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Earth to 'Occupy Wall Street'

Posted By Jane Chastain On 10/05/2011 @ 3:28 pm In Commentary | Comments Disabled

“Occupy Wall Street” is a movement in search of a goal. The growing hoards of malcontents offer a convenient stage for anyone or any group with a cause.

It’s a street fair for the disenfranchised with too much time and money on their hands. This may seem incompatible with one of its reoccurring themes, social and economic inequity, but hear me out. The hoards that have gathered in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, etc. do not appear to be the underclass. They are not malnourished or diseased. As street mobs go, they are well-dressed and appear quite comfortable.

If anything, they resemble their brethren in Greece. They are coddled, overpaid and over subsidized by the very systems they despise. If this were not the case, how in the world could they afford these extended vacations? To be sure, many are sleeping on the street. However, many have more conventional accommodations and use their state of the art pop-ups as a convenient place to hang with the crowd to whine about their lack of power, political influence, wealth or whatever.

That said, the most common beef seems to be with capitalism. In fact, many are calling for the Constitution of the United States to be rewritten and the establishment of a socialist or Marxist government. These demonstrations are being actively supported and promoted by the Socialist Party USA, the Communist Party USA, the Democratic Socialist of America, a host of left-wing celebrities, trade unions and Obama retreads like former White House adviser Van Jones.

If we learn anything from these protests it is this: It is not the Constitution that needs to be scrapped; it is our union-controlled, Washington-based public education system. It is an abject failure, and these protesters serve as Exhibit No. 1.

We don’t know our history. We don’t know world history. While our system of government is not perfect, it has provided our citizens – all of them – with the highest standard of living in the world. While many in this country are classified by us as poor, by the world’s standards they are rich.

What is wrong with our education system? It’s not about class size as the teachers’ unions would have us believe. It’s about what is taught – or not – in those classes.

Here are the basics every citizen needs to know:

There are only two economic systems at work in the world today: capitalism and socialism.

Under a capitalist or free-market system, people own private property. They also own the means of production. They set the price of the good and services they produce. They are essentially free from government regulation and control.

Under a socialist system, the government owns the means of production. The government controls distribution. There is no private property.

Those demonstrators need to answer these questions: Under which system are the people free? Under which system are people not free? Most people want which one?

Governments go from a capitalist free-market system to a socialist system in one of two ways:

  1. A revolution followed by a dictatorship (communism).

  2. Socialism creeps in little by little as people gradually give up their freedom in exchange for goods and services (democratic-socialism).

Neither of these scenarios works out well for the governed. They work extremely well for those in charge of the government. Those “in charge” live like kings, whether or not they have the title.

Democratic-socialist systems are characterized by high taxes. Individuals are allowed to own property but are left with little money with which to acquire it.

The lure of taxing thy neighbor in order to have more free stuff – government-provided goods and services – is tempting. However, once the transition from capitalism to socialism is made, the average citizen winds up with less, much less.

We must reject those who are promoting class warfare to lead us further down the road toward socialism. We don’t need a new constitution. We need to abide by the one we have.

The problem is not Wall Street. Corporations don’t pay taxes. They are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

The problem is in Washington. Inequity can best be resolved by a simpler, fairer tax system – one that is transparent, where everyone has some skin in the game.

We cannot make everyone equal, but we can make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to keep a fair portion of what they earn. Only then will everyone have an equal opportunity to succeed. Isn’t that what most of these misguided protesters really want?


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