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https://occupywallst.org/article/A-Message-From-Oc...

Day 8 - The Over Hype of the Century

So these clowns are complaining of "the man" violating their rights and all. I mean they have been protesting for 8 days, which is 8 days longer than Syria or Iran would deal with. They piss and moan about being "caged in" yet fail to realize that peaceful protesting doesn't mean blocking the sidewalk in a busy part of town and forcing people to walk in the street and endanger themselves.

Police stopped them from protesting into another area which they didn't have a permit for. I guess they equate protesting with violating other peoples rights. A few got maced, as compared to shot as in the middle east.

End of the day these guys are clowns. You really never realize that society is separated until you see clueless people protesting something they don't really understand and then complain that police try and force them to respect other people (which they clearly do not).

Why is it that socialism only benefits the people who put the least effort in life and punishes those who put the most effort in? Why do we worry about the underachievers at the expense of those who achieve? Why am I not seeing hard working Americans who have lost their jobs, who have lost their houses, etc protesting? Instead I see young kids with god knows what kind of educational background complaining?

Go long mace and cattle prods.

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Comments (367)

  • TNA's picture

    Always downplay or trivialize an other persons concerns. Just like the punitive theft that liberals push on this country. The robber never thinks robbery is wrong.

  • In reply to TNA
    duffmt6's picture

    ANT:
    Whatever dude. Plain fact is these people were not getting attention so they decided to push the issue. They were blocking the sidewalk and forcing people to walk in the street or go elsewhere. I fail to see how their right to protest becomes their right to block a public road and sidewalk. Just because you think it is trivial doesn't mean you can do it.

    Walking in the road and blocking a sidewalk is a hazard and the police had every right to stop these people.

    You literally can't walk on the street on Wall St. right now. Completely blocked off by police barricades. Don't know what you are talking about. Are you even in NYC?

    "For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

  • In reply to TNA
    duffmt6's picture

    ANT:
    Always downplay or trivialize an other persons concerns. Just like the punitive theft that liberals push on this country. The robber never thinks robbery is wrong.

    There those liberals go again!

    "For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

  • TNA's picture

    I am referencing the video where the chick got maced. This is what this conversation is about. No, I am not in NYC, which would be relevant if I wasn't talking about a specific incident where protestors were blocking a sidewalk and the road was still in use.

  • In reply to TNA
    duffmt6's picture

    ANT:
    No, I am not in NYC.

    So you were talking about a specific incident, and from there making generalizations about something you really have no idea about, is that correct?

    "For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

  • TNA's picture

    Actually, I am talking about a specific incident and talking SPECIFICALLY about that. I have no issue with these retards protesting, but they outcry over a chick getting maced and "caged" in fails to realize that these people were blocking the sidewalk and taking the protest outside of an allowed area.

    I don't see how I was making generalizations at all? In fact I kept my argument rather focused on the fact that their blocking the sidewalk and creating an unsafe area was a direct cause of the issue with the police. Additionally, their right to protest ends when they violate someones right of unencumbered access to a public sidewalk.

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    Sidenote: Mace hurts worse than anything you could possibly imagine. Not pepperspray, I mean actual Mace.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • sayandarula's picture

    oh. my. fuck.

    up until today i didn't give a shit. now these fuckers in their faggy yellow shirts are protesting in SF in front of Montgomery BART station.

    as if it wasn't bad enough that i have to put up with "Anonymous" protests every Monday. for fuck's sake, i just want to go home.... =-(

    Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

  • In reply to sayandarula
    EURCHF parity's picture

    sayandarula:
    as if it wasn't bad enough that i have to put up with "Anonymous" protests every Monday. for fuck's sake, i just want to go home.... =-(

    That sounds like an interestingly Californian type of socialism, what are "Anonymous" protests?
  • wolverine19x89's picture

    ^^ haha what a dumb bitch

    Lets go harass anybody with a suit

    Then make generalizations that they're going to get a martini

    Don't generalize races though, cause then I would bitch about it. If you're wearing a suit you're fair game.

    If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

    "There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

  • In reply to sayandarula
    __________'s picture

    sayandarula:
    oh. my. fuck.

    up until today i didn't give a shit. now these fuckers in their faggy yellow shirts are protesting in SF in front of Montgomery BART station.

    as if it wasn't bad enough that i have to put up with "Anonymous" protests every Monday. for fuck's sake, i just want to go home.... =-(

    There has been one guy dressed in colonial british attire at the Embarcadero BART for the past few days, each day a few more people join him.

    Also, the Anon protests have been over the BART cops shooting some guy who resisted arrest. BART (subway system) got hacked and people with masks and signs decide to clog the stations in protest.

    "Quote from a book/movie about wall street" - Main character in that movie.

  • MMBinNC's picture

    The government of the United states is somewhat socialist. The bailout and the heavily counter cyclical policy of the Fed are both socialist in nature (socializing losses) but the difference is that it is really just perpetuating moral hazard and is at the heart crony capitalism. We should pass a law or something that says no bailouts, no depository insurance, no overly expansionary monetary policy, no GSEs. All those things lead to more risk taking. These people are not protesting that though. They are protesting that them or their parents took out a huge mortgage that they couldn't afford, and then the bank either called the loans or the rate increased to an unsustainable rate and they were foreclosed on. These protestors are looking for handouts and second chances because they fucked up. You have to earn second chances IMHO, the government shouldn't give them to you. These morons are not addressing the problem, they are part of it.

    Reality hits you hard, bro...

  • TNA's picture

    These protesters are exactly why I would not work hard in a true socialist country.

  • In reply to MMBinNC
    TheKing's picture

    MMBinNC:
    The government of the United states is somewhat socialist. The bailout and the heavily counter cyclical policy of the Fed are both socialist in nature (socializing losses) but the difference is that it is really just perpetuating moral hazard and is at the heart crony capitalism. We should pass a law or something that says no bailouts, no depository insurance, no overly expansionary monetary policy, no GSEs. All those things lead to more risk taking. These people are not protesting that though. They are protesting that them or their parents took out a huge mortgage that they couldn't afford, and then the bank either called the loans or the rate increased to an unsustainable rate and they were foreclosed on. These protestors are looking for handouts and second chances because they fucked up. You have to earn second chances IMHO, the government shouldn't give them to you. These morons are not addressing the problem, they are part of it.

