financial industry did what it has done for centuries when allowed to operate with impunity: it became a liability factory, issuing and creating debt levels well-beyond anything which could ever be covered by real economic production. He neither understands how the banking system works (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, almost no one does) nor wishes to make an effort to do so (which is bad, because he assumes his ignorance as knowledge).

  52. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    My problem with OWS boils down to the simple fact that nothing they or the pundits sympathetic to them (i.e, Klein, Yglesias, etc) have proposed in terms of policy would do one darn thing to solve the problems they claim to have motivated them.

    Debt relief, for one, would do a world of good in solving many problems. And many in OWS have been calling for it.

  53. Drew says:

    @ponce:

    Sure hope that was tongue in cheek, else you go into the dumb mf heap.

  54. Ben Wolf says:

    @Drew: Just out of curiosity, why doesn’t your firm retain an attorney to deal with such things? It has to be reviewed by one anyway.

  55. Drew says:

    “It means that unlike so-called republicans I am concerned about the greater good. A party that has as it’s only domestic policy (outside total domination of functioning uteri) tax cuts for the wealthy and shifting costs to the elderly clearly is only concerned with the benefit of a very small portion of the country…themselves and their cronies.”

    This is just mind numbingly stupid. I guess I am a “so-called Republican” and yet I care for the greater good. Cost shifting to the elderly? Cronies?

    You talk like a high school sophomore. How old are you?

    Everything I do in my professional life (I finance small US based manufacturing companies with the potential to become bigger US based manufacturing companies – employing more people) and my policy prescriptions is aligned with the growth in small company enterprise.

    Best I can tell, besides a reciprocating motion in your crotch, all you do is whine and complain and write vapid, unactionable, things like “pulling up the ladder.”

    Now do you have something concrete to share to solve the problem………..or is it back to feel good rhetoric?

  56. john personna says:

    I think some of our conservative friends revel in a catch-22.

    Protester: We are marginalized in society and have no power.

    Fat-Cat: Well, unless you have proposals we’ll approve, why should we listen?

  57. mannning says:

    @sam:

    What a dumbass snarker you are! I neither drink nor use substances.

    The sitters are indeed pleading their case to have relief from their student loan problems. Where did they get that idea? From those leftists who look to the government all the time to solve their problems, rather than stepping up to them themselves. BUT, there should be help given to those who do step up and show some initiative.

    @Ben Wolf:
    The crisis needed that trigger, and the irresponsible lending practices of quite a few institutions contributed to it, as well as the mistaken idea that the bundled mortgages shipped all over the world were relatively safe when issued from the US.

  58. Ben Wolf says:

    @mannning: There were a 101 things that were positioned to trigger the meltdown: the problem was creation of vast quantities of debt and credit which should never have been extended in the first place. The CRA was not the cause of our sub-prime crisis. If you want to blame someone, blame the Clinton Administration for forcing a credit bubble by creating surpluses.

  59. sam says:

    @mannning:

    What a dumbass snarker you are! I neither drink nor use substances.

    Laying up treasures in heaven, I’m sure. (And I’m not one to say, as many others would, that your abstinence is just more reason not to credit anything you say. To them I’d reply that’s a tad harsh. I respect nearly everything you’ve ever posted.)

    Where did they get that idea? From those leftists who look to the government all the time to solve their problems, rather than stepping up to them themselves. BUT, there should be help given to those who do step up and show some initiative.

    But really, tell us what kind of initiative did the banks show when they got bailed out? How exactly did they step up? Where was their initiative? Other than frantic phone calls to their homeys in DC, I mean. You do know that the large financial institutions in this country have battalions of people whose sole occupation, all the time, is looking to the government to to solve the financial institution’s problems, right? Is not that a fit subject for your ire?

  60. george says:

    The sitters are indeed pleading their case to have relief from their student loan problems. Where did they get that idea? From those leftists who look to the government all the time to solve their problems, rather than stepping up to them themselves. BUT, there should be help given to those who do step up and show some initiative.

    Really? I’d have thought they got the idea from Wall Street itself, which got a huge bailout when it screwed up. Or from the GM bailout? Getting bailed out when you screw up seems to be the new American way, and I can’t think of any good arguments as to why it should apply to banks but not student loans … though I admit I don’t think it should have applied to either. But now that its already been applied, it should be applied to all.

