The Occupy Wall Street protestors finally released a manifesto this week.
According to their own mission statement, the Occupy Wall Street crowd blames the street for everything plaguing the universe: from foreclosures to job losses. Not to mention, unspecified abuses against "non-human animals."
Essentially, their manifesto
is short on specifics and fails to grasp the basic irony of their situation. That irony being the fact that while the protestors play the role of average man on the street — other, real Americans are in those buildings earning salaries to feed themselves and their families.
Those buildings are filled with countless mid-level managers, secretaries, clerks, mail room personnel, receptionists and other private-sector workers who show up everyday, maneuvering through the angry protest tribe to earn a paycheck.
While railing against the Wall Street boogie man may be fun for naïfs who abhor capitalism whilst it suffers and revel when it soars, anyone who has studied the financial crisis knows today's struggles are a complex paradigm that is hardly summed up by picking the target of your choosing.
Was it the policymakers in the 1990s who insisted, accounting fundamentals aside, that everyone should have a home? Was it the financial institutions that in response continued to graduate to riskier financial products to meet that mandate? Or was it those who bought too much too soon before the bubble exploded?
For the record, not everyone was irresponsible. There are many Americans facing job and home losses for no fault of their own. But railing against fat cat capitalists is not going to bring their jobs back anytime soon.
To be clear, there are many issues Wall Street and Americans need to address to ensure the country remains a free-market society. But railing against the entire corporate infrastructure is a "throw the baby out with the bath water" type of solution that will only push the realization of a recovery way back.
These Wall Street protests are an unfortunate distraction to public discussions about how to clear the housing market and bring back capital. Albeit, it's not wrong to hope for a return to an honest, ethical free-market.
But the protestors here want something else. And whatever it is; it's hardly constructive. It's also not reflective of the real average person -- most of whom are sitting inside those buildings a few floors down from the executive suite -- trying to make a living.
Write to Kerri Panchuk