My Take On Occupy

This is raw.  I'm going to get some facts wrong.  I don't care.  I'm goin' for broke.

Early last month, Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, responded to President Obama's assertion that banks don't have an "inherent right" to "a certain amount of profit."  Moynihan said, "We have the right to make a profit."

He's right.

Moynihan made the comment at a meeting with shareholders while defending the (now scrapped) $5 usage fee on debit cards.  He explained that the new fee was necessary because new regulations have limited the bank's ability to earn a proft.  He's held accountable by his shareholders, after all, and is required to deliver ever-more-valuable stock.  He believed shareholders, employees, and customers would understand the need for the new fee. 

Americans would understand. Americans would simply understand his bank's need for profit and moneymaking and the insatiable hunger to get my money into your pocket by any means necessary. We'd understand.

This is a clear example of a guy who's completely the fuck out of touch with America.

Well, let me tell you what we understand.  You, Mr. Moynihan, and all of your banking CEO friends might disagree.  The problem between your bank and your customers might simply be one of perception.  But I'll give you a snapshot of what we've watched for the past 3 15 years.

('cause I couldn't have said it better myself)
I see this situation as one similar to a parent and a 2 year old.  In this case, let's imagine that that the American public is the parent and Wall Street is the 2 year old.  Here's a script of a parent and child.

Sample Scenario:
Parent: Please pick up the blocks.
Child: I throw the block. throws the block at parent
Parent: Please don't throw the blocks at me.  Please pick up the blocks.  If you throw the blocks at me one more time, I will take your blocks away.
Child: throws the block
Parent: OK!  I'm taking your blocks away!
Child: crying No take blocks!  Mommy mean!  No take blocks!  I want play with blocks!

Actual Scenario:
America: We're trusting you with our life savings.  Please treat us with respect and keep our assets safe.
Wall Street:  I'm going to invest this and make you a lot of money.  Membership fees, usage fees, statement fees, high interest rates, rate changes, ATM fees, and account fees diminish customer's money.  Leftover money is put in risky investments.
America:  If you don't start being more honest with us, we're going to have to regulate your activity.
Wall Street: To make even more money, banks create a culture that encourages lying to investors, decieving borrowers, making shitty bets, and undercapitalizing, and thus collapses the American economy.
America: OK! That's it!  I'm taking away your ability to get rich by cheating.
Wall Street:  crying We can't make any money now!  Obama's mean!  American's don't understand!

We understand perfectly.  We get it.  You basked in the afterglow of Reagan's deregulation orgy and then seduced the American wallet. for. years.  You sent out notices on tissue paper with tiny print to inform us that our credit card rates were going up another 5%.  If we read it (which you knew we wouldn't), we'd know we could opt out.  You claim you support small businesses but you charged them every time a customer swiped a credit card.  You made abysmal lending choices because you knew you could make money on a foreclosure.  You charged a fee to the unemployed to access their unemployment checks.  You lied, cheated, stole, raped, and pillaged the American economy for nearly two decades and created a practically third-world wealth gap, and you have the audacity, the fucking audacity, to expect customers to understand a $5 debit card usage fee? (Now that it's scrapped, I wonder what's next?)  Are you guys a bunch of fucking idiots?

In case you forgot, the American taxpayer IS the reason your bank is still in business.  It's not because you're brilliant.  It's not because you're Ivy League educated.  Remember when your banks were stupid and gambled with money that wasn't yours and lost?  You cried to the US taxpayer!  And now you idiots have the audacity to cry to the US Government and complain that, after you blew apart the US economy, the profit-making environment isn't quite as hospitable?  Geez, you just can't make money like you used to, can you?

You never should have been able to make money like that.  It should have been illegal the whole time.  You should have been making money the old fashioned way - great customer service and great products.  Great products and great service sell themselves.  Purveyors of shitty products and bad service need to scrounge.  You were the latter.  You resolved to unethical means in order to boost your bottom line.  The profits you make now are probably more realistic based on the products and services you peddle rather than the bloated numbers from the good ol' days of deregulation (a.k.a. legalized lying and stealing).

I second the sentiments of Mr. Taibbi.  I'm not jealous of anybody with money and I don't want something for nothing.  I want a fair shake.  I want a level playing field.  I don't want to be viewed as an endless suppy of income for people like Mr. Moynihan, $3 here, $5 there.  I am a human.  I want to be treated like a human.

To every Wall Street banker, I am your equal.  Under the Constitution of our shared country, you and I are equal.  In front of the statue of Justice, with her eyes covered, we are equals. 

But in real life, we are not.  You have the right to steal, lie, cheat, borrow, and decieve without reprimand.  You have the right to be corrupt without consequence because the system is skewed in your favor.  You bought that right and contribute to candidates who ensure you retain that right.

Occupy Wall Street, and the 100 other Occupy movements around the world, are trying to expose that right.  They want bankers to lose those rights.  It's not about envy or wanting to get rich quick.  It's not about not wanting to work hard.  It's about wanting to work and get a fair shake.  It's about everybody getting an equal shot.  It's also about reclaiming our dignity and self-worth.  It's anger about being dehumanized and disregarded for so long by a greedy, corrupt system and finally finding the courage to say, "I'm alive.  I'm a real person.  I'm holding you accountable."

At least that's what I think it's all about.