November 22, 2017 - Latest: Pensions – perhaps Nanny really does know best by Steve Herbert
13th April 2011
The LFS measure could stabilise or fall back slightly near term, based on recent slippage in vacancies. The Monster index of online job postings, however, suggests that labour demand is holding up.
Like you I feel this protest is in some way important and am not sure exactly in what way because,as you say, the protesters have no specific demands, at least put forward by a given leader. I think that what is disturbing people is that the government of the US has been given a choice: the people or finance, and has chosen the latter. To be fair, the government probably feels that to save the Republic is its duty, and to do this it has to save finance. But the people were at first aware of this and thought they should wait and see. They have waited and seen things get worse and an anger is now showing, an anger that crosses party lines. Is this a natural progression from “tea parties”, and is there more to come? Maybe it is time for the Obama administration to actually start leading rather than try to cobble together an Obama agreement amongst politicians.
I believe there is not too much difference between the anger felt in Europe and that in the US. I reckon it wont be much longer for a group of politicians to pop up and put a frame to the disquiet. Things like the World Trade Organization may come in for a bit of stick.
I think even you have missed the significance of these people. They are the new disenfranchised underclass, as seen in films of the genre. Films such as Bladerunner, Rollerball, Soylent Green and Brave New World, etc.
These people are not the same as occupy the streets in Greece, whipped up by unions in a last attempt to hold on to power. Neither are they secretive and sometimes violent gang cultures from cities around the world. They are people who have looked at their lives and decided that there must be something better, something more worthwhile, something they can attain that will bring them satisfaction, and not just a ‘hamsters grind’ on the wheel of life.
They know something is wrong but they can’t be sure how to fix things, neither can they access the mechanisms of change. That is why they are unfocused and vague about their demands. For them all they need is some food in their belly, and some good friends for conversation and good times and …. their life will suddenly seem better. Whether they have been disenfranchised against their will, or have deliberately disenfranchised themselves, or just had bad luck, they think this is a better life than that being handed down to them by large, global corporatism and government.
I have no desire to see Wall Street brought down–I do have a 401k. But debt has been socialized while profits continue to be private; the companies that were “too big to fail” are still too big to fail, if not bigger; and money, including especially corporate money has become the sum total of what drives politics in the US. In other words, 90% of Americans can be for or against a proposed policy, but it just doesn’t matter if “money” doesn’t concur.
Having your money in a 401k is about as safe as having some Casino owner in Vegas holding it for you. Ask a few “lambs” who were sheared by Bernie Madoff, or Enron, or Alan Stanford or the next Wall Street grifter to come along–because you can bet your boots there are plenty more coming up.
Since 1981, all of PGE’s employees had participated in a § 401(k) plan, which they expected to provide them with a comfortable retirement. For every dollar they individually contributed to the plan, up to 6% of their income, the company was committed to contributing an equal value in its stock.Then Enron purchased PGE in 1997, at which time all of the PGE stock that the employees had in their accounts automatically converted to Enron stock. They had no say in the matter.
When a company crashes, you don’t get a chance to abandon your stock–at least not the majority of stock holders.One of the PGE employees who testified before a Senate committee investigating Enron had this to say: “Every PGE employee has a story to tell about his or her losses,” Vigil added. “All of them are tragic, and most of them are life changing. All of us regarded the 401K plan as a way of investing our hard-earned wages for future security. And we assumed that, in matching our contributions, our employer was giving us something of value. It all now appears to have been a cruel illusion.”
Ask the people at Bear Stearns what happened to their 401k when Bear Stearns crashed in 2008–it went down with the company.
All true, but I think there is nothing to compel an employee to buy stock in the employer…the PG and E employees should have at least held a diversified mix of mutual funds.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement is different. Until now U.S. protests brought focus to the problem but did not bring the deep change in the system needed. It promises to be a sustained and leaderless effort that is fast growing.Previous protests in the USA have been one-dayor over the weekend and carried out in one or only a few locations. Occupy Wall Street has no leader to assassinate or defame and it will endure. Occupy Wall Street has already restored local communities across the USA by providing a central place where they can gather to discuss solutions and ideas for bringing real, substantial and permanent change that is needed as opposed to false promises of change that flip off the glib tongues of politicians during campaign season and are soon forgotten once they return to Washington. At many of the Occupy Wall Street sites there is a tent with literature and books concerning politics and how to bring change to communities. In many ways the Occupy Wall Street group is following the way of the populists from another era who were also very enthusiastic in regard to educating the people about political issues.
Why do you conflate anarchy, a political movement which stresses the lack of formal ruling mechanisms, with dictatorship? Dictatorships arise from differing political streams – Hitler from democracy and Stalin from an already repressive regime
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