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Occupy Wall Street.


ragnarisapirate
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I have posted this in the Buffett thread and will post it here. Perhaps Obama was between the Moneyed interest and the Pitch Forks. People continue to have left right or capitalism vs. socialism debates, but I feel like they are missing the forest for the trees. If the masses arent happy, distracted, or busy they will rise up if they feel threatened. There is and always will be class warfare, and Buffett put it best when he said his class is winning.

 

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Things arent so bad and protests are springing up all over the country. Republicans inmo are killing the golden goose (Democrats are helping via incompetence), I hope someone is paying attention. As I have said in many prior messages / posts, I have always thought Warren Buffett was primarily interested in self preservation, and have found him to be very forward thinking.

 

This is copied from Fatwallet, but says things much better then I ever could. It was in response to Herman Cain. I am asking for common sense, not economic dogma.....

 

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1129975/?start=120

 

Posted by MACV55 - Preserving Capitalism falls to the comfortable and the wealthy. if this group is too rigid and uncompromising, defending the status quo in all scenarios, the result is a given. self-preservation in humans requires the understanding that self-preservation is universal, even if it appears undeserved. Economic revolution may seem to begin with the "have-nots", but it's really begun by the "haves" not using their intelligence in the face of economic reality.

 

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I am sure Mubaruk dismissed the Tahir Square protest as a few hippies dancing and singing, I wonder how that worked out for him. The masses on the left and the masses on the right are unhappy about the direction of the country. I would listen if I was in power, and had an interest in retaining power.

 

http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/ - Another interesting site.

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I understand there frustration (similar to Tea Party) but taking $ from those who have will not solve the issues everyone is frustrated about.  Using anti-trust measures I think is the best solution.  Breaking up to big to fail institutions so they are not to big to fail is a great start.  If you look at the solutions the US has used in the past the most effective in my mind has been to enforce competition rules in markets and let the markets do the rest.  Once the gov't gets involved in market beyond enforcing rules is where the corruption begins.

 

A negative I saw in some of the interviews was when asked if he would take a $7/hour job, the protester said no it is not enough.  If the movement wants traction beyond the preofessional protester crowd, they are going to have to have more realistic demands.  Just my 2c.

 

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  Well said Packer, but I haven't seen even the Tea Party talking about some of the root problems on "Wall Street". Admittedly I don't follow U.S. politics that close though. All they understand is the surface part that their retirement portfolios are shrinking. They aren't aware of all the options that are diluting their value or the lavish  bonuses that are triggered by manipulation. Or how truly lax the oversight of the markets truly are or how things like HFT are adding nothing to the market other than volatility. They are just left with a sense that someone has stolen their money and they look to get it back from those who have money.

 

 

I understand there frustration (similar to Tea Party) but taking $ from those who have will not solve the issues everyone is frustrated about.  Using anti-trust measures I think is the best solution.  Breaking up to big to fail institutions so they are not to big to fail is a great start.  If you look at the solutions the US has used in the past the most effective in my mind has been to enforce competition rules in markets and let the markets do the rest.  Once the gov't gets involved in market beyond enforcing rules is where the corruption begins.

 

A negative I saw in some of the interviews was when asked if he would take a $7/hour job, the protester said no it is not enough.  If the movement wants traction beyond the preofessional protester crowd, they are going to have to have more realistic demands.  Just my 2c.

 

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My 2c is the fact that these people complain about not having jobs and then rail against corporations.  Well, corporations are the entities that supply the jobs.  Its entirely laughable.  They essentially complain and whine with no solution about how to right the ship.  It will not resonate with the majority of Americans.

 

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"Well said Packer, but I haven't seen even the Tea Party talking about some of the root problems on "Wall Street"."

-Root problems? How about huge financial bail-outs for firms that were levered 100-1, and no one loses their job? How about quasi-government agencies telling banks how to lend money? How about the media not reporting on which politicians received the most money from Wall Street because it doesn't fit the narrative?

 

The TEA PARTY says plenty about these problems, and most members of the Tea Party would probably look to go back to Glass-Steagal, as long as you get rid of Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, the Community Re-investment Act (CRA), etc. The Tea Party talks about the corruption inherent in Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae/Sallie Mae.

