Posted by
• 10.10.11 03:00 pm

I own a small business in Brooklyn and recently my business partner, Nick Radice, and I were discussing the latest civil disobedience sensation known as Occupy Wall Street.

I own a small business in Brooklyn and recently my business partner, Nick Radice, and I were discussing the latest civil disobedience sensation known as Occupy Wall Street. Not unlike many of these protestors, we too are in our 20s, are broke, have lost professional jobs and could not attain new ones as a result of the economy. We grew up in middle class households and have college degrees. We voted for Obama and we wear clothes one might consider of the hipster dernier cri. We should be out there Occupying Wall Street, right?

Wrong. Unlike the 99 percenters bumming social change in Manhattan’s Financial District, we refuse to buy in.

To make ends meet while my business grows, I work at a wine shop and that nets me a whopping $12.50 an hour. As a bonus for my ears, I am privy to humoring whatever bat-shit crazy political stance my customers offer up as they wait for me to ring up their booze. Lately, I’ve been getting customers buying hooch on their way to Occupy Wall Street. Funny, because I don’t recall seeing any of the Little Rock Nine being armed with flasks of Evan Williams. Anyhoo, today this British girl with legs that nearly scraped the ceiling strutted into the shop wearing a see-thru dress. She was particularly amped because she was on her way to the protest and asked if I would like to go. I said no thanks. Without skipping a beat she asks, “Why not? Don’t you hate the banks?”

And there my friends lies the problem with Occupy Wall Street. There is a considerable lack of education on what caused the economic crises and therefore we are playing the blame game. To make matters worse, there seems to be no clear resolution being offered by the protest’s organizers. And if you are reading this and saying, “Well, the giant corporations could just give us the money,” then you sir are a jackass. That mode of thought is reserved for friends of successful rappers who thought that they’d be getting a free ride out of the hood.

Upon listening to the sound bites of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, you will find that their motivations for participating range from joblessness to student loans to Big Government to the stock market to corporate greed to “Oh man, there’s a microphone in my face, better come up with something intelligent.” And the solution appears to be nothing but this mythical buzzword that Obama swindled us with in 2008: “Change.” Did any of these protestors do any bit of research on the economic collapse of 2008 to get a clearer picture of why we are where we are? Or were they too busy Googling how much McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner makes a year in comparison to a fry cook in Vietnam?

Alas, this is not the entirely the people’s fault. President Obama, who bailed out the big banks and General Motors, and who will get a considerable amount of campaign funding from these entities for so doing, is now currently doing his part to exacerbate Occupy Wall Street’s message by also blaming banks. Obama remarks that hidden fees, practices and “derivative cocktails that no one understands” have “exposed the economy to enormous risks.” Right, so, we are in this shit because of overdraft penalties? I could go on, but I can’t hate on Obama because co-opting Occupy Wall Street is a brilliant reelection strategy.

So, the question becomes who or what do we blame for this economic crises? The answer is simple: Everybody is at fault. As my business partner Nick Radice explains, the cause is a general attitude that people can do or get whatever they want with no sacrifice, limitations or responsibility. This applies to the government (massive retirement and health insurance programs that are now underwater). It applies to the absurdly dysfunctional tax code. It applies to the Rust Belt, in thinking we don’t have to take really serious actions to stay competitive globally. It applies to Wall Street in thinking that quick money comes first regardless of repercussions. It applies to the Federal Reserve in thinking that it can keep low interest rates and not expect a huge debt bubble to inflate and burst. It applies to individuals who didn’t save and took on too much debt.

The point Nick is making here is that everyone is at fault for thinking that we could have everything and sacrifice nothing, and that the future would never come.

I simply don’t see the point of scapegoating the banks, government or even one president’s failure to make a dollar out of fifteen cents (at least he tried). To think that the blame lies on any one factor speaks volumes on our nation’s ability to think reasonably. We don’t need to hold our breaths ’til we pass out for America’s 1% to say, “Okay you win!” We need to look at the whole system, find the flaws and correct them, which means everyone must sacrifice — real sacrifice, not camping in a private park (homeless people do that shit all the time).

Lastly, hipsters, I hate to break it to you but living in a tent in one specific spot with a meditation area, a soup kitchen and an Internet center for a few weeks based on this romantic ideal that you will change the world isn’t a protest — it’s a Phish concert.


Send “Dear Street Carnage” letters to

  1. Joe Queer says:

    Who cares?

  2. Brian Time says:

    Sounds like you haven’t actually been there. You’re just another assclown who’s consumed a couple of morsels of media and all the sudden thinks you’re an expert on the subject. You and every other TV watching, couch-warming lazy ass from here to Fresno.

  3. Hop Conway says:

    it’s hard to be legit and still pay the rent

  4. Joe Queer says:

    “Fancy electronic cigarette kits go for $90 dollars, but that’s not how much a pack of cigarettes at the boedga will cost. We priced our Slims to rival a pack of cigarettes to encourage people to switch to vapour. Don’t be afraid to Do Better.”

    Haha, you boob.

