David Bass of Carolina Journal writes today about the tab being run up by the Occupy Raleigh protesters. Bass reports that the City of Raleigh has spent $40,000 in extra police protection and security thus far.
The article also attempts to describe the mindset of the protesters, as well as some of its supporters and detractors. Among the skeptics of the Occupy movement’s motives and reasoning is your truly:
Conservatives have portrayed the protests as anti-capitalistic and driven by far left-wing forces outside the American mainstream. “The Occupy movement claims to represent the ‘99 percent’ that is allegedly exploited by the ‘1 percent,’ yet these confused protesters rail against free-market capitalism, which is a system based on 1 percent (business owners) serving the needs of 99 percent (consumers) in order to be successful,” said Brian Balfour, director of policy and operations at the Civitas Institute.
In other words, I believe that the protesters have misdirected their understandable frustration. The “1 percent” they demonize refers to the wealthiest one percent who “control” a sizable portion of the nation’s wealth. But as economist George Reisman so capably points out, most of the “wealth” owned by the wealthiest 1 percent consists of means of production. Therefore, that wealth is not selfishly hoarded, but employed to benefit the rest of us through the production of goods and services we desire. These allegedly greedy capitalist increase their wealth by mass producing products that raise the standard of living of the common man.
Clueless politicians like Elaine Marshall and Brad Miller are completely off-base when they say the Occupy protesters are “mad at the right people.”
The protesters should instead focus their angst against the truly powerful 1 percent: the government.
In comparison to the government, the “1 percent” are completely powerless. Business owners will lose their wealth unless they offer goods and services that the rest of us desire. The 99 percent have complete power over the fate of the 1 percent. The exception, of course, is when government gets involved with bailouts, subsidies, protections, etc.
This lesson of power should be crystallized in light of the recent arrest of protesters by armed guards of the state.
Note to protesters:
- Wall Street CEO’s didn’t have the power to arrest you
- Billionaire hedge fund managers didn’t have the power to arrest you
- Exxon Mobil execs didn’t have the power to arrest you
- The Koch brothers or Art Pope didn’t have the power to arrest you
It is the government that has the power to arrest you. It is the political class that truly is the 1 percent with the power to “exploit” and “oppress” you. Without the power of the state, corporations are powerless and completely at the mercy of the “99 percent” for their survival.