Occupy Wall Street – A Few Comments

Photo from Occupy Wall Street taken yesterday 10-2-11

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I like the spirit of Occupy Wall Street. I immediately got an e-mail from a friend of mine who wanted to know if I supported some of the more radical things that were written on protest signs at the rally in New York. All I can do is smile. This is the game that the left/right play in order to distract attention away from the core issues. Yes, I said the right and the left because there are those on the professional left who play the game exactly the same as those on the professional right. (James Carville comes to mind.)

So, in order to increase clarity and decrease confusion, here’s what I like about Occupy Wall Street. First of all, this is an organic movement. This was not started, like the Tea Party, by some fatcats with millions billions of dollars bulging from their pockets who wanted to protect their wallets. Instead, this was simply started by several people who were fed up with Wall Street.

Secondly, one of the major reasons for America’s economic downfall was the shenanigans that went on on Wall Street. This was illegal (and no one has been held accountable). Let me type that again – the actions which led to the 2007 crash were illegal. Illegal activity took place on multiple different levels. The machine was fascinating to watch. You have the loan originators who were encouraged to fraudulently fill out loan applications. Now, this was not one or two seedy characters who simply increased the assets on a couple of loans. This was systemwide fraud. Loan originators weren’t paid for accuracy. They were paid by volume. Next, you have Wall Street. They bought these toxic mortgages, applied some sleight-of-hand and then sold these mortgages to investors. Wall Street told the investors that these were incredibly safe investments. Thirdly, you have the rating agencies. They only got paid if Wall Street used their ratings; therefore, there was an incentive to fudge the ratings. (Fudge is really too kind a word. Perhaps we should use “fraudulently take garbage and stamp a AAA rating on it.”) These guys cranked out billions of dollars worth of these toxic mortgage derivatives. They sold them to everybody, the world, as safe investments. After all, they were home mortgages.

Almost everyone with a couple of dollars to rub together invested in this garbage. Everyone from small-time investors to cities and counties, even countries invested in this stuff. Wall Street has simply crippled the world economy by selling these toxic, malodorous securities.

Finally, the stranglehold that Wall Street has over our politics must be changed. There’s simply too much money in politics. Our politicians are bought and sold just like those toxic securities. The only way to make the system work for us, the American people, and not Wall Street is by removing the money. Somehow, someway, we have to take the money out of politics. These are the reasons that I’m supporting Occupy Wall Street.

0 Responses

  1. Love this, Errington. Thanks! One of the great things about organic and truly democratic (small ‘d’) movements is that they are by nature broad,  including all sorts of people. “Inclusive” means there will be a few outlyers with crazy signs (Ron Paul for pres, for instance!) and spouting crazy stuff at these big demonstrations. I too love their spirit and their core message.

  2. Right as Rain Doc…NOW…figure out HOW to get money OUT of politics and you win the Nobel Prize in perpetuity!

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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