  5. budbundystyles says:

    Great read, sir! Be not discouraged by creative internet comment writing sensation Brian Time.

  6. Michael says:

    Why is it that seemingly every rebuttal to any criticism of Occupy Whatever amounts to nothing more than, “Oh, yeah? Well, you probably just haven’t been there yourself,” as if one can only gain an understanding of empty-headed sloganeering and vague anti-capitalist rhetoric by hearing first hand?

  7. Jon says:

    I can’t dispute that a lot of the Occupiers are ill-informed and self-righteous, and that there is a lot of blame to go around, but hating the big Wall Street firms is a reasonable position. Check out something like The Big Short or another book that explicates how the global economy tanked, and you’ll see that “derivative cocktails that no one understands” were indeed very much a part of what happened. Shares of piles of bad mortgages were sold as if they were shares of piles of good mortgages, and these shares found their way into portfolios throughout the globe. Wall St brokers sold bad derivatives knowingly– (“Who would buy this shit?” “The Germans,” they said for instance, in paraphrase) And you know what, I read this book like a year and a half ago and the details are really leaving my brain, as you can probably tell. What’s great about the Occupy movement, despite the insufferable “Eat the Rich,” etc type rhetoric, is that it’s getting America talking again about Wall St, corporations, and gov’t forces have influenced the economy and our lives in general. If this keeps up it will almost certainly shape policy, and probably overall for the better. Though, Christ, who knows.

  8. wyatt says:

    working hard and getting by doesnt mean that you are immune from having some social responsibility to address those who have defrauded the american people and have gotten away with it. your tax money pays for their bailout, yet the average american is in worse shape than they have been in decades. I paid more in taxes than you probably MADE last year and I would be happy to do it, if it were social services, healthcare for the needy and education, not wars and bailouts.

    this post sucked. stay in brooklyn.

  9. tinyfrogs says:

    The protestors are largely upset about the economy, which is a mess unless you’re filthy rich. It’s not up to the protestors to craft the policies to fix the problem. We GIVE people jobs to do that. This doesn’t blame only the rich for our economy.

    However, only the rich have a the motive and ability to maintain the status quo, which has stacked the deck largely in their favor for over 30 years. Maybe if middle-class income had risen in step with productivity while education and health care costs had stayed in line with inflation, people would have been able to save more and we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  10. Ben says:

    Occupy Wall Street is a group primarily concerned with student debt and youth unemployment. Gaddis says everyone has some blame in this crisis, which is true, but some people were given a bailout and some weren’t. Since 2008, our government and institutions have been trying to fix the problems of elites. Thus banks and corporations were bailed out, without anyone even trying to make them say “sorry our bad.”

    Meanwhile, people who entered college in the boom economy of 2005 and 2006 made the perfectly reasonable (for an 18-year-old) decision to take on debt to pay for education. Then those people came out the other side of a four-year pot-addled haze, only to find an economic wasteland and a government that didn’t give a shit about unemployment. They were never given the opportunity to develop skills in the real workforce, and they have been ignored.

    I think it’s perfectly legitimate for this group of people, even if they are mostly white and annoying, to be frustrated. Before this protest, one might never know from watching the news or listening to a politician speak that the college classes of 2008, 2009 and 2010 have been up a creek while the government keep giving golden paddles to Wall Street. A union walkout has demands, a protest attracts attention. That’s what Occupy Wall Street has done, and they aren’t done yet.

  11. majestico says:

    thanks for your anecdotal evidence with one british chick. i’m happy that this experience gave you the authority to write an entire article on the subject.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great Article, Jesse. Glad you took time out of your day to pat yourself on the back for the hard work and dedication you have put in to both job’s of yours. Keep making me and your step-mum proud.

  13. flapjack says:

    i want re-pump the ‘catalyst for a bowel movement’ line but i can think of nothing. maybe a bank is like a coffee. no, that sucks!! oh man!

  14. Him says:

    Let’s start sending off bankers and gypsies to death camps.

  15. mehmohmeh says:

    I sincerely want the Occupy Wall St. to gain momentum, and clarify its goals. But a lot of Jesse’s points are great. Any social movement towards change is certainly better than nothing, but I’m having a very hard time getting on board with this vague feel-good banks are bad agenda.

    And wagging a finger at people it should be recruiting, citing “social responsibility” is horse-shit. For a kid in his 20s trying to get by and live in NYC, that’s fine. You go kid. Do your thing. I’m sure he expresses social responsibility in other ways, maybe different than sitting in a park with hippies arguing about what should be on the next batch of ironic protest signs.

    When the Occupy people get their shit together and have a game plan, let us know. Until then it’s a yoga lesson that ends up with your cock in your mouth. AdBusters. Jesus. Why don’t you ask them to switch from glossy to newsprint for 2 issues and put the savings towards “the movement”

  16. wank says:

    The protesters could start a business like Jesse. But wait! that requires ideas, long hours, and risk. Whining for handouts is so much more hip and subversive.

