These are perhaps the two biggest problems with the American economy right now. Were the American people not in debt and/or living with unemployment, I think the wealth disparity could be stomached a lot more easily. As for the Occupy Wall St. protests, the problem is that they eventually have to focus this incredible energy and dissatisfaction towards specific goals. I suggest they focus on these two goals, easing debt and creating jobs.
My suggestion for easing debt is simple and straightforward: forgive our debt. The US government, under both Bush and Obama, have used taxpayer money to bail out Wall St. This was a huge redistribution of wealth UPWARDS. I think Wall st. has benefitted enough, and now it is the people's turn to see the fruits of our "investment". You want to help homeowners? Forgive their debt. You want to help the unemployed? Forgive their debt. You want to help minorities, or the poor, or the sick? Forgive their debt. I am fully behind a re-redistribution of wealth which will benefit the 99% and would lead to more job creation and a stronger overall economy just by itself.
The other issue, employment, still needs to be addressed however. We are unable to compete globally in manufacturing when those jobs can be done for 40 cents an hour in China and elsewhere. Without manufacturing jobs, we are left only with a service industry which by itself creates less full-time jobs, pensions, health insurance... the whole gambit. We need to invest in our country and in its people, and this requires government spending, which is politically virtually impossible when we have been dug into such a hole of debt. There are jobs out there for scientists, but we can't all get them, and for many of us it is too late to learn, and we are still not investing enough in science for those of us for whom it is not too late, i.e. our children.
So my two questions are (and feel free to comment on anything you read here), do you agree or disagree with the idea of debt forgiveness, and what ideas do you have for solving the unemployment problem? Or do you just think we are royally screwed as a country and there are no feasible solutions?
Umm - I never said anything bad about protesters. I wrote, "Go protesters," which was a kinda silly double meaning, but I sympathize with them as long as they stay peaceful.
The "mob" thing was in response to this comment from James:
> If the mob was found to be running an illegal racketeering ring
I assumed he meant like Frank Nitti mob, not OWS mob, and I hope you will reread my earlier comment in that light.
As to your second paragraph, yeah we're screwed, the bad guys won. Republicans successfully blocked and/or weakened wall street reform and consumer protection to the point of uselessness. Internal records of Wall Street firms have doubtless been sanitized by now, emails "lost," and everything nicely covered up.
If, as a private citizen, I felt otherwise, I doubt I could make anything happen. Citizen's Arrest?
> private citizens" probably can't do anything about the real injustices of the world.
I didn't say that either. I said that the Justice Department does not take requests from private citizens. They would take evidence if I had some. But they would not be too interested in me saying, "Teacher - those guys did something wro-ong."
I do get newsletters, sign petitions, and let individuals know when I disagree with their BS, face to face. I don't protest, but I do vote, and I let my reps know what I think. I run a small business and believe that we would all be better off with more small businesses and fewer corporations. And I raise my kids to think for themselves, even when they are wrong (i.e., when they disagree with me).
So, realist here, not defeatist.
How does one convince the Chinese to forgive the debt they've bought from our rightfully elected representatives?
One way to sway the Chinese would be to threaten default on the purchased debt or threaten massive tariffs on their slave labor products. If my history is correct, the US has forgiven Chinese debt on two separate occasions. Once after it became the People's Republic.
Your theories on wealth redistribution would require a suspension of the law and US Constitution. You are responding to bad behavior by government and large corporatists with more bad behavior in favor of the people you think deserve it. Seems every bit as bad as the original perpetrators are.
Using the Constitution to its correct legal purpose would be a better solution. (Unless you're just seeking envious revenge or general absolution for irresponsibility, then you're right on the mark.)