Occupy Wall Street's Values Will Destroy the Middle Class

by | Oct 7, 2011

“The great thing about Occupy Wall Street is that they have brought the focus of the entire country on the middle class majority,” said George Aldro, 62, a member of Local 2325 of the United Auto Workers, as he carried the union’s blue flag over his shoulder through lower Manhattan. And the implication is that […]

“The great thing about Occupy Wall Street is that they have brought the focus of the entire country on the middle class majority,” said George Aldro, 62, a member of Local 2325 of the United Auto Workers, as he carried the union’s blue flag over his shoulder through lower Manhattan.

And the implication is that Wall Street executives and others who run businesses are unconcerned about the middle class majority? Do they not need employees? Do they not care about pleasing their customers, the vast majority of whom are the middle class?

Granted, members of the middle class majority take fewer risks and have fewer responsibilities than people at the top of these companies. Does Mr. Aldro mean to imply that everyone should get equal pay and benefits while exhibiting different levels of responsibility and risk? How long would businesses exist if the government deemed this the new law? That’s what socialism does, and that’s what what any left-wing economic policy aims for, including every one of Obama’s. That’s why the economy is floundering and slumping even more since Obama came into office, and not less. It’s not that Obama himself created the entire disaster. But policies such as Obama’s are the very ones that got us here.

Profit is a sign of health. Profit is a sign that a company is doing well. Is this good news or bad news for members of the middle class? Are members of the middle class better off if people at the top make less money? What is to motivate people at the top to continue to take risks, and compete for those top positions, if they’re to make no more money than the average factory worker? How is this fair, and how is this economic?

There’s a distinction between high-paid executives who earn their profit in a free market, and high-paid executives who earn their profits due to government subsidies and bailouts, or other subtle or overt government favors. I can understand the middle class being angry at government favors and handouts to business. But let’s be clear here: Leaving businesses alone to do their thing, and make a profit at it, is not a handout. It’s a freedom and a right, no less than freedom of speech or freedom to choose one’s religion is a right.

If the middle class is to benefit through the enslavement or destruction of “Wall Street” — which to these protestors simply means profit and free enterprise — then exactly what is to replace capitalism and how will it benefit the middle class? Since Obama came into office, regulations have increased, government management or ownership of what used to be the private sector has intensified, and taxes are on the verge of increasing any day now, Republican Congress or no. By the reasoning and premises of the Occupy Wall Street movement, things should be getting better. Unemployment should be going down, health insurance should be more affordable and competitive, and the economy should be expanding. Instead, exactly the opposite is true.

How can this be? Obama’s policies are the ones that Occupy Wall Street should want. Sure, they want Obama to go further and faster with his policies. But his policies have been decisively left-wing and socialist.

He got nearly every one of them passed in record time, the first year he was in office. By now things should at least be improving; yet they’re getting worse. What is the answer Mr. Aldro gives? None, because he isn’t asked the question, and won’t be asked the question by our socialist-leaning media and academic establishment. To them, his type is a hero. To any thinking person, he’s a lost fool.

Middle class people don’t, as a group, have any idea of what they want.

They clearly don’t want capitalism, but they don’t want socialism either. They’re confused and lost — most of them, anyway. They seek capitalism in the abstract and socialism in practice. In other words, they seek guaranteed security and continuous growth at one and the same time. Most of them want the benefits of taking risks, but don’t want there to be any risk or upset. This is not the spirit that founded America in frontier times, and this is not what built up the American economy in its first one or two centuries. The death of this attitude will spell the death of America more than any politician could ever hope to achieve. However, politicians and groups like Occupy Wall Street stand ready to exploit the fears of a mostly contradictory and lost people. They won’t get very far, because people who are wrong don’t have reality and facts on their side.

In order to save itself, the middle class should literally or metaphorically take to the streets. But their protests should not be against those who create the wealth, who take the risks and who raise the standard of living for all of us. These confused Americans should ask themselves, “Who serves me better? Steve Jobs or Barack Obama?”

Obama was to be the savior of all, but instead he’s just another rotten politician who makes the world even more difficult for the next Steve Jobs — the next generation of innovators and wealth creators — to thrive and survive. Thank you for that, Barack.

Without capitalism, including even the hampered capitalism we have known, there would be no middle class. Blaming the problems of the middle class on capitalism is like blaming disease on oxygen. “Why, if we couldn’t breathe, there would be no possibility of catching disease.”

Yes, that’s true. If we weren’t alive we wouldn’t have to worry about dying. But this is the attitude of someone who’s suicidal. Let’s hope that America is not that far gone.

There is hope for the middle class, but it’s the opposite of what these protestors claim. The middle class should want thriving, profit-making businesses. The only alternative is the stagnation and despair of socialism. Poverty for all? That’s equal, all right. If these protestors want poverty, they’re entitled to it, but they have no right to impose it on the rest of us.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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