  61. Liberty60 says:

    Re: proposals-

    There was a long period of time when there were no catastrophic banking crises, when the middle clas was robust and healthy, and the wealth inequality was much smaller than today.

    That period was from the end of the Great Depression to around the 1980s.

    Being a Burkean conservative, I suggest we look to tradition and see what fiscal and regulatory policies were pursued during that time, and let experience be our guide.

  62. ponce says:

    The sitters are indeed pleading their case to have relief from their student loan problems. Where did they get that idea?

    From the Bible?

  63. Drew says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    C’mon, Ben. Are you serious? We are, and have been, represented by some of the finest law firms in the country for 20 years. Think Simpson and Thatcher, OMM, Piper, McDerrmot etc.

    I wrote the marketing sections (half) and blessed the legal portions, with my edits.

    Want to get real now?

  64. Drew says:

    “The CRA was not the cause of our sub-prime crisis. If you want to blame someone, blame the Clinton Administration for forcing a credit bubble by creating surpluses.”

    See the Bloomberg comments today…….

  65. CONCRETEBLUE says:

    From the growing responses to DM’s mostly inane diatribes, I am guessing he gets this: that if he posts obviously dense unsupportable tripe he will garner hits……That being said, let me reiterate what other posters have said: If they were not playing at camping out, you would not be writing about it! what a tool…..

  66. anjin-san says:

    C’mon, Micheal. Don’t be disingenuous. You know by now that wouldn’t be aimed at you.

    I am a little curious – just who is the contempt that you dispense so much of aimed at?

  67. Scott F. says:

    Steven –

    Congratulations on a thoughtful and well written post. I’m sorry the comment thread was sabotaged right at the outset. An interesting dialogue might have ensued. Are you allowed to ask other front pagers to refrain from interjecting when they’ve got nothing to add?

    It is this latter point that is key and needs to be the focus of our national debate: the issue is not about handouts, it is about sufficient investment in society as a general proposition.

    This has been the Democratic position on economic issues since Clinton, so I’m curious why you do not support the Dems. Do you not buy their rhetoric? Or is it team loyalty?

  68. @Scott F.:

    Thanks.

    In regards to the thread: on balance, I am of the opinion to let it evolve as it will, at least as long as the basic topic is on focus.

    In regards to your question, let me say that whatever team loyalty, so to speak, that I once had started to fray about 6+ years ago and fell apart entirely in 2005. I would considered myself, officially, an independent in terms of team loyalty.

  69. anjin-san says:

    If you’ve got enough time to spend here on this website, you’ve got time to get off yer arse and do something about your plight…”

    Do you ever read what you write before you publish it?

    My plight?. I am getting laid off at the end of the year as an M&A process comes to a close. When word got out, my phone started ringing & after a few meetings I have enough contract work lined up to increase my income next year, and that is coming after a very good five year run.

    I am a big OWS supported. A lot of OWS supporters, here and elsewhere are far more successful than I.

    @ Drew – Your unending stream of condescension would be boring coming from a 20 year old. From a guy your age it is weak indeed. You might want to refrain from asking people how old they are. You come across like a stereotype – a successful guy who has surrounded himself with lackeys and yes men. I don’t doubt that you do as well as you say you do, but there is a crassness about you that no amount of ’05 Bordeaux and Cohiba Siglo VI’s can disguise.

  70. anjin-san says:

    @ Steven

    Yet another thoughtful post 🙂

  71. Ben Wolf says:

    @Drew: A simple question Drew, and not everyone is out to attack you. You have a very thin skin.

  72. Ben Wolf says:

    @Drew:

    Per Bloomberg: He doesn’t understand the banking system, so there’s no reason to listen to his opinion on the financial crisis.

  73. Drew says:

    “My plight?. I am getting laid off at the end of the year as an M&A process comes to a close. When word got out, my phone started ringing & after a few meetings I have enough contract work lined up to increase my income next year, and that is coming after a very good five year run.”

    I’m very happy for you. This is not an unusual result for talented people. I wish you only the best.

    @ Drew –

    “Your unending stream of condescension would be boring coming from a 20 year old. From a guy your age it is weak indeed.”

    Sorry to disappoint you, but sugar coating reality isn’t my strong point, or suffering fools. I’m not condescending, I’m direct…………like an adult. Try it sometime, if you are not afraid. This ain’t tiddly winks.

