After occupying the headlines for far too long, Occupy Wall Street was dispersed by a combination of inclement weather, mayoral irritation and having served their purpose. Occupy Oakland will go on doing what it can to depress the economy of an already economically depressed city by attacking its ports. The other Occupations are being moved along back to the Starbucks that spawned them.
The job of the Occupiers was to move the 99 and 1 percent memes into public consciousness, which in between the homeless camps, the rapes and the cardboard signs, they managed to do. Or the media did it for them. Around the time when well-meaning idiots began wearing 99 percent buttons, I thought of getting a 100 percent button. But the 100 percent button wouldn't have been very accurate. It implies that we're all in the same boat which is not the case.
The percentage debate is so much nonsense because the issue isn't class, it's position. OWS wanted the rest of the country to pay for a small government subsidized middle-class that would either work directly for the government or in occupations supported by government funding. The rich weren't being pitted against the poor. University grads were pitting themselves against the remnants of the aspirational working class.
Optimists see the glass as half-full and believe that with some effort it can be filled up all the way. Pessimists see the glass as half-empty and want to drink it all, before someone else does. Economic pessimists are also redistributionists, striving to secure their position within a shrinking economy. Economic optimists believe that wealth can come from outside the existing system and don't see the need for redistribution.
The economic pessimists of the left are acting like stranded castaways who keep bringing up cannibalism as the only way. OWS and Obama 2012 sound like the Donner Party, campaigning on who should get eaten first. Rarely has an incumbent campaigned on economic pessimism. It's all the more startling when a candidate who ran on hope is now running on hopelessness, but the only way to beat the call for change is to convince people that change is hopeless. That change will leave them even worse off. Economic pessimism is the ideal tool for the job.
The Republicans claim that things will get better while the Democrats whisper that they will only get better for people who aren't you. Forget about opportunity and vote for someone who will cut you a big slice of the leftovers so you can ride out the decline and fall of the West.
Obama 2012 and OWS is about patronage and their 99 percent slogan broadens the promise of patronage to everyone. Like Ivory's 99/44 clean or most other 99 percent advertising slogans, it's a clever fraud. 99 percent of the public can't be subsidized by the 1 percent, especially when the 1 percent are the ones doing the governing.
The percentage of the public that will be subsidized is the one that the sloganeers need to win elections and maintain their power. It won't be 51 percent, but between government employees, union members and those on the dole, it will probably be in the thirties. The rest will work low paying jobs in the private sector and a handful will work in the financial industry, though their jobs will mainly involve dubious transactions with no future. That will leave us with a very European economy of Muslim immigrants running businesses under the table and paying just enough taxes so the government can subsidize university degrees and conferences on poverty.
That latter group, the degree getters and conference attendees, are the ones targeted by OWS. The young and the cutting edge who bought into a dysfunctional educational system and now want the patronage of the government as their exit strategy. These are the same people who helped Obama get elected and bringing them out in 2012 is a priority.
The left likes to say that everything is political, and when they make the government big enough, then everything really is political because you have to deal with the government to be able to get anything done. Since government bureaucracies are hideously inaccessible beasts, the only way to get anything done is to have friends within the system. The more you want, the bigger your friends need to be.
American politics has become so dysfunctional and the country so indebted because the system kept expanding its reach while the politicians kept doling out more pork. The bigger the system grew, the more the human touch of the pols was needed to compensate for it. This game of Good Government- Bad Government has taken most cities and the country to the breaking point. Between the restrictions and the favors, we have ended up with a country that has less freedom and more debt without anything to show for it.
Redistributionism is the final act of thieves looting the treasury who don't think there will be anything left for them. When Chavez brought Venezuela's gold home, he wasn't doing it for the people, he was doing it so that if he and his family and their cronies need to flee the country, they can carry with them a form of wealth that won't fluctuate like their currency or depreciate like the dollar. And when Obama offers patronage to tens of millions of his supporters, he's only doing it to be able to go on looting the treasury on a much larger scale.
Those who think that they are part of the 99 percent are really just bad at math. The percentages don't break down along income level, they break down by position. The government employee with a secure pension and early retirement is better off than the 1 percenter who lost all his money in bad investments. When patronage is pegged to the treasury and the lending power of the wealthiest nation in the world, then position matters more than stated income. A professor with tenure in a state uni is more secure than his contemporary working in the free market.
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates may both be in the 1 percent, but Gates makes money when his shares go up, Buffett makes money from a sweetheart deal in a government backed financial company. It's not income that matter. Only "Protektsia".
When the Democrats took Tammany Hall national again, they promised patronage for everyone in exchange for votes. The country is still trapped in their Democratic oligarchy where the economy can be destroyed as long as the right number of people go on voting for their government benefits and the Buffett's and the Soros' keep funding the United States of Tammany from the top.
The problem is power. Centralize control and you create something like absolute power. Which is why income numbers don't matter. Money is a form of power, but it only buys you so much access from the outside. It's whether you are on the outside or on the inside that matters. It's your affiliation that counts the most.
Playing the percentages is more than an election strategy, it's a strategy to reconfigure the country. There will still be rich and poor, and a diminished middle-class, but wealth will increasingly align by affiliation, rather than by initiative or success. There is no competing with the oligarchy. You are either with it or against it. That is the absolute of absolute power turned into absolute corruption.