Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Pensions?

Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates was interviewed on Yahoo's Daily Ticker stating that Occupy Wall Street is a response to “bought and paid for politics”:

After a month in lower Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street is going global. Having already spread to other major cities in the U.S. and Europe, major protests are expected Saturday "around the globe from New Zealand to Alaska via London, Frankfurt, Washington and, of course, New York," Reuters reports.

"Social unrest goes with bought and paid for politics, which is what we have," says Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates. "Everybody is a bold-faced liar - Republicans and Democrats."

The always outspoken Davidowitz joined Henry and me to discuss Occupy Wall Street, which -- even as it grows in size and strength --remains the object of much discussion, confusion and occasional ridicule in the press. (See: Taken to Task: Occupy Wall Streets Nattering Nabobs of Negativity)

On Friday, protestors briefly stormed a Goldman Sachs office in Milan. Meanwhile, the original 'Occupy Wall Street' protestors avoided a potential showdown with the NYPD when the planned cleanup of Zuccotti Park was postponed.

The real cleanup needs to be in and of Washington D.C., Davidowitz says. "If we can only get these guys to do a little bit of honest work, I'm telling you this mess can be cleaned up," he says, suggesting America could once again use a man like Ross Perot -- a third party candidate who focused the nation's attention on the deficit.

Indeed, one goal of the movement I've observed, which has been under-reported to date, is campaign finance reform. "Personally I am here to tell these big corporations to get their money out of my politicians' pockets so my politicians can work for me and for my family and my friends like we elected them to do," as one protestor told me when we first reported from Zuccotti Park last month. (See: Occupy Wall Street: What's It All About?)

No fan of the movement -- which he compares unfavorably to the Tea Party -- Davidowitz believes Occupy Wall Street is a reaction to a corrupt, dysfunctional political system and "a massive unfairness and criminality in everything we're doing."

Personally, I believe the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have, at their core, a lot in common: frustration with our political system and a fear the 'American Dream' is slowly dying.

Henry, meanwhile, believes the problem is more fundamentally about economics, as detailed in a recent post on Business Insider:

"The problem in a nutshell is this," he writes. "Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high."

"In other words, in the never-ending tug-of-war between 'labor' and 'capital,' there has rarely—if ever—been a time when 'capital' was so clearly winning."

Clearly there's no "one" reason why people are coming out in support of 'Occupy Wall Street'. What's significant is they're coming out in greater numbers to support a movement that may indeed be just getting started.

You can listen to the interview below. Davidowitz is a staunch conservative and very much against Obamacare. Even though I don't agree with everything he says, he's always colorful and absolutely right that both Republicans and Democrats are "bought and paid for." People forget that the era of massive financial deregulation happened under President Clinton's watch and then continued under President Bush's terms. I embedded another clip below with CNN's John King and panel members digging deeper into the meaning behind the growing Occupy Wall Street protests. Americans are fed up with the "United States of Wall Street," and they're voicing their concern all over the US, not just in New York City.

But these occupy movements are spreading across the world. Mass unemployment is going to spur them on as people are frustrated with the lack of response to the jobs crisis. Last May, I warned that Greek crisis is going global and this is just the beginning. Zero Hedge reports that Rome is now burning. As the crisis spreads all over the world, there will be more social unrest. Policymakers are not tackling the problems of joblessness and income inequality. Disgruntled citizens will lash out, hopefully peacefully but I fear that these peaceful protests will turn violent as radical anarchists seize the opportunity to wreak havoc (that's what typically happens).

Finally, I wonder how long before pensioners and workers start occupying public and private pension funds. At one point, they will realize that our pensions are failing to deliver on the pension promise, and while some of it is political, a lot has to do with waste, mismanagement, gross incompetence and outright fraud. Unfortunately by the time the masses wake up and realize their pensions have been looted, it will be too late to do anything about it.

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