One year after the meltdown, the executives who collectively ran the banking system into the ground rewarded themselves nearly $20,000,000,000 in taxpayer-funded bonus money.
Two years after the meltdown, the financial industry was spending more than $35,000,000 every month lobbying against any and all financial reform.
Three years after the meltdown, they lobbied House Republicans to bring our country to the brink of bankruptcy to block any attempt to raise taxes on people making more than $1,000,000,000 annually.
Today, these same financial vampires are vilifying our generation for being upset, and can’t understand why so many people hate them.
When you think about it, it is understandable why these bankers are confused. They’ve been getting away with so much corruption for so long that trying to tell them that the system has to be fixed now is like trying to convince an alcoholic that liquor stores should be outlawed.
To be completely fair, a lot of these investment bankers do not believe their free-for-all “investment” tactics are corrupt in the first place. A lot of them believe that their industry would better serve the economy if the government just eliminated all the rules, and left them to their own devices. A lot of them don’t even believe that what they’re doing is gambling. They think they’re investing money into the economy to create jobs.
But when you take money that customers deposit into your bank, and you use it to bet five times what your worth that poor people will indefinitely be able to pay their mortgages forever – you’re not creating jobs; you’re gambling away people’s savings.
Beyond the corruption of all that nonsense – this industry took $850,000,000,000 from taxpayers because they were about to disintegrate from the earth, and then used that to reward themselves $20,000,000,000 in bonuses. Forget the fact that $20,000,000,000 could finance half of what the federal government spends on higher education, and let’s just focus on the concept of rewarding yourself a bonus when your bank breaks.
Anyone who worked for a bank that was bailed out and accepted a bonus that ended with the suffix “illion” would most definitely eat his own son. And people like that belong in prison.
Which brings us to the third tier of corruption: why were these banks allowed to use taxpayer money to reward themselves huge bonuses? Because people like (D) Senator Chris Dobbs were in charge of including that rule, but forgot to include it because AIG gave him $225,000 in campaign contributions after giving his wife $500,000 every year to serve on various AIG boards.
My parents are always confused about why the Occupy Wall Street movement is protesting Wall Street instead of the government. But the concept I think our generation understands more extensively than theirs is how much our government is controlled by Wall Street.
And I don’t mean to say that we’re smarter or anything condescending like that. It’s simply a testament to how much the Internet has revolutionized our ability to find out how governments all over the world really operate. The same realizations are happening across the Middle East, where the Internet has enabled rebels from our generation to bypass state-controlled media and understand how their governments really operate.
I don’t think the Occupy Wall Street movement will end as dramatically as the movements in Egypt, Lybia and soon-to-be Syria – primarily because our citizens aren’t nearly as oppressed. But I do see this movement as our generation’s anti-Vietnam War movement: when people realized on a massive scale how ridiculous it was to continue sending thousands of kids to die overseas for no strategic reason other than “fight the commies forever.”
I like the fact that our generation is occupying Wall Street instead of Washington, D.C., because it shows that we understand that Congress doesn’t write our laws – Wall Street lobbyists write our laws and deliver them to Congress where they come under a vote. The occupation of Wall Street represents the knowledge that we know Wall Street controls our government, and we want that corruption to end.
And that is the reason I support Occupy Wall Street.
The OWS movement will inevitably fade like every other political trend. But if it were to accomplish one demand, I would want Congress to pass a law that ensures “The Separation of Corporation and State” – so that giant companies will no longer be allowed to finance political campaigns, and install politicians that they can control. Because we can’t even begin to fight the corruption until we stop the corruption from writing our laws.