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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Targets Wrong Group

Over the past few weeks, "Occupy Wall Street" protests have been launching up all over the country. From Albuquerque to Youngstown, young protesters have been taking to the streets protesting dominance by the powerful over the masses. In theory, this is a good cause. But, OWS has selected to companies who became powerful through their own success, rather than politicians who gain power in other, less respectable ways. This  borderline-socialist behavior is wrong, and may ultimately be their downfall.

Business owners got where they are by working hard and through years of dedicated work. They put out a successful product, which the people genuinely chose to buy. This is how companies make money. It's the basic economic model. The reason Exxon-Mobil gets to make billions while "Gregory's Gasoline Station" would probably flop is because Exxon-Mobil understands better than I do how to run a gas station. *

On the other hands, the government claims to be "chosen by the people". Yet, for many Americans, they are really just choosing the lesser evil between Democrat and Republican. I've discussed this before, and I'm not getting into it right now. But the fact is, virtually every American could choose at least one power the government has that they feel it shouldn't. Whether that's ending the Wars overseas, repealing drug laws, or repealing the PATRIOT Act,  or anything else, we can all pick at least one part of government we'd like to eliminate.

And who gave the government these powers? Not, We, the People. Except for a few principles outlined in the Constitution ("promote domestic tranquility", etc.), almost none of the powers the government has today were implicitly or explicitly authorized by the people. The power of businesses comes directly from the power of the consumer. Don't like the power foreign cars have in America? Buy a Chevy. On the other hand, short of leaving the country, if you don't like the power the government has, there's almost nothing you can (legally) do about it.

However, there is one thing that would work. You can protest. And if Occupy Wall Street, were instead to become "Occupy Capitol Hill", I think they could be very effective. The power of the government has grown out of control and must be reigned in. This is a far bigger problem than the power of companies, which are largely powered by the consumer.

On a final note, I will acknowledge that there are some cases where corporations have been empowered by sources other than the consumer. However, this "other source" in the vast majority of cases turns out to be the government. So it's either the government empowering themselves, or the government empowering Corporate America. Either way, the government is the one who should be deempowered. That's where something needs to be done.

* Of course, I could not legally open up my own gas station due to government restrictions. However, this is irrelevant

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