Bailouts for Me, but Not for Thee

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators advocate policies that helped create the mess they’re protesting.

About one week before the Occupy Wall Street protests really started taking off nationwide, longtime consumer crusader and third-party perennial Ralph Nader enthused to reporter (and reason contributor) Michael Tracey that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and the movement he spearheads represent a “foundational convergence” with the progressive left. “Libertarians like Ron Paul are on our side on civil liberties,” Nader told Tracey. “They’re on our side against the military-industrial complex. They’re on our side against Wall Street. They’re on our side for investor rights.…It’s not just itty-bitty stuff.”

A couple of days later, Ron Paul offered Tracey some qualified solidarity with the protesters in Lower Manhattan: “If they were demonstrating peacefully, and making a point, and arguing our case, and drawing attention to the Fed, I would say, ‘Good!’ ” It seemed like the sporadic dream of a progressive-libertarian alliance was cycling back into the realm of possibility. Then protesters released their first official “Declaration.”

“Corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth,” the preamble read, “and…no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.” Then came a Declaration of Independence–style list of grievances, one that replaced the he of the original (referring to King George) with a they, referring not to government officials but to the corporations for whom those officials allegedly work. 

“They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization,” the declaration stated in a list of 23 bullet points that mostly could have been cut and pasted from the Nader 2000 campaign or the anti-globalization protests of the late 1990s. “They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.…They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.” 

The student loan complaint is worth pausing to consider, because it has taken a surprisingly central role in the Occupy brand of protests (which as of October 7 had spread to St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, and dozens of other cities). In a Tumblr page called “We Are the 99 Percent,” displaying handwritten testimonials from demonstrators who have cleverly cast themselves as Main Street victims of a rampaging Wall Street, many posters listed as their chief grievance the fact that they are obliged to pay back loans they took out for college.

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“We are blessed with 2 full time jobs but still pay on student loans 16 years after graduating,” wrote one. “We live paycheck to paycheck and are one car repair away from missing our mortgage payment.” Another said he wanted to become a science teacher, “but I’m shrouded in inflated student debts I didn’t foresee.” There was a 41-year-old MBA with $80,000 in student debt, a second-year college student who has racked up $20,000 in debt so far, the over-educated couple who probably won’t be buying a house or having kids because of student loans, the public school teacher who lamented that “my kids owe a quarter of a million $ in student loans.” As a fellow 99 percenter summed it up, “I did everything i was supposed to do: went to college, got good grades, participated in sports and clubs, graduated on time. 3 years later i have nothing to show for it.”

To the extent that people were merely describing the grisly details of living through what has been the first- or second-lousiest economy since the Great Depression, most of us can empathize (even those of us who made the conscious decision to never incur student debt or buy a house). There is a growing body of economic literature suggesting that higher education is experiencing a price bubble at a time when the job market for graduates is more difficult than usual—though still exponentially better than that for nongraduates. But when unhappiness over the disappointing results of freely made choices spills into policy recommendations, the putative libertarian-progressive alliance breaks down—and the logic of the Occupy Wall Street movement eats its own tail.

The biggest point of commonality between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party is opposition to the federal government’s 2008 bailout of the financial industry. “They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity,” the Declaration complains. “They socialized their own losses on our taxpayer dollars and on our currency and dumped that onto us,” one Occupy Boston protester told video journalist Garrett Quinn. But at the same time, activists are demanding free college educations, holding up “Debt Is Slavery” signs, and asking the rest of us to socialize their losses in the higher education market. All to the applause of a left-of-center commentariat desperate for a Tea Party of its own. 

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman suggested that “debt relief for working Americans become a central plank of the protests” because “such relief, in addition to serving economic justice, could do a lot to help the economy recover.” Salon’s Alex Pareene went further: “My immodest proposal is simply this: Individuals and households in the bottom 99 percent who owe debt to any large financial institution that received federal government support during and after the 2008 crisis should see their debt forgiven.…Let’s wipe the debt of the 99 percent off the books, tell the financial sector to eat it, and get on with our lives.” Wiping out banks’ consumer loan portfolios—including those of banks that did not want but were forced to accept bailout money—would have one guaranteed result: Banks would stop lending money to consumers, which no doubt would trigger a new cycle of activist agitation for more lending to lower-income citizens.

Unintended, consumer-unfriendly consequences are the norm whenever anti–Wall Street sentiment is translated into public policy. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, for example, required banks to reduce the debit card swipe fees they charge retailers from an average of 44 cents to 24 cents per swipe. The totally predictable result: Bank of America in September announced that it would begin charging its customers $5 a month for the privilege of using a debit card. This came one year after another crackdown on consumer banks encouraged Bank of America and others to eliminate most of their free checking accounts.

This issue of reason is a testament to the unintended consequences that result from economic magical thinking. As John McClaughry explains in “The Affordable Housing Scam” (page 60), the housing bubble that precipitated the financial collapse and economic downturn was inflated both by the moral hazard of government guarantees and by the concerted government/activist push to expand home ownership into lower-income segments of the population. “It was a mistake to subsidize new home buyers,” Nobel laureate and experimental economist Vernon Smith explains in a Q&A that begins on page 44. And in “Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?” (page 10), columnist Jacob Sullum explains that the “trust fund” supposedly covering the program’s obligations never actually existed.

As of this writing, the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to have legs. I am generally happy to see public displays of disaffection with a governing elite that has inflicted so much bad economic policy on the rest of us, even more so when the protesters lean toward the political party that currently occupies the White House. (Many Tea Partiers I’ve talked to express personal regret that they didn’t get their start opposing George W. Bush.) But I will reserve my enthusiasm until the moment that protesters stop bashing capitalism and start confronting the incoherence of opposing bailouts for everybody but themselves.  

Matt Welch is editor in chief of reason and co-author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America (PublicAffairs).

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Thank you for writing something intelligent and thoughtful, I followed a link to this article having never read your publication; I now intend to subscribe. Well Done.

  • 2 wrongs don't make a right||

    But the 1st wrong (bailout) is pretty much fine with the KOCH crowd, even if they put on their libertarian masquerade and talk against it.

    The 2nd wrong, definitely not! Hell no!

    This is the Modus operandi of the rich who use the US government for their middle management:

    Government for me, but not for thee.

  • romulus augustus||

    Haven't the large banks largely paid back the bail-out, with 5% dividend to boot? So which entities got loan forgiveness under TARP?

  • Fox News Parrot shits again||

    No, The Big Banks Have Not "Paid Back" Government Bailouts and Subsidies
    www.zerohedge.com/article/no-b.....-subsidies

  • ||

    Doesn't get talked about on OWS does it? Do the Art History majors intend to pay back their bailouts within 3 years?

    They also don't talk about the banks that were forced to take bailout money even if they didn't want it - opening the door to all kinds of unwelcome federal interference in their business.

  • Big Banks haven't paid back||

  • crusher||

    Bailouts for Me, but Not for Thee

  • ||

    I'm not sure who the "Koch crowd" is but I don't know any libertarians that were ever for any bailout. Are you saying Koch's are faux libertarians? They do seem to be libertarian lite but I would find it difficult to say they aren't libertarian.

    Can you cite any case where a libertarian did so?

  • Libertarian and Catholic ||

    Libertarian and Catholic faiths are alike.

    They're a wonderful tool for the rich to get the ignorant to believe.

    The priestcraft get paid dispensing blessings and catechisms, and the rich get to fleece the poor.

  • ||

    Sweetly ironic for a statist to be accusing others of faithholding;)

    Considering the abundantly clear correlation between size of government and income disparity and unemployment. Yet we are to believe that we apparently just haven't tried government large enough:) Keynes or Marx or Freidman or Jesus all ask us to have faith in nonsense. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, or you can add up a lot of debt and have prosperity because something magical happens.

    The reality is extremely simple. If you leave people alone they will be left alone. If you aren't willing to do that I know what you are. You have no interest in changing the system. You like the system. You just want to run it.

    The problem for the left as currently comprised these days is they whine about theft and slavery. Yet they have absolutely no interest in ending theft and slavery. They just want the roles changed.

    For those of us who wish to be neither slave nor master, thief nor victim, your incessant whining about 'social justice' hardly is compelling.

    He's the truth for all you ignorant losers. (and I say ignorant and loser in all sincerity)

    We live in the same rigged system you do, yet we take responsibility for our reality and ourselves and still try to change the system. What we don't do is make self serving claims against the labor of others in the name of 'justice'

    I want a better world. I want a more free world. But I don't want to change masters for new, more stupid, and more selfish masters. At least the old masters left us some amount of freedom so we could be harvested.