    The broad strokes you paint people with is absurd. And the fact that you go from excusing the bank bailouts to telling people that the "government shouldn't give them second chances," that they "have to be earned," is comical.

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  • TheKing's picture

    While I understand that some or many of the people protesting may not be as informed about the causes of the crisis and the problems at large, what is wrong with what they are doing? If anything, it's analogous to many of the people that show up at tea party rallies holding signs asking Obama to keep his "government hands off my medicare!"

    I'm sure someone in here who is extremely conservative will counter with "well, they have the right ideas in principle, even if they don't have the specifics down pat." I'd counter with the same thing in the case of these protestors. Yes, many of them may look like dirty hippies and not know a Credit Default Swap from a Credit Card, but I think they mean well in spirit, despite not knowing the nuances.

  • MMBinNC's picture

    I'm not justifying the bailouts. I'm saying that the government boxed themselves into the corner and should try to fix it rather than keep doing it. I think its obvious from my responses in the past I hate the bailouts and the crony capitalism that is our U.S. domestic policy. From your responses earlier in the thread I don't think that we are really in disagreement. But the protestors I've seen on the internet are not mainly protesting the bailout, they are protesting foreclosures. If they took the no bailout message to Washington, I'd be right there supporting them.

    Reality hits you hard, bro...

  • TheKing's picture

    Fair enough in that regard.

  • TNA's picture

    They have the right to protest and I could give a shit about them as people or non tax paying citizens. Problem is these people are clueless and uninformed protesting is nothing more than getting attention.

    What is the message? Making money is bad? Banks should fail? Not sure what they are getting at. Is this anti rich, pro union?

    I really with people would of protested the bank when they were cashing in their equity and buying a BMW. I mean how come no one protests when they are enjoying the fruits of banks structured products?

    Blah, I suppose stomaching these riff raff is what you HAVE to do.

    Bailouts were necessary, but the government didn't need to force TARP on healthy banks and they should have orderly wound down bad banks.

  • TNA's picture

    And I would be perfectly fine being against the bailouts, but if we let everything collapse these people would still be protesting that the banks screwed them. Either way people wouldn't accept the pain.

    Since I think that the economy would be much worse for the common man if we let the banks fail and seeing how much of a cunt these protesters are, I wish we would of let it all fail now, if only to make them suffer more.

  • TheKing's picture

    I think they are protesting the fact that the banks got no strings attached bailouts while the everyday man got jack shit and is now being told to not be lazy, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, etc. In short:

    Banks fail ==> Losses socialized, no strings attached, back to business as usual shortly thereafter

    Common man ==> no bailout, told to stop being lazy, and blamed for many of our structural problems

  • TNA's picture

    No strings? Banks got a temporary liquidity injection with a shit load of strings. They then paid the money back, with interest and got left alone.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive...

    Many banks didn't want the money or need it. Many needed the market to simply stabilize and the fear to abate. In a bank run even healthy banks get screwed.

    So yes, fine, I support shit banks being broken up or punished, but it is a fallacy that "all of Wall Street" was to blame. Bubbles run up and bubbles burst. That's life.

    And the common man is not getting screwed. Unemployment continues to get extended, stimulus programs were rolled out, etc. Shit has been tried.

  • Yohoo's picture

    http://cdn.front.moveon.org/wp-content/uploads/201...

    On Tuesday, Continental and United Continental airline pilots marched on Wall Street in unison to protest extremely slow contract negotiations despite merger plans going forward between the two airlines.

    No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well.

  • blastoise's picture

    This is only happening because they don't teach something that adds value to the economy any more in American Schools...such as LBO Modeling, DCF modeling, Excel, Merger modeling and Comps Modeling!

    AMERICA NEEDS MORE BANKERS IT IS TE ONLY WAY TO MAKE US PRESTIGIOUSSSSS!!

  • In reply to CanadianPositiveCarry
    mk0000's picture

    CanadianPositiveCarry:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmvGbgDxuEE&feature...

    These types of people are occupying wall st.

    the one guy that gives her a response - "I'm a lawyer, I'm trying to fix it" - haha

    Also, why do they act like the ppl working on wallstreet don't pay taxes as well? When your taxes end up paying for something you don't believe in or might not even need (social security, unemployment, etc) -- well that's the same principle at work here and as a nation you just have to understand that we're in it together.

  • SophieinBK's picture

    I don't really post here but I read here. I'm a day tripper to the occupation. Been there since Sept. 19th, everyday 9-9.

    I'm a former analyst for a small fund. I can't claim to speak for everyone there - but I can tell you why I am there. I can tell you some of the sentiment I've heard.

    Feel free to ask, there are some pretty specific demands (unofficial) related to Wall Street. None of them are particularly crazy.

  • mk0000's picture

    ^ why are you there / what exactly are they demanding? Do you think anything will be achieved?

  • TNA's picture

    Yes, please inform us why you are there.

    I'll actually be in the city tomorrow and am contemplating taking some pictures of the riff raff.

  • SophieinBK's picture

    Well, first of all, I went to the public sector about 2 years ago and got laid off about 6 months ago. That's how I am able to be there (although I still do some consulting work on the side - sometimes for labor unions.)

    I'm personally there because I see a lot of people suffering. I don't mean just people on the news, but my friends and family. There is a great unrest that has existed in this country really since end of 2007 but that hit hard in September 2008. A lot of that is related to the liquidity crisis of 2008 and the mortgage meltdown - although I agree, some of it isn't. But the pain of unwinding the balance sheet and the great deleveraging is real for a lot of people.