 

These children down on Wall St should be arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct. If they want to march every day, follow the law, get the permits required, make sure you clean up after yourself.

 

And now, for your amusement: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=46683

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The "We are the 99%" movement isn't just about wealth redistribution or unemployment.  I am employed, make an extremely good living (by my standards at least) and do not support massive wealth redistribution in this country.  However, I consider myself part of the 99%.  Why?

 

Because this movement is about recognizing the fact that the top 1% in this country are basically 21st century aristocrats.  They use their wealth to make changes for their benefit through government lobbying or market-rigging.  They use their connections to avoid accountability and/or oversight.  They have no allegiance to this country; if they don't get their way, they'll just go elsewhere (Jamie Dimon even said he'd just go to Singapore if Congress tried to regulate his hundreds of trillions in derivatives.)

 

So, long story short, the 99% movement is about recognizing that the US is now a plutocracy.  That's a fact and this country can only continue to delude ourselves so long. 

 

 

 

 

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N.Y. Times sports writer Jonathan Mahler has hit on something in a 10.14 piece called "It's All Moneyball Now." The piece isn't entirely about the political echoes in the film, but it nails something I've been kicking around for about a month now.

 

"Thanks partly to the cultural phenomenon of Moneyball, which demonstrated that teams didn't need a big payroll to win, we're all small-market fans now, no longer rooting for the hapless underdog -- sorry, Mets and Cubs -- but for the team that is doing more with less.

 

"It's a subtle but significant distinction and it has unmistakable political overtones, especially during this time of rising class resentment. You didn't have to spend the day dancing around the drum circle in Zuccotti Park to see Game 5 of the Yankees-Tigers division series in New York -- with its constant cutaways to those slick-suited men hunched over their BlackBerrys in the Legends Suites -- as more than just a baseball game.

 

"It may be time to update the old cliche that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel. Today, it's more like rooting for Goldman Sachs."

 

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2011/10/occupy_moneybal.php

 

 

 

 

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The "We are the 99%" movement isn't just about wealth redistribution or unemployment.  I am employed, make an extremely good living (by my standards at least) and do not support massive wealth redistribution in this country.  However, I consider myself part of the 99%.  Why?

 

Because this movement is about recognizing the fact that the top 1% in this country are basically 21st century aristocrats.  They use their wealth to make changes for their benefit through government lobbying or market-rigging.  They use their connections to avoid accountability and/or oversight.  They have no allegiance to this country; if they don't get their way, they'll just go elsewhere (Jamie Dimon even said he'd just go to Singapore if Congress tried to regulate his hundreds of trillions in derivatives.)

 

So, long story short, the 99% movement is about recognizing that the US is now a plutocracy.  That's a fact and this country can only continue to delude ourselves so long.

 

I agree with you, but I think the general sentiment from the "Occupy" group is more about "corporate greed" and less about that 1%.  The signs say "We are the 99%", but the words all coming out of their mouths said "corporate greed is bad". 

 

There is no such thing as corporate greed, as corporations are simply entities that take on the cultural and ethical beliefs of their shareholders, directors and executives.  They should be targeting and singling out that 1%, since as Buffett said "his class is winning".  But currently, the "Occupy" groups have no coherent strategy, vision or philosophy.

 

On top of that, I don't hear any of the "Occupy" group commenting on how Joe Blow with his 100% financed mortgage and three rental properties was suffering from a bout of greed, when interest rates spiked up 17 times in a row and the credit boom came crashing down around him.  People create, benefit and suffer from greed...not corporations...and that greed sprouts in the top 1%, bottom 1% and the other 98% in the middle.

 

There's a saying that people get the government they deserve.  Well, much of the world had been voting for government to loosen the purse strings over the last 15 years, and they did so just as the people wanted.  You always get a generational cry and whine at some point, but it only means anything if they manage to change things.  This is their chance.  Hopefully, they actually do something!  Cheers!     

