I’m sure that my next few statements will surprise some people. Many of my opinions have been on the side of what most would call conservative. But the protesters of Occupy Wall Street aren’t just a bunch of crazies any more than the Tea Party protesters were. There are thoughtful people in both camps. Sure, there are some who are protesting with no fixed objective in mind, just a general sense of dis-satisfaction, but that can be enough when things are squeezing you so bad.
I found that there are some thoughtful writers who seem to be catching on, but still leave open any specific agenda for the movement. Others have picked up on one or two points, like Re-instating the Glass-Steagall Act but believe that the movement has a potential for negative impact and therefore will continue to be largely marginalized.
My first reaction to the movement was a happy grin. At last, someone is taking the money lenders to task again. My second reaction was, gee, isn’t this kinda how the Bolshevik revolution started? Maybe this last point is the reason that more people are not getting involved. I thought about this a while, and decided that it was unlikely that any of the protesters wanted the U.S. to turn into another failed communist regime, with it’s incipient lack of production incentives, and dreary one party system. In fact, some of the protesters are actually complaining about the lack of any real, effectual diversity in our current party structure (see comment below).
So, given that, I’m thinking that there are probably a number of things that the occupy protesters would agree with me on.
1) Since the banks were seen as “Too Big To Fail” and required a hand out to save us from their fall (which was entirely due to their own greed, and not just to the fact of being told not to discriminate on home buyers), the banks should be required to break-up into smaller pieces. I would recommend that they also be required, like many Credit Unions, to only hold real-estate in an area near where they are physically located. This would solve some of the problems of the bundled investments, and the inability to actually discuss ways to stop a foreclosure from happening. At least people would have someone they could go talk to about it. If this causes a problem with really large loans, then several banks in one area could go in on a single loan together, but they would all have to be in the same area.
2) Banks should be taxed at the same rate that they charge interest on their most risky loans, flat out, no loopholes.
3) Bundled investments have to go. If people want a diverse portfolio, they can shop around to get what they need, or their stock broker/agent can shop around for them. Practically guaranteeing that an investment won’t fail has Never been allowed. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
4) I absolutely agree on re-instating the Glass-Steagall Act, and on putting a reasonable cap on usury. Getting charged more than 15% is pushing the boundaries of robbery. Especially if the initial sign-up had a much lower interest rate.
5) The Credit companies should be required to leave due dates where they were when the person signed up. There is no reasonable argument for changing a due date. People who have an automatic payment set-up in their online banking shouldn’t have to read every piece of mail that comes in from the credit companies and jump through hoops to keep from getting charged extra fees.
6) There should be a reasonable cap put on fees. Getting charged $35.00 or more for a credit purchase that the company allowed to go through is outrageous. If the company didn’t want the purchase to go through, they should have just said no. If they are willing to let it go through, they are already making interest on it anyway, there is no need to charge more for the transaction. The neediest people are being destroyed by unreasonable demands, and unreasonable changes in their agreements.
7) Congress may not like taxing themselves more, but they need to listen to the roar that is coming up around them. The other millionaires are telling you to tax them more too. You cannot expect to live so well, when so many are living so poorly, and not reap what you have sown. If you don’t actually raise the tax, then you need to lower the benefit of the tax loopholes. I would still be in favor of encouraging investment in research and development, but at a lower rate of tax incentive. If the little guy has to pay taxes, so should you.
8) Corporations are Not people. Legally, we may treat them as an entity for lawsuit purposes, but they don’t have a vote. The people that work there have enough votes already. If you are going to treat them as people, then they should have a cap of $2,500.00 put on their contributions too. That would include the money spent on informational commercials in support of any particular agenda.
9) Since insurance companies did such a fabulous job of lobbying to set up the Health Care Reform, they should carry the burden of the results. I had a boss who owned a company, and was a partner in several others. He had a heart attack. His insurance company sued the state to cover him with Medicare so they wouldn’t have to. We get told all the time that it’s the poor people who are the reason that health care is so expensive. This guy wasn’t poor at all. And neither was his insurance company. If insurance companies don’t like this, then they should be nationalized.
10) The credit reporting companies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experion need to go away, and no other system of large scale collaboration between loan companies should be allowed to exist. Manipulating our credit scores to be able to charge the most interest, or whatever they do…. wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s nothing short of a Financial Cartel.
If you agree with me on this, like my post. If you agree on some things but not on others, comment and let us all hear what you really want.
© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.