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Occupy Swindle

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Submitted by goldberry on

I'm not sure there is any value to people in movements deliberately impoverishing themselves. $5000/hour for a speech sounds pretty rich but how much is the agency's cut? How often does he book a speech? How much is he paying in taxes, healthcare, insurance? If he gives two speeches a month at $5000 a pop and the agency takes a 20% cut, that leaves him with $8000/month. Now, subtract social security, income taxes, healthcare (about $900/month in the NY metropolitan area in a group policy). That leaves him with about $6000. From that he has to pay rent and other expenses. It may still leave him with a nice chunk of disposable income but so what? It's not nearly as much as some asshole on Wall Street is making.
I don't begrudge a guy for making a living and socking some of it away.
As for what we got out of Occupy, I don't know what the writer's point was. Didn't we see all those heads get busted? Didn't we see the way the authorities called out their guard? We were a threat to them that was important enough that massive shows of force and a nasty propaganda campaign was launched to make sure we didn't get too popular or that old ladies wouldn't be tempted to join us.
Yes, that 99% slogan is jingling around in our brains. The idea has found rich, fertile ground. You would be surprised to know who is talking about being in the 99% now.
The left has grown too cynical, too perfectionistic. if it isn't an instant success, if a movement has to retreat, regroup and evolve, well, it's just not good enough. It's a loser.
I'm more disappointed with the attitude than I am with Occupy. Sure it has some major organizational problems but look at what it accomplished based on sheer chutzpah and hardly any resources. It riveted a nation.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

Is it about people on wall street making $500k a year? About billionaires being too rich and powerful? Sure. But I was under the impression it was about more than that: fairness and social justice. If, hypothetically, he was making $120k a year as you ballpark it, he wouldn't be in the 1%, more like 10%. But that's completely missing the point, which is that it would be for 20 hours of work in a year, which is to say, 3 days' worth of work. Another way to look at it: he is charging for an hour the equivalent of over 600 hours (i.e. 15 weeks full-time) of work at minimum wage. The point is that there is absolutely no way this is reasonable compensation for the work, regardless of how many talks he actually gives in a year. Maybe he does a lot of other stuff, too. But let's be honest: a guy who charges $5000 for an hour-long talk is about as likely to be doing his other work pro bono as Romney is to get a job at a sewage treatment plant. It is embodying the idea at the rotten heart of capitalism: that 'fair price' can only mean "what the market will bear" (i.e. the fair price of a good is not to be determined by what good it does or can do, but only by what people are willing to pay for it). I can think of little that is more opposed to what I thought Occupy was about. So it's not a matter of begrudging him for making a living, or even a very comfortable living.

With regard to the linked article, though, I can't say I liked its tone or much of its content. Far too vitriolic and stereotype-filled.