I was at first astonished and then pleased to learn about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Finally, I thought, Americans have woken up and decided to do something about the greed and the financial risk taking that have impacted us all and dragged our economy into recession.
As I've followed the story, though, I'm greatly troubled by the vagueness of the OWS goals. It seems everyone I ask has a different take on just what it is they want. My initial enthusiasm has fizzled to dismay.
If what I'm hearing in interviews with the OWS people is true, I can't share their goals. Handouts? Free everything, courtesy of the government? Pile more taxes on the rich? Tell me, what good does it do to tax the rich? The tax money simply flows into the hands of the people in Washington who have done such a great job of bankrupting our country and making ridiculous laws. Why should the government be our nanny and decide what we can and can't have?
I'm sorry OWS. I wanted to believe that you could do something to change things for the better. I really did.
I don't believe the American people hate capitalism. I believe they hate corporate greed. Corporations owe no allegiance to this country or any other. Their sole motivator is profits. They are run by people apparently obsessed with power and money. Greed rules and Wall Street is their god, and you'd better not get in their way. A company announces mass layoffs to increase profits and their stock prices skyrocket. There's a lot wrong with that picture.
When it comes down to it, it's pretty outrageous for corporations that do business in this country to make use of our infrastructure and all the other benefits of operating in our country with its stable government. Corporations demand the power and protection of the US military. They want access to American consumers. There's only one catch. These same corporations don't want to hire Americans. Too pricey. Too many benefits. They've solved that problem by not only shipping most of the work overseas, but even laying off Americans and importing cheaper workers into the United States to take jobs. It's easy, thanks to the laws they've bought for themselves with their campaign contributions.
Job losses mean the end of the American dream, a drop in the standard of living, and, thanks to what they call a "jobless recovery," there's no way out. The Americans I know want a paycheck, not a government handout. They don't want to occupy Wall Street, they want to go to work. They want corporate accountability, not CEO's collecting millions in salary and stock options while ordinary workers collect pink slips. And they want an end to our current way of doing business where campaign contributions buy favors. Is that so much to ask?