Have we become the France of the 21st century? An interesting perspective provides insight into how we have facilitated our own decline. The similarities are striking.
Lower Manhattan has been occupied for the last three weeks by a group of spoiled, under-performing college kids intent on getting their voices heard. Their poorly-communicated list of demands includes: free college, $20/hr minimum wage, fair living wage for the unemployed, free health care, and elimination of all debt in the world. They say a job is a universal right. All Utopian fantasies that sound great but have no successful practical application.
Encouraged by a complicit media that spins favorable coverage (versus the misrepresentation of the Tea Party) they claim corporate greed has ruined our society and Wall Street refuses to create jobs. What is failing to be realized is that their comfortable existence thus far has been enabled by ambitious, entrepreneurial companies that have grown and advanced the quality of life for everyone. When they decry million dollar bonuses, they fail to acknowledge that 35% of that check goes straight to the federal government, not to mention the state income taxes that hit the residents of New York. The wealthier residents of New York have an overall tax burden in excess of 50% when you consider state and federal income taxes in addition to property and sales taxes. Hardly less than their fair share.
To be sure, there has been fraud and corruption in some corners of our financial system. But when people point to propaganda efforts like the movie Inside Job, produced by the massive corporation, Sony, narrated by $20mill/movie Matt Damon and with commentary from Barney Frank and George Soros, the conversation is seriously skewed toward misinformation. Not to mention the sad irony of using Eliot Spitzer as a protagonist commentator juxtaposed against Wall St. solicitation of prostitution as an example of corruption.
So many of these immature protesters complain about their massive college debt. Do they not realize that without banks "investing" in college education, most would never get to play frisbee on the hallowed grassy lawns of University life? Where is the outrage at their own schools for charging so much while their tenured faculty heroes get guaranteed salaries for teaching one class a week?
The answer is not the destruction of the system that has created the most dynamic nation the world has ever seen. The answer is also most definitely not sitting in drum circles in-between tweeting frustrations from your iPad, sipping your Venti MochaFrappacino.
The answer starts with the defeat of the mentality that encourages people to be dependent on others. Self-motivation and the enrichment of one's skills and abilities breed success. If some of these people spent half of this energy creating a useful product or service to sell to a willing buyer, they would realize very quickly just how great this country can be.
The alternative is answering the Former Occupation question on a future job application with the foreboding term: Wall Street.