    A lot of people are angry that there wasn't any great reckoning. So far in my lifetime I've been through the S&L debacle (that cost tax payers a trillion dollars,) LCTM which was tossed to the street to bailout and now the CDO boom and bust - the mother of all market failures. People are seeing the student loan market as the next big bubble with the collapse of the auction rated securities market being the first shot across the bow. In general, most people are willing to trade slower growth for an end to boom and bust capitalism.

    The point about privatized gains and socialized losses is well taken. That's at the heart of the issue. TARP bought up a ton of bad assets (even from healthy banks - to not single out the weak ones and make the money market run worse.) But a lot of those protesters have bad assets to sell. Why isn't the government buying? Where is the bailout for people who were foreclosed on? Are people willing to give the GSEs and HUD their fair share or the blame...yes. But did the GSE directly force the IBs on the street into their insane buying spree that fueled the mortgage mess? No.

    How can we talk about extension of unemployment insurance (which I do not receive) as a moral hazard but there is no national conversation about a corporate governance system that pays large bonuses to people that bankrupt their public companies. This just exposes shareholder value ideology as totally hypocritical.

    So there is a list of very specific proposals being debated. Some of them are rehashes of things that came up during Dodd-Frank. Instead of increasing capital reserves willy nilly, have the IBs prefund a bailout through a treasury program administered by the fed. Although go ahead and increase the margin requirements for hedge funds. Other bank reforms include reorganizing and giving the SEC some teeth. Repeal the Commodities and Futures Modernization Act. Require a transparent exchange to clear derivatives - so people can see who the counterparties are. There's pretty wide consensus on re-instituting Glass Stegal and/or the Volcker Rule. People want the wall up against proprietary trading desks, they despise Citibank and their "Wal-Mart of Wall Street" model.

    Tax policy is a big issue too. I think everyone understands "reform entitlements" but most people feel its putting the cart before the horse until the revenue side is straightened out. The more conservative proposals include lower tax rates across the board and end all tax expenditures. Increase the cap gains to income rates. Or return to the Clinton era tax rates. Some of the more radical proposals are end corporate taxes all together and tax the owners of capital income rates.

    Since I was in public sector, one of my personal issues is the variable rate muni debt craze that went rampant through municipal lenders before the crisis. Universities, counties, sewer boards you name are trapped in billions of dollars worth of underwater interest rate swaps. Fixed for floating, floating for fixed...if you we hedging your variable rate debt through the heart of the crisis, you are underwater. Universities are raising tuition on folk just to make coupon payments and payments in their derivatives contracts. The build america bond program helped somewhat - but its very hard to look at a student who is jobless, getting close to loan default and say hey, we need more tuition money because our swap deals didn't work out. People are getting their pensions cut, their tolls raised...I really don't understand why this isn't a bigger issue in the press.

    So yeah, we (most of us) are protesting for a specific set reforms. Some of these will be proposed by the SEC under the power granted to them by Dodd Frank and then shouted down in the rulemaking process. You will find people who don't know how the financial system works, and are just angry and protesting. You will find people who think the only way to end waves of systemic risk rippling though once every 10 years is to get rid of capitalism and institute government central planning. But MOST of the discussion has been around a reformist agenda.

    But at the end of the day, people are just broke and hopeless and angry. That's why they are there. They aren't picketing associate analysts of internal auditors or the back office guys. They are angry that the whole financial system has taken a turn toward repeated instability and shadow banking systems in the last 20 years. They camp on Wall Street because they don't know what else to do. Am I going to call Chuck Schumer's office and ask him to vote to reinstate Glass Steagal?

    Yes they stink. There are no showers. Yes they are disorganized. The only power they have is a generator that the police keep taking the fuel for. Yes they can be loud sometimes. They are trying to build a community. They aren't trying to purposely annoy residents but many of them have been evicted and have no jobs. They don't have anywhere else to go or anything else to do.

    I am on the committee that is organizing daily classes, so we can have better discussion about Wall Street and the political system. We have a class every day at 6 PM at the Southeast corner of the park. Topics range from labor history, to the roots of the crisis to various economic regimes in history and around the world. Any one is welcome to join. I will be doing my short piece on how to read a `10K next week. If there is a problem with miseducation or lack of education, I am doing my part to help fix that. It will make us all better citizens.

    But you are of course welcome to come by. I'm always around to meet people, talk to them further about the protests, introduce people and give them a tour of the space. Plenty of people with suits hang out there. No one will get lynched, trust me! Hahaha. We are not all bad people and a lot of the time we can find common ground with your. But respectful conversation and debate helps both of us and our country - so I really do encourage you to come and talk to me and others.

  • SophieinBK's picture

    Oh, and I am just going to add...
    there's a mass of geographic diversity at the Park. And universally, everyone is laid off or has very low income. So if Occupy Wall Street represented the underlying assets of CDO - S&P would rate it safer than a T-Bill. Just saying...LOL

  • TheKing's picture

    My hat is off to SophieinBK. Perhaps the most thoughtful thing I've ever read on this forum. Incredibly informed. I hope you are able to educate some of the less-informed amongst us.

  • KenUDiggit's picture

    Yes, very informative post!

  • In reply to wolverine19x89
    wolfy's picture

    scottj19x89:
    ^^ haha what a dumb bitch

    Lets go harass anybody with a suit

    Then make generalizations that they're going to get a martini

    Don't generalize races though, cause then I would bitch about it. If you're wearing a suit you're fair game.

    Bitch doesn't pay 40% in income taxes. Probably took more from the FAFSA to finance her bimbo education of general studies.

  • In reply to duffmt6
    wolfy's picture

    duffmt6:
    ANT:
    Once again, liberals show their true colors. These protestors have a right to block side walks, but when someone talks about their right to use a sidewalk (vs. walking in the street and blocking traffic or potentially getting hit) the answer is "don't be a puss".

    Sorry man, but respect is a two way street. Don't block the sidewalk, stay in a designated area, etc. Fair is fair.

