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The Daily Reckoning

What Occupy Wall Street is really about

The system has failed Americans in a multitude of ways. But that doesn't absolve anyone of personal responsibility for his own problems.

By Guest blogger / October 12, 2011

Police officers escort protesters marching from a City Hall encampment to a Wells Fargo bank Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011, in Philadelphia. The demonstration at City Hall is one of many being held across the country recently in support of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York.

Matt Rourke/AP

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The Occupy Wall Street movement is getting a fair amount of press. The movement, as you know, dear reader, is a loose assembly of the jobless, the homeless and the shiftless. Troublemakers, every one of them, with no coherent or sensible view of what is wrong or how to fix it. But what’s wrong with that?

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The Occupy Wall Street protests started on Sept. 17 with a few dozen demonstrators who tried to pitch tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Since then, hundreds have set up camp in a park nearby and have become increasingly organized, lining up medical aid and legal help and printing their own newspaper, the Occupied Wall Street Journal.

About 100 demonstrators were arrested on Sept. 24 and some were pepper-sprayed. On Saturday police arrested 700 on charges of disorderly conduct and blocking a public street as they tried to march over the Brooklyn Bridge. Police said they took five more protesters into custody on Monday, though it was unclear whether they had been charged with any crime.

On Monday, the zombies stayed on the sidewalks as they wound through Manhattan’s financial district chanting, “How to fix the deficit: End the war, tax the rich!” They lurched along with their arms in front of them. Some yelled, “I smell money!”

The US is probably getting ready for a revolution. Back in the Cold War days, the CIA was asked to do a portrait of a country that might have a revolution. It decided that such a country would have three characteristics:

A big gap between rich and poor.

A middle class that was disappearing…or one that never existed in the first place.

A lot of people with a grudge.

The US fits each of these criteria. And then some others the spooks hadn’t thought about. The U6 broad measure of unemployment is going up…with 16.5% of the population without work. There are 6.2 million people who have been looking for a job for more than 6 months.

Americans are $7 trillion poorer, according to David Rosenberg, than they were 4 years ago — and property prices are still going down.

Yes, there’s also a Great Correction in progress. It, along with the policies of the US government, grind the faces of the poor.

Millions of marginally successful people think the system has failed them. Youth joblessness is at Great Depression levels. More than 45 million are on food stamps.

People come to think what they must think when they must think it. So, a person who feels he has failed must come to terms with it. He must find a reason that gets himself off the hook. It must be someone else’s fault.

It was not his fault he failed his chemistry exam. The ‘system’ should provide him with a good job anyway. It was not his fault his house got taken away; the system caused prices to fall…and his job got exported to Mumbai. It was not his fault he didn’t save any money; the banks took advantage of him mercilessly. He may even get a “deficiency notice” — telling him he has to pay the bank for its loss on his foreclosed house.

Add insult to injury, why don’t you!

The guy has a legitimate beef!