  17. Fuck Off, Twice says:

    The balls of this guy addressing “hipsters” all holier than thou when his “business” is selling argyle e-cigarettes called “Bedford” something. Fuck off. Who is going to buy your shit product, if not “hipsters.” Also the “Occupy Wall Street” you are mad at and saying fuck off to doesn’t exist outside of your head. Why don’t you actually learn about something before spouting off about it– precisely what you are telling other people to do.

  18. Charles says:

    This was the dumbest, most lazy piece of crap I’ve read on here in a while. Why don’t you do some research?

    I’ll take the word of Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and you know, all those award-winning economists who support Occupy Wall Street over your sad little cop-out explanation.

  19. Dang, Mang says:

    @ Brian Time – I’ve been down there, twice. And this is a pretty accurate depiction of what is going on.

  20. Miss universe says:

    Regardless of whose fault it is, social movements (that actually do “change things”) have emerged historically when economic hardship becomes too much to bear for most of the population. It doesn’t matter if the perception of oppression is sort of faulty, what matters is a majority of disgruntled poor people put pressure on those in power to do a better job or get out. Social change does happen. It happens all over the world all the time.

  21. Gavin says:

    I get why people are mad. CEO’s salary compared to the rest of the world has gone from twenty times bigger to thousands times bigger. That ain’t right.

    However, the fact that they’re saying gov’t is the solution and we need more taxes etc boggles my mind. Obama hired the CEO of GE to run his Job Competitiveness dept. GE paid no tax last year. Karl Rove started the whole mortgage bundle crisis by insisting everyone owns homes. Obama blew half a billion on a solar company that promptly went bankrupt.

    Big business is fucking up but getting the gov’t involved is like bringing in a toddler to babysit your troubled teen.

  22. wtf says:

    I’m gonna be honest here and admit that i did not read your 17,000,000 word essay. But what I will say is most those kids at occupywallstreet seem like complete fucking hippies. And guess what, hippies are pretty lame.

  23. Dork says:

    I think that if NYC doesn’t like bankers & Wall Street, the bankers & Wall Street should move all their money somewhere else & let NYC rot in its own filth. Easy peasy!

  24. Miss universe says:

    Also the decentralized structure of the protest probably has more power at this point that a specific, targeted message which could be too easily swept under the rug. If the movement grows, I am sure eloquent leaders will emerge. The messy incubation stage is a natural part of the evolution. But also, I think the non-hierarchical approach is sort of an attempt at an antithesis to the problems the polarized economic hierarchy has caused. I’m not saying I’m against hierarchy, entirely, I just see the poetic point a decentralized movement has as an antithetic point.

  25. Mike says:

    I marched up to Washington Square Park, but I don’t disagree with this article.

  26. Miss universe says:

    Gavin–I doubt everyone at the protests wants big government as a solution…that’s the “muddled message” everyone’s complaining about. I think the call for government intervention is coming from people who don’t see the wisdom in “tear it down” revolutionary tactics, which I happen to think are even more shortsighted. I personally would subscribe to a modified big government intervention which takes cues from the IWW slogan “forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old”. I think this is realistic and an easier transition than starting from scratch. What’s your solution, anyway?

  27. big bird says:

    Gavin is right on!!!

  28. hmmm says:

    .. so you’re argument is that people who think banks were to blame are stupid, and the way to fix this problem is to regulate banks more.

    Dont give up selling the booze quite yet..

  29. big bird says:

    The Federal Reserve, Congress, Fannie and Freddie, and Government Sachs were to blame. Stupid.

  30. Fork says:

    Steve Jobs was to blame. Evil capitalist billionaire.

  31. dim says:

    ‘Or were they too busy Googling how much McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner makes a year in comparison to a fry cook in Vietnam?’

    good line!

    The problem is Keynesian economics. Bring in Ron Paul and Austrian school and after a couple of tough years prosperity will again rear it’s head.

  32. luke says:

    Here are my two simplistic, half-assed solutions.

    1)Colleges and churches are no longer tax exempt.

    2) The government should no longer be in the businesses of working with/propping up private lending agencies who approve of 100K+ loans to 17 and 18 year old suckers for what amounts to four years of reading books.

    Won’t that stop people from going to college? No. It will stop every idiot who wants to go to college from being able to pay the college the ridiculous prices they are gouging us with. No one to pay that fucked up price means the price will go back down to a reasonable level.

    Woh did I just argue for less government? Get me, I’m Gavin over here all of a sudden.

  33. Arv says:

    @luke: I’ve also thought that removing government from college loans will help stabilize / lower the price of college, but that would inevitably lead to chaos in the short term while tuitions remain high and loans evaporate. And even after that phase passes, isn’t there a chance that the private sector will simply fill the gap the government left, lending money to students at even higher rates further exacerbating the problem until the higher education bubble bursts?

  34. Fork says:

    Everything the government touches leads to price inflation: education, housing, healthcare, etc.

    Let us bring in the Austrian School.

  35. luke says:

    That’s a reasonable assumption, but I think drastic measures need to be taken to make sure our kids aren’t paying 100k a year to go to college. When I started like fifteen years ago it was around 25k for a good liberal arts school. Now it’s like 45-50. That’s a crime.

