Occupy Congress protester supports Obama and calls Ron Paul a racist. A Ron Paul supporter corrects him.
I attended Occupy DC/Occupy Congress to ask protesters who they supported for president. Most people said they supported no one or “we the people.” Some said Ron Paul and one guy said Obama. But this guy was my favorite.
Occupy Denver protests outside Federal Reserve building on 11/12/11. I am not associated with Occupy Denver. To be fair, quite a few people I asked said they didn’t know enough about it to speak on camera and others said they hadn’t formed an opinion yet.
I asked a handful of Occupy Denver protesters how they felt about Ron Paul. Some loved him, some really hated him…
Occupy Denver invades blogger conference hosted by FreedomWorks. Occupy Denver tried to bust in the conference room in a private hotel. I did edit this since the original video was ~20 minutes long but I did my best to be fair. I don’t like the name calling in this video which comes from both sides. I apologize for my shortness…
Originally posted at FreedomWorks.org.
Ever since I was a little kid, I have always been inspired by entrepreneurs who risked nearly everything to pursue their dreams. I usually had an idea for some new business venture up my sleeve as a middle schooler. While my babysitting or dog walking businesses weren’t as successful as I dreamed up in my head, it made me appreciate all the hard work entrepreneurs go through to get a business off the ground.
It wasn’t until later on that I learned about all the state licensing and regulations that hurt entrepreneurs. I probably would have never passionately pursued my business ideas if I knew about the massive loads of government paperwork and rules. My heart goes out to all of the little children who have had their lemonade stands shut down recently by police officers simply because they lack the “proper permits.” These kids, unfortunately, have learned a firsthand lesson about how state crushes the entrepreneurial spirit.
Entrepreneurs should be treated as heroes—not villains. Many of these brave individuals risk their entire life savings to market their ideas. Some will strike out on their own and others will achieve the American dream. The last thing we should want is for the state to punish entrepreneurs who enrich our lives with new products and services. Innovation takes place not because of government regulation, but in spite of it. That’s why I want to get government out of the way to enable entrepreneurs to thrive.
We lost one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time last week. Apple creator Steve Jobs improved the lives of millions of Americans. He was born poor and achieved success through old fashioned hard work and determination. Steve Jobs contributed more to society than any government bureaucrat ever has. It is estimated that he generated as much as $30 billion annually in increased wealth for the U.S. economy. Steve Job’s innovation has made us all a little richer.
Some clues suggest that Steve Jobs may have been skeptical of government. On EconomicPolicyJournal.com, Robert Wenzel writes that Jobs was an original gold bug, stood up to a city council, drove his car without license plates and lobbied against legislation to classify lithium batteries as hazardous materials. It’s difficult to determine if Steve Jobs was a true blue libertarian but I do admire many of his efforts to reduce the scope of government.
Unlike most big corporations that lobby for more government regulations to hurt their competitors, Apple actually fought off the state. According to Robert Wenzel, “Apple also is part of the ‘Win America Campaign’ lobbying group that is calling for tax breaks for corporations who repatriate offshore earnings. Apple also signed up to a campaign against the US government’s ability to inspect customer data on computers without warrant.”
Steve Jobs should prove that rich people are not inherently bad. While the Occupy Wall Street crowd is a mixed bag, many of the protesters are angry at the rich or the “1 percent.” Steve Jobs and many successful entrepreneurs who built a business from the ground up were/are in the top 1 percent of income earners. As the picture below shows, it’s inconsistent for protesters to denounce capitalists while using their iPhones that have enriched their lives. When a few of Steve Job’s business ventures failed along the way, he never asked Washington for a bailout. He was never “too-big-to-fail.”
Occupy Wall Street is right to protest the Wall Street bailouts (where were they in 2008?) but they should be celebrating “filthy-rich” entrepreneurs who never begged for a government handout. As the descendant of immigrants who came to America to escape communism in Eastern Europe, I still believe in the American Dream. We should all recognize that there is something truly special about a place where a poor boy that is born out of wedlock can grow up to be a billionaire through hard work and willpower. I worry that the government is preventing future generations of children from obtaining the same success in their lifetimes.