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This movement reminds of the Obama campaign in 2008.  People could find what they want in the 99% (or "change") slogan and something they can agree on amongst what the group of people are saying.  Heck, I agree that the bankers should have suffered more.  However, people ignore what they don't want to hear.  The take stuff from the rich, we wont move from the park to let you clean it, etc., (Obama's lack of experience especially with working with folks he does not agree with)  Folks are frustrated and want something to be done and are willing to give someone a chance without understanding what these folks stand for.  This is truly the equivalent to the 21st century mob mentality.  Mobs usually have a legitimate gripe but the resulting actions dont always end well.  Given the similarities to Obama 2008, I can see why the press is spending so much time on protests in the hundreds or maybe low thousands of folks.

 

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This movement reminds of the Obama campaign in 2008.  People could find what they want in the 99% (or "change") slogan and something they can agree on amongst what the group of people are saying.  Heck, I agree that the bankers should have suffered more.  However, people ignore what they don't want to hear.  The take stuff from the rich, we wont move from the park to let you clean it, etc., (Obama's lack of experience especially with working with folks he does not agree with)  Folks are frustrated and want something to be done and are willing to give someone a chance without understanding what these folks stand for.  This is truly the equivalent to the 21st century mob mentality.  Mobs usually have a legitimate gripe but the resulting actions dont always end well.  Given the similarities to Obama 2008, I can see why the press is spending so much time on protests in the hundreds or maybe low thousands of folks.

 

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People do ignore what they don't want to hear, and sometimes people distort what is actually happening in their own minds because it fits with their narrative of the other side.

 

I actually agree that the Occupy Wall Street people's focus would appear to be misplaced.  But actually, it's unclear whether there is any focus at all. 

 

I was listening to a Planet Money episode, where they went to Occupy Wall Street to figure out what those people are actually protesting.  Although a lot of people are there to protest against "corporate greed," it appears that Occupy Wall Street is a hodge podge of people who are really protesting a number of issues.  The binding tie appears to be that they all strongly believe in protest and participatory democracy.  The same can be said about Tea Party functions.  I'm not so sure there is a coherent movement. 

 

These people -- Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Streeters -- just feel bad.  They feel they have no say in what's going on in the country.  They feel that these protests will make a difference and possibly change the existing power structure.  And in my mind, the result will be that politicians adopt and co-opt the sentiments of the "movements" (Dems will do with Occupy Wall Street what the GOP did with the Tea Party).  Conservatives will bash Occupy Wall Street and liberals will continue to bash Tea Partiers, not because of sound reasoning because they're the crazies on the other side.

 

It looks like Congress will continue to be very divided going forward.  I hope we get a Romney versus Obama election because I believe we need to have sensible pragmatists in the White House to counter this deep division that is predictably occurring as a result of the events of the last decade.

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I agree but how do you see Obama being a sensible pragmatist?  He appears to pandering to his left to hold onto them and using rhetoric to slam the Republicans.  There is a good editorial in the WSJ about Mort Zuckerman about this issue.  What we need is the leader of which ever party gets elected is to reach out his opposition and develop a relationship with them. 

 

I don't see that in Obama.  His best attempt was a deal with Beohner versus reaching out to others and developing support.  And what is this leaving the House Dems out of the year-end compromise to extend the current tax rates?  Reagan develop relationships this LBJ already had the relationships.  That is why they were great leaders.  It is one thing if the guy realizes that he has made mistakes and tries something new but he has not done this.  At some point, folks will give another guy a shot at doing this if the current guy doesn't get the idea of developing relationships with the opposition.  Jsut my 2c.

 

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Obama is certainly a pragmatist.  He's no left winger -- he's alienated the vast majority of left leaning people who believed that "hope and change" would entail a radical change in policy.  Instead, he brokered compromises that left a bad taste in the mouths of both sides of the political spectrum.  This is why he has had to change his rhetoric in the last year -- he has to pander to the base to make sure he gets people to vote in the next Presidential election.