    How exactly am I showing my true colors? Outgroup homogeneity bias much?

    I walk on Wall St. every day. You can still walk there without fear for your life. Have you ever been to Times Square? If so, did you just immediately shit your pants because there were so many people on the side walk? Times Square sidewalks make the Wall Street protesters look like Libyan Rebels.

    Either walk by them (which is what everyone does), or if you are that concerned about your safety, try taking Exchange.

    What the fuck is the point of making this about your concern for sidewalk rights? There are reasonable responses to these dumbass protesters- that is not one of them.

    Once again, conservatives just showingthey are scared of busy sidewalks and bongo drums... /s

    Hey --

    -- shut the fuck up.

  • In reply to TNA
    Ari_Gold's picture

    ANT:
    No strings? Banks got a temporary liquidity injection with a shit load of strings. They then paid the money back, with interest and got left alone.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive...

    Many banks didn't want the money or need it. Many needed the market to simply stabilize and the fear to abate. In a bank run even healthy banks get screwed.

    So yes, fine, I support shit banks being broken up or punished, but it is a fallacy that "all of Wall Street" was to blame. Bubbles run up and bubbles burst. That's life.

    And the common man is not getting screwed. Unemployment continues to get extended, stimulus programs were rolled out, etc. Shit has been tried.


    ANT, I liked your posts. But these days, you've become so divisive with your posts/rants about how CONSERVATISM and your brand of libertarianism is the be all end all.

    The reason the government forced (which they did, no doubt) the healthy banks to take the TARP money back in 2008 is the same reason the FDIC doesn't publish the list of "troubled" banks list. If everyone knew how bad trouble was at one bank, there would be a potential run on that specific bank and/or cause more short positions and financial unrest, which would totally defeat the whole purpose of the bail-outs, saving the finance sector. Yes, JP and Wells "probably" didn't need it. But what happens if the even more banks started to collapse, could JP and Wells's survived that? No one truly knows, but probably not.

    I agree with you on the part of the protests. Most of these people are uninformed to say the least. Personally I don't even care why they are protesting, if they should end banks, or they want more hand outs. The scary part is that I believe this might be the tip of the iceberg and that there are these many protesters on Wall St. Yes, they are hippies, hipsters, vagabonds, etc. in need of showers. But, this is NOT just run of the mill protests. I just came back from Europe. The scene over there especially in the Olive Republic countries is vastly different from when I was there a few years ago. Graffiti in even nice parts of town, resentment against the situation, and a definite air of "troubles" in the air. Yes, I know you will say something about them being socialist and deserving, whatnot. I don't care if they are or aren't. I've always enjoyed my trips and vacation in European. It was still great, but definitely different. Socialism is not my point.

    My point is, this feels eerily familiar. Yes, we can mock them or even pretend to they are just a minor nuance. But this has been going on since mid-September. This feels different. The initially protesters might be misinformed vagabonds, but this is actually sustaining and seems to be growing. I am actually very nervous about how this is developing.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Hug It Out

  • Ari_Gold's picture

    I just read SophieinBK's post after posting mine. Thanks so much for the insight. Props

    This my point. Instead of calling the protesters names or disparaging their lack of knowledge, let's actually have some TRUE dialogue. I think it is high ignorant of ANT and some of the posters under a similar vein, to underestimate and ridicule the protesters. Take it for what it is, a potential wake up call before this problem spirals out further. In my opinion, this might just be the forerunner for even more civil unrest.

    There is a true underlying frustration I have never witnessed in America. I feel like things are becoming more and more destabilizing and divisive (my way or the highway). Everyone is calling the other side an idiot or insulting names like Teabaggers by those the left, dirty lazy hippie moochers by those on the right. This is some troubling times. I just hope we don't get the type of protests seen over on the other side of Atlantic pond.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Hug It Out

  • jktecon's picture

    SophienBK you have effectively and dramatically changed my perspective on the whole demonstration. I think one of the key problems this protest is facing is just the perception that the protesters have no common ground.

    This is the most recent article I read about it: http://start.toshiba.com/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CD....

    I think many people on wall street even share your views and it is detracting from your cause that voices like yours have been lost in the widespread noise.

  • mongoose's picture

    Fuck you to all the socialist/communist motherfuckers on this forum. Go fuck yourself. All hail Anthony.

    Go fuck yourself you hippie pigs. Take some in the ass.

  • jktecon's picture

    I hope this jameshetfield isn't serious. If you are serious it is quite clear you would have been better suited to live in Nazi Germany than in a Democratic state.

    Voices like this are necessary to form a balanced world of differences. And clearly unlike you, I enjoy a world where people have different views and insights so that I can get a better perspective on the universe at large and human interactions.

  • Solidarity's picture

    Well

    Guess I'm moving to China

  • ThaVanBurenBoyz's picture

    Lol, someone did a monkey shit drive-by on anyone giving props to Sophie. Sounds like that person has something to say. Where's the accompanying rebuttal?

  • In reply to ThaVanBurenBoyz
    TheKing's picture

    ThaVanBurenBoyz:
    Lol, someone did a monkey shit drive-by on anyone giving props to Sophie. Sounds like that person has something to say. Where's the accompanying rebuttal?

    Ha, I saw that as well. There is no real intellectually-honest argument against what she said and what I've been saying for some time now.

  • JulianRobertson's picture

    Why are these protests going on? Are we running low on tear gas?

  • In reply to SophieinBK
    EURCHF parity's picture

    First, thanks for taking the time to lay out your opinion. You are definitely owed a reply of similar length.

    From my other posts it is easy to say that I disagree with most of the below. I am an Objectivist and live my life accordingly. I am still young - much younger than you - but have had quite a bit of experience with life, which has provided the empirical evidence to back the views I rapidly espoused due to their clear and logical nature. Thousands of people met in dozens of countries around the world, from all kinds of social backgrounds. Some of my closest friends came to the Western world on refugee boats or hidden in trucks. Others race large classic yachts. I've seen the worst of the world you seem to want (from the way I understand your writing). I have lived in Manhattan towers and next to third world slums. Explaining every statement I am about to make would take a book, dozens of stories, and far more time than most here will be willing to spend.

