I wrote a piece about this and posted in it Redstate.com last fall. I initially felt a twinge of sympathy for the Occupy Movement and I was shocked at the treatment they received by conservatives. I still do hold some sympathy for the original idea of the movement, but the rush by far left groups to co-opt it and the failure of the movement to withstand it, soured me on that particular rendition of it.
Particularly, I don’t look at it as a counter-Tea Party movement. I saw it as individuals who are upset about the way things are, which really are the same. Average Joe has gotten the complete shaft in the wake of the collapse of corporatism and the accompanied realization that, for all its promises, the mixed command and control economy simply cannot deliver all it promises, and the collapse of the employment market that came with it. It’s an employer’s market out there right now, to be certain, and nothing has been done about it.
My sympathies are with the people who came out to protest because of the condition of things, but I differ as to the solution to the problems. We agree that politicians are more interested in their own power and playing to the rent seekers, and it has produced a deplorable calamity of economic affairs that have severe effects on our lifestyle as individuals. What I hear coming from the Occupy Movement, in general, is that it isn’t the programs that cause the problem, no, we need many more and we must make those who have been raping society as a whole with the favors they get to pay through the nose so we can maintain a reasonable standard of living.
If I am not mistaken, the programs themselves are part of those favors. There are rent seekers involved in nearly every one of them, with the mortgage crisis being at the top of that list. Surely, no one can deny that government at all levels looked past the things going on in the financial system and ignored the warnings of impending doom because their banker and investor friends were raking in money hand over fist and contributed heavily to political campaigns. Wherever Federal programs exist, in whatever form, there are commercial interests standing by with their hands out.
We really should not kid ourselves into thinking that the inefficiency of this doesn’t matter when any particular class of individuals is receiving a particular benefit and doesn’t have to sit down and write out a check for it, someone else does. It really does matter because these are aggregate national resources that are being expended by government that cannot go into savings and investment for productivity. It’s the concept of opportunity cost. Google it and learn it if you don’t know what it is because it has to do with the expense of what cannot happen for the benefit of what does. Every dollar that is thrown around by government, regardless of the subject of expenditure, is one less dollar to go into investment in factories, business firms, development of new ideas, etc… that is the engine of job creation, prosperity, and the independent social welfare that is afforded by it. We need to expand the job market and provide limitless opportunities for every walk of life, as we can see what happens to people when it contracts and employers get the better of us all. In reality, the proposals of the current Occupy movement will make the situation of the future employment market much worse, not better in the long run, and it will make our tomorrow look much worse than today.
On top of the economic argument, there seems to be a complete blind spot as to the cause of our problems being the power of government to play games with the corporate interests, almost as if it desires a certain complicity with it, as long as a large portion of the proceeds are kicked back. It seems rather incoherent to be upset that the proceeds of mass theft that result in economic calamity aren’t shared while not condemning the theft itself. Do we really want more of what happened to the financial sector as long as they share? Really, that kind of proposition is frightening and I shudder to think about what the future might look like. Maybe Greece is a reflection of that future.
My sincere diagnosis of the problem is that there is too much power in government to play games with corporate interests and it comes from the myriad of Federal programs and regulatory agencies which are the vehicles by which politicians and political parties expand, maintain and wield that power. They necessitate the closeness of the corporate interests and government. They are used to stifle competition by making the cost and burden of entry into markets probative. Whether anyone chooses to admit this or not, that is the sole purpose of these things. Any marginal public benefit from them is merely consequential.
People think Federal control of the education system is beneficial to individuals. Perhaps it is, in some basic degree. It is better than nothing and having an illiterate society. But we do not know that nothing would be the alternative, and I actually think not. Has anyone really wondered why we don’t teach financial literacy or entrepreneurship? Is there any wonder why we don’t have an entrepreneurial society where folks always would have the opportunity to go make their own money because that is what has been crammed into their heads since childhood instead of being wage slaves? Isn’t being the wage slave the basis of modern liberal arguments that we are victimized by corporations and that perhaps teaching people to be something other than a wage slave would be the remedy? It certainly is worth some thought that maybe the corporate closeness to government is pervasive and all the political arguments in support of the institutions that come out of government are really contradictory in result, if not in fact.
Many of my counterparts on the right reel at the education unions as being the largest ill of the education system. But I think that to be a symptom of the real problem that the purpose of control of the education system is to condition society into a mindless mass of worker bees, not masters of their own hives, desirous of critical thinking and independent of corporations in their own right.