There a protest going on that seems to be growing in number and variety — people “spontaneously” protesting Wall Street for the supposed crimes committed by bankers and the financial “elite.” I’m not one for protests or boycotts or any of that malarky, but I’m curious about spontaneous anything, so I figured I’d dig deeper.
It’s not just a bunch of nihilist pot smokers, from what I tell. The New York Transit Workers Union has joined the protest, as have airline pilots from ALPA, one of the pilots unions. We’re also seeing the usual protest anything nihilists and pseudo-anarchists, along with what appears to be regular folks, combined with pro-government trend-setting Michael Moore. People are mad, and they’re not going to take it anymore!
Or are they/we?
What exactly is everyone so mad about? Is it that the banks received a big bailout and squandered all that money, padded the pockets of the CEOs and other management, reduced lending, illegally foreclosed on homes? I’m sure it’s all that and more, depending on one’s viewpoints and angle of interest.
I’m not among the angry masses, because I have nothing to be angry about. Before one can look at the problem from an external prospective, I think one needs to look in the mirror first.
What the banks did, they did because government said it was OK. Government, that democratically elected group of do-gooders that We the People put there on our behalf. Well, You the People, at least: I don’t vote, and I won’t. Don’t blame me for the fact that you gave your sovereignty over to a politician. That’s what they want, power over the individual.
So we had a hundred million or so people who voted to give government power over their money, and a small percentage of those people are angry about it. That’s unfortunate, but it’s what happens when you give the Federal government power over areas it was never meant to have.
And then there’s the rare minority of people who actually deposit money in the bank. Oh waitaminute, might that also be…you? If you deposit money in the bank, the bank uses that money as a reserve towards lending money out. You deposit $100 into your bank account, the bank has to keep $5 or $10 in actual cash, but can lend out $90-$95 to some sucker at 18% interest. Said sucker gets his money, but if you want to withdraw your original $100, you can. So there’s $90 floating around in the economic ether, plus your $100. The bank is legally allowed to multiply real money into funny money. Again, your vote giving up your economic freedom to politicians in Washington has made this not only legal, but something banks have done legally since 1913. Look up the money multiplier effect to understand how $100 you deposit becomes $900 in banking funny money that they make interest profits on — all while your money gets devalued from the multiplying.
At least you’re only at fault for voting for these politicians to grant the banks unlimited power and for depositing your money into those very Wall Street banks so that they can multiply the value of your money away, but that’s it, right?
Nope. You might be one of the lucky millions who also deposits money into a retirement account, such as an IRA or 401K or one of the myriad of other investment accounts. Some of you control how that money is invested, but most just toss it into a pool of other investors’ moneys, letting a big investment banker decide what to do with it for a small percentage off the top.
Why are you doing that? You’ve already given up your sovereign control of your money, you’ve voted to embed pro-conglomerate politicians into office, and then you give up your hard-earned capital for the next 20-50 years to the very people you’re protesting? Really?
The problem isn’t the big banks — they’re just doing what you told the politicians you wanted the banks to be able to do. It’s a democracy, remember? It’s been this way since 1913, and I don’t see any voters saying they wouldn’t support Obama or McCain or Palin or H. Clinton over those politicians’ support of the banks. I doubt that the 2012 Presidential elections will select a candidate who actually wants to get rid of the banks’ powers over money destruction once and for all, even though there is at least one candidate who has been advocating that since the 70s (over 40 years, for those bad at math).
So go on with your protests, with your fears of poverty, with your anger towards the Big Banks with the pretty logos, but don’t cry to me about it. You love your ATM card, your direct deposit, your credit cards, your car loan and home loan and student loan; you’re happy to give up 5% or 10% or even 15% of your annual income to some anonymous guy in a suit on a trading floor in New York in hopes of making a big profit yourself before you retire, right? You’re going to the ballot box and selecting people to represent you, and 999/1000 of those people support the power of the banks to create fake money, to ransack the value of your savings and retirement accounts, and to foreclose on homes when the home-occupier stop paying.
You did this. You’ll keep doing it. Stop complaining.