    The gist of it is, to quote Ray Dalio, that it's about second and third order effects. People love the taste of fast food, and they love the feeling of eating large amounts of food. They dislike exercise which is painful and tiring. However, without being able to abstract yourself to the second order effects of both overeating fast food and not doing exercise, it is impossible to lose weight. Over time, citizens of the USA have forgotten how to think about second and higher order effects, and focus only on the first order effect.

    Thus, I believe concerned citizens should be demonstrating in Washington, rather than New York City, as this is where the problems originated and continue to originate. It is a shame that those with the time and resources to protest also have views that make government intervention failure "impossible".

    SophieinBK:
    Well, first of all, I went to the public sector about 2 years ago and got laid off about 6 months ago. That's how I am able to be there (although I still do some consulting work on the side - sometimes for labor unions.)

    I have never met a civil servant who understood the proper role of government, except in the Armed Forces (and even there, only the US and British ones) and occasionally the police. Selling themselves constantly as they have no unbiased performance feedback mechanism, civil servants come to believe that government can be the solution to all problems. They tend to see themselves as able to better design a Great Society than the chaos of the unfettered private sector restricted only by having to respect others' rights. I have seen this everywhere in the Western world from France and Germany to the United States, with the possible exception of Switzerland. To me, this clarifies why you think along the lines that you are.

    I would also add that if your experience is limited to the public sector, you will not have had the experience to comment on the private sector as public sector work is freed from any kind of discipline and operates in the opposite way to the private sector. The private sector asks themselves "how can we do more with less"; the public sector asks themselves "how can we expand our scope and thus get more funding", with inefficiencies defended and celebrated as sources of an increasing budget. Civil servants and those who work for them thus see government funding as an infinite manna resplenished by grateful citizens. Please feel free to disagree with me on that one but for me this is why your view will be necessarily biased, and why you need to think about the source of the funds for the solutions you are proposing or hinting at (all of what I read into your text is my interpretation - I am not assuming anything from outside data, merely drawing the lines between your words). The source of these funds is the hard work of the 300 million American citizens (or whatever diminishing percentage does any work). When you are spending this money, you are spending parts of their life and efforts which they have been forced to hand over to you without much say on its uses. What is happily spent on "stimulus" spending on empty high speed rail and Californian butterfly parks, and high school marble entrances is the sweat and tears of the American people who are then told to shut up, toil, and feel guilty for being productive.

    I'm personally there because I see a lot of people suffering. I don't mean just people on the news, but my friends and family.

    After every bubble comes the burst. People have their most recent memories made of the bubble times, which feel terribly good with hindsight and consider them to be normal. But they are not. For example, 2008 and 2009 graduates naturally thought they would find a $100,000 starting salary structuring job in Wall Street or the City, and felt terribly angry and cheated (including yours truly) when Goldman didn't hire any FT outside a small % of their interns. This bubble was particularly painful as by hitting directly something that is at the heart of most Americans' lives it went way beyond computer scientists being annoyed at not being about to spin out a worthless website for a few million bucks.

    But most people can still eat, are still in relatively good health, still drive cars, and still have the time to sit on protests (when I was unemployed, I spent 20h a day trying to get employed). I'll return to that point later.

    There is a great unrest that has existed in this country really since end of 2007 but that hit hard in September 2008. A lot of that is related to the liquidity crisis of 2008 and the mortgage meltdown - although I agree, some of it isn't. But the pain of unwinding the balance sheet and the great deleveraging is real for a lot of people.

    It's always painful to get off a drug. Coffee will give you 2 weeks of headaches. Having to face the effects of decades of capital destruction without the soothing painkiller of borrowing your way into consumption is a lot tougher, agreed.

    A lot of people are angry that there wasn't any great reckoning. So far in my lifetime I've been through the S&L debacle (that cost tax payers a trillion dollars,) LCTM which was tossed to the street to bailout and now the CDO boom and bust - the mother of all market failures. People are seeing the student loan market as the next big bubble with the collapse of the auction rated securities market being the first shot across the bow. In general, most people are willing to trade slower growth for an end to boom and bust capitalism.

    A lot of people would be far angrier if there HAD been a great reckoning.

    The S&L debacle was the result of a corporate revolution led by working class Jews that destroyed the American business elite and the system that meant management could sit on their asses and do absolutely buggerall (think Wall Street Gekko speech). The launching of private equity into the mainstream has made it far harder for management to be lazy and rely on contacts and network effects, and weak boards. A small loan bubble was a tiny price to pay for the enormous improvement in the quality of American companies that resulted. To be discussed elsewhere, certainly, as it seems most people these days see Milken as the demon that he was made to be by Giuliani who was trying to boost his political career instead of the financial genius that could truly claim the title of heir to Morgan in the 20th century. Milken & co made this possible: http://finemrespice.com/sites/default/files/wheres...

    LTCM was, like the Morgan bailout of 1907, a private effort by private firms for their personal benefit. I don't see where you see a "taxpayer"-funded bailout. Although the Fed organised the bank effort (and I guess Fed salaries are high these days), the capital came from the banks themselves. You could argue that since this is when Greenspan shifted from using a shadow gold standard to setting permanently low rates, it was in effect "bailed out" by the low rates enabling the participating companies to make their money back faster.

