Careful What You Wish For

No discussion about economic inequality would be complete without an uneducated, unemployed outlier’s two cents, would it?

I’m down with the Occupy movement, its message and its method. I’ve stopped by McPherson Square, taken in the sites and smells, chatted with some Occupiers, and had a cool time. The place had a warm, inviting vibe that got me thinking about pitching a tent so that I wouldn’t have to pay rent or attention to personal hygiene ever again. If that’s not utopia, I don’t know what is.

Some people (especially, I’ve noticed, ex-hippies still dizzy with disillusionment hangovers from the ‘70′s) complain that by not codifying their agenda, Occupy is squandering a rare opportunity to become a viable political force. In theory that sounds like it would be a game changer, but in practice it would be just another partisan sect competing for power, a Tea Party it‘s okay to like. So, while the naysayers are technically right, they’re missing the point. Like Einstein said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

But for argument’s sake, let’s say the Occupiers “get it together” and put enough pressure on the government to make them cry uncle, close the loopholes and tax everyone equally. The CEO’s, Super-PAC’d politicians, and other money-hoarding dirtbags will work and live side-by-side with the common people, we’ll all hold hands, skip off into the sunset and live happily ever after in the Golden Age of Aquarius or some hippie bullcrap like that.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! yeah right.

For those just tuning in, it’s not like the 1% get a wage like the rest of us and theirs just magically doesn’t get taxed. Their money comes from investments, interest, tax write-offs from business expenses and donations, etc. Ya know, it takes money to make money.

What happens when all of those revenue streams get taxed at the same rate as your shitty paycheck?

Simple. The 1% will just move all of its money overseas. How could they be stopped? They’ve got the government right in their pocket. So there goes roughly half of America’s wealth.

Meanwhile, this leaves nearly everybody with no means or incentive to invest and no opportunity for economic competition or innovation.  Who knows what havoc that will wreak on the stock market, every publicly traded corporation and the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on them? Who knows how much charity, non-profit, health care and academic funding, how many mortgages, retirement funds and jobs, will go up in smoke?

This could mean total economic collapse.

More people than ever would be left with nothing to lose. It would be probable that the whole country would erupt into one massive riot with no way to undo the damage.

Do I have a solution to offer? Hell, no. And I wouldn’t trust anybody who says that they do. It’s that kind of hubris that makes messes like the one we’re in. I just wish the people in charge would admit that they’re as clueless as me. Then maybe we’d get somewhere.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.