  36. nip says:

    The #occupyAtlanta folks put on a hell of a show the other day.

    It’s awesome to watch white people tell civil rights heroes that their opinions don’t matter in the south. Look how happy they are at the end that they shut down John Lewis. This is why nobody is taking the protests seriously, nor should they.

  37. veruca says:

    What a perfect name, since that comment was the dimmest thing I’ve read besides the original post. Laissez Faire economics do not work. Maybe they do to further siphon the wealth of a country to the top elites in that country and around the world by opening up the market and selling it to the lowest bidder. That’s right, opening the market means selling the states assets for pennies on the dollar and bankrupting the economy.

    You are advocating for the race to the bottom.

    I think that experimenting with the economy, and saying ‘after a couple of tough years’ everything will be a-ok! is reckless. Keynesian economics pulled this country out of the depression. It brought us to the most prosperous years our country has had, for a majority of the people. What is wrong with having a middle class? With more people owning homes? With having jobs that you don’t fear will be shipped overseas? With having jobs that aren’t solely in the service and retail sectors so we can use our degrees?

    I don’t believe in an America that allows for people to be hungry, to go homeless, or to remain uneducated. I also believe after reading Milton Friedman that his Laissez Faire policies are dangerous (no matter what school you subscribe to), and how they played out in Chile and Argentina was a disaster. People starved, people were murdered and dissappeared, people fell behind on education because they were just trying to survive, people were stripped of their rights. But out of that horrible time the people banded together and started protests. I am so glad that America didn’t get to the point that those countries were at socially before we started protesting.

    If you truly believe in the ‘couple of tough years’ you are mistaken. It has taken decades for countries infiltrated by Laissez Faire to bounce back. I also ask you why any country with Laissez Faire policies never freely elected them, those policies are always passed through dictatorships and global coercion through the IMF and World Bank.

  38. luke says:

    Good piece from Krugman here. Everyone here, and lots of peers I hear from criticizing the disorganization of this movement, are similarly trying to shovel bullshit on top of its particulars in order to distract from what is a simple message all of us should be behind: The game is rigged, we don’t want to play it anymore by your rules. It makes no sense for any of you to disagree with that premise, unless there are any millionaires reading this site. Besides Gavin I mean. How we get there we can argue about reasonably.

    “The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.”

  39. Fork says:

    Dude, Chile and Argentina — apples and oranges. Argentina is a socialist country that defaulted on its government debt, had hyperinflation, and thrust half the population into poverty. Chile has been a huge success story in South America (after following Chicago School policies) and one of the fastest growing economies of the past 25 years. It is time to begin reading, traveling, and learning what the facts are.

  40. Jeff says:

    Just the kind of well-balanced reportage I would expect from a website created by a multi-millionaire “youth culture impresario.” Gavin must be sweating a bank run harder than Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Don’t worry, you can always go live with Penny Rimbaud’s septuagenarian balls at Dial House, you neo-con turd.

  41. This nonsense needs to stop says:

    This is probably the most well thought out opinion piece ever on this site. Bravo on zeroing in on why it is hard for people, who are on the side of reform and against cronyism, to jump on board. What is the message beyond the abstract “Wall Street is Evil” rally cry? Why is everything beneath that so filled with contradictions and conflicting messages? I’ve seen a lot of interchanging of the idea of capitalism, the regular kind that moves our country along, with the idea of corporate cronyism. What I haven’t seen is any attempt at actual informing, so people could intellectualize the problem beyond vague anger. Also I would love to see the 99% percent honestly acknowledge that it is not itself a monolithic group that really speaks for all it claims to represent within it, and that it has its own differing levels of privilege, ideas of what is wrong, demands, and expectations.

  42. Michael says:

    Just when I thought I had managed to see past the cartoonish stereotypes being promoted by the media as to gain a better understanding of Occupy Whatevs’ core message, along comes JD Samson to knock me right the fuck back to where I started.

    Here are the more notable insights I took away from the piece:
    1.) The “American Dream” means never having to work for anything – simply move to New York, become an artist and kick back as fame and fortune come cascading into your life.
    2.) Apartments in NY are scarce and expensive for some mysterious reason, and having no steady job or credit to one’s name makes obtaining one that much more difficult, so from all available evidence we can only conclude that these evil capitalist property owners hate lesbians!
    3.) Trust fund kids totally suck, but it would be kind of awesome if JD Samson’s parents were rich so she could have her own trust fund.
    4.) JD Samson is a lesbian.
    5.) People that belong to New York’s indie scene have to spend money they don’t have on shit they don’t need in order to impress other people in New York’s indie scene that spend money they don’t have on shit they don’t need because that’s the only way you can ever expect to get anywhere in New York’s indie scene.
    6.) JD Samson is a lesbian.

    Did I miss anything? Because while so many of you seem so convinced that this “leaderless” movement is a nuanced pastiche of brilliant, thoughtful intellectuals with voices waiting to deservedly heard, all official accounts seem to indicate contrary.

