The Occupy Wall Street folks tell us to blame Wall Street for the nation's financial troubles. Notice the no-fly zone over President Barack Obama. Where are the anti-President Barack Obama signs or the verbal chants denouncing the President? Imagine the protests/sit-ins/rallies/mass marches on Pennsylvania Avenue — not Wall Street — if after two years of Republican White House leadership, America remained stuck on over 9 percent unemployment!
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Barack Obama say they sympathize with the protestors. Of course, they do. After over two years of reckless spending, the inflationary printing of money, massive "stimulus" that failed to "save or create" 3.5 million jobs, green technology "investments" in soon-to-be-bankrupt companies whose investors donated to and raised money for the President's election and unpopular bailouts, the dismal results are in.
What to do?
Find a scapegoat — provided it isn't Freddie, Fannie or the Community Reinvestment Act, the real culprits behind the housing meltdown. No, Wall Street will do nicely. Just keep Obama's name off the list of grievances:
"Greedy" investment bankers? Obama's second chief of staff, William Daley, previously worked as Midwest chairman for JPMorgan Chase. Obama's first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, worked as an investment banker and pulled down $18 million in two-and-a-half years.
Bailouts? President Bush bailed out financial institutions, and Obama raised the ante, bailing out more companies, including GM and Chrysler.
Federal reserve? Obama reappointed Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.
Most Americans aren't buying the blame Wall Street nonsense.
One in three likely voters, according to The Hill, blame Wall Street, while 56 percent blame Washington. A USA Today/Gallup poll of all Americans found that 30 percent blame big financial institutions, with 64 percent pointing the finger at Washington. Thirty percent is still a frighteningly big number for such irresponsible scapegoating.
Yoko Ono, John Lennon's $500-million-net-worth widow, offered her support: "I love 'Occupy Wall Street'! John is sending his smile to 'Occupy Wall Street.' I am sending my love to 'Occupy Wall Street.' We are all working together. You are letting the world know that American activists are doing this. That gives them inspiration and encouragement. That is very important now for the United States and the world. As John said: 'One hero cannot do it. Each one of us have to be heroes.' And you are. Thank you. ..."
Given Ono's support for those opposing excessive greed, how does she explain away the $500 million? According to the reaction to my Facebook post on the question, not very well:
"I am betting she doesn't keep all her money in a mattress! You think she would pull all her money out of the banks or out of Wall Street? Not likely."
"Let's not forget that her late husband wrote the Marxist anthem 'Imagine' while living in a Park Avenue penthouse. 'Imagine no possessions ...'"
"She is a rich lib ... she did not earn the money she has. Thus she does not understand like most liberals what they r complaining about. Someone should ask her ... 'Hey Yoko! Thank you for working hard to keep d memory of John going. ... But d money u have now ... is it easy to keep, do u have bills to pay. ... who made your clothing ... how about d limo? Private home, vacation home ... do u shop at Walmart with d regular folks ... or at Target? U going back to ur castle in New York? How much will u give to d US Treasury?'"
"Here's a line John forgot to put in his song, 'Imagine there's no liberals. It's easy if you try.'"
"Yoko Ono!! She's still around???? Is she taking some of those nuts back to her house for shelter? Oh wait. ... They expect only US to walk the walk while they just talk and talk and talk ... and go back to their alternative universe they live in. ..."
"If she never sings again, that's gift enough for me."
"But she worked hard for her money ... oh ... never mind."
As for erasing the "wealth disparity," the protestors have their work cut out for them. A 2006 study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research looked at wealth distribution worldwide. Defining "wealth" very broadly as the sum of all assets — not just financial assets — minus debts, the study concluded that the top 10 percent of the world's adults control about 85 percent of world's household wealth. The top 10 percent of Americans own 69.8 percent of their country's wealth. In Switzerland, the top 10 percent own 71.3 percent, and in France it's 61 percent.
Meanwhile, on the West coast, an "Occupy L.A." protestor who identified herself as a Los Angeles Unified School District employee knows exactly whom to blame: "I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve — which is not run by the federal government — they need to be run out of this country."
Hey, at least she didn't blame Yoko.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2011 LAURENCE A. ELDER
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- Ben Bernanke
- Wall Street
- President Barack Obama