    All I hear from the left these days is pure avarice.

    You make the current masters look positively noble by comparison. That took some work. Grats.

  • tapir||

    +1,000,000

  • ||

    Spot on. This guy is a loser. He has a loser "it's not my fault" attitude that Barry holds (not a surprise). And he will be a loser no matter what type of government is in power. Somewhere in his miserable life, he discovered that it was much easier to blame someone else for his failures than to keep trying. Great road to travel down, dude. Classic.

  • ||

    Right, ignorant people thinking self-reliance is of any value.

    Anyone who is intellectual will tell you that the government must be involved in every daily choice of every citizens for the rest of their lives.

    Only through government control of all citizenry can we have freedom, right?

    Or is there some other idea why libertarian ideas are stupid and a large controlling government making your choices for you is good?

    But at least a large powerful government can't be corrupt... for some reason. sure corporations buy votes now, but once we make the government more powerful and that bribery more desirable it'll stop because... um... why is that again?

    I get the libertarian "take away the power from the government and the bribery will slow as it won't be worthwhile" but why is the opposite view the right one?

    Why does power not corrupt at all once you get enough of it? I don't recall that corollary to "power corrupts"?

  • ||

    If you listen to people whose opinions are handed to them at lefty echo chambers, there is no principled opposition to anything they propose. Libertarians are a figment of the Koch brothers' imagination, and the Tea Party is an astroturf organization.

  • ||

    Right, because we need the government making minute choices in everyone's live; nobody thinks that the government is too powerful and everyone know that the corruption of money will stop if we just give the government more power.

    Power corrupts, and absolute power ends corruption... or something like that.

    Once you give the government more power, making the bribery and corruption more valuable; it'll stop because corporations don't use their money to buy things of value... or something.

    Care to try to explain why a larger more power government will result in less corruption again?

    But I mus be fake; the plan of spending ever greater amounts of money is the only principled plan. The plan of giving the government ever greater power over your everyday choices is the only principled plan, the goal of restricting choices of citizens and removing their freedom is the only principled plan.

    Do you have any plans that are "rational" instead of "principled" or is that too much to ask for?

    Why don't liberals ever have a rational, reasonable, or even possibly functional plan?

    But I'll grant you, the whole "imagination" thing is all yours; I just wish you didn't have to use it to find a path where your plans might have a beneficial outcome.

  • Mike M.||

    White Indian smoke'um too much peace pipe.

  • ||

    Peyote is a hell of a drug.

  • ||

    Shut the fuck up White Indian.

  • For crying out loud 2 wrongs||

    Oh stop with the false innuendo about the Koch Suckers -- there has never been support on this comment board for bailouts despite the fact that Kochs pay for it. You, with never an ill word about your bailout-sucking patron $oros, nevertheless spread your swill freely here.

  • Bonnie||

    I went to a college that cost $40,000 a year. I graduated without a penny in debt. I never took out a loan. And Mom & Dad did not pay for my education. A year later I enrolled in a MBA program which I am also paying for, out of pocket, no loans. IT IS POSSIBLE! Through hard work, good fiscal policy, and understanding how and where to spend your money, there is no reason you ought to be in debt. And education is NOT a human right, it is a privilege, and it is what you make of it. There are more avenues than traditional colleges and universities, but you need to explore your options. And take responsibility for your actions.
    "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  • Suki||

    You are the 1% that they don't hate, they just think you are a sucker.

  • Mostly say hurrah for our side||

  • ||

    Bullshit, they hate her hardworking guts. All motivated and responsible - yuck.

  • Zeb||

    Nah. You are giving these people too much credit. If they were actually thoughtful and consistent enough to see their own contradictions, they might be forced to think this way, but if you ask any of them, I am sure that they will say that hard work and motivation and responsibility are great. But thye will also say that people shouldn't bear the consequences of their poor choices (though not in those words). The mistake is in believing that these people have any sort of self-consistency or a well reasoned interpretation of the world.

  • ||

    And Suki, the sad thing is he will have been a sucker if they get their way and have universal loan forgiveness. What do you think the odds are of him getting a 'responsible borrower' rebate;)

  • ||

    What?! You mean to tell me you didn't go to college for a humanities degree to land a six figure job??

  • mad libertarian guy||

    This is a big misconception around here. One can absolutely go get a humanties degree and step in to a very good white collar job making oodles of cash. It's just not going to be a job in the humanities.

    Plenty of English and history and philosophy et al majors go in to business or law. They haven't been deluded in to thinking that they can get a job working for a nonprofit organizing fund raising events for Team BLUE beneficiaries or The Poor™, or work for the government doing the noble work of being a bureaucrat regulating business, keeping those eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil capitalists in line.

  • White Chick with Dreadlocks||

    Puh-Leeze

    I wrote my thesis on the mytho-poetical transmogrifaction of the toothed vagina in post-medieval literature to great acclaim from my professors and even though I play 3 shows a week with my lesbian disco-punk band I'm still having trouble making ends meet.

    If I were a white male I wouldn't be having these problems.

  • Yale U Admissions Dept||

    We have an opening in our Suffering Gender Dislodged Identity Humanities Programme. Starts at $92,000 salary.

  • Harvard Law Admissions Dept||

    You would be a perfect candidate for our Modern Gender Studies in New World Order Legal Systems -- easy to qualify for fat government-sponsored tuition loan. Guaranteed Federal Government post-grad employment.

  • ||

    Just about every humanities major I've met thinks that corporate America is going to be knocking down doors to hire them on.

  • Frat Boy||

    Doesn't work cut into your beer pong time?

  • Suki||


    The biggest point of commonality between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party is opposition to the federal government’s 2008 bailout of the financial industry.

    That is not even a point of commonality. The OWS crowd wants more handouts and the TP wants to end handouts.

    Seriously, trying to pander to these deadbeats on any level is a waste of time.

  • ...||

    Yeah. About the only thing these sheep consistently agree on (while maintaining the hippie-like dogma that they're all doing their own thing--no bosses!) is that, Dude, I don't think I should have to pay back my loan.

    I heard a generally supportive (through her utterly inane questioning--it's support through moral default) interviewer ask one of the deadbeats how he "supports" himself. The deadbeat replied, "I don't know what you mean by that." Interviewer: "How do you eat?" Deadbeat: "Oh, we have lots of people coming in and giving us food and stuff." Interviewer: "So you're living the life of a panhandler? A parasite?"*

    *I made up that last question.

  • wareagle||

    that is THE question an interviewer ought to ask, but won't because OWS fits some preconceived narrative that even the media is tied up in knots trying to explain. Nowhere in its bleating does this mob say a word about the individual.

    Life is what you make it. It's not fair and sometimes it sucks. There are challenges but great satisfaction is achieved from overcoming obstacles. I may have lost a friendship or two over OWS; so be it.

  • JMW||

    Life is what you make it. It's not fair and sometimes it sucks. There are challenges but great satisfaction is achieved from overcoming obstacles.

    +1,000,000 and several internets.

  • Apatheist||

    Except the hands off my medicare/defense/SS/WOD/etc. types. You can keep ignoring them but they are a significant part of the TP.

  • ||

    They just didnt' want medicare cut to pay for Obamacare. That is hardly a hypocritical point to make. The "hands off my medicare" is a half truth. People say it to imply they didn't want medicare touched in order to cut spending. Not true. They didn't want it cut to support Obamacare.

  • Apatheist||

    So they support ending the wholesale theft of younger/not born yet generations to fund their retirements?

  • ||

    I don't know. they have never been asked that question. When have they ever been given a choice where they have to take a cut but that is part of an overall rolling back of government?

    Never as far as I know. I don't blame them one bit for saying no to cutting their piece when all you are going to do with it is spend it on someone else. But that is the tact the liberals use. And that is bullshit.

  • Apatheist||

    I do blame them for it just like I blame liberals.

    Also here ya go:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....20095.html

    The they have never been asked that question is a bunch of bullshit. It has been asked repeatedly for several years now and the answer has always been a lack of support for cutting those programs, particularly among the older ones. I'm not saying that they are any worse than the general public but they certainly aren't supporters of limited government.

    I hope they prove me wrong but until I see some actual changes in policy or a removal of tea party support for Republicans if they refuse to cut spending significantly I'm not buying what they're selling.

  • ||

    To say that they have ever been given that opporunity is to say that there has been a President or a Congress in the last 40 years that was actually serious about cutting that size of government. There hasn't been and you know it.