  43. Tub Man says:

    Nice way to boil down a decade of unchecked bank anarchy that destroyed the real estate market as “overdraft penalties.” Go drink some Fernet Branca and shut up.

  44. Him says:

    That Samson article is ridiculous. When is a person not “downtrodden by the man and his capitalist practices”; but simply just a loser?

  45. Wooderson says:

    I see your point regarding lack of focus in the protests but I think this movement is great. Is it doing you any harm? Are you selling more booze? Great!

    People aren’t happy with the growing gap between rich and poor. More tax breaks are being offered to extremely wealthy individuals while the middle class is shrinking. People are pissed and it’s their right to protest. Good for them.

  46. americana says:

    “Lastly, hipsters, I hate to break it to you but living in a tent in one specific spot with a meditation area, a soup kitchen and an Internet center for a few weeks based on this romantic ideal that you will change the world isn’t a protest — it’s a Phish concert.”

    LOLed, you my nigga dawg.

  47. Boner says:

    We’re sitting in a park! GIVE US ALL YOUR MONEY!!!

  48. Daddy says:

    You shit is weak.

    Here is your big bombshell of a point: “who or what do we blame for this economic crises? The answer is simple: Everybody is at fault.”

    The point you avoid while glibly dedicating copy to casting protestors as hippies and hipsters is that some of the people at fault — Wall Street speculators, deregulating politicians — have been bailed out/freed from censure while others — the growing lower and shrinking middle classes — are being stretched on the rack/left swinging in the wind. If everyone’s to blame, why isn’t everyone paying for it? That’s the point of the protests, the “see-thru” quality of a long-legged British protester’s dress notwithstanding.

    Your whole “I lost my job, too” attempt at self-validation immediately reminded me of women from the Maghreb who insist that the tradition of female circumcision be continued because it happened to them, but that analogy would be giving you too much credit, really. Your is simply trying to gain cultural capital by casting himself outside of what’s turning into a more and more of a mainstream trend. Very edgy.

    I’m not one to throw around the term “hipster” as an epithet, but you — if this crap article is any indication — actually fit the most derogatory application of the term to a T.

  49. Blah says:

    This article is spot on.. except for the part about Wall Street not knowing that the real-estate crash would happen.

    Easy money was lent based on lower lending standards and fraudulent appraisals. Toxic assets bundled and sold as higher value assets. The musical chairs continued with each holder earning record profits. All parties knew that when the music stopped, the result would be so bad that a bailout would happen. These folks should be brought to justice and this type of market failure needs to be prevented in the future.

    Folks who shouldn’t have houses need to be out of them, not artificially kept in them. This is part of the sacrifice and pain that the article highlights.

  50. Uncle Wah Wah says:

    I think the protest is great, I hope it spreads across the nation. It’s fantastic to see this country show some passion about something aside from “American Idol”, Dancing with the Stars” and some fucking sports team. Welcome to the rest of the world, America.

  51. cheezdick says:

    I have a hard time understanding how “wall street” and/or “big banks” are responsible for the fraudulent practices of literally thousands of individual brokers/appraisers nation wide.

    Similarly, the “owe us a living” mentality of college graduates is sickening: “I majored in English and now I can’t get a job……FUCK THE BANKS!!” I’m not sure how to rationally respond to this thought process. Guess what? If you would have majored in computer science, healthcare, engineering, chemistry, or ANYTHING THAT REQUIRED MATH, you would be gainfully employed the instant you graduated. The world doesn’t need more lawyers, kids.

    That said, camping is fun.

  52. The Cold Fist of Socialism says:

    Ron Paul is a fucking clown. He looks like Pinocchio and sounds like a whining penis hole. Why do people like that little fucker and his bitch evil son so much? Fuck those two.

  53. dim says:

    nothing like starting out your rebuttal with an insult. maybe you never heard that you don’t have to be disagreeable to disagree, but of course not, reading your post it’s obvious you are infected with the right virus: you must be right right right.
    you and the status quo and the MSM.
    remember it was richard nixon who said: “We are all Keynesians now” and they didn’t call him tricky dick for nothing.
    you distortions and fallacies are too numerous to address, but here is a short article and a video that does a pretty darn good job of it.

    “…if we continue to listen to Keynesians in the next decade instead of those who tell us the truth, zero will start to look pretty good. The end result of destroying the currency is the wiping out of the middle class. Preventing that from happening should be our top economic priority.”
    –Ron Paul
    Keynesianism Delivers a Decade of Zero

    captain midnite

  54. Zippy says:

    Americans are the best trained set of idiots in the world. Go through high school doing stupid community service projects no adult would bother with to put on your college app, take out $75k in student loans for four years of theoretical bullshit in a directionless degree, graduate into an economy where you couldn’t get a job wiping shitty asses and the first thing that comes to mind? I need to get my Master’s. HAHAHAHAHAHA

  55. alex says:

    @the cold fist of s
    Regardless of how you think he looks or sounds, it’s because unlike everyone else he hasn’t been bought and paid for!

