Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy Wall Street–What do they want?

So, I have been following this movement for a while and then I came via stumble upon to this post. I have long wondered what these people did protest. Capitalism? Do they really wanna revert to the economic situation of Russia? No, then there is nothing they can do about the fundamentals of market economy.

A fairer market economy? Is it that what they want? Most certainly it is part of it, but I fear they only have a lot of emotion and not many ideas. We already tried mixed economies and this is where it has led. The epi-center of mixed economy testing, Europe, is currently in worse trouble than the not-so-mixed economy in the US. Althought Obama does everything to close the gap atm.

The strange link to an economist post of 2010 (which was proved wrong by history) showing that the billion dollar stimmulus did help the economy at the expense of the debt.

But this aside, what exactly do they want? They list a lot of complaints as to not being able to pay college debt or medical bills. Now, first of all, no 99% of America need abdominal surgery multiple times in a few years (if they do, then the US is the sickest population ever known to man). So, they are more likely the 1 % of the US with such problems. Also, what is a Bachelor in Science of a Top University? In Arts? Than you are just naïve to think that this will help you find a job…

And these are the 6 points they list there:

  • Affordable Health Care
  • Jobs
  • Home Stability
  • Affordable Education
  • Credit Card Debt Relief

Let’s take them on one after the other. First I will start with Affordable Health Care.

There is Affordable Health Care, but it is not possible in the US at the moment. Of course, you can’t afford health care if you need a 42” Plasma screen. For everyone else a few bucks per month are affordable or rather, would be affordable IF health care were only for really serious medical services. As long as medical procedures are used for every little whim and medical consultation is only done by M.D.’s this will stay unaffordable (or crappy). Actually, you have the choice, either you have expensive health care due to regulation and licensing, or you have cheap socialised health care but crappy service and long waiting lines (here in Germany I have to wait hours before I even get to see my doctor about a problem). Of course, if we handled health care insurance like we handle car insurances, we would have cheaper health care for big problems like surgery or chronic illnesses. On top of that if more of those "”99 %” people were charitable, we could have charity funds to help people in need, but hey, heartfelt charity, giving out of sympathy is such a bad thing for these people (just look at Madonna to see the mindset of some of these liberals).

Jobs are the second issue, but then, most of these people don’t understand how jobs are created and how you obtain jobs. There are two variables that are important for employers: Experience and Ability. Now, you can show you have abilities or skills in an area he needs, for example Math, Engineering, Sales, Financing, Marketing etc. but he is not interested in your knowledge about English Medieval History. What many students don’t seem to get is that “English” or “History” are fields that you study for your own interest (or becoming a professor in that field) but it is not a skill-set that is important to the labour market, so your degree in that field is worth almost nothing (even the summer jobs you did are more important).
Also, jobs are not created to suit you or let you work. Jobs are created by entrepreneurs because they see a niche or an opportunity of need. Someone wants something and is ready to pay for it (in whatever way). What he needs then is people helping him supply to that need. Jobs are neither made out of thin air nor by government officials pumping money in the market. The economy creates jobs when it can estimate the future situation with more certainty and knows that this future has some opportunities to make business.

Home Stability is actually something I, as a German, must lecture you. It is your own fault and not that of bankers. You knew you had no money and YET you wanted to purchase a home. I am sorry, but if you want a home but don’t have the financial means to get one, then you have to wait until you have them. It is your own fault and as hard as this sounds, you will have to sweat it out. And if you want to complain, complain to Obama, Bush, Clinton and so on, who all pushed home ownership and easy credit!

Affordable Education on the other hand is an issue I can relate to. I think College education is way over-priced. IT is sad that you need to buy mediocre education for several thousand bucks. It’s even worse that companies still think that is necessary to have a Bachelor or Master degree in something and that the value of old school apprenticeship has sunken so low. In my opinion this is the one valid point they make. More people should start working earlier at least part-time, if possible in the field that will be your future topic of study. By contrast I see online courses and other less infrastructure intensive ways to be a good alternative in the future as specially for low-cost, high-quality education.

The last point Credit Card relief is again an issue most Europeans (except perhaps Portugese) would laugh about. I am sorry, but you are ridiculous in that way. First you spent money you don’t have and then you complain that you don’t have it! I have simple advice that even young children may get: If you don’t have a dime, don’t spend a dime! It’s called fiscal responsibility and all people are capable of it. If not, it is your problem but certainly no problem of a society. If you have vices, why should anyone else be forced to take care of them?

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