 

It is, however, an open question as to whether is an effective pragmatist.  He has made some huge mistakes with important policy decisions.  For example, I strongly believe that he should have adopted the Bowles-Simpson recommendations early on to get the country focused on taking appropriate action for the future.  For the life of me, I don't get why he didn't do so.  I get the feeling he decided to test which way the wind blew after a couple of months to make the right political decision on where to start, and as a result, we got the posturing episode that occurred with the debt ceiling.  I also think that while fighting for increased health care coverage was a worthwhile fight (which also cost Obama a lot of political capital), it was a huge mistake not to push harder on the cost side of the equation -- we've truly kicked the can down the road in that respect. 

 

But it's not that Obama is not reaching out to the other side.  I think that he is unable to broker compromise because both sides are so divided and focused on winning for their team.  The GOP, in particular, will do whatever they can to make sure that Obama doesn't win the White House.  If the situation were reversed, I'm sure the Dems would act the same way.

 

I believe the following WEB aphorism applies here: "When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for poor fundamental economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact."  Given the current environment in DC and the state of the economy, which is largely out of Obama's control, it is not surprising to me his reputation is in the dumps.

 

 

 

 

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I think we need to be clear about something. To compare the Tea Party movement with Occupy Wall Street is nonsensical.  The Tea Party knows what they want (will not go into it here), they have a specific agenda, they are organized and have leaders, and they have already made and are making a difference.  Have we forgotten the results of the 2010 elections so soon???  Also issues like deficit reduction, flat tax, lower tax rates, etc,  issues that everyone now are talking about:  Where did they come from???  The Tea Party.

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I would say that the Tea Party organizers/backers know what they want.  Not so much the actual folks who are participating in the "movement."

 

There's no question that the Tea Party has influenced politics.  Keep in mind that Occupy Wall Street is in its infancy.  Don't count out that "movement" from having the same effect on Democrat politics that the Tea Party has had on Republican politics.

 

 

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I agree that the final positions are a compromise and he may appear to have reached out (by his position) but I have not found evidence he has personally reached out like a leader should.  And him saying he tried has does not count.  You have a relationship by both sides agreeing it is a relationship.  He has not developed personal relationships with the opposition.  He has not even approached moderates to try to get cooperation on his initiatives.  If he approached the Maine senators for example and Scott Brown, they probably could have gotten the jobs bill through or at least made the case of obstruction more creadibly.  But instead, he tries to ram through what he thinks is best.  This is much like Carter.   

 

If you read the WSJ article and others you will see he has relied upon proxies (as opposed to getting personally involved) to negotiate with the opposition.  Other leaders got personally involved (Reagan & LBJ).  I think the major issue is he does not seem to know that he is missing the relationship aspect of the job.  Do you think this partisan bickering is new?  It has been around for a long time and smart pols have tried to develop personal relatoinships with the opposition.  As Harry Truman said the best pols are those who can make you feel good about doing something you don't want to do but need to do.  I would be interested in evidence that he has reached out and that I am all wet.

 

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Guest misterstockwell

I agree that the final positions are a compromise and he may appear to have reached out (by his position) but I have not found evidence he has personally reached out like a leader should.  And him saying he tried has does not count.  You have a relationship by both sides agreeing it is a relationship.  He has not developed personal relationships with the opposition.  He has not even approached moderates to try to get cooperation on his initiatives.  If he approached the Maine senators for example and Scott Brown, they probably could have gotten the jobs bill through or at least made the case of obstruction more creadibly.  But instead, he tries to ram through what he thinks is best.  This is much like Carter.   

 

If you read the WSJ article and others you will see he has relied upon proxies (as opposed to getting personally involved) to negotiate with the opposition.  Other leaders got personally involved (Reagan & LBJ).  I think the major issue is he does not seem to know that he is missing the relationship aspect of the job.  Do you think this partisan bickering is new?  It has been around for a long time and smart pols have tried to develop personal relatoinships with the opposition.  As Harry Truman said the best pols are those who can make you feel good about doing something you don't want to do but need to do.  I would be interested in evidence that he has reached out and that I am all wet.

 

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+1

 

He is not a leader. Period.

