Occupy Philly - Ignorant Americans or Americans Against Ignorance and Greed?

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Real Estate Agent with The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia

 Occupy Philly - Ignorant Americans or Americans Against Ignorance and Greed?

I originally had mixed feelings about Occupy Philly and Occupy Wall Street, or to be honest, I was negative about it.  I mean I kept thinking to myself the protesters have it wrong, they should be protesting against Congress and Capitol Hill instead of big banks and corporations!   So as usual, I am bantering on my Facebook and Twitter and have some threads that go 70 plus comments long with some very interesting discussion.   It really gets me thinking - who are these "protesters" and who am I to say what the protesters should be protesting against??  So  inspiration grows to the point where I clear my schedule, and my assistant Mary and I hail a cab down to City Hall to check things out.

 

And the big difference is when you substitute people versus ideas in your own head, your perspective changes a little bit (or a lot).  I must be honest, I was originally thinking on my way down I was going to take a photo or a video of one or two "freaks" to mock the whole thing and dismiss it.  I saw later that is what Erin Burnett of CNN  (Erin Burnett video) did and I think she missed the whole point of this movement (on a side note, I loved Erin when she was on CNBC, but I think her CNN show will not last more than 6 months).   When I was down at City Hall, the energy was palpable, intensity was in folks' eyes, and signs were everywhere expressing individual beliefs.   You could feel the unrest, frustration and anger by listening to the stories of everyone there. 

Various chants of democracy were shouted out from time to time and the unity would come together in full circle.  It did not matter what race, sex, age you were.  People united in Philadelphia and are coming together all over the country sharing the same message of frustration and discontent.  The bottom line is that there is this huge underbelly of Americans who are disgusted with the way the country is being run - their anger may be towards corporations and bailouts or towards the political system.  But for heavens sake, it is America and folks have the right to express themselves.  I hope their message is heard by politicians from coast to coast.  Neither Republicans nor Democrats really know what to do with these rallies as of yet, whether to embrace the "99 percent" or not. 

And not for nothing, I am frustrated too.  I have been mostly frustrated for the last 3 years with the tremendous gridlock in Washington, DC and with the political games that have been played that in essence has hurt our country.  In the last 12 months, there has been severe wealth destruction in the stock market, especially in the last quarter which was the worst performing quarter since 2008 during the financial crisis.   Hard working Americans have seen their largest assets - their 401ks and their houses depreciate.   And Congress refuses to come up with a meaningful plan that will incentivize small businesses and the private sector to hire.  Until the economy starts to grow, there will continue to be this unrest and frustration.  And the biggest issue in my opinion is the fiscal policy coming out of Congress and the Obama Administration and the excessive regulation that is handcuffing corporations to grow.  Those same corporations that people hate now they will love again once they are hiring and providing nice benefit packages.  I guess that is the love/hate relationships of capitalism. 

In the meantime, there needs to be immediate stimulus for the housing market.  I will write about this in a future article.

For now, I want to say thank you to the folks who started the "Occupy" movement.  And I want to say "Thank You" to my Facebook friends for starting a healthy debate.   It is a lot different from being behind a computer and saying things in a quick instant versus talking to people face-to-face and seeing pain, frustration and anger in their eyes.   I remember in 1990 (man I am old) when I graduated from college... it was pretty tough back then, it took me awhile to find a job even with a CPA license.  I think it is much harder now for college graduates today.   And to come out of college with debt and student loans only to struggle finding a well paying job has to suck.  Period!!

If you have not had a chance to march around City Hall or participate in this movement, why not?  Engage.  I was skeptical.  Yes, the message is garbled, scattered.   So what...  Obviously, the country has problems and Congress is a hell of a lot more scattered and they are getting paid a lot of money with lifetime health-care benefits.   Sucks to be them...   Now get the F*Ing job done!

 

What are your thoughts ?

Let's leave off on this classic Green Day song "American Idiot" , all 99 percent of us!


Green Day - American Idiot by Warner-Music
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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Laura Cerrano 10/09/2011 11:38 PM
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Rainmaker
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Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

Christopher and Stephanie - I'm sure that by now, you know that most of these are organized by the group previously known as acorn, and in several cases, unions have bused in people from other cities to participate. As far as gridlock, I wish we had that for the first two years of the Obama administration. We wouldn't have passed the Dodd Franks bill that seems that's going to make small banks fail, and large banks turn into utilities. We also wouldn't have Obamacare and double digit increases in healthcare insurance, or 9 percent unemployment after spending trillions on stimulas that didn't work.