    The CDO boom and bust was not a market failure. It was an epic government failure. Over the last half century, regulation of the housing market was progressively made more and more complex, and the pricing mechanism for real estate further divorced from reality. The meddling of government in housing markets directly ("houses for returning GIs", the various anti discrimination acts) and indirectly (such as attempts to remove loan sharks) was simply staggering. Still there was no calalyst for an epic bubble and failure. This was provided by Greenspan lowering rates on a permanent basis, making capital cheap, coupled with Washington deciding that housing was a "human right" along the lines of food, shelter, schooling, etc. (nicely summed up in FDR's Bill of Rights) and going full steam ahead with measures to make sure even the lowliest crackhead could afford a McMansion. Scumbags like Mr "running a gay brothel in my government-funded apartment" Barney Frank knew full well that people respond to incentives, and that bankers are people on steroids, so they made it easy - with the approval of "let's take a chainsaw to banking regulation" Greenspan - for banks to fund the massive expansion of house ownership they so desired. The rest, as they say, is history, and this day will always remain engraved on my eyeballs: http://tiny.cc/80lwt

    Readers might be getting tired at this point. Perhaps time to get a cup of coffee and a donut, cos I'm only getting started.

    The slow boom vs. boom and bust argument was actually the one used (at least in the UK, where I was at the time) for promoting massive leveraging of the sovereign and consumer balance sheets. I will always remember Gordon Brown saying "we have abolished boom and bust". The amusing thing about this impossible wish is that not even the countries where citizens had absolutely nothing, like the Soviet Union, could abolish boom and bust as for the most basic imports, such as food, the country ended up hooked to the outside world. Of course, boom and bust was something else altogether in Mother Russia as prices could not go up and as such people simply did not get any food when grain prices rose too far. Brezhnev jumpstarted his political career from intensively farming grain providing temporary relief from the now normal grain deficit of the place.

    The boom and bust cycle is necessary to promote dramatic innovation and clean the corporate sector through that deleveraging that you hate so much. It provides companies and countries with the political wherewithal to effect dramatic cleaning, most famously of trade unions in Britain in the 1980s under the greatest (and potentially only honest) politician that ever lived. It is this creative destruction that means we are no longer living in caves eating roast mammoth, and dying aged 30 cos a fox shat on a fruit. The country that provides the most dramatic contrast is India (although this is changing) and its 1950s yellow and green Mumbai cabs. Nehru and Gandhi, who were unjustedly celebrated as great heroes as all country-destroying criminals have always been (the Kings of France most especially), proceeded to freeze the country post-independence into the state it was in just before, and Indians subsequently discovered that economies can only go up or down, but never stagnate. The experiment thankfully ended in 1991 when the country ran out of its prodigious reserves to pay the bills and the IMF finally allowed, for example, companies larger than 1 employee to get started officially.

    The point about privatized gains and socialized losses is well taken. That's at the heart of the issue. TARP bought up a ton of bad assets (even from healthy banks - to not single out the weak ones and make the money market run worse.) But a lot of those protesters have bad assets to sell. Why isn't the government buying? Where is the bailout for people who were foreclosed on? Are people willing to give the GSEs and HUD their fair share or the blame...yes. But did the GSE directly force the IBs on the street into their insane buying spree that fueled the mortgage mess? No.

    They merely provided incentives and waited for the predatory instincts of the Street to jump on them. You can't put out fresh meat in front of a hungry dog and then complain when he eats it. The Street is structured such that those who are prudent need also be patient and well funded as they will get walked all over by those who jump first (be it in Warren Buffett's talk of insurance bubbles in the Olden Days or with the brilliant and innovative concept by Mr Milken to pay his traders a % of P/L that finished off Solomon). I do agree, however, that Countrywide bankers and especially Mr Mozillo should be counting the days in a dark, moldy cell, but not because they lent, rather because of the massive and epic fraud that allowed Countrywide to go from nothing to multinational in just a few years. Outright lying to vulnerable people (elderly unemployed black women were a particular favorite in Cali I hear), fake signing contracts, long impossible to understand terms, every trick in the book was used to get market share. But the GSEs were the initial driver for the destruction of loan standards. Not much point going into a discussion now. Suffice to say that they didn't gain 30% market share in under a year by simply being better bankers. And suffice to say the decision did not come from Wall Street either.

    So sitting in front of Wall Street to protest something that stemmed from Barney Frank & co is akin to sitting in front of your manager's office to protest corporate shutting down the local branch in which you are employed. It's an argument similar to that which is made to ban weapons, where weapons apparently create crime.

    Ultimately, this crisis, like many these days, was driven by a government-led successful attempt at furthering the gap between risk and its pricing mechanism. A truly socialist or communist country is one where the pricing mechanism has been completely divorced from the value of risk. We are heading there. Europe is further down the road. Argentina is further still. China... no comment :P I have much more to say on this topic, and in particular on the second and third order effects of the removal of the pricing mechanism for risk on quality of life and on the philosophy of the population affected. I've seen it first hand... it's ugly.

    How can we talk about extension of unemployment insurance (which I do not receive) as a moral hazard but there is no national conversation about a corporate governance system that pays large bonuses to people that bankrupt their public companies. This just exposes shareholder value ideology as totally hypocritical.

    This is jumbled as hell. Let me attempt to unjumble it.

    1. there is no justification for unemployment insurance (if by that you mean the State version, not a private sector initiative) in the first place. Your salary is smaller by the amount thieved by the State and thieved from you thereafter in the form of corporate and income taxes - this is money you cannot save for a rainy day, and money that cannot be organised in charities that might take care of the unemployed (remember government has crowded out most private charity in the US at a massive cost to the locals). What you are asking for is that my sweat, time and effort should fund your lifestyle further. It's making it possible for you not to go wash dishes for $2 an hour, 16 hours a day until you find a gig better suited to your skillset. Not going to spend too long on this since it was covered in the other thread.

    2. "national conversation" - what the hell is that? A conversation perhaps between an almighty Government and scared, obedient companies which have to obey its every opinion? Wouldn't you love that - being able to further harness the productive capacity of those who work. Making it even further possible not to do any work. Sitting in front of a TV DOES feel nicer than turning up at 8am, for sure. Amusingly there is a fine example of what happens when non-corporates bully, sorry, "have a conversation" with corporates about unemployment benefits: the UAW and the Big Three in Detroit. That really worked out well. I am still amazed that with all the unskilled labour in the US UAW-controlled factories could afford to pay $100k a year for a guy to drive a forklift (non-UAW factories like Toyota paid about $23k in 2005 if I remember well). But it sure looked good when that CEO from GM or whatever came down to Washington on the company private jet as his firm was going under and the government changed the law to screw creditors once again (as if the constant screwing via inflation and low rates hadn't been sufficient already).

