The Occupy Wall Street group is free to say what they wish, but they first must understand that America is the land of opportunity and not the land of entitlements. The Occupy Wall Street group is free to blame who they want (e.g., congress, banks, insurance companies, etc.), but ultimately, we as individuals are responsible for our actions and subsequent consequences. The latest November visit to Lower Manhattan further substantiated my belief that the Occupy Wall Street group is a sad and dejected bunch with no clear message, or anything resembling a coherent business plan.
One target of the Occupy Wall Street group has been Congress. The “Put the Blame on Congress” outcry is nothing new and is much easier during times of high unemployment. However, recent numbers show that the national unemployment rate has stabilized at around 9% and job openings are up. In addition, the Q3 GDP was reported to be 2.5%, which means three straight quarters of growth. Not stellar growth, but growth nonetheless. This year Congress hammered out legislation to reduce overall spending, which showed a bipartisan effort that was meant for the good of the country. Case in point: Controlling spending in areas such as Defense, Medicare, and Medicaid will no doubt create a more stable environment for America over the next ten years. While not perfect, President Obama, the House, and the Senate have done a solid job in holding things together during the Financial Crisis of 2008 and the current European Banking Crisis.
Blaming the Banks
I had a good conversation with a twenty something about how the banks were the cause of the housing crisis. She said that the banks convinced people that they could afford the homes and pressured them into buying. Last time I looked, the buyer was the one who asked the credit institution for a loan to purchase property. Hence, the buyer must have done due diligence regarding the property being bought and a cash flow analysis to see if they in fact were credit worthy. I am of the firm belief that a majority of home buyers bought bigger and more expensive homes than they could afford, so they could make more money upon the subsequent sale. Bottom line, it was buyer greed that was the main culprit regarding the housing crisis. While the banks did make mistakes, they are paying dearly for them. All one has do is look at the current share prices of Bank of America and Citigroup to see how these two major U.S. banks have been hit by the housing crisis. The latter is also involved in a possible settlement with the SEC, which could cost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars.
Not Happy in America, then Leave
Last year I had a pleasant conversation from Madrid airport to the hotel with a cabdriver. She said that Spain is beautiful with a rich history, but that the 20% unemployment rate was casting a pall over the country. In reality, things are difficult for many around the world. While the current domestic U.S. environment is tough for millions of people, things seem to be inching ahead on the economic front. America is wonderful place. We have overcome adversity to have a GDP larger than China, Japan, and India combined. What is even more amazing is that America is doing this with only 300 million people verses almost 3 billion for the aforementioned Asian countries. Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge stand as testaments to what can be done in hard times like the Great Depression. People are free to say what they wish, but if they are not happy, then they are also free to leave.
Again, people are allowed to express their feelings, which is the American way. The people at Occupy Wall Street were cold, while looking disheveled, and very tired. The mood was of sadness for people who are out of work and wanting to express their frustration with the system. The message that the Occupy Wall Street must latch on to is that America is the land of opportunity and not the land of entitlements. As a result, it is time to move on.