  56. social register nigga says:

    1. The federal govt. MANDATED that MORE money be given out to people who were bad candidates for loans. This was a politically motivated decision and was also rooted in an incredibly naive philosophical outlook. That outlook is reinforced by political shill economists with the right political credentials *cough*Krugman*cough* who will support questionable policies until their dying breath.
    2. In exchange for these mandates, the federal government would leave the private sector to its own devices. “Laissez faire,” and “free market” (lol). So banks (predictably) did what they do best, by attempting to make as much money as possible. The most viable way to do this was by signing people onto credit lines that would never ever ever be paid off and then bundling the bad candidates into various arcane financial instruments (traunches) that they would sell to the global market (mortgage backed security). The federal govt would “stimulate” financial activity by forcing liquidity into the system and meet their political aims as well by “helping the little guy.” The ratings agencies and regulators would look the other way because the banks AND the federal govt told them it was no big deal.
    3. The federal officials responsible for this clusterfuck are made up of many Democrats and Republicans. It was, to an extent, bipartisan (although Dems like Barney Frank really milked this whole thing quite a bit and if you take calculating assessment of who backed what, the Democrats look like shit on this one).
    4. When the whole house of cards starts to collapse the American people were told that the only solution was to build more structure underneath the crumbling house by throwing more cards (cash) underneath. It appears that didn’t work, so now a bunch of young people have a hilarious amount of debt and no marketable skills or real-world experience. This is the end result. Whose fault is it? The assholes who borrowed too much, the assholes who lent out all the money and the assholes who told the assholes that all those assholes should be given a bunch of money.

  57. Unca Mike says:

    Maybe these people who make more money than you didn’t steal or cheat to get it.

    Maybe they are smarter than you.

    Tough to accept, I know. But being envious and jealous of others isn’t going to pay your bills.

  58. chriscrass says:

    do they owe us a living?

  59. Ummm....not quite says:

    As much as I’d like to avoid empathizing with the 20 year old hobos occupying wall street, I do have to say “business owner” doesn’t have any idea what he is talking about. The USA is not Greece, and until the yield on our 10 year treasury bond reaches 20%, there’s no chance of us becoming Greece. So, since we are not in any danger of an unwilling default, and can essentially make money off of borrowing money – our bond yields are that low – it’s not a matter of everyone sacrificing. Rather, it’s a matter of everyone paying their fare share as we borrow our way into a true economic recovery. There should be a financial transaction tax, a higher rate of taxation for those making over $250,000 a year and / or making a living from capital gains. Banks should be “ring-fenced” to provide a barrier between investment banks and commercial banks, or more popularly we should see a return of the Glass Steagall Act, in order to stop mortgage backed securities, etc. There should be a cap on executive pay. GE should pay more than…..I don’t know….zero dollars in tax every year.

    But beyond all that, idiots like “business owner” should read a paper once in a while to gain a broader understanding of what is actually happening in the world economically. This great recession was caused by the undoing of financial regulations over the past 30 years and the near bankrupting of federal and state governments through Republican tax policies. The reality is, if we don’t tax more aggressively, and regulate banks, we will have to do with less. Less health benefits, less social security, fewer roads, fewer bridges, less groundbreaking technology, less educated people; and the list goes on. So, “business owner”, when your business has to do business in a world where all of those things exist at a lower standard, how competitive do you think you’ll be in the global marketplace?

  60. blublockbill says:

    The “most prosperous years our country has had, consisted of the Gilded Age when Govt regulation and taxation were at a minimum.

  61. Ravachol says:

    If you borrowed $50,000 to finance your Community Studies or English Literature degree, you are an idiot. I feel pity for your situation, but you are responsible. Two reasons.

    1. For thinking that going to university is some sort of default right, and that it will land you a sure job despite reality being VISIBLY different. An undergrad degree don’t mean shit, and there is no reason to get one in most cases. Not everyone needs university.

    2. Lots of places have free/cheap post-secondary education. Use your time/money (10s of thousands of dollars and 4-6 years) to move to France and get an edumacation for free. Voila.

  62. A.D.D.VisaVis says:

    Besides noting that this writer is, obviously, a boring, overgeneralizing, intellectually dishonest idiot, I want to draw your attention to a few great zingers in the comments. Too many comments to read, but from the ones I did I give you the best.

    1. Jeff — “Just the kind of well-balanced reportage I would expect from a website created by a multi-millionaire “youth culture impresario.” Gavin must be sweating a bank run harder than Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Don’t worry, you can always go live with Penny Rimbaud’s septuagenarian balls at Dial House, you neo-con turd.”

    2. Anonymous — “Great Article, Jesse. Glad you took time out of your day to pat yourself on the back for the hard work and dedication you have put in to both job’s of yours. Keep making me and your step-mum proud.”

  63. pony says:

    hey, you know what pisses me off than some jackass thinking he’s smarter than everyone else? Some jackass thinking he’s smarter than everyone else

  64. Reason trumps emotion; maybe? says:

    The author suggests that during times like these it is tempting to look for a scapegoat. How true. I hope that scapegoating is a thing of the past.