    3. "corporate governance". What are companies for? Oh yes, they belong to their shareholders and are supposed to preserve and grow their wealth. That seems to be forgotten these days when companies, like SOEs in China, are more of a buffer against unemployment and provide "jobs" on order from His Obamaniac Messiah. Corporate governance = powerful boards who can effect management changes. This tends to go for cutting inefficiencies at the lower levels too. Apparently everybody is a stakeholder these days except for the shareholders and debtholders. See quote from a famous book in the Eat the Poor thread.

    4. "pay large bonuses for those who bankrupt their companies" - the market is supposed to take care of that, via brutal takeovers and restructurings once share prices are low enough. But try arguing this with some of your protester friends who also come from those restructurings. Shareholder value is down to, ahem, the shareholders. They vote with their capital and they can vote pretty fast: http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1680000/images/_1682...

    So there is a list of very specific proposals being debated. Some of them are rehashes of things that came up during Dodd-Frank. Instead of increasing capital reserves willy nilly, have the IBs prefund a bailout through a treasury program administered by the fed. Although go ahead and increase the margin requirements for hedge funds. Other bank reforms include reorganizing and giving the SEC some teeth. Repeal the Commodities and Futures Modernization Act. Require a transparent exchange to clear derivatives - so people can see who the counterparties are. There's pretty wide consensus on re-instituting Glass Stegal and/or the Volcker Rule. People want the wall up against proprietary trading desks, they despise Citibank and their "Wal-Mart of Wall Street" model.

    Once again, "never waste a good crisis". Every single one of these is an attempt to gain more power over business (and ultimately individuals) from the government. My favorite is increasing margins on hedge funds. That's a really good one. What are margins for? Oh yes, protecting from credit risk. Who benefits? Oh yes, the banks. Private banks. Who sets the margins? The banks. I can tell you (from being on the buy side) that those bastards will margin you to death already if they perceive a whiff of credit risk (and usually when they do not - I am always amazed when the market moves in our direction and the fuckers ask for another few mil knowing we can't be bothered to take it to court). The credit failure in 2008 was due to banks being linked to OTHER BANKS and GOVERNMENT ENTITIES (I refuse to call AIG a company), not independent, tiny funds ran by expert individuals funded by aggressive expert individuals who are very selective with who they hire and the risks they take (at least more so these days). But why waste a good crisis? Let's ram it to these smug bastards in their limos with their hot wives.

    Interesting aside: when Amaranth went down, with a 6 bn USD write-off, markets didn't feel a thing. Hedge funds CAN fail and do not pose any "systemic" risk. That removes whatever hint of another argument you might have had against them.

    Tax policy is a big issue too. I think everyone understands "reform entitlements" but most people feel its putting the cart before the horse until the revenue side is straightened out. The more conservative proposals include lower tax rates across the board and end all tax expenditures. Increase the cap gains to income rates. Or return to the Clinton era tax rates. Some of the more radical proposals are end corporate taxes all together and tax the owners of capital income rates.

    Can't quite believe that some people are proposing to end all tax expenditure. I like some of these protesters! Definitely in the right direction although they sound like lunatic libertarians who think Americans are inherently honest and nobody will steal from anybody nor will our neighbours invade if we just dissolve the police, the army and the justice system.

    As for the cap gains tax, they are just another layer of tax. Non content to already steal from common citizens' incomes, you already steal from the companies they organise, and then further steal from the payouts of what is left post 2 rounds of stealing (3 if you include VAT and other sales taxes). Ah, Americans make wonderful milking cows. You can just keep squeezing and it keeps coming out. Great stuff! Then you can build a university to promote more squeezing and maybe name it after you.

    As for the Clinton era, I believe it would be more justly named the Gingrich era, but that's for another discussion.

    Since I was in public sector, one of my personal issues is the variable rate muni debt craze that went rampant through municipal lenders before the crisis. Universities, counties, sewer boards you name are trapped in billions of dollars worth of underwater interest rate swaps. Fixed for floating, floating for fixed...if you we hedging your variable rate debt through the heart of the crisis, you are underwater. Universities are raising tuition on folk just to make coupon payments and payments in their derivatives contracts.

    Wonderful, seems like incompetent and in many cases outright criminal managers of public funds managed to turn the story so that THEY look like the victims.

    I thought this was particularly amusing in the case of GS vs. that German fund who got shafted on the famous Paulson deal. The Germans knowingly took risks calling their downside risk nil because they could always sue and guilt governments into changing the concept of property and risk taking.

    At the muni level, the problem stems from people being rewarded unjustly by managers who didn't have a clue. Of course when you sell premium or lock in a rate in a rising market it looks like you are making money. So you get a bonus and a clap on the back. Then suddenly it's a problem when the "hedge" loses money. To be fair, some of these people really were hedging - treasurers often get shafted for "making the mistake" of hedging when being outright long/short would have made money, and the upside is the CEO's bright decision making of course.

    At the citizen level, I have ZERO pity for the whiners who overlevered and thought that they could live fantastic lives with no effort. Do you know who in Europe has a 3000 sq ft house? A managing director of a large bank, at that. A family with old wealth. A star trader. Even the CEOs of SMEs in Europe (which I use as an imperfect measuring stick, as it does have an overall lower quality of life vs. the US) could not have the lifestyle some loser with an occasional "job" could easily borrow into. I'm sorry, but if you are truly middle class you should not have borrowed over your head. Mortgages were damn cheap, that is never a reason for screwing up your personal capital structure. At least in the US, you can walk away from your house. In Europe, the bank has access to your income stream for life and can take whatever they need to repay your debt. This is what most of the "underwater" people should be doing - walking away from their too big house, move to a smaller house within their damn means, and stop dreaming about life in Wistoria Lane. The woman in the video somewhere above this post is a perfect example. You see this attitude of entitlement and complete lack of concern for reason and reality everywhere in America. You see what evolves from it in Europe and Argentina.

