The news has been flooded with the Occupy Wall Street protest. I would like to call it a movement but a movement should have an agenda and as much as I have tried to listen, read and understand what the group's final one and even what their actual demands are I cannot seem to find it. There is understandable anger among this group as well as among many people. The statistics and history of the last 20 years have been unkind to the worker across the world. The least represented of these groups actually is the middle class. Yeah remember the middle class???
They were the class that poor knew there was a possibility to get to, the class that could vault a little higher with each generation. They were the working families who were proud to be able to buy a house, or a car, or go on vacation because they had built this lifestyle themselves. The middle class that wonder of America ...where it was not dependant on what you were born to but only what you could dream of becoming. I do not see this discussed in any protest. I see a lot of young people, many who rightly are wondering what jobs they will have, wondering if they could maintain being middle class or even hope to become that. We should stop demonizing the rich as if we know every single one of them (I know I do not know them all personally and I do not judge based on stereotypes). I wish that ridiculously bigoted attitude would stop. It is doing nothing but stagnating the discussions that need to actually start to happen NOW. There are crappy rich people just like there are crappy poor people, oh of course there are crappy middle class people too. There is nothing wrong with working and achieving wealth and being proud of that achievement. This is not the debt achievement theory - hell rich, poor, in the middle anyone could do that - it is the pride in building a little more than what you need, getting something once in a while just because you want it ...I do not want to live just for what I need I am too complex a thinker for that.
The middle class --- to me this shrinkage may be the scariest, saddest component of this whole economic crisis. The poor will always have government subsidies, the rich do not need them but the middle they are taxed (literally and figuratively) with somehow supporting not only the government programs for the poor but also somehow paying a higher percentage of their wages than the rich. They have no money to lose to write-off, to invest in tax free havens, they have not enough deductions so instead they have to pay. This is moving many from the middle to the lower middle with the prospect of becoming the working poor, that is wrong no matter who you support in this battle. The working poor are becoming the working poverty stricken that is even more wrong. The goal of any parent is that their child should live slightly more comfortably than they did...this descent we are witnessing is unprecedented and if not stopped immediately will become the catalyst for catastrophe.
There is no shame in poverty, there is no shame in wealth as long as both of those populations have equal opportunities. I am not sure what the Wall Street protesters want but I do know that there are some pretty obvious fixes that no one seems to be mentioning; the highest tax bracket should be paid at that percentage by those at the top of the bracket just like it is by the folks at the bottom of that bracket, corporations should pay at least 20% in taxes (going by what they pay in countries like Sweden where yes they do pay less than the average person), that CEOs should not get bonuses when they causes losses, that politicians should not gladly accept lifetime positions as even the best among them will build debt to powers they have no respect for, that people should vote, that we should reward those who help build the job market in the US as much if not more than those who outsource, and most of all that it does not mean the wealthy have to give up all they have today but that they need to be part of helping everyone financially underneath them have the opportunities to get there too. If every multi-millionaire/billionaire in the US gave up 10% of their wealth tomorrow we could wipe out most of the debt, if they gave up more and still kept most of it we could all remember that there is wealth in helping out your country men that cannot be measured by bank balance books. If we pulled out of wars without meaning we could save lives and oh yeah money. If I could think of these where are the folks in DC?? Not partisan, not brilliant..not heard yet from anyone in public office. Communism failed, capitalism is wobbling so let's try something that is more balanced than these 2 extremes ..and no sorry I do not want to be any of the Nordic countries (they too have their share of problems) but something new that is built from knowledge of diverse systems.
So to all those who have the time around the world go and protest, without violence particularly since the police are union workers who represent the very class you are determined to get better financial impact for, to remind everyone that right now the economy is skewed and that we need to re-energize that middle class. That middle class is our salvation, it is what moved America forward, it is what every other country will only succeed with by implementing...without it we will all occupy a very scary place.
How many times must a man look up,
before he sees the sky?
And how many ears must one man have,
before he can hear people cry ?
And how many deaths will it take till we know,
that too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind. BOB DYLAN