03 Oct 2011

Demonstrating in the Wrong Place

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Older and more respectable (i.e. employed) lefties weren’t occupying Wall Street. Instead, they were smiling happily and fantasizing about the Revolution, or at least another great big wave of punitive regulation and taxation, as the young, the dumb, and the Bohemian took to the streets in Lower Manhattan to protest against Wall Street and the bankers.

Somebody gave those protesters the wrong address.

If they want to wave signs and shout slogans at the people really responsible for our economic problems, they ought to be protesting in front of the offices of their own educators, the same people who overcharged them and left them quite commonly without either wisdom or marketable skills, but buried in student loans.

Those protestors are typically college graduates, and there they are on the streets, bearing allegiance to political sentiments and theories alien to their own country’s fundamental values and traditions. They are overloaded with fashionable poses and slogans, but are perfectly innocent of serious political philosophy. They don’t like their own country’s political and economic system, institutions, and history, but they might think very differently if they had ever actually been informed accurately what any of those things are.

If those protestors knew enough of history and economics to associate the material prosperity and technological progress that they are accustomed to with the free economic system that produced them, if they even had been given enough of an adult understanding of the world that they could understand that business corporations, like Wall Street banks, are not, and cannot possibly be, charities, they would not be protesting where they are.

Wall Street did not cause the recession. Government caused the recession (by following the same left-wing philosophy that those protestors and the people who educated them embrace) by inadvertently grossly inflating home real estate prices, as the product of efforts to make long-term mortgage financing ever more widely and easily available. Government has worsened, and prolonged the recession, by dramatically meddling in the economy in the area of health care, by adding to the regulatory burden, and by generally increasing uncertainty. All of the damage was done on the basis of precisely the same ideas and philosophy that those demonstrators are trying to advance.

If all those kids, drop outs, poets, and Bohemians had the benefit of a decent education; if they actually understood history, economics, and political philosophy; if they understood how the world actually works and what banks do; none of them would be where they are doing what they are doing.

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5 Feedbacks on "Demonstrating in the Wrong Place"

SDD

One of these mental giants told an interviewer that he was protesting, among other things, that banks were going to “stick it us” by charging fees for debit card usage.

If this person had spent just a bit of time in economics classes, he would have learned:

1. There is no Free Lunch.

2. Debit card systems cost real money to operate. Banks have historically gotten this money from merchant fees every time you used a debit card. Although these fees may have been collected directly from merchants, you paid for them indirectly through the higher prices that merchants had to charge you (see learning #1) whether or not you used a debit card.

3. The new debit card charges are a direct result of Senator Durbin’s amendment to the Dodd-Frank monstrosity that severely limited debit debit card merchant fees. Banks simply shifted the cost of the debit card system from you indirectly to you directly (see learning #1).

If you want to protest this, why are you not railing against Senator Durbin? Or is there a professional courtesy among the economically ignorant?



W. Kimbell

No “like” button here, so, “love” this. Always excellent, always spot on, Mr. Zincavage. Great blog.



No Man

Infallible ignorance moved north from the White House and US Senate to lower Manhattan . . .



Doug

You are so sure that all of these protestors are uninformed and ignorant but I tell you it is the informed that should be protesting on Wall Street. When Wall Street takes the bailout then turns around and buys off politicians in order to get legislation passed opposing help for those losing their their homes along with their retirements someone should be doing something but for too long we all just sat back and took it. Those days are over.



No Man

Doug,

If so, they should be sleeping in front of the White House. Obama has taken more Wall Street money than anyone in history.

While yer there, ask himself to whom he gave the $4 trillion he stole from us, and why he keeps killing middle class jobs with job killing regulations.



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