 Now we have at least one part of our system willing to say no. But it's only been this year.

Oct 09, 2011 03:44 AM #1
Rainmaker
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Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

In the 60s, this would be called A HAPPENING.....the SMART ones will go back to their jobs on Tuesday and be able to tell people "they were there".....these are political gatherings and some have turned into criminal activity bordering on the INSANE.

When the likes of Danny Glover, Rosanne Barr and Susan Sarandon are your cheerleaders - you are playing without a helmet!

Oct 09, 2011 03:51 AM #2
Rainmaker
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Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
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The middle class is fed up with what's going on in this country and the Occupy movement is giving voice to the discontent. There is a very simple way to eliminate the gridlock. In two words: term limits.

Oct 09, 2011 03:57 AM #3
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Larry - I agree with you regarding Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank bill.  And I also agree on the failed stimulus package.  And I am certainly not for the "Jobs Act" either.  But this is politics.  And you are correct, the gridlock would have been better to not have allowed Obamacare to come into law.  The gridlock I am referring to was the awful handling of the Debt Ceiling on both sides of the aisle that lead to the wealth destruction in the stock market and ultimately the S&P downgrade.  Certainly our fiscal house is not in order and that leads all the way to the top.  Again, politics, and it sucks.  The Dodd-Frank bill adds to the problem.  I think Barney Frank should just retire as he has proven over and over that he has no business making any policy regarding housing or banking and that bill can destroy small and regional banks and only pass along fees to customers.

Still, the point of the blog is for individuals to express themselves.  It is America.  Let their voices be heard.  The message is scattered, yes.  But the message needs to be heard and it is starting to be heard more and more.   In Philadelphia, I am not too sure how many people are being bused in or are traveling, maybe a few, but not too many.  If the message is growing City to City, they cannot be bused in to every City.  To me, it simply shows people care and they are pissed off.  They should be.  I am pissed off too. 

Oct 09, 2011 04:00 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Mike Carlier
Lakeville, MN
More opinions than you want to hear about.

There are many reasons for people to feel frustrated.  The above comment #1 is testament to one of the underlying issues.  We have become increasingly polarized in our thinking.  I believe that it started in the 60's when our government refused to acknowledge the popular frustration with the handling of the Viet Nam conflict. 

There is a certain small number of people who are always mobilized to take action to demand change.  There is a much larger number who become mobilized when they feel personally threatened by circumstances.  With many people falling off the back end of unemployment compensation and no decent job prospects, it is understandable that their frustration would eventually hit the streets. 

As gridlock prevails, and the economy continues to feel the results, the number of mobilized people will continue to grow, and they may or may not hit the right targets with their protests.  Fact is that they are a symptom of the urgency with which we have to move Washington off its comfortable state of slumber.

Oct 09, 2011 04:02 AM #5
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Wallace - I think individuals can be their own cheerleaders and make their own choices.  For heavens sake, it is the United States of America.  Folks are upset, their is discontent coast to coast and people have the right to have their voices be heard.  God bless them.   Where else or they going to be heard?  Are they just suppose to wait until the Novemember 2012 election?  

Like you, I was also very skeptical with the "Occupy" movement.  My perspective has changed.  I do not agree totally with the message.  But that really does not matter.  I think this allows everyone to rethink what really matters what is most important moving forward.  At the end of the day, it is all about the people and not politics.  If there is a movement in your City, I would recommend checking it out for a day and talking with the people day.  There are a lot of people hurting out there. 

 

Oct 09, 2011 04:07 AM #6
Anonymous
michele

during the 60's and 70's protests were everywhere and 'they' took note! this and much more has to be done ...

Oct 09, 2011 04:14 AM #7
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Lorrie - I totally agree with term limits.  To have lifelong Senators and Congressman is simply not a great idea.  New blood and new ideas is essential for innovative thinking in politics and in the economy.   For the likes of Barney Frank and Harry Reid to be so involved as they are and to be around as long as they are (same with McCain) is just crazy.   

