The Trouble With Occupy Wall Street

The worldwide Ocuppy Wall Street movment has protestors, calling themselves the 99%, and have called for the richest 1% to diffuse their wealth and make more moral business decisions.
Now let’s examine Oakland. Just last week, protestors shut down the Port of Oakland by climbing on container trucks and throwing chain link barriers over the entrances to the port as part of a day-long general strike. Occupy Oakland protestors are pushing for a better and more just economic climate, yet they caused hundreds of people to be out of work for a day and delayed shipments for many businesses, both large and small. Some demonstrators went so far as to vandalize a Wells Fargo branch, a Whole Foods market, a Men’s Warehouse store, and the headquarters of the Oakland Police’s internal affairs division. It is no surprise that a Quinnipiac poll last Thursday showed that only 30% of Americans favor the Occupy Wall Street movement.
John Rockefeller and Bill Gates, two of the richest men in history, grew up in average middle class circumstances and had no noteworthy monetary advantages over others in society when they started their businesses.
Both of my parents immigrated to the United States from central Europe not knowing more than five words of English and not possessing more than two-hundred dollars. My mother is now a registered nurse and my father co-owns a construction business.
Last winter, when I decided I wanted to buy a nicer motorcycle than the one I had at the time, I decided to work for it. I bought several older motorcycles in need of repair, refurbished them, and sold them. After many hours and some months, I had enough money for my motorcycle of choice.
In other words, many of the wealthy who make up the richest 1%, or 10%, or even 45% got there by honestly earning it one way or another. We could bring a stronger middle class to America by actively working and innovating, not by disrupting businesses and creating an environment which negatively impacts far more people than an ambiguous “1%”.
Occupy Wall Street protestors are right to be frustrated with realities like the fact 42% of the wealth in the United States is tied up with the richest 1% of the population. This concentration of wealth makes it difficult, though far from impossible, for a middle-class person to break though and create new wealth.
One can also acknowledge a very publicized few, who belong to the 1%, that have gotten rich through bribery. Just look at Bernie Madoff, or former congressman William Jefferson. But as valid as these points are, there is still an active job market in the United States, and the 99% still control the greater share of wealth in this country. Entrepreneurs and hard working people go to work every day and strive to improve themselves financially; vandals occupying cities across America could do the same.


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