I am the 99%. Except I want to be part of the 1%.
I have a feeling I’m not alone.
There is where the entitlement movement, the Occupiers, and their socialist
mythology ideology aren’t in touch with the reality of the human condition for the majority of people.
We know there are obvious faults with the way our economic system works. Tea Partiers and Occupiers alike agree that bailing out big companies doesn’t help most people in a direct way.
We know the banking systems don’t make much sense, but we also know that government regulation and incentives helped create the housing crisis and the lending crisis (of course the two are crisis are interconnected).
But the latest rallying cry for the OWS group which is really the underlying core belief of the group speaks to the inherent fallacy of their position.
“You’re rich because I’m poor.”
The reverse works just as well.
When it comes to a few corporations, there may be some truth to that.
In general though, the people who believe this have never lived in a small town, never been part of business, and probably haven’t even taken an economics course.
Let’s say I start a restaurant that sells cheeseburgers in a small town. I invest capital in the infrastructure of the business by getting a loan from the bank.
I have to get tables, chairs, grills, pans and myriad other items.
I employ cooks, waitresses and bus boys, paying them a decent wage.
People like my cheeseburgers so my business booms. I open another restaurant on the other side of town. There, I have to invest more money, maybe from another loan or maybe from my own pocket from the profits of my first restaurant.
I pay everyone a decent wage. I am responsible to health and safety standards. I don’t pollute.
My business continues to grow until I have three or four restaurants.
Suddenly, I am the biggest restaurateur in your town and I’m part of the 1%.
Did I make anyone poor? I might have driven another restaurant out of business, but if you want to stay in business you better have a quality product and get a little lucky.
Did I get rich on the backs of the working class? No, because I was the working class. Business people, entrepreneurs work 70, 80 even 100 hour work weeks to get their businesses going.
Every person who goes into the business, does so to make a profit. Not everyone is out to make millions, but you don’t start a business if you have no intention of making money.
I don’t owe it to my waitresses or cooks to pay them more because I run a successful business. On the other hand, if I want quality staff, I have to be willing to pay more than my competitors.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of businesses in this country who start just like this. A guy and his burger recipe.
That’s how McDonald’s started.
Here’s the difference: running a business now is different than it was 20 years ago.
The value of a business owner, a CEO, is more now than at any time in human history. Global competition, accessibility, accountability through digital information, these and innumerable other factors have made it both easier and more difficult to compete in business.
The guy dropping the fries, his value hasn’t changed. His job requirements haven’t changed.
Innovation drives the economy because innovation creates new value in the marketplace. Social media has changed the way marketing works because companies now have to pay an entirely separate person just to handle social media.
Ten years ago that job didn’t exist. Without capitalism, Twitter doesn’t exist, or at least not as soon.
Capitalism drives innovation and vice versa.
But again, your value is dictated by what you put in.
OWS has a point when they talk about wanting to separate the money of big business from politics. Your political voice shouldn’t necessarily be tied to the depth of your pockets.
But blaming the system, blaming capitalism does nothing to solve the problems of poverty.
The economy has slowed because innovation has slowed. The mid-90’s saw huge growth in the American economy, not because of some magic bullet from Clinton, but because of the tech boom. Innovation was blasting off.
If the Occupy folks want to blame any one for this recession, they should be looking at themselves. This generation of young people has to find a way to innovate, to move our economy forward with new ideas, new ways of approaching problems.
A couple weeks ago I joked that blaming businesses for not creating jobs was like blaming Viagra for your erectile dysfunction, but if you’re taking Viagra at least you recognize there is a problem.
These Occupy nutbags see a problem, but it’s the wrong problem. It’s someone else’s fault. It certainly couldn’t be theirs.
By placing this false blame on “business”, this group of entitled losers have shirked the responsibility of recognizing their own contribution to society: nothing, but extra garbage and extra hassle for people trying to get to work.
The people who are part of the 99% but would much rather be part of the 1%.
They’ve just chosen to work for it.