The 100%

I’m not going to get into percentages because I am really not good at math, but I want to talk about Occupy Wall Street. 

Listen, I’m a big old Capitalist and Libertarian (thanks, Honey!) and I am far from being the person to say you should penalize the Haves to give to the Have-Nots.  I don’t think that is a healthy system, and I don’t think that solves any problems long-term.  I’m all about teaching the man to fish, though I don’t mind keeping him in sardines and bait until he learns.  I don’t think the Rich owe anything to the Poor, and I don’t think the Poor have a right to ask the Rich to fork over their goods.

What we do have a right to do is to question the ethics of the gamemakers, who are the Rich, and question how they stack decks in their own favors, and demand accountability for how their business dealings affect our economy, and our ability to work and provide for ourselves.

In recent years, big mistakes were made by the biggest players that affected the smallest workers.  In the housing industry alone, the banking breakdown meant thousands of lost jobs.  One of my dear friends lost her administrative position for a builder in the bust.  She was one of many who lost her job within that company, and was one of the lucky few who found work quickly.  I, along with a good quarter of my coworkers, lost my job within a luxury vehicle captive credit finance company when the bust affected the way we had to do business.  It took me months to find work, and then it was at a 40% pay cut.  Did I whine about it?  Heck yeah!

The downturn hit my family at a hard time.  We had just bought a house (well within our means–we live debt free outside of our mortgage, thank goodness!!) in a new, developing neighborhood, in a sector that was slated for major growth.  When the economy busted, it meant everything planned for that community was put on hold, including road improvements we’d been counting on for our commute.  We could not have predicted the bust, nor could we have predicted how it would affect us. 

I’m sure the scores of homeowners in our neighborhood who were foreclosed upon in the past couple of years couldn’t either.  And we certainly could not have predicted that the many short sales and foreclosures around us would force us to drive our asking price down so low, we could end up losing money when we finally do sell. 

Funny thing is, the guys in charge could have, should have, and need to be held accountable for their own avarice driven willful ignorance.  My understanding is that this is the basis for the Occupy Wall Street movement. 

It is a Catch-22.  If you bail out the individuals affected, you haven’t touched the source and the hemorrhaging  continues.  If you bail out the source, you reward bad behavior, but you stop the overflow.

Thing is, we’re all in this together.  The Rich will not remain so at the continued expense of the Poor.  You can only tell a guy to eat cake for so long before he breaks open your windows to have a bite of yours.  As a nation, we have to be the 100%.  There will always be the outliers of greed and sloth, but we have to hope that the ethical, responsible average works out to our combined benefit.

I have no answers, being a simple person and no economist.  I’m just glad to know that Thor’s school offers lessons in Mandarin, so he will be able to communicate with his new overlords when China buys us.

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