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Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in Business, Economy | 6 comments

Wall Street threatens to become a productive member of society

Someone has been dropping a flyer around the Occupy Wall Street protests that recycles a rant first circulated over a year ago. It reads:

“We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.

Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.

So now that we’re going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.

The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it’s really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom.

We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?”

My response to this: I would welcome people of Wall Street to become more productive members of society. One of the best criticisms of Wall Street is that it’s a brain suck: brilliant PhD students forgo a life in the sciences because it’s much more profitable to go to Wall Street, move numbers around, and make money. So when I read this letter, I read it as, “Oh yeah! Keep hating on us and we’ll become productive members of society by actually entering the workforce! Take that!”

Simon Owens is a journalist and PR consultant. You can read his blog, follow him on Twitter, or email him at [email protected]

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • The_Ohioan

    The following definitions of Hubris are from, investopedia – a web site for investors.

    What Does Hubris Mean?

    The characteristic of excessive confidence or arrogance, which leads a person to believe that he or she may do no wrong. The overwhelming pride caused by hubris is often considered a flaw in character. While these hubris feelings are often justified, they often cause irrational and harmful behavior.

    Chief executive officers and very successful businessmen who are overcome with hubris tend to be difficult to work with in team settings.

    Investopedia explains Hubris
    Hubris may be developed after a person encounters a period of success. Corporate executives and traders overcome by hubris may become a liability for their firms. A manager might start making business decisions without fully thinking through the consequences, or a trader may begin taking on excessive risk. In many cases, people overcome by hubris will bring about their own downfall.

    Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hubris.asp#ixzz1c04esvJ7altruism and cooperation just as much as ruthless egocentrism.

  • Mark Nuckols

    Well, whoever wrote that has a tin ear. But I know some physis PhDs on Wall St, and it is better for them to make a miilion bucks a year and pay 400k in taxes than teach in some HS.
    That said, there’s a need for smarter regulation, but neither you, the OWS people, or even most of Wall St Phds know what that means or requires.

  • Allen

    History has shown that when the rich and powerful ignore the pleas of the oppressed things turn ugly. History is VERY ugly.

  • We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money.

    The problem occurs when they make money from fraud, speculation, price manipulation, & bubble creation.

    If you make money by providing value, then everyone wins. If the company in which you invest is adding value to the world by producing goods & services, you deserve to be rewarded. That’s good economics, good investment.

    However, if you are making money by inflating the value of something, which doesn’t add any real value (just air, hence “inflating”), you are causing harm.

    That’s the difference folks like that miss.

  • JSpencer

    When greed becomes the one true god dictating the function of a society (one that used to be guided by higher and healthier principles) then it becomes a cancer in the culture. We are badly in need of treatment.

  • Rcoutme

    I know what it requires!

    First off, we are talking only about corporations that are publicly owned and operate in more than one state (or operate internationally). Such corporations are supposed to be regulated by the federal government due to interstate commerce clause in the constitution. The reason it should only apply to publicly owned corporations is that if someone privately owns a corporation, he is entitled to its profits as a matter of fairness.

    1. No one is allowed to have a salary (including bonuses—see exceptions below) more than 10 times (or 20) that of the lowest paid person working for the corporation. This includes those who are ‘contracted’ to do work for the company and spend the majority of their time (or the most time of any place they work in similar contract) for that company (think contracted cleaning crew, etc)
    2. Exceptions to the above include those who cause the corporation to immediately realize the fruits of the their labor. Examples would include artists (singers, etc), professional athletes and sales people who sell items that allow the corporation to get the money immediately (not some promise of money in the future). Since these people cause the corporation to get the money immediately, they should be allowed to get their commision (or whatever) immediately.
    3. Employees may be given stock options that are set at the price when the options are issued or the price of the stock when the employee got his job—whichever is HIGHER! For those who don’t know how stock options work: you get the right to purchase stock at a guaranteed price, regardless of what the price at the market is. This would allow top management to earn those bloated salaries—but only if they get the corporation’s stock to rise in price!
    4. The stock options offered above can not be used until three years after they have been awarded. This will make it that management will not make short-sighted, potentially dangerous or risky decisions since much of their compensation will depend on the long-term viability of the corporation.

    One more thing: One is only ‘making money’ if he is adding to the net worth of society. Macroeconomics would probably show that most of what the Wall Street banksters are doing does not add value.

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