    Since they knew like everyone else the money would never go to make the country more solvent, why the hell should they support it?

  • Apatheist||

    I understand why I just don't see why I should think of them any differently then the guy grabbing his welfare check or swipin his EBT.

    There hasn't been a President or Congress and if they keep voting in the same people there won't be.

  • wareagle||

    Ap,
    so you agree with the contention that SS and Medicare are essentially Ponzi schemes? Regardless, you make a lousy point; most folks just want back what they put into these failing systems. That many people will get far more back than they ever paid in is testament to the ineffectiveness with which govt runs just about everything.

  • Apatheist||

    They are ponzi schemes and they aren't getting THEIR money back. That money was spend years ago. It is no different than any other kind of welfare except that it is more like corporate welfare in the sense it is a transfer of wealth from the relatively poor to the relatively rich.

  • Zeb||

    "most folks just want back what they put into these failing systems"

    Their mistake is believing the bullshit that their money is in there somewhere. SS and Medicare deductions are just taxes. I have no more expectation that I will get back what I paid into those than what I paid into regular income taxes.
    Basically the "don't touch my medicare" folk are saying "keep taxing younger people to pay for my shit. Why? Because fuck them, that's why!".

  • wareagle||

    zeb,
    there's no "mistake"; folks get how the system works. They remember Al Gore's lockbox buffoonery was exactly that, but they did not contribute to either system. Money was taken from them with a promise of future benefit, a benefit that many factored into their retirement.

    If you make these programs go away from newbies to the work force, that's one thing; but telling folks to go fuck themselves for believing what they were told blames the victim. Yes, many are more the greediest generation than the greatest, but they also vote and politicians know it. It's why any mention of even slight reform results in ads with granny going over the cliff.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Making noobs keep paying to keep the scheme going blames the current victims.

  • Hidden Bek||

    And since the very name of Medicare seems to designed to sound like "medical care" is it not possible that someone mistakenly said "medicare" but meant medical care? I didn't see more than one incident of signs/shouting about Medicare. But I could have missed the other ones.

  • ||

    There are a lot of the defense types, true.

    As far as Medicare and Social Security goes, Tea Party supporters are extremely significantly more likely to favor cuts than non Tea Party supporters of all types. However, since the programs have such tremendous support in polling, there's still a significant percentage of people who don't want cuts.

  • ||

    (Yes, this is a re-post. I'd like to get the word out. If you agree, feel free to copy/paste, modify ect.. this throughout the threads for the next few days.)

    Regarding White Indian.

    We are libertarians and for the most part believe people can solve problems by themselves with minimal authority/rules. We constantly claim that people will band together to act in their own best interests. Here is an idea...let's prove it.

    Instead of pushing for moderators or registration... let's treat this WI situation as a libertarian experiment. Let's stand by our libertarian ideals and solve the problem on our own. Let's ALL agree to NOT interact with WI at all. Would you post all day, every day if no one would respond to you? I doubt it.

    Let's all agree to NOT FEED THE TROLL!

    Problem solved...in a libertarian manner.

  • sevo||

    "Let's all agree to NOT FEED THE TROLL!"
    THIS!

  • ||

    I got a better idea. Since most libertarians respect a private institution's rights to associate with whom they wish, I propose we petition them to block this individual from posting.

    It's not as if it's your run of the mill troll, after all. All this character does is spam off-topic dialogues without contributing to the conversation in any meaningful way. Reading the dialogue was one of the main things that drew me to this website, so I'm sure there must be others. If Reason wishes to continue spreading the message, it would be in their best interest to prevent these asinine clowns from ruining the experience for newcomers. There is nothing non-libertarian about disallowing the use of their commenting service for those that abuse it, and WI clearly has.

  • ||

    Didn't they ban lonewacko? Lonewacko was just a right wing and less annoying version of this. He spanned every thread with rants about immigration.

  • ||

    We have never been told the truth about LoneWacko. I personally think that he just ran off after Warty accused him of being a child molester. Which probably means Warty was on to something.

  • tarran||

    That was what was in the comments they deleted?!?

    Damn me for being so busy and missing that thread!

  • ||

    Yup. Warty asked him if he was child molester, LW demanded to be told Warty's IP address for the purposes of litigation and then LW disappeared. Im sure there was plenty going on behind the scenes, but Warty doesn't know and they are talking (and LW would just lie if you asked him.)

    My pet theory is that the editors laughed in LW's face and he left in a huff because he's so concerned about his "reputation". Racist troll douchebag is fine, but kiddie-diddler is beyond the pale.

  • anon||

    I heard White Indian is a child molester.

  • tarran||

    In my experience, people who go apeshit when asked in a teasing, non-serious way about being child molesters are either victims or perpetrators (or all too often both).

    Given lonewacko's anger and monomania, I would be very unsurprised if he were a victim.

  • Suki||

    Some jerk yelling at me had been banned in the past for something LW related. From what I remember, he was demanding I be banned, LOL.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    It's good that Warty could finally stand up to his abuser.

  • ||

    Spotting Lonewacko posts were kind of fun to look for to get in the first obligatory, "Shut the fuck up Lonewacko." I think I only ever got in one.

  • ||

    I don't remember. I've only been coming here for ~2 years.

    Mark my words, reason. These clowns are going to start costing you money.

  • Anomalous||

    Hear, hear!

  • Closed Minds, Closed Market||

    ...in a libertarian manner. Cuz Franco say so.

  • GILMORE||

    Let's stand by our libertarian ideals and solve the problem on our own. Let's ALL agree...

    You lost me at "lets all..."

    (I personally think the proper libertarian response is to independently and without any suggestion from anyone else write a code which tracks down and infects White Indian's computer with Smallpox)...

    or, anytime the person tries to type anything on their computer, all they get is an endless loop of the indian from Dead Man, saying, "Stupid Fucking White Man..."

  • Dylan||

    “I did everything i was supposed to do...[and] i have nothing to show for it."

    If you just wanted to do what you were told, you should have got a job straight out of high school. They would have even paid you too.

  • ||

    General question: Did anyone you know participate in Move Your Money Day?

    I wonder if the real, concrete thing you could do to show your displeasure at banks gained any traction with the ListlesslyOccupy crowds. Or if they have enough money for it to even matter in the first place.

  • ||

    I didn't even know there was a Move Your Money Day.

    Where was it supposed to move? Switzerland?

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    I think you were supposed to move your money to credit unions.

    The funny thing about credit unions is: they keep their costs low by subsidizing their operations through participation in massive wholesale credit unions - that were bailed out in 2010.

    So this whole "credit unions are holy and good, not like those evil bailed out banks who socialized their losses" thing is a whole lotta crap.

    The credit unions stole from the taxpayer too.

  • ||

    They like credit unions because they are "member owned." It fits the narrative, regardless of the growth of credit unions.

  • Suki||

    That is funny, since any business can be owned by any of its customers or employees if it has public traded stock.

  • ||

    Yeah, but stock ownership is a lot less fun than camping out and banging hippie chicks protesting.

  • Slap the Enlightened! ||

    I had my money in a credit union - until it converted to a bank so it could offer more services.

  • ...||

    Where was it supposed to move?

    I believe it was to no-interest entities.
    Mattresses. That sort of thing.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Not all that easy to move a 401(k) or IRA.

  • ||

    Gold, Silver, ammo, beans.

  • ||

    Shelf-stable anti-biotics and tampons.

  • ||

    I'll put my money on CoyoteBlue. If (s)he's got the ammo, your shelf-stable anti-biotics and tampons will soon enough belong to CoyoteBlue.

  • ||

    Not instead of, in addition to. Tampons have many practical uses, from bullet wounds to Molotov Cocktails. And they are a bonus for any post-apocalypse ladies you might run into, presuming they can stand being around the results of your all-bean diet.

  • Paul||

    I should have read downthread.

  • ||

    To anyone who's thought that far into it all I can say is, my apologies. Oh, and please don't hurt me.

  • Paul||

    What're the tampons for?

  • On the rag||

    People who spend all day bitching about Wall Street.

