Though it started months ago, and no longer makes daily headlines on the major news networks, the Occupy Movement is still plugging away. Tenaciously spreading its anti-capitalist mantra to anyone who cares to listen. This movement has been applauded in the media as a great social movement, but how great has it really been? Just what has truly been accomplished that will benefit the whole of society? To get a better handle on the kind of people who are, or have participated in an Occupy protest, I have a few questions I would like to ask. I would appreciate a direct response to these questions from anyone who is or has participated in an Occupy protest for more than a week.
- Are you currently employed? If so, how did you get the time off from work to participate in this protest? If no, are you actively seeking employment? If so, how are you conducting a job search while attending the protest?
- If not employed, are you a student? If so, how are you managing to attend class and keep up with your homework while attending the protest? What is your grade point average?
- Do you own a home or rent? If so, how are you paying your mortgage, or rent and utilities while you are attending the protest? If not, where were you living before you encamped at the protest? Did you have to contribute financially in any way, in order to live there? Will you be able to return there when you are through protesting?
- Other than student loans or education grants, are you receiving any form of government assistance? If so what kind?
- Do you depend on your parents for any kind of financial support? (To include trust funds)
- Are you married? If so, are both of you attending the protest?
- Do you have any children?
- What visible positive effects can be seen in this community due to the presence of this protest?
- Are you old enough to vote? If so, are you planning on voting in the presidential election?
- Do you now, or have you ever owned any kind of business?
It will be interesting and probably surprising to see the answers to these questions. I’ll put the results in a future post.
I hope the New Generation Hippies, the Junior Baby Boomers also know as the Occupiers realize by now that any hope of having a serious discussion of their grievances has been quashed thanks to their embarrassing shenanigans. It’s unfortunate because there truly is an intelligent debate to be had. People are really struggling. And not just the spoiled twenty somethings still living on their parents labor, or those living off of the tax payers. There are many of us who work hard every day and still can’t get ahead. Our benefits get cut, and raises are eliminated. Prices for basic needs are getting higher and higher and each week our paychecks are stretched as tight as a fat lady’s girdle. And we feel no one is listening. We hear a lot about corporate greed and class warfare these days. I think both sides have it wrong. At heart I suppose I am a capitalist. I believe that strong businesses free of burdensome government regulation are the foundation to overall wealth in our country. It is obvious however, that there is something fundamentally wrong when a CEO can earn half a million a year at a company that can’t afford to pay its lower level employees a decent wage or even worse has to let them go. Loyal, hard-working employees, deserve to share in the wealth of a company. Businesses that realize that keep a dependable well motivated labor pool who are satisfied with their jobs and work to keep a company profitable. Those who do not create an atmosphere favorable to the labor unions. Companies that choose to do business in an unethical fashion clear a path for government regulation. It all comes down to practicing good stewardship. American businesses need to realize that they have a responsiblity to do what’s right by their employees, customers, community and environment. Pay their employees a fair wage and benefit package, produce a quality product at a fair price, give back to the community they are located in and don’t exploit or pollute unnecessarily. In the town where I’m from, there was a man named H B Zachry. In 1924 he started his company with very little capital. He had a contract to build a bridge and had to finish the job in order to be paid. As the story goes, he didn’t have the money to pay his workers so he told the men if they would stay with him until the job was finished, he’d see to it that they were taken care of. The bridge was finished and Mr. Zachry kept his word. He even took care of men’s widows. Personally delivering bags of groceries to them. This was a man who truly understood the values that make up a good business ethic. The answer to cleaning up corporate America is not in persuading the government to step in and force American businesses to do the right thing. The answer is in changing corporate values. in bringing more men like H B Zachery into play. In a free market society, the real power belongs to the consumers. We need to be smart, do our research and use the goods and services of a business only if it operates in harmony with our values. The Occupiers are fond of shouting “power to the people not the corporations” but the people have had the power all along.