Decided to make my post into a video:
Blog below originally posted at FreedomWorks.org.
I’ve been closely following the loosely organized Occupy Wall Street protests on social media sites over the past few weeks. Now, I’m all for citizen activism and freedom of assembly, but I’m still unconvinced that most these protesters know what exactly their protesting. They’re angry about the state of the economy and rightfully so. While I sympathize with their frustration towards our weak economy, their anger is largely misdirected. They would be better off to pick up and move their protests down a few blocks to the New York Federal Reserve building.
Many of the Wall Street protesters are holding up anti-capitalism signs that read “capitalism doesn’t work” and “capitalism oppresses love.” These posters are grossly illogical because we have never even had a capitalist system. The United States economy is better described as a mixed economy, an admixture of capitalism, corporatism and socialism. Interviews with protesters on the ground suggest that they do not comprehend the difference between capitalism and corporatism. It’s an odd sight to see a bunch of individuals in Che Guevara shirts (who was a murderer, by the way) with fancy iPads and Mac laptops protesting so-called capitalism.
Capitalism is often regarded as a dirty word for all the wrong reasons. The greatest economic system in the history of the human race has a bad rap mainly due to a fundamental misunderstanding of capitalism itself. The term essentially means economic freedom. Individuals are free to make their own choices on what to own, produce, buy or donate. Milton Friedman was correct in saying that, “underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” All other economic systems are characterized by central planning and control, which rests on state coercion.
Those who equate capitalism with corporatism are making a huge mistake. Corporatism is a system where businesses are allegedly in private hands but are actually controlled by the government. In a corporatist state, the government often grants special privileges and favors to big businesses such as bailouts, tariffs and subsidies. Many top Wall Street executives like to consider themselves “capitalists” as they live off of the taxpayer’s dime. None of these sweetheart deals would exist in a pure free market capitalist system. Businesses would be forced to sink or swim on their own merits. As the famed Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises stated, “what pays under capitalism is satisfying the common man, the customer. The more people you satisfy, the better for you.”
The Occupy Wall Street website—which surely does not represent the views of all the protesters—has released a 13-point list of pro-government demands. OccupyWallSt.org demonstrates their economic illiteracy by demanding free college education for all, one trillion dollars in infrastructure and ecological spending. One little detail is missing: who is going to pay for all of this?
The government is not Santa Claus; every dime that it spends must be first forcibly taken from someone else. The movement calls itself “peaceful” while advocating that Americans surrender more money to the government under the threat of brute force. If you’re uncomfortable stealing from your neighbor, don’t demand that the government to do it for you.
Some real defenders of capitalism are hitting the streets in an attempt to educate the Wall Street protesters. They’ve got their work cut out for them. The OccupyWallSt.org wish list includes raising the minimum wage to $20 per hour and raising tariffs on all imported goods. Anyone who has passed Econ101 should hopefully know that these policies would dramatically increase the price of goods and cause a massive amount of Americans to lose their jobs. Their demands, if implemented, would disproportionally hurt the poor and increase corporatism in America.
Capitalism is not to blame for our economic woes and more government regulation is not the solution. The Federal Reserve is largely to blame for the financial crisis. Without the Fed, Washington couldn’t have bailed out Wall Street. The first ever—but one-time and limited—audit of the Fed back in July revealed that the central bank “loaned” out $16 trillion at a zero percent interest rate to corporations and banks around the world during the height of the financial crisis. Why then has the list of Occupy Wall Street demands completely ignored the Fed? No serious economic movement can overlook the Fed which literally creates unlimited amounts of money out of thin air.
Many of the Wall Street protesters may be well-intentioned but lack basic economic knowledge. Political philosopher Robert Nozick said my thoughts perfectly, “it is strange that many young people in tune with nature and hoping to go with the flow and not force things against their natural bent should be attracted to statist views and socialism, and are antagonistic to equilibrium and invisible hand processes.” The Wall Street protesters would be better off to direct their focus to the correct target: Washington and the Federal Reserve.