Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Confessions of a 2% er
Whether it's on the Daily Show or the daily pages of Facebook, the Occupy movement has provided a wealth of comedic material. This sign, taken from the streets of downtown Boston (I believe) is one of my favorites.
But the movement itself leaves me straddling an uncomfortable fence.
I certainly understand the frustration of unemployed and disenfranchised people who have seen Wall Streeters getting bailed out with US tax dollars and then spending those relief dollars on lavish parties and million dollar bonuses. Not to mention that these are the same scoundrels who pumped up the housing bubble then pin-pricked it, making billions of dollars on both sides of the equation with their crappy mortgage-based derivatives.
If they were too big to fail.
They were probably too big to succeed as well.
Why is it that laissez-faire, free-market economics only applies to people and not to corporations?
Didn't the Supreme Court declare corporations are people too?
I saw firsthand how the government turned on the faucet and issued billion dollar checks to GM, Chrysler and AIG, but dragged their feet in bureaucratic quicksand when it came to adjusting the mortgage for my sister-in-law when she found herself underwater on her house.
And let's not even talk about greedy CEO's, including those in the ad business, who take home in one paycheck what many workers won't make in two to three years of working, often til midnight, and even more often on weekends.
It's more than a little disturbing.
But so is the rhetoric coming from the urban campers. Some of whom want to blame Jews and Israel for the current economic malaise. Others are calling for the outright redistribution of wealth. While others still are content to surf their $800 iPads all day with intermittent breaks for hacky-sack.
If what they want is greater regulation to curb corporate greed, to modestly increase the tax rate for billionaires and to put the brakes on government bailouts, then I'm all for it.
But what if the mob mistakes us 2% ers (those of us who have a little, not a lot, because we worked hard and made the right choices) for the 1% ers?
What if the angry, the unruly, and the unbathed start lighting torches and come knocking at my door to snag my flatscreen TV and my George Foreman Grill, which is great for making panini sandwiches? Well that's when I unstraddle the fence, put my mixed political feelings to the side and take to my roof with a bucket full of golf balls and my oversized Callaway Big Bertha driver. That's when I start swinging away.
And I won't be yelling, "Four!"