  • sevo||

    SF,
    There was a supposed 'movement' just prior to Obama's taking office wherein folks weren't going to spend money until Obama was in office, resulting in an econ spike. Couldn't be found in the data afterwards.
    And there was the 'boycott Whole Foods' after Mackey said phooey on Obamacare; their year-on-year sales were slightly up.
    So I have this suspicion that come the end of the fiscal year, neither BA nor Citi nor Wells will see anything at all.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Those posers are about 3 years behind. I moved my money to a credit union after TARP passed, giving up a checking account I'd had going back to the mid-90s when it was with Norwest, before WF bought them out. I only keep my WF credit card so I don't nuke my credit rating by closing the account, and I only use it about once every couple of months. I pay off the balance on my cards every month so I don't pay interest--learned too many hard lessons when I was younger about carrying a balance.

    The credit union gives me a better credit card rate and better loan rates, and I have no regrets about moving.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    General question: Did anyone you know participate in Move Your Money Day?

    Yes. Oddly enough, the friend who did is Jewish, and was chided by another (right-wing) Jewish friend for giving in to thinly-veiled anti-Semitism. The friend responded that since he couldn't keep straight whether he was part of the evil Jewish capitalist conspiracy or the evil Jewish communist conspiracy, he was going to keep the bastards from their money. Well played, I thought.

  • ||

    I actually opened a checking account with the Bank of America last week. Because BoA services my mortgage I could get their premium account with everything included and no fees. So, yeah I pretty much participated in Move Your Money Day. Just in the opposite direction.

  • RedDragon6009||

    Sadly, the chumps who moved all of their checking and savings accounts from the big banks to credit unions probably did the Banks a favor. Most of those customers maintained relatively small balances and didn't use many other premium services that Banks make money on. Customers like that actually cost Banks more money than they make (on average about $400 a year). Congratulations geniuses, you helped the bottom line of the very institutions you sought to bring down.

  • Zeb||

    I've been with a small local bank pretty much forever. It's nice to be able to go and talk to the president of the bank if you want to.

  • Milburn Drysdale||

    Ms. Hathaway, hold my calls.

  • ­Jane Hathaway||

    Right, Chief!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    My wife works at Chase (in Lexington) and 2 chicks came in to move their money. She said they were vocal about their intentions and had a bit of attitude, but not combative in any way.

    The banker actually laughed out loud when the second of the two actually had to borrow money from her friend in order to close the account because it was underfunded.

    By "moving her money", she actually did Chase a favor, for now they needn't maintain a delinquent account on which she was paying no fees (free checking).

    Funny stuff, that.

  • MJ||

    That sounds too good to be true.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I'm sure the banks actually like having people withdraw their money - that deposit account is a liability on the banks' books. By removing this money, the bank is in a strong position.

    Sure, these accounts are a fraction compared to the massive over-valuation of their assets, but every little bit helps.

  • Mayberry||

    You're mistaken, Finger. Typically, low-balance accounts make exponentially more money in penalties for the bank than well funded ones.

  • sven||

    Something-something city-STATE.

    #occupyreason.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    The Tea Party is angry that the bailouts existed.

    OWS is unhappy because they think the bailouts should have been "linked" to what they consider "better behavior" on the part of the banks, like massive principal reduction on underwater mortgages and student loan debt forgiveness.

    It's silly to see these two positions as congruent or even related.

  • sarcasmic||

    The Tea Party blames Washington for bailing out the banks.

    OWS blames the banks for getting bailed out.

    Conclusion? OWS is a bunch of morons.

  • DC is just middle mgt 4 banks||

    OWS is more right than the tea party, because the federal government is merely middle management for the real owners of this country.

  • romulus augustus||

    Government is for sale to the highest bidder. The TP was successful in retiring some GOP pols who participated in such rackets. I want to see the OWS crowd take out Chuck Shumer (D-Wall Street) and a few of the other Dems who do the same.

  • Paul||

    OWS is more right than the tea party, because the federal government is merely middle management for the real owners of this country.

    So what would happen if the government resigned its position?

  • JSR08||

    Don't you realize that if We The People didn't allow the government to grow so large and powerful, these "real owners" you speak of couldn't take advantage of its power for their selfish/malicious purposes?

    There will always be some individuals and organizations in a society that attempt to manipulate and control the system they reside in for their advantage. The defense against this is not to consolidate so much power in one place that it makes for a convenient target. Yet this is exactly want the OWS wants to do.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    They are related. One thinks the bailouts shouldn't have happened, the other thinks that if they had to happen, the benefit should have been spread around. Both agree that the worst possible course of action was followed. If one person thinks taxes are theft, and the other person thinks taxes are a necessary evil that should very small, easy to understand, and fairly-proportioned, both of them are against the tax system as we have it.

  • sarcasmic||

    If one person thinks taxes are theft, and the other person thinks taxes are a necessary evil that should very small, easy to understand, and fairly-proportioned

    Those two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

    Taxes are theft. They are how the people with the monopoly on force force people to pay for their "services". Because taxes are theft, they should be very small, easy to understand, and fairly-proportioned, so as to limit what those with the monopoly on force may do.

  • ||

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....e_newsreel

    Behind a paywall. But it is must read.

  • RoboCain||

    It doesn't seem to be behind a paywall...

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    “I did everything i was supposed to do: went to college, got good grades, participated in sports and clubs, graduated on time. 3 years later i have nothing to show for it.”

    3 years? No way!

    3 whole years?

    You're a regular Jean Valjean.

  • ||

    Her four years of hard work entitle her to a high paying, rewarding creative class job in a fashionable city. Anything less is oppression. This really is the revolt of the wanna be elites.

  • Troublemaker||

    John, do you still think KMW is adorable, cute as a button, etc.? Her video post has only two comments. Won't you help?

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/11.....e#comments

  • Monk||

    I would rather have dumb kids get bailed out because society brainwashed them into getting fucked by going to school, then banking faggots who are just cunts.

  • sevo||

    "...society brainwashed them..."
    Darn ads!

  • wareagle||

    that's bullshit. These kids took loans, often to go to the "right" schools where they were willingly indoctrinated. If anyone deserves a bailout, it is there parents from the institutional malpractice committed on them by the public education system.

    Those parents didn't take out loans; govt took their money in the form of taxes, to screw with their kids and create exactly what you see today. This end result is no accident and neither is the current state of the economy. Transformational change is not possible without chaos or something close to it.

  • ||

    3 years later i have nothing to show for it.

    Didn't they teach you to make those swirly leaves on top of the cappuchino?

    You got rooked.

  • Raston Bot||

    Balko linked to an excerpt about the $10T informal global economy last week. I wonder how OWS views the street entrepreneur who fills a market need and profits along the way. Global stories like these really put the OWS into perspective... as worthless skidmarks.

  • ||

    I wonder how OWS views the street entrepreneur who fills a market need and profits along the way.

    As someone to be driven off with stench and drum circles, judging by results to date.

  • ||

    Where was it supposed to move?

    I believe it was to no-interest entities.

    Treasury Bills?

  • ||

    The biggest point of commonality between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party is opposition to the federal government’s 2008 bailout of the financial industry.


    If I'm not mistaken, even that point of commonality is highly inflated. If I recall correctly some 48% of the occupiers polled supported the bailouts. They simply want bankers "punished" for taking the money offered. Presumably that punishment means giving out free money to them.

  • ||

    The largest banks are larger than they were when Obama took office and are nearing the level of profits they were making before the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, according to government data.

    Wall Street firms — independent companies and the securities-trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They earned more in the first 21 / 2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, industry data show.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ml?hpid=z1

  • JMW||

    The student loan complaint is worth pausing to consider, because it has taken a surprisingly central role in the Occupy brand of protests (which as of October 7 had spread to St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, and dozens of other cities). In a Tumblr page called “We Are the 99 Percent,” displaying handwritten testimonials from demonstrators who have cleverly cast themselves as Main Street victims of a rampaging Wall Street, many posters listed as their chief grievance the fact that they are obliged to pay back loans they took out for college.

    I don't think the OWSers are thinking very far ahead [no surprise!] on this.

    Suppose they get their debt erased. What sort of message will they get? Certainly not a message on how to be money smart. Or even how to be responsible in general.

    And what if they found themselves needing a loan to start up a business? I can't imagine a bank being too eager to lend money, not when the borrower has already gotten out of at least one debt absolutely free.

    "Give this person money? Why? If they borrow too much from me I won't get it back, because they'll want their debt erased. And then I'm out of business - especially if others like them do the same."

    I'm not a banker but if I were I'd definitely think someone who had their debt erased was a bad risk to take on.

    The OWSers will only be hurting themselves if they get their way on this.

  • Kristen||

    They probably would want it expunged from their credit rating

  • ||

    Of course they would. They want it forgiven. If Obama came out tommorow and said he wanted to make them dischargable in bankruptcy, they would still not be happy. They want free money and a good credit rating.

