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An Open Appeal To Occupy Wall Street

July 25, 2012 by  

I can certainly empathize with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. While ex-Goldman guy/U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, fellow ex-Goldman guy/New York Fed President Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke worked diligently to use taxpayer money to bail out Goldman Sachs and some other 1 percenters, the rest of us were dealing with layoffs, foreclosures and bankruptcies — with no bailouts in sight, just more circular rhetoric and broken promises.

In the midst of all this has emerged a war cry directed against capitalism itself. It is here that I feel some of my fellow 99 percenters may have been misled and have thus misdirected their fiery and very justified frustration.

It is not free-market capitalism itself that has betrayed us, but rather the cronyism and mercantilism that pervades Washington, D.C. In a private letter to Col. Mandell House written in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt admitted: “The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson—and I am not wholly excepting the Administration of W[oodrow] W[ilson].”

In a truly capitalist country, where the government neither favors nor disfavors particular business interests, highly leveraged risk-takers like Goldman Sachs would have failed in 2008 along with Lehman Brothers, to be replaced by more scrupulous and prudent firms. Unfortunately, however, as FDR noted in 1933, the powers in Washington are beholden to the influence of certain special business interests — special in the sense that they are wealthy, entrenched and organized. And they have a system: the two-party system.

From the very first day in office, the typical politician is thinking about re-election. This costs money — a lot of money. As we have repeatedly witnessed, the politician who spends the most money almost always wins. Where do politicians go to get money? To those who have the money, of course: the top 1 percent, through their corporations, trusts, foundations and Super PACs.

For these individuals, capitalism works perfectly. Politicians have power but need money to get elected and stay elected, and the top 1 percent have money but need the (use of) politicians’ power to further their own (usually corporate) interests.

The obvious problem here is this: You and I aren’t getting any of the money or any of the power. In fact, they’re taking our money through taxation and stealing our purchasing power through inflation.

This is not capitalism; this is mercantilism.

We often hold the naïve assumption that capitalism and other forms of government are mutually exclusive, but this is not so. Indeed, modern-day China has taught us that this is incontrovertibly false. China, as the world’s second-largest economy with bustling capitalism at almost every level of society, is run by a group of communist families who themselves profit immensely from this false ideology, thus the need for constant censorship.

At the risk of sounding “un-American,” is it not also true that our own socio-economic system is a hybrid somewhat similar to this? But instead of communism at the top, our uniquely American model of economics is a hybrid of capitalism at most levels with mercantilism reigning among the very top echelons.

The cycle of money from these elitists — through their lobbyists, corporations, foundations, and Super-Pacs to politicians on both sides of the aisle, back to these elitists through the state mechanism — is mercantilism, and anathema to free-market capitalism.

What’s worse, attacks on capitalism itself play right into their hands. A disposal of capitalism means a transition to something else, something worse. A sharing, loving world where everyone plays by the rules sounds great on campus; but the outside world just doesn’t play by the rules. Is more government regulation — more favoritism — going to help our plight?

What is needed is to sever the cycle of money from the elitists to the politicians, and thus regain ownership over our representatives’ power. That’s easier said than done.

So, again, I implore my fellow 99 percenters to stop the attacks against capitalism and redirect that energy where it belongs: toward cronyism and mercantilism. You can start by moving your tents from Wall Street in New York to K Street in Washington. That’s where they keep the “paid” lobbyists, your true representatives in Washington.

It’s not capitalism that has failed us, but we who have failed capitalism.

–J. Kevin Meaders

Special To Personal Liberty

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  • Polski

    the “occupy” movement has the publicity now, and needs to be continued as is to continue the momentum.

    • Bradford Scot

      Sorry, Polski, not to disagree, but I am hearing nothing directly about any on-going “Occupy” activities. Now, Bob Livingston can debate between “mercantilism”, and “capitalism”, intil the cows come home, but I think most Occupy folks either don’t know, or don’t care, about the difference between the 2. And, in my limited knowledge, and exposure to Occupy folks, it looks to me that the whole Occupy movement is doing very little these days… What a friggin’ election!… Right now, I’m going with the “devil I know”, over Mitt “R money” …(…and I STILL support the imminent *MILITARY*COUP*…praise GOD, pass the ammo, and *SEMPER*FIDELIS*AMERICANA* ~bradford scot.

      • wandamurline

        Well, I will be deleting your vote as I plan to vote for the Mormon not the Moron.

        • Bradford Scot

          Hey, I only said I’m leaning that way…Too bad we can’t get 50 million Americans to boycott the election…THAT would shake them up…And, what’s your attraction to an invented “religion”, that steals Christianity to explain the presence of American Indians? They are BOTH “morons”…you ain’t RACIST, are you?… Thanks, Wanda M….~b.

      • Average Joe

        I myself am still voting for Ron Paul. If either of the other two clones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lUs17azUFs win, it won’t be because I voted for Ron Paul…it will be because more people didn’t vote for Ron Paul.

        Rn Paul / Andrew Napolitano 2012! In it to win it!

  • http://survivingurbancrisis.wordpress.com Silas Longshot

    It’s about the same percentage of the ’99%’, one in a hundred, that have realized they were duped by the dems and their liberal college profs to go and protest at the wrong end of the block. 0bama is the worst crony-capitalist in history, gladly taking money from and bailing out Wall street, while masking his activities by blaming conservatives and captalism.
    I ‘know this devil’, Brad, and I’m damsure NOT voting for him, didn’t last time either.

    • Scot

      True that, -BUT- we are all assuming that our vote actually *counts*…and, that there is any real difference between BHO, and R.money… With one, you get six, but with the other, you get half a dozen… Rather than getting into a petty argument about who to vote for – which is exactly what “they” want us to be doing – wouldn’t we be better off doing something about what we can do something about? Like educating ALL Americans about the TRUTH of the “Fed” (“Federal Reserve”, a *private* bank…), and the need to AUDIT IT?…

  • Chuck

    People on the right have often have a problem communicating – the general public is brainwashed by liberal media, and education and entertainment systems. How many people even know what mercantism or cronyism are? For that matter, how many people know what socialism is?. Need to write at maybe 4th grade level, for people who know very little about conservatism.

    Anyway, I think what he’s talking about is not free enterprise, but certain businesses getting favors, subsidies, guarantees, and favorable regulations. I believe that big business LIKES regulations – because they hurt their smaller competitors more than them. Even more if the particular regulations are specifically designed for their situation. Like if a power company has no coal plants but their competitors do, they’d favor heavy regulations on coal.

  • s c

    What we have in Washington – to be polite – is a new twist on Chicago-style, Al Capone politics. I really think Capone would do a better job, but that’s another matter.
    There is so MUCH documented evidence going now that people have to be in absolute DENIAL not to see what’s happening. As for free market ‘capitalism,’ you might as well streamline your thinking and simply call it free markets. That’s what we SHOULD have. What we have is a long line of sold-out politicians who sold their arses since 1900 or so, and their efforts have resulted in a prez who wouldn’t know the difference between success and being on a bread line.
    When someone surrenders a license to practice law, you don’t have to be a scholar to know that it was done to AVOID a situation that would create a media feeding frenzy and endless lawsuits. You get whatcha PAY for, eh? You OWN him, utoipians. You can HAVE him, too.

  • ROGER, Irish-Canadian LIBERTARIAN

    Who really runs this country and most other countires also:

    http://lewrockwell.com/orig10/marshall16.1.html

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