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I agree that the final positions are a compromise and he may appear to have reached out (by his position) but I have not found evidence he has personally reached out like a leader should.  And him saying he tried has does not count.  You have a relationship by both sides agreeing it is a relationship.  He has not developed personal relationships with the opposition.  He has not even approached moderates to try to get cooperation on his initiatives.  If he approached the Maine senators for example and Scott Brown, they probably could have gotten the jobs bill through or at least made the case of obstruction more creadibly.  But instead, he tries to ram through what he thinks is best.  This is much like Carter.   

 

If you read the WSJ article and others you will see he has relied upon proxies (as opposed to getting personally involved) to negotiate with the opposition.  Other leaders got personally involved (Reagan & LBJ).  I think the major issue is he does not seem to know that he is missing the relationship aspect of the job.  Do you think this partisan bickering is new?  It has been around for a long time and smart pols have tried to develop personal relatoinships with the opposition.  As Harry Truman said the best pols are those who can make you feel good about doing something you don't want to do but need to do.  I would be interested in evidence that he has reached out and that I am all wet.

 

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Honestly, I could quote you any number of non-WSJ articles that would take the exact opposite view.  The evidence you're looking for may not be found in the sources you're reading.  I wouldn't rely on the WSJ for giving a "fair and balanced" view of what sort of talks Obama has and has not had with the GOP. 

 

Partisanship is not new.  But there was a long period of time when the parties could actually sort of work together.  Now things have gotten so polarized and certain radical wings have gotten so much sway over the House that lots of stupid mistakes have been made (just my opinion).

 

Take a look at this Congressional Quarterly special report on the debt ceiling debacle.  http://corporate.cqrollcall.com/files/documents/CQWeekly_Sample.pdf.  I think CQ is a much better source than the WSJ or the NYT for figuring out what's going on in DC.   

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I agree but how do you see Obama being a sensible pragmatist?  He appears to pandering to his left to hold onto them and using rhetoric to slam the Republicans.  There is a good editorial in the WSJ about Mort Zuckerman about this issue.  What we need is the leader of which ever party gets elected is to reach out his opposition and develop a relationship with them. 

 

I don't see that in Obama.  His best attempt was a deal with Beohner versus reaching out to others and developing support.  And what is this leaving the House Dems out of the year-end compromise to extend the current tax rates?  Reagan develop relationships this LBJ already had the relationships.  That is why they were great leaders.  It is one thing if the guy realizes that he has made mistakes and tries something new but he has not done this.  At some point, folks will give another guy a shot at doing this if the current guy doesn't get the idea of developing relationships with the opposition.  Jsut my 2c.

 

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Unfortunately, I don't see that in any leader today...be it Democrat, Republican or otherwise.  That Michael Lewis article where he spends some time with Arnold Schwarzennager is a good example of what politics is like.  The Governator went into power thinking he will change things for the better, yet he found that there was no change to be had, because too many special interest groups wield too much power and clout now for anyone to try and change things.  Each party has been co-opted, and the "Occupy" groups and Tea Partiers are no different.  It will take something like a World War or 9/11 for the country to come to some consensus on politics again.  Cheers! 

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I read the articles and I agree with some of it but the outside references I saw were the Brookings Institute, the Center for American Progress and a ploy sci professof from Rutgers.  Not what I would call fair and balanced.  Even if that is the case, the reason why Obama is having a hard time is he has never built a coalition via relationships.  He doesn't even realize that is how governing works.  Policy is only part of the job but he thinks it is the whole job.  The American people expect the President to build to the coalition.  If he had, the Tea Party would be not as relevant.  Why else would people agree with his policies but not of his performance?  I look at the partisan tone as an excuse. 

 

If someone worked for your firm and was very talented, could communicate well but not work well with others in your firm, what would you do?  I would sit down with them and show them the working with others is part of what the job is.  If they still didn't get it, then I would let them go.  I think Obama is still in the don't get it stage and unless he gets it he will be a one-termer. 

 

Sanjeev - I disagree.  Maybe I am niave but in the case of our great Presidents, they all have had the ability to work with the opposition to build a coalition to make the extremes irrelevant.  Romney has at least the experience of being a successful Rep governor in a blue state - an example of what can happen.  Just because Obama says he can't doesn't mean it can't be done just that it can't be done by him.  Very similar to Jimmy Carter.

 

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