    I really hate these people. I shouldn't. But I can't help it.

  • JMW||

    It's like a whole swath of people did not learn the lesson that money does. not. grow. on. trees.

    I do wonder who gave them this idea. Did their parents not teach them these life lessons at all?

  • ||

    A whole generation has been taught to think they are special and nothing bad should ever happen to them and there are never any bad consiquences to decisions. This is what 20 years of self esteem education looks like.

  • JMW||

    What's worse than that is that the oldest among them are now reproducing, which means we're gonna get Millennials V.2 for some time yet.

    It's enough to make you cry.

  • ||

    Reality is a harsh mistress. they will learn. the hard way.

  • yup||

    QED.

    It's only going to get worse, too. Just wait until they start getting elected.

  • Zeb||

    Thankfully, it is not quite a whole generation. But it seems pretty fucking close sometimes.

  • wareagle||

    I do wonder who gave them this idea. Did their parents not teach them these life lessons at all?
    -------------------------------
    1) most were raised by a generation more interested in being their friends than their parents.
    2) the indoctrination of the public ed system overwhelms many parents, even the ones who really do know shit from shinola. And in college, most students think their parents are fools anyway.

  • JMW||

    Makes you want to grab some people by the shirt collars and give a simultaneous shouting at/shake some sense into them doesn't it?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    More like an ass whoopin'!

  • hey||

    And in college, most students think their parents are fools anyway.

    In light of item #1, can you blame them? The parents were dumb enough to let their kids run the asylum, weren't they?

  • Sparky||

    Yes you should hate them and any right-thinking people should as well. This is one case where that is not too strong of a word to use.

  • MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN||

    John|11.7.11 @ 12:50PM|#
    I really hate these people. I shouldn't.

    You've been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I really hate these people. I shouldn't. But I can't help it.

    They should be rugged individualist do-nothing government bureaucrats.

  • ||

    Exactly. They aren't asking for the right to declare bankruptcy, they want debt forgiveness.

  • ||

    I have a cunning plan. Instead of debt forgiveness, the president should apologize to all student loan holders for, well, whatever it is that's been done to them. That's it--no actual debt forgiveness, no nothing. Just an apology.

    Everyone wins. The Stupefy protestors win because they'll think the apology means something, the government and creditors win, because they preserve the debt obligation, and the rest of us win, because it shuts down one of the stupidest ideas in American history.

  • ||

    Perhaps the idea of the federal government guaranteeing student loans rivals it in stupidity.

  • ||

    It certainly gets an assist.

  • Paul||

    Suppose they get their debt erased. What sort of message will they get? Certainly not a message on how to be money smart. Or even how to be responsible in general.

    The message they'll get is that drum circles work. Sit in a drum circle for a couple of weeks and *poof*, $80,000 in student loans can be paid off by Paul and his daughter.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The message everyone else gets is to buy houses three times more expensive than they can afford and go to ivy league schools that they can't afford and than throw temper tantrums like two year olds to make everyone else (ie people who are probably worse of than them because they bought smaller houses they could afford and went to less expensive schools) pay their debts for them. They're much worse than the 1% they rail against.

  • Zeb||

    1% of the US is 3 million people. They probably are the 1%. Or at least a 1%.

  • Sparky||

    Relevant and related:

    While student debt has always been viewed a good thing-"good debt and a good investment, "she said-students are drowning in it. Surveys have shown that worries about money have led to an increase in anxiety and depression among college graduates faced with high debt and limited employment prospects. "Student debt is a political, economic and cultural issue," she said.

    http://www.hcc.edu/news/saave-student-speakout

  • sevo||

    "Student debt is a political, economic and cultural issue," she said."
    O.
    M.
    G.

  • Russ 2000||

    While student debt has always been viewed a good thing

    Bullshit. My parents made it abundantly clear they were never going to sign any piece of paper that made them responsible for my borrowing should I fuck up. They basically told me to work 50 hours a week at McDonald's to save up for college because they weren't going to pay one dime. And if I was working and not going to school, they were going to charge me rent.

    That is the way the world works. There is no issue at all except people wanting something for nothing.

  • Thom||

    This isn't about rich vs poor, socialism vs capitalism, etc more than it is about risk and the separation of risk and reward. That an elite group of government officials and Wall Street/Corporate big wigs have managed to separate the two, so that they manage to capture almost all of the rewards for taking risks while pushing all the losses off on the rest of us, is undeniable. Calls for things like debt forgiveness recognize this fact. It's a settling up more than anything else.

  • Year of Jubilee, Forgiveness? ||

    Sado-Libertarian BDSM economics doesn't approve.

  • Unless you're rich. ||

  • RoboCain||

    So it's basically, "They get to cheat, so why can't we?"

  • That's the way it is for rich||

    ...right?

  • Thom||

    More like, "They get to cheat and we end up paying for it. Now they owe us."

  • Raston Bot||

    Exactly, the non-contributing zeroes in OWS watched the rent-seeking parasites in govt and their cronies in industry get fat & happy and now they want to settle up.

    If that settling up didn't come out of the rest of our hides, then maybe I'd give them a pass. Why the majority of the nation continues to give the rent-seekers a pass is still unknown. My best guess is apathy... and not the voting kind.

  • Thom||

    The majority of the nation continues to give the rent-seekers a pass because anybody who complains about it too publicly is either labeled as a "non-contributing zero" or disparaged as some sort of racist yahoo, and normal folks don't want that kind of stigma attached to themselves.

  • MJ||

    The solution to rent seeking is not more rent seeking.

  • Thom||

    You asked why the normal folks won't get pissed about this and I told you.

    Anyways, while I agree with your statement 100%, asking the government to get back what was stolen from you is not rent seeking. Do a few leaches end up benefiting? Sure. But that doesn't mean we don't address the problem.

  • ||

    ...so that they manage to capture almost all of the rewards for taking risks while pushing all the losses off on the rest of us, is undeniable.


    I think some folks who worked at Lehman or Bear might beg to differ with that analysis.

    Calls for things like debt forgiveness recognize this fact. It's a settling up more than anything else.


    So, "settling up" in your book means wildly expanding the class of rentiers leaching off the ever-dwindling productive elements of society.

  • Thom||

    I bet the people who actually made the decisions and took the risks at Lehman and Bear are doing just fine.

  • ||

    Actually, as someone who worked in finance, I can personally explode the leftist myth that no bankers go bankrupt. They do.

  • Thom||

    And as somebody who has also worked in finance, it doesn't seem like the people at the top who make the bad decisions ever seem to end up in 1 bedroom apartments trying to figure out how to put food on the table. But they have no qualms about putting other people in that situation.

  • KPres||

    Ultimately, shareholders DO make the decisions. Or, at least, they decide who's going to make the decisions. If they were asleep at the wheel, thats their fault.

  • Mayberry||

    Umm...bullshit. Just because it's a simple way to explain your position doesn't make it valid.

  • MJ||

    "...so that they manage to capture almost all of the rewards for taking risks while pushing all the losses off on the rest of us, is undeniable. Calls for things like debt forgiveness recognize this fact. It's a settling up more than anything else."

    The excuse given for the bailouts were these financial institutions were "too big to fail". Now, that is BS reasoning, but what economic reason* justifies debt forgiveness for student loans.

    * "It's not FAIR!!" is not a valid economic reason.

  • wareagle||

    so the twin legacies of decades of public school indoctrination are 1) an out-sized sense of self-importance and 2) a total of absence of any personal responsibility for any action ever taken.

    Every quote from an OWS squatter reads straight from the victim's handbook. Looks like the church of the aggrieved and the offended has some new congregants.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    2) a total of absence of any personal responsibility for any action ever taken.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Well that was odd.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    2) a total of absence of any personal responsibility for any action ever taken.

    Like, say, TARP? Any "personal responsibility" crap you throw at OWS has to be thrown first at the welfare queens of big banks and Wall Street.

  • ||

    Sure it can. But so what? One doesn't excuse the other. If anything this argument does prove the moral hazard associated with TARP. Once you bailed out the bankers, you let everyone else make this argument.

    We can't undo TARP sadly. But we sure as hell can do better going forward and not bail these clowns out.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    You're not actually sad about it at all, let's be honest. You despise ordinary people who need help with tens of thousands, but politely disagree with the rich getting massive bailouts for trillions.

  • ||

    First, they are not ordinary people. Ordinary people don't have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. They are upper middle class at worst.

