St. Charles Herald-Guide

What the Occupation Wall Street crowd should focus on

By Dan Juneau - October 28, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) crowd has ensconced itself in New York City and doesn’t appear to be going home anytime soon.

It is a motley crew loosely connected in a protest against the economic evils perpetrated in their minds by what Wall Street represents. While some elements of Wall Street definitely played a role in the toxic asset debacle that triggered the 2008 fiscal disaster, there are other entities that have played a major role in creating and maintaining the current fiscal crisis we are facing. Perhaps the OWS circus would like to visit a few of these locales to protest the part they played in the fiasco.


For openers, how about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?


These two government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) back most of the mortgages in America. They lived high on the hog for years. Their officers and directors were well connected politically, and they enjoyed high salaries while reaping big bonuses doing the bidding of their patrons on Capitol Hill. Paired with key power brokers in Congress, they set ridiculously low standards for home ownership and underwrote mortgages that were covered with red flags. The toxic mortgages from the two GSE fed the food chain of tainted financial instruments that led the world to the edge of depression.


While in Washington, OWS-which says the lack of jobs is part of its agenda-should visit a few federal regulatory agencies that are working overtime to kill jobs. The first would be the Department of the Interior. Over a million very high-paying jobs could be created in this country in a matter of months if our domestic energy resources were allowed to be tapped. The annual salary and benefits of these jobs average close to $100,000.


In addition to giving families all across the U.S. high-level employment, developing these resources would help secure our energy future, reduce energy costs, and bolster other industries such as technology and manufacturing.


While in D.C. the crowd could move over a few streets and visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This agency in the last 30 years has sent more good-paying U.S. jobs overseas than any other. Its overbearing regulations have made ghost towns out of once strong communities in America. The shortsightedness of their actions is borne out by the fact that when those lost jobs go overseas, they go to nations whose environmental restrictions are so far below U.S. standards that the net impact on the world environment is a huge negative.


Another occupation opportunity in Washington would be the headquarters of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). You can literally trace the reduction of education achievement in this nation to the rise of these two powerful education unions. Uneducated Americans can’t successfully compete with educated Americans or educated non-Americans for the shrinking number of good-paying jobs in sustainable employment sectors. After years of putting employees’ best interests ahead of those of students, the AFT and NEA deserve having litter in front of their buildings.


There are other occupation opportunities-almost too many to list. Prime examples are SOLYNDRA and other crony capitalism enterprises that suck up and waste taxpayers’ dollars because they can’t legitimately compete in the marketplace. Excessive government regulations, a perverted tax code, and entitlements enacted without secure sources of funding are all worthy of protests.


Perhaps the most important places where OWS can camp out are day care centers and kindergartens. The economic future of generations to come is being stolen by staggering levels of government debt that will doom children yet unborn to a standard of living a fraction of that enjoyed by their parents and grandparents. The free lunch many of the OWS protesters want is not free. It is being invoiced to toddlers who can’t take to the streets in their own defense.