    Universities are the most idiotic in all this. Some fantastically managed endowments did very well. Some endowments do not qualify for the description of "managed". A university is the definition of an eternal institution, one with a credit risk on par or in some cases lower than the US government. Universities should fund themselves like MIT (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0a0a2d84-7bff-11e0-9b16-...) rather than Harvard. As a student you should take this into account when you choose where you want to study. And as a (future) US taxpayer I would not want to subsidize the failures of endowment managers ripe with academic arrogance and executive incompetence.

    The build america bond program helped somewhat - but its very hard to look at a student who is jobless, getting close to loan default and say hey, we need more tuition money because our swap deals didn't work out. People are getting their pensions cut, their tolls raised...I really don't understand why this isn't a bigger issue in the press.

    Because the last 10 years were not indicative of reality. Guess universities will now discover that they too are organisations competing on global markets. Although my guess is that they will now stick their nose right into the trough and fill up on that delicious taxpayer money manna from heaven that never ends. Meanwhile, Cambridge has just unhooked themselves fully from UK government funding, so as to bypass tuition laws and government guidelines on who to take in and what to teach. Good luck, Americans. That league table ranking might be a little harder to keep once you become the Massachussetts State Institute of Harvard and the North California Polytechnic, Stanford CA.

    I won't comment here on what passes for a degree these days. Suffice to say if you are indebting yourself to the hilt to buy a luxury like an "English literature" degree from an Ivy, you deserve the same fate as the idiot who borrowed to the hilt to buy that power boat he always wanted on his dishwashing salary.

    So yeah, we (most of us) are protesting for a specific set reforms. Some of these will be proposed by the SEC under the power granted to them by Dodd Frank and then shouted down in the rulemaking process. You will find people who don't know how the financial system works, and are just angry and protesting. You will find people who think the only way to end waves of systemic risk rippling though once every 10 years is to get rid of capitalism and institute government central planning. But MOST of the discussion has been around a reformist agenda.

    So basically, people are lining up at the trough and hoping it opens. Judging by the wave of popularity for first Perry and now Cain, good luck.

    But at the end of the day, people are just broke and hopeless and angry.

    And at the end of American civilization, they come and tell the world by sitting on a street and clamoring for more cash. At the beginning of American civilization, they would attempt to get out of this state as fast as possible, in any way possible. Any wonder external observers think you're toast?

    That's why they are there. They aren't picketing associate analysts of internal auditors or the back office guys. They are angry that the whole financial system has taken a turn toward repeated instability and shadow banking systems in the last 20 years. They camp on Wall Street because they don't know what else to do. Am I going to call Chuck Schumer's office and ask him to vote to reinstate Glass Steagal?

    I don't see many Reinstate G/S signs on the protest photos.

    Yes they stink. There are no showers. Yes they are disorganized. The only power they have is a generator that the police keep taking the fuel for. Yes they can be loud sometimes. They are trying to build a community. They aren't trying to purposely annoy residents but many of them have been evicted and have no jobs. They don't have anywhere else to go or anything else to do.

    Except work. And certainly work that will be a lot more unpleasant than whatever they did during the bubble. Dishwashing used to be seen as "a Mexican's job". Well, many now successful executives funded their education by waiting tables, washing dishes, cooking, washing cars or in extreme cases risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan in exchange for tuition (and nationality, let us not forget these brave immigrants). Be American and improve your life the American way, not the French or the Greek or the Argentinian.

    We are not all bad people and a lot of the time we can find common ground with your. But respectful conversation and debate helps both of us and our country - so I really do encourage you to come and talk to me and others.

    And that, Sophie, is the issue. You guys sound so friendly and reasonable. You might even have very good intentions. But what you are promoting, the arguments you will eventually put forward, are extremely dangerous and the ease with which you are listened to (check out the comments above this post) shows why this is way more dangerous than Obama screaming for "soaking the rich". Get out of this crisis with pride in yourself and your ability. Please, please, please do not become Argentinians or Europeans sitting on a couch waiting for the next handout, as your country slowly sinks into inevitable collapse.

    I have more to say, but not the time to say it. I also hope that this fairly unstructured prose made my points - no time to clean it. I wanted to say this not directly for Sophie's sake (I think the outcome of the protests will be yet another set of badly thought out socialist reforms no matter what) but for the silent readers of this Forum, the productive members of society who are working their asses off and who might be tempted to believe the talk of guilt and shared sacrifice and pity the poor. Do not. It is beautiful to work, to be productive, to earn a living. It is not beautiful to be forced to surrender your work, like a mule on a field, for the sake of unknown forces (which are really megalomaniac individuals too lazy to rise the hard way). Be proud to be providing the pricing mechanism for capital which underpins the American way of life and allows civilization to exist.

  • mongoose's picture

    @EURCHF parity: That was a very informative post. I loved reading it. Great job.

    This should be published in the NYT. I am going to spread this if you don't mind.

  • Nobama88's picture

    @EURCHF

    Nice post. +1 SB for ya

  • jktecon's picture

    Where in this person's post did she appear to be looking for a handout? All she is wondering is why the banks should be bailed out in this situation. If you like the boom and bust system so much then everyone should bust when the situation dictates.

    I also completely despise the way you have to take every paragraph of her topic and form a huge argument off of it. Anyone can make their point appear more plausible when they have the opportunity to put more words behind their ideas, so congratulations on that.

    Somehow it is fine that a bank can take taxpayer dollars and yet it is not within the taxpayer's rights to see what and how this bank is conducting its business? I am all for boom and bust, but when it busts the whole ship should go down; the captain should not attempt to stand on the heads of his crew and tell them they must keep him afloat if there is any hope of survival.

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