    Second, I hate the bankers who took TARP. It is a fucking crime. But short of bailing everyone out for everything, what can you do about it besides not do it anymore?

    And I had student loans too. And i paid them back. And I did so living in crappy places working crappy jobs I generally hated. Many of these kids refuse to do that and expect a great job in a great city. Sorry I don't feel sorry for them.

  • ||

    How many trillions are you asking for, and how do you propose paying for it?

    Oh, you don't, screw paying for it, just borrow/print more money, right?

    Why not give tens of thousands of dollars to everyone. Print up a couple quadrillion dollars and just hand them out.

    So we reward those who took out huge loans they couldn't afford; and do so on the backs of those who didn't take out loans they couldn't afford.

    Reward irresponsible behavior, and punish responsibility... because we need less responsibility and more irresponsible behavior I guess.

    Why is that again? Or do you think rewarding something gives you less of it and punishing something gives you more of it? Do you even comprehend the simple basics of how motivation and encouragement work?

    It's like you're trying to beat me with the carrot, or feed me the stick.. this isn't a rational plan.

  • wareagle||

    JP,
    I'm fine with tossing it at both and many of us have. Regardless, straw man argument that does nothing to refute the notion that these kids have a super-sized sense of entitlement. They willingly took loans because they "had" to go to certain universities located in certain cities.

  • Thom||

    Because they were told endlessly their entire lives that that was the right thing to do. The joke that is going around "they told us that if we didn't want to flip burgers we had to go to college. We went to college and now they complain about how entitled we are because we won't flip burgers."

  • ||

    Seriously, Thom? "B-b-but I was told that if I did everything they told me to do at school, I'd automatically get a cushy six-figure job in my field immediately upon graduation" -- you think that qualifies as a legitimate reason why your student loan debt should be wiped off the books? Gullibility?

  • ||

    If we supported TARP you might have a valid argument.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I don't know what wareagle supported. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But for him to post his "personal responsibility" schlock without actually discussing big banks, Wall Street, or the student loan companies is nonsense.

  • sevo||

    "But for him to post his "personal responsibility" schlock without actually discussing big banks, Wall Street, or the student loan companies is nonsense."

    Glad to see we have a monitor explaining what must be included in a discussion.
    Go to hell.

  • ||

    No, it isn't. That Wall Street banks may have acted like douches does not change the fact that the occupiers are acting like douches. Douchery is not a net phenomenon.

  • ||

    But for him to post his "personal responsibility" schlock without actually discussing big banks, Wall Street, or the student loan companies is nonsense.

    Sure, sure. If I don't condemn every wrong ever commited, I can't condemn any of them.

    Now, since your parents apparently didn't teach you, two wrongs don't make a right. Even if the proposed student loan bailout came from those who benefited from TARP, it would still suck for the taxpayers who footed the bill. How in the fuck does screwing the taxpayer a second time make up for the first screwing??!!

    OWS crowd: "The government fucked the taxpayers with TARP and it isn't fair if we do not also get to fuck them!"

  • wareagle||

    jersey,
    one has nothing to do with the other. Banks and Wall St worked within the confines of a system they and their overlord/lackeys (yes, I get this is a contradiction) in DC created. OWS has no such excuse.

  • Sado-Libertarianism||

    BDSM economics - the enjoyment of people's economic misfortunes.

    Displaying a total lack of empathy for your fellow humans is precisely what destroys the social cohesion in a civilization. But Dunbar's Number shows it's pretty much the way things go in Mass Society.

    Anyway, what comes around, goes around. Go ahead, speak your peace. I'll speak mine.

    Ultimately, there is a merciless elegance to the horror of collapse. Its destruction is not arbitrary or random. Every individual human being will be presented with a choice, as to whether or not we wish to die.

    Thesis #28: Humanity will almost certainly survive.
    by Jason Godesky | 17 January 2006
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

  • anon||

    White Indian, you're a child molester. Prove me wrong.

  • sevo||

    Please, no feeding.

  • ¢||

    If I recall correctly some 48% of the occupiers polled supported the bailouts.

    51%.

    As compared to 20-30% (depending on how the question is worded) of the general public.

    The only group ever found by poll to be more supportive of Wall Street bailouts than the Occupants are is Rasmussen's "political class" demo.

    Everyone else, even "Democrats," is more opposed. And of course the ratbaggers are the most opposed.

    But they're both right, y'know?

  • wareagle||

    I believe Obama supported the bailouts, too, and the ones for GM/Chrysler. Yet, you expect folks to believe that Dems are somehow opposed? Please. Wall St IS Dem.

  • Gov't is mid. mg't for Wall St||

  • RoboCain||

    "Bailouts for Me, but Not for Thee"
    -Matt Welch, November 7

    LOL

  • Bailout for thee? How'bout me?||

    The way the title should read, if it were honest:

    Bailout for thee? How about me?

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Saving for college should be possible if you just start early enough.

    Save $400 a month beginning when your kid is born.

    There are lots of families that can't afford that. But there are lots of families that CAN.

    There are dual-income households out there spending $150 a month on Starbucks, $200 a month eating out, etc. Just stop that shit and save the money for college.

    Then your kids won't have to worry about non-dischargeable debt.

  • wareagle||

    no, no, no. Ask instead why college costs have skyrocketed by a far greater percentage than incomes. Parents don't owe their kids a gold-plated education. Let the little darlings earn some college credit in high school, have a part-time job while school, work summers and save some money, even take a dastardly loan if necessary. But the point remains - colleges raise tuition costs unchallenged year after year. What do we get in return for that?

  • JMW||

    More puppet masters.

    No, wait. That came out wrong.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    1. Why is a college education now a requirement to do anything besides operate a cash register?

    2. If these loans are so foolish, why are student loan companies not as foolish for making them as students are for taking them out?

    3. Why is student loan debt not dischargeable in bankruptcy like almost every other sort of debt?

    4. Why has the cost of college risen faster than inflation for 60 years?

    5. If a person can't find a job and can't discharge their loans in bankruptcy, what exactly are they supposed to do?

    These are questions that actually try to figure out what's going on beyond "Get a job, hippie!" It's easy to laugh at the MFA in puppetry; it's hard to answer these sorts of questions.

  • ||

    It's easy to laugh at the MFA in puppetry; it's hard to answer these sorts of questions.

    No, it's not.

    1. Why is a college education now a requirement to do anything besides operate a cash register?

    The federal loan guarantee program lowered the economic barriers to getting a college education via the student loan and grant programs. More people with degrees, more people require them.

    2. If these loans are so foolish, why are student loan companies not as foolish for making them as students are for taking them out?

    Because they are federally guaranteed. Uncle Sam wants his money.

    3. Why is student loan debt not dischargeable in bankruptcy like almost every other sort of debt?

    Because they are federally guaranteed. Too many student were declaring bankruptcy right out of college when they have no assets and years to re-build their credit. So, to protect the banks, Uncle Sam made them undischargeable, like taxes and certain liens.

    4. Why has the cost of college risen faster than inflation for 60 years?

    The 3rd Party Payer Problem and widespread economic illiteracy about the prospects of useless degree.

    5. If a person can't find a job and can't discharge their loans in bankruptcy, what exactly are they supposed to do?

    This is the head-scratcher you have posed. But it is a little unfair to demand an answer from the people who opposed the very things that created the problem in the first place. But getting a job would certainly help.

    "I got lung cancer after you told me not to smoke. I demand that you magically cure my cancer!"

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    So, to protect the banks, Uncle Sam made them undischargeable, like taxes and certain liens.

    Just a correction -

    The banks were already protected, by the federal guarantee.

    Uncle Sam made the debt nondischargeable to protect Uncle Sam.

    Uncle Sam was sick of having to pay up on guarantees to banks when loans went south.

    The Congress wanted to take credit for voting for a "generous" guaranteed student loan program, but didn't like the actual costs associated with that program.

    So they decided to roll the dice on undermining bankruptcy law instead.

    Uncle Sam figures if he just brutalizes debtors enough, he'll have to pay off on fewer guarantees.

    Eventually I expect delinquent student loan debtors to be dangled over the moats of lion cages.

  • ||

    Just are quite correct. I misspoke.

  • ||

    Eventually I expect delinquent student loan debtors to be dangled over the moats of lion cages.

    Are people having their paychecks garnished for delinquent student loans?

  • Paul||

    5. If a person can't find a job and can't discharge their loans in bankruptcy, what exactly are they supposed to do?

    This is the head-scratcher you have posed.

