The group Occupy Wall Street has been on many people’s minds lately; particularly if you’re living in the New York-metro area. You may work downtown, you may be inconvenienced by traffic tie ups or other demonstrations, you may not be able to get where you’re headed south of Houston Street; whatever. The big problem as I see it with Occupy Wall Street are several things. With all the conflated ideas floating around downtown the message is getting muddled. OccupyWallStreet .org has put out a list of “demands” that they see as necessary for their Utopian reality to take effect. But there are problems with many of these demands.
Guaranteed living Wage: Why would Occupy Wall Street want to create a “guaranteed living wage” of $20 an hour? Where do they think this money is going to come from? And what do they think is going to happen to costs when this wage is increased? If all employers have to pay dishwashers and counter clerks $20 an hour, get ready for the $50 Big Mac and the $35 tube of toothpaste. Because that’s what things will cost!
Universal Health care: The United States is too big and people like to go to the doctor for no reason too much to make universal health care the law of the land. And again, who would pay for this?
Open Borders: I don’t know what would happen if we let lax on our open borders; people seem to come and go anyway. But if people knew they could just come and get free health care and $20 an hour guaranteed; they would come in droves. If you think finding an average job is tough now…
Free College Education: This free college education would be great; but then why would anyone ever leave college? If they were let take class ad nausea we’d be left with a bunch of over educated, under-employed populous. Who knows? They may even begin a big protest because they’re so much smarter than the society which has educated them.
Debt Forgiveness: “Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all.” Do I even need to analyze why that’s a problem? If there are no consequences for incurring debt and no motivation to work to pay off debt then we’d all just do nothing.
Allow all workers to sign a ballot: Like the debt forgiveness, if everyone can just declare union status then the gravitas behind the union endorsement is lost. Besides, who’s working anyway if they can just stay in school and get free health care?
Lack of Organization: There are some things that the Occupy Wall Street group propose which are worthwhile ideas; infrastructure, fossil fuels, ecological restoration, and bringing American election processes up to international standards are all great ideas. But their message is lost because of all the other zealous demands this group is making.
Occupy Wall Street has a lot of smart people doing a great American protest. But at the end of the day Occupy Wall Street has to turn this anger around and work with the system we have and work to change it in substantive ways.