A couple of weeks ago I was in running my dogs in the park and an acquaintance of mine came in with her two dogs. I mentioned the stock market and she started asking about commodities prices. For about half a second I wondered why this was a concern. Then it hit me - she is the owner of a coffee shop which is also a roasting establishment. Commodities prices have a massive impact on her life and profit margins - and coffee has gone crazy over the past year. Admittedly some of this was due to weather issues - but much of it was sheer speculation.
The same holds true from the oil speculation that was one extra nail in our fiscal coffin in 2008. High oil prices drove the cost of living sky high in the middle of recession in 2008 and helped lead the country off a financial cliff. But the impact goes even further than that. People die from commodities speculation. When food products are involved - such as wheat death and malnurishment result. In poor countries such speculation driving prices sky high can mean the difference of eating or not. Indeed, the high price of wheat was a big factor in rebellion in Tunisia and in Egypt.
I have a confession to make. It is official - I just made more money this year trading a single stock than I made either teaching or selling homes or doing any of the other things that I have been trained to “do” or “produce.” Given the fact that I am a card-carrying “progressive” this is a sad state of affairs indeed - particularly since the sum I made trading Apple stock on dips and peaks was hardly impressive. For “playing the game - I do not apologize. In times like this we have to do what works..and like I said - since I didn’t have much money to trade with in the first place - no markets were shaken to the core by my actions.
My financial worries aside - this leads to a bigger issue that has far more serious implications for the American economy and Main Street America.
Perhaps one of the biggest elephants in the room from #occupy wall street movement is that many of the protesters have done a 180 degree turn on that “self determination” thing.
Real estate agents are independent contractors and we are often coach and cajoled into believing that “you make it happen and YOU are in 100% control of your destiny.” That works until it doesn’t. You can be as aggressive as you want - but if consumer demand has completely dried up very few will survive. Like selling coals in Newcastle - selling houses in the biggest recession since the great Depression is about as easy as selling ice to Eskimos.
Much of the criticism levied at the #Occupy Wall Street movement has pinpointed the fact that in general the protesters lack “direction.” These people are not fools or bums and those who would dismiss them lightly do so at their peril. They are savvy enough to know something is wrong. Very wrong. They have the right target in their sites. They are disgusted with Wall Street and the “too big to fail” banks that have yet to be held to account for the misery they have inflicted on millions of Americans. They understand that the banks were bailed out. They understand that instead of lending the largesse from the taxpayers - the banks took the money and locked it up. They get that the super-rich, the big banks, and multinational corporations are sitting on the trillions of $$ that are desperately needed to kick start our economy. They understand that until that money circulates - the misery on Main Street will only increase.
But specific demands are harder to get to…
So here are some demands that would give the movement “direction”. They are particularly relevant to an #Occupy Wall Street movement in that it targets Wall Street and the big banks. (more…)