    Any number of catch-all provisions could be employed. Give the individual the opportunity to put the loan on hold. I'll let the financial types argue whether interest should accrue (I argue it should).

    But the loan on hold remains intact. Your credit rating will reflect it, and thus private lenders will be reluctant to lend additional monies to you. In some cases, the loan could be considered a lien against you (while the loan is on hold) and you simply won't be able to get other types of loans.

    This way you can continue to exist without paying the loans (presuming it actually is impossible) but avoids the moral hazard in that you can't take out any other kind of debt until you've addressed your student loans.

    And by addressing your student loans, that merely means that you're paying them back consistently every month.

  • Zeb||

    I'd add a bit more on 5.

    You can't get blood from a stone and debtor's prison has been abolished. If you simply can't pay the loan payments, don't pay them. Maybe you'll get a better job some day. Yeah, it's a shitty situation, but it's not as if they can come and seize your body parts if you don't pay.

  • ||

    it's not as if they can come and seize your body parts if you don't pay.

    Don't give them any ideas.

  • ||

    1. Why is a college education now a requirement to do anything besides operate a cash register?

    2. If these loans are so foolish, why are student loan companies not as foolish for making them as students are for taking them out?

    3. Why is student loan debt not dischargeable in bankruptcy like almost every other sort of debt?

    Because if it was, banks would start looking more closely at who they were lending to and what that person was doing with the money. And that might pervent someone from obtaining the dream of a college education. And that might also make colleges accountable for the education they provide. And colleges are a powerful lobby. And finally, the government gaurentees a lot of those loans and doens't want to be stuck eating them.

    4. Why has the cost of college risen faster than inflation for 60 years?

    Because the federal government massively subsidized demand and students were able to take out bigger and bigger loans undercutting the demand side's normal check on price.

    5. If a person can't find a job and can't discharge their loans in bankruptcy, what exactly are they supposed to do?

    That sucks. And I think there are few people in this position. For those that are, we ought to offer bankruptcy. But, how many of these kids really can't get jobs but instead can't get jobs in where they want to live doing what they want to do? I suspect a lot of them are the latter.

    You ask about my job. I hate my job and avoid it like the plague. I have hated most jobs I have ever had. But I have bills to pay and work them anyway. sorry but I have no sympathy for those who won't do the same.

  • anon||

    Regarding #5,
    Most students out of college are broke and would qualify for bankruptcy protection. It takes a while to build a career that will turn a profit for the student, especially in the medical and legal fields. Were the students allowed to simply declare bankruptcy and wash away the loan rather than pay it back, the government would be out hundreds of billions -instantly- as it becomes the norm to declare a strategic bankruptcy right out of college (with no tangible assets recoverable to mitigate the loan costs).

    So yes, it makes sense to not forgive student loan debt due to bankruptcy.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    No.

    It makes sense not to federally guarantee the debt.

    That is the option the Congress refused to consider.

    Changing bankruptcy law was a terrible solution.

    The very fact that strategic bankruptcies were occurring (along with tuition hikes consistently outpacing inflation) should have told the Congress that the guaranteed student loan program was a bad idea. But they refused to heed that market signal and instead decided to double down.

  • anon||

    Oh, I completely agree with not federally guaranteeing ANY loan. I was just stating why student loans should not be subject to bankruptcy protection.

    Of course, the whole idea of bankruptcy protection is something that I'm not really keen on anyways. If you sign a contract you should have to pay the money back eventually, period.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    I'm the reverse.

    If you loan money without security, you get to pick good applicants or you get to lose.

    I've got no problem with that at all.

    Creditors who lend without security and then whine about their repayment rates should just...stop lending without security. Or shut their yaps.

    Seriously, do you really think that credit card lenders are being unjustly exploited by our bankruptcy laws?

    If so, basically what you're saying is that a creditor who lends without security should get to regard the debtor as his security.

  • Paul||

    That's all well and good, but if everyone had to lend with solid security, there wouldn't be a green energy sector.

  • tarran||

    1. Why is a college education now a requirement to do anything besides operate a cash register?

    Blame the EEOC

    The Supreme Court had a very complicated definition of what constituted “Direct Business Necessity”, one that was difficult to meet and gave considerable deference to the employee of the Equal Opportunity Commission who was deciding whether or not to accuse a company of illegal discrimination. Only the simplest tests, such as requiring a prospective driver to pass a driving test could reasonably pass muster. Other tests, which businessmen clearly felt were useful to reducing the risk of hiring the wrong person for the job, now could get them sued.

    Companies began casting about for a way to screen out the-incompetent or unfit in a way that would not result in them being sued. The simplest solution is to demand a college degree. Any racial discrimination demonstrated in the pool of degreed people would be the colleges’ liability, and the business could get on with the business of hiring new employees without being worried about lawsuits.
  • KPres||

    Good find. My guess is an IQ test would be just as good a screening tool as a college degree, though I doubt that would go over to well with the "blank slate" crowd.

  • ||

    5. If a person can't find a job and can't discharge their loans in bankruptcy, what exactly are they supposed to do?

    But, how many of these kids really can't get jobs but instead can't get jobs in where they want to live doing what they want to do?

    First, not all of them are kids. With a defacto unemployment rate of probably around 25% - 30%, it isn't just "kids." I know a civil engineer friend that is selling real estate because he can't find work. I have a 40+ plus friend who has been an executive secretary (she basically ran this local engineering firm) who can't find work. I have a lawyer friend who in on his 3rd job in two years because his employers don't have enough work. My mother and nephew are out of work.

    Secondly, many don't have access to any capital. If you don't have a phone, don't have a car, can't get a bank account (because you are on their black list), and don't have the specialized skills in this niched economy, it is very difficult to get a job. It is obvious from some of the comments on this thread and past entries that some of the usual commentators are completely fucking incapable of groking this concept and haven't really worried about where their next meal was coming from in a while.

    I interviewed here to get a dishwasher job. I didn't get it because I owe lots of money and could be a security risk. I can't believe this. Three years ago I was trustworthy enough to represent the interests of abused children, and now I'm not trustworthy enough to even wash some fucking dishes.

  • Sparky||

    I know a civil engineer friend that is selling real estate because he can't find work.

    Sounds like he has found work.

    I have a 40+ plus friend who has been an executive secretary (she basically ran this local engineering firm) who can't find work. I have a lawyer friend who in on his 3rd job in two years because his employers don't have enough work. My mother and nephew are out of work.

    That sucks. It really does. But how is that my fault or my problem to deal with?

    It is obvious from some of the comments on this thread and past entries that some of the usual commentators are completely fucking incapable of groking this concept and haven't really worried about where their next meal was coming from in a while.

    How about if we have the government force them to give up more money to care for the people who are in this situation? I have no trouble groking that being out of work SUCKS HARD. I think some people have trouble groking the concept that it's their own responsibility to fix the situation, not mine.

    Three years ago I was trustworthy enough to represent the interests of abused children, and now I'm not trustworthy enough to even wash some fucking dishes.

    Again, sometimes life really sucks. You can at least rest a little easier knowing that armed thugs will be stealing money from those not in your situation to help ease your plight.

  • Paul||

    I'm just glad to know that, after really doing a logical forensic on the message of the OWS protesters, they won't be voting for Obama a second time. Because I know they're just that consistent.

  • GILMORE||

    Sorry, unrelated, but funny =

    Man Protests County Government..

    ...By Hanging Himself in Harness From Tappan Zee Bridge

    http://www.thedailygreenburgh......zee-bridge

    Yeah, 2 seconds ago he just jumped and tried swimming to escape.

    The triple irony pf this guy? he's a former *substance abuse counselor*.

    Is it all suprising that a former county public-health worker should happen to be shithouse crazy?

    Is it at all suprising that he decided the best way to draw attention to county-level political injustice* (which i assume is a lack of a free paycheck ) is to dangle one's self from a bridge?

    Mad drama, yo.

  • ||

    I have had reasonable conversations with quite a few Oaklanders who are occupiers.

    They are all basically communists, I'm sorry to report.

  • anon||

    reasonable conversations
    communists

    lol

  • ||

    all i meant was that they didn't scream and rant during our conversation about their unreasonable and irrational beliefs. :)

  • anon||

    Man, you're lucky.

    I live in central NC... I've never had a conversation with one of the local collectivists that didn't devolve into "BUT... EQUALITY!!!!!111one."

  • ||

    No they're not.

  • ||

    Yes they are.

  • ReligioEconomic Fundamentalism||

    ...all sounds the same. Like this:

    I have had reasonable conversations with quite a few Oaklanders who are occupiers.