The middle class has a right to be fed up.   With the likes of Obamacare and fiscal policy and the performance of the stock market with 401Ks and retirement accounts and folks homes, the middle class has probably suffered in the last 3 years more so than any other time.  Poverty gap has widened as well in the last 3 years too.  It is not about "taxing the rich".  It is about growing the economy, providing true stimulus where real people can benefit.  Where small businesses can benefit by being able to get funding and lending, where the private sector can expand, thus both can hire as the demand for goods and services slowly starts to increase again.  

Regulation from the Government needs to be stripped away and government needs to be reduced across the board 10 to 15 percent, which is where the real drag on the economy is.  Ultimately I think the "Occupy" message will turn from the Corporations (who are not making record profits when we are close to going into a recession again to the Government whose policies are preventing the economy to grow and who are handcuffing the corporations with all the regulations by providing a climate of severe uncertainty.  Further, a backdrop for the housing market needs to be provided that lets up-to-date homeowners be able to REFI on their mortgages.  That would be pure stimulus for the economy now.

Oct 09, 2011 04:20 AM #8
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Michele - Agreed!

 

Oct 09, 2011 04:21 AM #9
Rainer
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Alan Adamo
Westline Real Estate - Huntington Beach, CA
Your Huntington Beach REALTOR®

Chris and Stephanie, thanks for sharing this insightful piece. I was thinking the same thing initially that the anger should be towards our governments fiscal irresponsiblity and wasteful spending. I am so frightened for our childrens future, it is so unfair. Everything the government touches turns to mold (best I can do). We now have a Occupy OC right here in Huntington Beach. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Oct 09, 2011 06:05 AM #10
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Alan - Thank you.  Seems like we are on the same wavelength.  Agree with you regarding the next generation and the generation behind that.  As far as social security reform, I just do not understand why a simple solution cannot be reached RIGHT NOW where if you are 40 years old and younger (or some age based on statistics) the retirement age is going to be bumped up 2 years.  That in and of itself would probably save the Government massive amounts of money for planning purposes.  Or if you are 50, it will be bumped up 1 year.  What is wrong with that?  Gives people time to plan ahead.  As far as Occupy OC check it out.  It will definitely be a bumpy ride ahead, through the November 2012 election and beyond.

 

Oct 09, 2011 06:36 AM #11
Rainmaker
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
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I give you a lot of credit for touching upon this topic because there are so many opinions out there.  For my own, all I know is that people need to understand the history and really trace back to how we got to this point in the first place.  It's important to trace the problems back to source and yes you would assume it would all be at Washington, but think about this, who "founds" washington, who founds the election parties...banks, wall street, insurance companies...they are the ones really running this contry.  enough! that is not what the princlpes of this contry was built on.  We have lost sight, we need to get it back and fast.

so I say yes, make your voices heard. But be sure you have the facts to back it up.

Oct 09, 2011 11:25 PM #12
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Lenn Harley
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I'd probably be more sympathetic IF the so-called protesters were genuinely protesting against, as you suggest, gridlock in Congress, fiscal policy (or lack thereof) or excessive (and escalating) regulation.

They are not.  They are like thousands of students who elect to join a protest, any protest, to avoid growing up which is really very hard.  Ask a student what they demonstrate against and the answer I got the last time I asked that of a student acquaintance was:

"Anything.  Doesn't matter.  We just join.  Beats going to class."

Demonstrating without a purpose is not a positive force. 

Oct 09, 2011 11:48 PM #13
Rainmaker
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Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

I've been saying for the last 2 years that we would have some kind of a "revolution". Now, if homeowners did this I think the results would be different.

Oct 09, 2011 11:53 PM #14
Rainmaker
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Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
Your Realtor Down the Shore!

I might not agree, but having attended many Viet Nam war protests in Washington and New York, I will defend their right to voice what ever opinion they have, as unfocused as it might be.  

Oct 09, 2011 11:54 PM #15
Anonymous
stephanie

I like what Jackie said. If Homeowners protested, the protest would be received very differently. There should be a HOMEOWNERS ACROSS AMERICA JOIN HANDS IN PROTEST. How fantastic would it be if all across America, all homeowners who have lost a home to short sale or foreclosure, or can't refinance, or owe more on their home than it is worth yet are still working to pay their mortgage, all get together and decide step out of their homes and workplaces and join hands. Just stop working, step out on to the streets, and make a simple silent statement about the sheer numbers of people damaged by the industry. Put a human face on the problem. 

 

 

Oct 10, 2011 01:58 AM #16
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