No Logic in The Occupy Wall Street Movement

Jeff  Carter
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Posted: Oct 25, 2011 12:01 AM

In cities across the country, small bands of Occupy Wall Street people continue to protest. They aren’t as large as the media would have you think.

For example, I was downtown Saturday night right next to Grant Park in Chicago at a function and didn’t even know they were there, yet they were being arrested.

The problem with the Occupy Wall Street movement is that they tapped into a similar nerve that the Tea Party tapped into. Americans are sick of bank bailouts. But instead of directing their anger at Big Government, the OWS crowd went after the beneficiaries of big guvmint.

The OWS answer is bigger government.

The person at the beginning of this video incorrectly says the Tea Party movement is a Christian conservative movement. Certainly, there are Christians that are supportive of the Tea Party agenda, but the agenda is about smaller government and freedom of choice.

What’s fascinating about the video is how flawed the economic logic of the OWS group is. On taxes, spending, and regulation they just simply don’t make sense.

It’s interesting, the women that inherited 100% of her estate in 2010 because there were 0% estate taxes donated 80%. I think that’s great. It’s her individual choice rather than the government forcing redistribution.

Suppose we had 0% estate taxes. What would happen with the money? Remember, this is all estates, not just the super wealthy. When a middle class person has a 50% tax on their estate, the kids aren’t likely to be overnight Trustifarians. In addition, the middle class doesn’t have the wherewithal or economic motivation to hire estate planners to avoid the tax.

Many people would keep what they inherit. They would raise their standard of living and enjoy it. If they do that, does it hurt you in any way? Does it hurt society?

There also is economic incentive to create wealth to pass on. Taking care of one’s own is instinctive. If I do well, I can create a better life and better opportunities for my family.

I find it odd that the very wealthy are guilted into working at soup kitchens and performing menial public service. We should be teaching them how to create and fund start up businesses. They will do more with that for the poor than they ever will ladling out rations to a bunch of downtrodden people.

Some people might inherit an estate and then donate it just like the lady in the video. Cool. They pick and choose what they want to donate to. It’s a free market. Perhaps someone will be lifted up or a life saved by their donation. It’s awfully hard to put cause and effect on donations, but good things might happen. The point being, the individual is doing the choosing, not big government. They know better how to use and donate their money than a faceless bureaucrat in a government cubicle.

The disparity of wealth in the US is much less than people think. Most of it can be explained by simple statistics. Immigrants that come to the US are less wealthy than existing citizens.

Additionally, the volatility of income in upper brackets is massive. If you made a million bucks last year, it’s rare that you will be guaranteed that same income the next year. Most big earners are sole proprietors that run businesses and play for straight commission. Even professionals that build a practice run the risk of losing their clients if they don’t perform.

Corporate salaries are often the target of anger, but those people are running companies worth billions. They are making decisions that not only affect the lives of their employees and shareholders, but also the lives of their customers and in some cases broader society. You have to pay to get good people to assume that risk. McDonald’s ($MCD) had $534 million in salary expense during the second quarter of this year, but most of it was to employees, not the fat cats at the top.

McDonald’s employs over 1.5 million people. Let’s say we pass a law ending restaurant chains like McDonald’s. Do you think that small businesses would employ that many people? There isn’t a chance they would. Individual small eating places wouldn’t be able to run their operations like Mickey D’s.

McDonald’s is a huge corporation and yet, no one would say they have a monopoly. You can choose to eat where ever you want. You can go through your entire life and never eat at a McDonald’s.

Why can’t the Occupy Wall Street people get their arms around the “free to choose” idea?