    While this messy situation brings out emotional responses such as blaming those who took out crappy loans for college, or for real estate, what is lost is the author’s other point, and that is we as a society must critically evaluate how the structures that have been put in place over the past few decades have led us to this point in time. Perhaps this is why your comments section on this topic is so varied; people are tired of blaming others, instead, they seek a consensus of opinion.

  65. popfop says:

    The bailouts of financial firms was disgusting but I feel no sympathy for people who took out loans they can’t pay – that’s just fucking dumb.

  66. Dane says:

    The Daily Rash wrote about my favorite protester, a middle-aged North Carolina man who still lives with his rich parents, traveled to New York to protest people like his parents!

  67. Tim says:

    Just curious. Why are the protesters supposedly targeting Wall Street, but not Obama, or the Democratic Congress. They were in power, without any restraint of the so called obstructionist Republicans for 2 years. So, why are the protesters not furious with the Obama administrations handling of the economy? That’s why I think this is all a farce.

  68. Fork says:

    @ Social Register –
    That is definitely a great explanation of what happened.

    @ Tim –
    It is absurd that people don’t hold the Democratic Congress responsible. Keep in mind: we had a Democratic Congress since 2006, in the Bush Administration.

    Ultimately, I think Obama will be held responsible, because he is the leader of the country. The President is who people look to towards for at least optimism and a resilient message. But instead he is ridiculously unpresidential: making excuses, scapegoating, and casting blame. That isn’t leadership.

    Most of the key players from Obama’s administration either have come from Wall Street, or went there after leaving. Peter Orszag went to Citigroup. Larry Summers advised for hedge funds and took immense pay packages. Rahm Emanuel was paid millions at the investment bank Lazard for simply being there. Bill Daley, Obama’s current Chief of Staff, was a fat-cat banker at JPMorganChase. And on and on…

    If you’re angry, then direct it at the right place: the Democrats who keep suckering you into believing this leftist nonsense. They’re laughing all the way to Martha’s Vineyard at your stupid asses.

  69. (not published or required) says:

    dialogue and the sharing ideas and information are good things, so if at the very least this is all it brings out, its a good thing.

    i just think it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good enough to get on board

    “the enemy of a good plan is a perfect plan”

    the internet is going nuts right now over this, im learning a lot, and the argument on some websites is extremely intelligent and well-informed.

    Saying “everyones at fault” is cool, but some people are 180,000,000,000 times more at fault than others (and they’re holding the solution$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    The question is if anyone IS to blame, and if so who?

    i think the small group of people holding all the money are starting to look very guilty right now (although they are probably incapable of feeling guilt)

    or are we just blaming them for the rise of China and India?

    Are they actually to blame for the rise of China and India?

    Is the rise of China and India at our expense?

    Are they sociopaths and do they need to be held to account for their actions?

    My question is: are you willing to assign blame, and if so, hold to account.

    im thinkin ‘no’ & ‘no’. the first one being because the second ones too hard

  70. dtdw says:

    Just because there is a bunch of idiot protestors dosen’t mean the system isn’t broken.

    This article was written by someone ‘ignorant’ of economics.

  71. jason says:

    how predictable was this article? “get off my lawn…” everything.

  72. Fork says:

    A cabal or conspiracy of billionaire financiers that pull the strings of the world and oppress the ignorant masses. Isn’t that kind of a cliche at this point? Isn’t it the theme of … Nazi propaganda?


  74. one of the best commentaries about the entire mess. thank you, from a right-wing extremist.

  75. […] reflection on #Occupywallstreet by a twenty-something hipster-ish business owner: To make ends meet while my business grows, I work at a wine shop and that nets me a whopping […]

  76. mandingo says:

    Awesome piece.

  77. cluster fluke says:

    Cluster, I think the point this hipsterish shopboy is trying to make is that he’s actually sucking it up and working and also works on his own business which I may ascertain will provide local jobs down the line (if successful). Like so many of the kids in his generation at this protest, he is not looking for this quixotic notion of equality of income, or some sort of system overhaul to make it happen for him. He’s doing it himself. Are you really knocking the DIY work ethic? I wouldn’t be disparaging about this opinion piece in that area per se. I think his treatment of the banks lacked strong support and chalking it up to “overdrafts” was either a joke or an over cite, or both.

    Moreover, protesting for weeks seems like a luxury someone who works hard for little money like him just can’t afford. At $12.50 an hour, could you? Would it be worth for you to leave your job just so you can join a crowd that has no clear goals other than “to get people talking”? Are you that big of a follower yourself? I admire this kid’s balls for posting why he won’t be participating at OWS, especially on a site like this. Well done, kid.

  78. Anonymous says:

    FUCKING THANK YOU. I’ve been saying the same thing and people are telling me I’m just like Fox News. And you speak much more concisely than I do. For real man, God Bless ya!