    “You might want to refrain from asking people how old they are. You come across like a stereotype – a successful guy who has surrounded himself with lackeys and yes men.”

    A bizarre, and unsubstantiated position. Projecting, perhaps?

    “I don’t doubt that you do as well as you say you do, but there is a crassness about you that no amount of ’05 Bordeaux and Cohiba Siglo VI’s can disguise.”

    To the contrary. I’m as humble as they come. I live in a world that humbles me every day. I simply speak in a matter of fact mode, based upon my experience and knowledge, and fact based. To do anything different would make me incompetant at my chosen profession. Nicey nice doesn’t work in my profession.

    And I invite anyone to challenge my views on the merits of the arguments. I deal in reality. What I do not do is deal in self deception, fantasy, or raw political bias, like so many posters here. I’m sorry that you are unable to deal with it. Perhaps you should expand your world.

  74. Drew says:

    “@Drew: A simple question Drew, and not everyone is out to attack you. You have a very thin skin.”

    Heh. You have no idea. None. The hide of an elephant.

  75. Ben Wolf says:

    @Drew:

    Heh. You have no idea. None. The hide of an elephant.

    And yet your response to a simple question is to become defensive, insist that everyone know you have the “finest” representation, and to demand we “get real”. I note you never bothered to answer said question: why not simply retain a lawyer for such purposes, as most firms in my experience do?

    It presents the image of insecurity.

  76. WR says:

    @Drew: “Sorry to disappoint you, but sugar coating reality isn’t my strong point, or suffering fools”

    And here we have it. The final proof of the internet troll. “I don’t suffer fools lightly.” Which means ‘I have so social graces, I’m incapable of carrying on a conversation or understanding an argument, so I’ll pretend that everyone who has just bested me is really my inferior. And thus I must speak like a character from The Mighty Thor — the Stan Lee years. Next up: I say thee nay!”

    Geeze, Mr. Success, you sound like any whiny teenage Dungeons and Dragons loser. Or worse, like Jay Tea.

    “I don’t suffer fools.” Geeze, what a dope.

  77. anjin-san says:

    This is not an unusual result for talented people

    Well, I am reasonably talented. And I work very hard. But that’s not all there is too it. I have had pretty much every advantage in life. Grew up in one of the wealthiest communities in the country. Good genes. Etc. Etc. When I decided I wanted to have a career, I had the tools I needed. Life has been good to me. And yet, in spite of every advantage, I am often amazed at how hard life can get.

    And that is why I don’t sneer at busboys (used to be one) or folks who are unemployed, or homeless, or stupid, or unlucky, or whatever. Well, I do sneer at bithead and Jay Tea, but they are special cases.

    What I do not do is deal in self deception, fantasy, or raw political bias

    The fact that you would state the third item, proves that you do, indeed, deal in self-deception.

    A bizarre, and unsubstantiated position

    Perhaps. But I worked in bars and nightclubs for 20 years. It made me a pretty good judge of character.

    or suffering fools.

    James Carville said that anyone who used this expression in the Clinton White House was immediately written off as pompous wanna be.

    Nicey nice doesn’t work in my profession.

    I am pretty sure we are not at the office.

  78. john personna says:

    @Drew:

    See the Bloomberg comments today…….

    Bloomberg is stupid or pandering.

    I hate to put it to you buddy, but which are you falling for?

  79. sam says:

    @Drew:

    “To the contrary. I’m as humble as they come. I live in a world that humbles me every day.”

    Uriah goes to a dinner party:

    A group of us had a very nice multi-course dinner party in the neighborhood this weekend. …

    1. Open with champagne, and an appropriate fig and light cheese dish with that champagne. We chose a lighter champagne rather than the “toasty” like a Veuve Cliquot to make it work.

    2.. Second – butter drawn lobster tail in a chipotle corn chowder soup. Beautifully accompanied with an Alsacian Reisling (Alsace so as to not be too sweet). Perfect.

    3. Filet and au gratin potatoes in a cream and mushroom sauce. For this we had three reds: A classic MR Pauillac, a classic Mondavi California, and a St. Emilion (Monbousquet, for those who know wine) for a lighter, but still more than usual for right bank, cab oriented wine. All very nice with the dish.

    4. Desert: chocolate. Some just finished the reds. But I broke out one of my bottles of Suduiraut. (Sauturne) Perfect.

    Beer Don’t Get No Respect