    They are all basically Satanists, I'm sorry to report.

    How conveeeeeenient. Isn't that special?

  • ||

    So far as I can see, the major causes behind the protests are:
    1. the right to rape hippie chicks
    2. the right to crap on police cars
    3. the right to push old ladies down the stairs.

  • ||

    #1 might well be a hit with STEVE SMITH

  • Capitalists are Collectivists||

    ...who collectively demand Big-Government enforce Gambol Lockdown on a whole continent.

  • ||

    I keep waiting for someone to find out what is happening with all the money that has been donated. Up over $500K, I believe.

    That money is in a bank account somewhere. In whose name is the account? Who has signature authority on the account? And, for both, by what right?

  • Joe M||

    Someone posted a link to this article:

    Inside the Orwellian machinations in Occupy Wall Street

    which links to this direct account:

    A Chill Descends On Occupy Wall Street; "The Leaders of the allegedly Leaderless Movement"

    Money quote:

    When my turn came to speak, I brought up the plans of “the leaders of the allegedly leaderless movement” to commandeer the half-million dollars sent to the General Assembly for their new, exclusive, undemocratic, representational organization. Before I could finish, the facilitators and other members of the OWS inner circle started shouting over me....

    Eventually one of the facilitators regained control of the crowd and explained that I was speaking “opinions, not facts,” which is why I would not be allowed to continue.
  • Gilbert Martin||

    As I recall, most of the banks have already paid back the TARP money - with interest.

    And some of them neither wanted nor needed it to begin with but were forced to take it by the government because they didn't want investors (or the public) to be able to indentify the specific one's that were in real trouble and pull their money out.

    Meanwhile Fannie and Freddie are still rolling on the bailout train as are GM and Chrylser.

    Strangely the occupiers don't seem to be concerned about those bailouts.

    Or the biggest, ongoing bailout of all - the one that dwarfs all the others: the bailout of the 50% of the population who doesn't pay any federal income taxes by the other 50% who do.

  • Anonymous||

    The banks "paying back" the TARP money was a PR and accounting gimmick. Most of them went straight to the Federal Reserve window to continue mooching.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Elaborate.

    When have banks not been able to borrow money from the fed?

  • Anonymous||

    I think your average protester wants consistency. They'd be happy if the government hadn't bailed out the banks, or they'd also be happy if the government would bail out their student loans along with the banks. Doing one and not the other is bullshit.

    The biggest problem with the "you chose to take out loans" argument is that the law changed in 2005 so that student loans aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy. So, someone who started school in 2004 under the presumption that they had a safety net if things didn't work out and graduated in 2008 would be a somewhat legitimate example of a "wage slave" even by libertarian standards.

  • ||

    Studen loans have been nondischargable for a long time. Long before 2004.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Anon may be referring to BAPCPA, the Bankruptcy Reform act in 2004, which made it a whole lot tougher to declare a personal bankruptcy. Or at least, that's what consumer bankruptcy practitioners have told me.

    But you are correct that student loan debt has been non-dischargeable since either 1976 or 1978, depending on how you interpret this cite: http://www.finaid.org/question.....tion.phtml

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "I think your average protester wants consistency"

    The hell they do.

    They just want handouts for themselves and carping about banks is just an excuse to make a claim for them.

    Saying that somebody else got bailed out by the taxpayers is no rationale as to why they should also get bailed out by the taxpayers.

    The taxpayers are the ones getting screwed by bailouts - not the protestors. I doubt that many of them are in the 50% who pay virutally all of the federal income taxes anyway.

  • ||

    So, someone who started school in 2004 under the presumption that they had a safety net if things didn't work out...

    Who the F takes out loans with this in the back of their minds? Definition of irresponsible flake-tard, right there.

    Here's the thing: Do you want to go to a school that costs tens of thousands of dollars per year? Do you want borrow money from someone to go, because you don't have this kind of money yourself? Then you owe the lender that money when you get out of school.

    This Millenial-special-entitled-snowflake math makes me ill. Did you borrow money? Then you need to pay it back; it is not your money. End of discussion.

  • ||

    As John McClaughry explains in “The Affordable Housing Scam” (page 60), the housing bubble that precipitated the financial collapse and economic downturn was inflated both by the moral hazard of government guarantees and by the concerted government/activist push to expand home ownership into lower-income segments of the population. “It was a mistake to subsidize new home buyers,” Nobel laureate and experimental economist Vernon Smith explains in a Q&A that begins on page 44.

    I would like to see the proposed mechanism through which this supposedly happened. The best study I am aware of in this area is a 2008 article appearing in the Orange County Register that showed "Nearly $3 of every $4 in subprime loans made from 2004 through 2007 came from lenders who were exempt from" the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. If there is another mechanism involved here, I would like to hear of it.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    THIS IS WHAT TONY ACTUALLY BELIEVES IN.

  • ||

    might it be time for #OWS to call it quits?
    http://littlebiggy.org/4660547

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Lets just hush up about the student loan thing. I mean, if its all just going to collapse anyway, no prob.

  • ||

    Here's all you need to know about the protest.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-253uBJap8

  • ||

    Someone needs to poll the Occupy protestors and see what they say to the idea of making loans harder to get.

    My guess is, the majority of them will strongly oppose any move to tie loan eligibility to employment rates by major.

    As I was attempting to discuss in the Thread Which Shall Not Be Named, we could kill two birds with one stone by incentivizing student to study hard sciences and engineering. Just by limiting the amount of money we're willing to lend proprtionately to the expected earnings after graduation.

  • ||

    Alex Pareene's "modest proposal" got me to wondering whether the sheer complexity of the enterprises and activities the federal government regulates vitiates our ability to safely or soundly self-govern.

    How can we prevent the next financial collapse when we can't agree to the causes and culpabilities of the last one? What consensus or received wisdom can shine through this fog of spin, deceit and willful ignorance to guide the polity safely through dangerous waters? Does punishing the party in power who disappoints or fails necessarily guarantee the other party's successful governance?

    It seems to me we've got a difficult choice to make very soon. Either we bumble along as we have and absorb the same periodic shocks that will inevitably follow as they have done, or we severely limit the federal government's power, or we endow an elite class of federal technocrats the power to regulate every minutia of our lives while safeguarding them from the rigors of the constitution and the ballot box.

    The larger the federal government's role, the more liberty and the less security we can expect if history is any guide. That's why my vote is for severely limit the federal government's power.

  • Marc by Marc Jacobs Handbag||

    Mr. Marc Jacobs is a legend

  • Marc by Marc Jacobs Handbag||

    Mr. Marc Jacobs is a legend

  • بغداد||

    thanks

  • John Christmas||

    I am in Bristol, England this week. There is an "Occupy Bristol" camp in a public park. I studied the signs that the campers put around the park.

    A recurring sign is "People not Profit" and several signs advocate confiscating all of the money from Vodafone Corporation (I don't know why they picked that one) showing math that every unemployed person in the UK could get a one-time payment of a couple hundred pounds.

    The point seems to be that Vodafone is not a "person" and therefore it is okay to take all of Vodafone's money:)

  • crusher||

    it seems so cool

  • John Spragge||

    People who took on student debt did so to perform an act (educating themselves) their parents, schools, governments, business leaders and even clergy promoted as essential for success, essential for employment, and a moral duty: to themselves, their community, families, country, even a religious duty. A young person who enrolled in school in 2000 did so after 18 years of relentless efforts to persuade them to do it from all sides. Does anyone here at reason honestly not see the moral distinction between such a person, often now 28 and still struggling under substantial debt, and a senior business executive who took a reckless gamble for the sake of another million on the year-end bonus. Because if you don't, then frankly I see neither present nor future relevance for the brand of libertarianism you seem to propose.

  • $7,700,000,000.00||

    Cute article. Assuming Occupy Wallstreet got its way. Maybe we should also run, "Free market and risk for thee, but not for Wall Street and the Financial Industry". This has always been the name of the game in this country. The newly reported 7.7 Trillion Dollar bailout that occured in 2008 (@0.01 interest I might add) was not the first time Uncle Same bailed out Wall Street and the Banks (http://www.propublica.org/special/government-bailouts). The U.S. Government has removed systemic risk from the financial system. Does Occupy Wallstreet seem hipocritical in its demands from an American-Libertarian stand point? Sure. But, the difference is, student loans won't be forgiven. Forclosures won't be forgiven. And Wall Street will have walked away from one of the largest financial scams in history.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....ncome.html

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