What do they want?
The protesters have no coherent message and they're really not supposed to have one. That's what a protest is about -- expressing your displeasure with work done by the experts you entrusted. If your mechanic overcharges you and your car still doesn't run, you protest the overcharge but it's not likely you'll tell him how to fix the car. Same for chefs, surgeons, airline pilots and politicians: we don't know how to do your jobs, but we don't like the results your getting. Hence, #OccupyWallStreet -- Take it back, or burn it down.


The Root Of The Problem

It's not capitalism that's bad, its that the capitalist system has been hijacked with bribes and influence. GE now has more people in China than in America and pays almost nothing in taxes. Google and Microsoft pay very little because they shelter their fortunes in Ireland and other tax havens. Exxon/Mobil paid shockingly little federal tax last year, but the Wall Street owned government wants to Tax The Rich instead!

The top 10% of taxpayers in America pay 73% of the income taxes collected. They're already paying almost all of it, and the Feds want more! The bottom 50% of wage earners in America pay zero. You read that right -- the top 10% fund the government while half the people collect checks. On average, the bottom 40% make a profit from the government. It's a just a vote-buying Ponzi scheme, no more, no less. If you tax the top 10% any more they'll do what GE and Google did -- move their money offshore. You can only tax people so far before they go someplace else. America was built on low taxes, freedom from oppressive European law and ingenuity. If we become like Old Europe, we'll just fund the migration of bright minds and big money to Asia, which is fast becoming the new America.

A job is a better answer than a handout, but you can't hire people if you're taxed out of business and regulatory compliance eats up what's left.

The root of the problem is the tax code has been used as a tool of social engineering and has become is too complex to administer. It's easy to fix -- no payroll deductions, close the IRS, go to a national sales tax and duties on imports like we had prior to 1916. No personal income tax, no corporate tax, no capital gains tax. None of it. We'll have a much smaller government that can't afford to go adventuring in foreign countries making enemies to fight later. In short: Tax consumption, not income. If I save my money, it can be invested and grow into a business to employ people and make things. If I spend it, the government should get their 7% to defend the borders and maintain order under the rule of law. The income tax provides about half of the revenues the government collects. Cutting government in half would solve a lot of problems, and the explosion in economic activity will solve most of the others. Double your salary? Would it make a difference?

Tax collection amounts to a bit over 20% of all economic activity in America, compared to 1960 when it was a bit less than 5%.  Did we really need 4x more public works?


The King Kills His Enemies
While you may not agree with Anwar Al-Awlaki's politics, he was born in America and is an American citizen. The US Government had him killed by a remote controlled armed drone, and people cheered. You may not like his politics, but he was an AMERICAN. Changing the names, would anyone feel different if Malcolm X, who also espoused violence, was killed by the government for his views? No charges brought, no trial, just a bullet because he was a Bad Guy who incited people to do Bad Things? When the government starts executing people without trial the rule of law is broken. The King kills his enemies...


Weapons Free!
America is responsible for just under half the world's military spending. We're spend 15 times more than the next nearest military spender, China. China has one aircraft carrier, bought from the Russians. We've got twelve of the things, and they're nothing but missile bait if we got in a conflict with a major power. It's not 1945 anymore -- carriers are sitting ducks covered with expensive airplanes. We've got aircraft carriers, submarines, and a huge standing army that (except for Grenada) hasn't won a war since 1945. We expend fuel, ordinance, and lives only for the politicians to give up and pull out when the public gets bored. It's an excuse to shovel money to the companies that make all the weapons and hardware, nothing more. Eisenhower warned about this, and he was a General officer before he was President, so he knew. Our soldiers can win, but not if they can't tell you who the enemy is or why they're fighting. It's just another bloodsport.

The answer?

Cut the Pentagon's budget 75% and we're still spending twice what China is spending. It's more than enough to defeat the entire world should we need to. It's not enough to police the world and make enemies to fight later, which is our biggest growth industry and our biggest problem worldwide. Do we really need 600+ bases around the world?


Have A Drink On Me
Corn is another exercise in corporate welfare. Big growers like Cargill and ADM buy corn for less than it costs to produce it, thanks to government subsidies, and make Ethanol with the stuff. The energy balance of Ethanol as a fuel is debatable, it's so close to taking as much fuel to make as it's worth that scientists differ on whether it's a winner or a loser. Without the government subsidies to grow corn, though, there's no question. Ethanol is a loser, and a big one, and engineers are unified in the thought that adding corn whisky to gasoline lowers gas mileage and damages rubber and plastic fuel system components. With the exception of Big Farma, everyone loses here.

Why are we paying farmers to grow corn for fuel when food prices are skyrocketing? Shouldn't we let them grow what they want instead, and let the market determine the price? Central planning didn't work in Russia, and it's not working here.

The Wrong Answer
It's not a Left vs. Right issue or a Democrat vs. Republican issue. The established powers on both the left and the right want either co-opt or shut down the protest. The challenge is to rise above party affiliation, which has little value, and come together to find workable solutions that have real value. Conservatives will call you communists, liberals will call you sell-outs, everyone will call you names. Doesn't matter. What does matter is pointing out that the system is horribly broken, that it's been hijacked and the land of the free now spys on its own citizens, arrests them without charge, maces them, poisons them and in the case of some living overseas and espousing unacceptable politics, kills them.

The Right Answer
Close the IRS, shrink government, slash the Pentagon, stop the entitlement pay outs and return to 100% reserve banking. No more leverage, no more bailouts, no more billions sent overseas.

The real issue?

When one mega-corporation buys collateralized debt obligations from another mega-corporation while simultaneously selling put options on them on the open market and insuring them with credit-default swaps bought from a third mega-corporation all the while paying off the ratings agencies to make it all look good, and the deals go south, these companies should GO BROKE, not look to the public to bail them out! 

It's not that trading in securities is a bad thing; it's expecting the general population to insure the outcome of these adventures that's got people up in signs.  Up in arms is next...  The problem here is that Big Crimes go unpunished in much the same way that a man who steals a car is a thief but a man who steals a country is a king -- a big enough crime is no longer a crime but an act of a soverign power.  No difference of course, but it sounds so regal that way.  Question is when did AIG and Goldman-Sachs become nation-states worthy of US Aid? As Iceland has proven, there is little upside to debasing an entire nation to bail out a few high-flying criminals.  The Icelanders are doing just fine, thank you, and they did what was right and let the banks burn.  We didn't and are sinking the whole world in valuless paper.

The kids with signs do have a point: The only thing too big to fail is We The People; the people without a voice who's money is taken to reimburse speculating plutocrats and who's children are taken to fight useless wars to make money for America's largest industry.

The time calls for Diocletian or Marcus Aurelius, but we've got Rick Perry, with his 2.2 GPA and F in college economics and Barry Soetoro with his mysterious past and assumed name.  I think we're in trouble, Toto.

Sinclair Lewis said "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." and I see most of the declared candidates for the 2012 election doing both, god bless them. 

If you can go protest, please do.  Do anything, even if it's small, even if it's ineffective.  Write a letter.  Organize a sit-in. Close your bank account. Do something.  Anything.  Try to make it better and refuse to do business with those who make it worse.  Just don't sit idly by and watch it all burn.  Once we lose America, there's no place else left to go.