  79. Anonymous says:

    I think all he’s saying is that the strategy behind this protest is asinine. obviously shit is real fucked up

  80. asshole confit says:

    does anybody else have the feeling that despite all this postive rabble rousing
    that the state of affairs of our country will only be getting worse from here on out? And that when and if they do get better will it only be an echo of what happened in Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic?
    Who’s going to be our charming best selling author Hitler?

  81. Gibreel Farishta says:

    Allah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He, and the angels, and those having KNOWLEDGE (also bear witness to this); (He is always) maintaining His Creation in justice. None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Almighty the All Wise.” – Quran 3:18

  82. Ess says:

    Wish more young people had the same amount of wisdom as this guy.

  83. asshole confit says:

    Shut the fuck up Gibreel

  84. Fork says:

    Why is it so hard for people to figure out that Ron Paul is the answer:

    If you don’t like corrupt Big Business, then why on earth would you support its enabler: Big Government.

    Big Government — always and everywhere — has led to corruption and misery. In contrast, broad prosperity is created in societies with a high degree of economic freedom — in which America used to lead, but has now fallen behind.

    You would think that with all the burdensome education debt that everyone is complaining about, someone would have picked up a history or economics course along the way…

  85. Peter says:

    How the fuck is the girl with three fatherless kids making $7.25/hour and spending every last dime to pay for clothing, food, and rent – and now getting surcharged for owning a BOA debit card that she uses to pay for the stuff – at all responsible for our current economy. It’s obvious that you’re deliberately missing the point here. If you have something to contribute about fixing these problems, problems that you somehow manage to avoid mentioning in depth, write a hilarious blog entry about that. For now, be cool and cynical in Brooklyn, and let the others do what they do. You’ll get it someday.

  86. diana says:

    Who’s to blame i don’t now, the politicians aren’t representing the people and are only thinking about the present and not the future. Left right, it’s all bullshit, who is stuck in the middle… They teach us in school when you’re young to respect laws to be generous politicians who can’t agree on anything, and rather see the other side fail, then to come up with solutions for the future… They are only out for their own interest, which are interest of the corporations who exploit and break what they cannot fix everything and anything to keep control of their wealth and power, they are the real crooks laws are made for own interest, they pick and choose who to put in office, and who makes them get away with this, complacency, the politicians. They are modern day monarchies and we are the serfs… The politicians only corporate puppets who put on a show and talk about bullshit morality, that has to do with nothing but nothing, and use the illusion of religion, to blind us about the realty of real issues, like health care, cancer And rather see Goverment go bankrupt so they privatize, government institutions. Things aren’t so black and white.. Excuse me..

  87. diana says:

    the politicians let them get awy with this, by clearing the their path..

  88. vis medicatrix naturae says:

    I protest the occupy wall streeters by writing blog entries and having opinions that I will literally do nothing more with than this.

  89. (not published or required) says:

    its about participating in democracy, something people are having a hard time getting their head around.

    also: hippies aren’t cool, therefore i will never get involved.

    students may be optimistic and naive (middle class whatever whatever insert appropriate worldly and jaded insult here) but often times its kids like these who kick shit off and get things happening

    wah wah wah you work at your job.

    i work blood out of my hands on building sites for fuck all and i’ll get behind these motherfuckers

    when the rest of the working people start getting behind this shit you better change your tune.

    also check out how tiananmen square started – it was the students who got out there and protested, and before you knew it half the fucking town turned out and got involved.

    hate all you want but the kids are alright

  90. green says:

    Nothing is worse than the 1% of self-righteous brats.

  91. assballs says:

    To the dipshits railing against all English majors who can’t get jobs… uh…

    You realize R&D is like, the first thing cut in a recession right? I’m a fucking neurobio major and I’m working a shitty customer service job.

  92. kittens says:

    I think the important thing about the protests that this writer is missing is that these issues are now a conversation. We’re now talking about this stuff in big open ways. I have a hard time respecting the generalities this person makes about the protesters. Yes, it’s right to say that the big cultural problem at hand is the lack of responsibility and accountability across the board. However, I could do without the judgement and the hatred toward the situation. The final line of the piece is quippy and clever but not the least bit accurate. I wish there was less judgement in this piece and more information sharing.

  93. internetguy says:


    Your Chile / Argentina example is some NEXT LEVEL ignorant shit.

    Chile was plunged into disaster by their right-wing economic “experiment,” and had to resort to bailouts and some renationalizations to stay afloat (primarily mines, which funded a good part of their “miracle” when commodity prices improved).

    What growth they have had has concentrated in a few hands, for example fruit plantation owners, producing the most resource intensive / least sustainable agriculture on earth.

    Argentina on the other hand almost became a first world country through import substitution (a variant of “socialism,” although too much power still left in corporate hands) then got fucked by right-wing dictators and then the IMF who came to enforce the dictators bullshit loans.

    And then they went “rogue” on the financial world’s asses, following untested advice of “radical economists” and then things have improved a ton there. This is all a gross simplification but I could have a deeper convo if anyone cared enough.

    ps – F Ron Paul, Paultards go back to your caves and leave the 99% to protest in peace : P

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