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Posted Monday, November 14, 2011
Pittsboro, NC - My first impression of "Occupy Wall Street" was that this was a group of people who weren’t even sure why they were protesting. However, after filtering out the “noise” I was able to discern a common thread; a frustration with government bailouts. Frustration with spending billions on private companies while executives are still being paid handsomely. I thought to myself, Right on! I and my fellow conservatives have been lamenting these bailouts and subsidies for years.
Too many innocent 99 percenters are being hurt.
What I don’t understand is why they are protesting the recipients rather than those who chose to give without adequate safeguards. Why some recipients are considered evil while others ignored? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac come to mind. These agencies contributed heavily to the housing debacle that started the downward economic cycle, yet their executives are still in place and still receiving huge pay and bonus’ with no comment from the OWS. That aside, many within OWS were making good points. The degree of overlap between OWS and TEA was astonishing.
Unfortunately, things have gone horribly wrong. The “occupations” have turned dangerous. Assaults, robberies, property destruction, and rapes are common place. Murders and suicides are becoming more and more common too.
All protests should have a clear goal in mind. I ask myself what is the goal? Is it to shut down commerce as was done in Oakland by closing the port? Is it to completely shut down all major banks? Shut down wall street? Close the businesses that happen to operate in the vicinity? All of these are extremely dangerous to the health of the United States.
What happens if the big banks are forced out of business? What if the ports are shut down for an extended amount of time? What if all the small businesses surrounding the protest areas shut their doors? Who is hurt by all of this? The 1% or the 99%?
First hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost directly, then hundreds of thousands more will be lost indirectly (suppliers etc.) Who is hurt -- the CEO or the bank teller?
Stock prices would understandably drop dramatically. That would show the 1%, wouldn’t it? What about the millions of Americans who count on pension funds that have invested in the stock market? Again, it’s the average guy, the policeman, the union worker, the teacher being hurt. I get frustrated when I read articles by National and local journalists praising the movement while at the same time denigrating the TEA party. Compare all you want, but the facts are; all after all the TEA party protests, NOBODY was arrested. NO assaults, NO rapes, NO property damage, and even with all of the talk about gun-toting right wingers there were no shootings. That can’t be said about OWS.
Before anyone supports this movement any longer, please look at the results and consider the ramifications. Most of us agree that the bailouts were poorly handled by all involved, but these occupations are not the answer. Let’s hit the “reset” button and start a peaceful debate. Too many innocent 99 percenters are being hurt.
Brian Bock is chairman of the Chatham County Commissioners.
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