Posted by: Deborah D | October 6, 2011

Occupy college campuses, not Wall Street.

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Occupy college campuses, not Wall Street.        

All of the protestors blocking traffic, looking like 1968 all over again, have been having trouble of late coming up with a coherent message of why they are “occupying Wall Street.” Besides the fact that they are being “community organized” by friends of Obama, some of their legitimate gripes aren’t really with Wall Street (whose big shots have been big donors to their beloved Obama.) Many are mad because they find themselves in student loan debt with no job on the horizon. Now, other than themselves for taking out ridiculous school loans, and other than the lefties in our government who promoted the school loan mess, where should they be going to protest? Not Wall Street, but back to campus. This is from Dan Primack over at CNN Money.

In the weeks since Occupy Wall Street began, a clearer narrative is emerging. The protesters (mostly) aren’t asking that Goldman Sachs be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors or for the U.S. banking system to be dismantled. Instead, they are upset that the American Dream has become the province of the few, through little to no fault of the many. And Wall Street makes for an easy target.

But if protesters tire of Zuccotti Park, there is an even more idyllic setting for voicing their displeasure: The college campus.

Take a look at We Are the 99 Percent – a website on which protest sympathizers share their tales of economic hardship. Very few of them mention banks, or even bank bailouts. The vast majority of them, however, do mention college debt. For example:

I have an MS from a top university & 135K in student loans (& growing). I’ve lost 2 jobs in 3 months. I want to get my BSN so I can get a job, but don’t know if anyone will give me more loans. I can’t afford my antidepressants, & I need them more than ever now. I’m lucky I have friends I can live with, but that won’t last forever — then what? I am the 99%.

According to The College Board, average annual in-state tuition and fees at four-year public universities increased by 72% over the past decade. Four-year private college tuition is up by more than 34% over the same time period, during which inflation rose only around 25%.

Where is the university’s responsibility to its customers? Hell, where is its responsibility to America?

Isn’t college designed to enhance a student’s future well-being and, in turn, that of society at-large? How did it get corrupted to the point where higher education is the cause, rather than the solution, to so many of our collective ills?

Carnegie Mellon recently announced the receipt of the largest gift in the school’s 111-year history: A $265 million donation from trustee William Dietrich. In a press release, CMU discussed how the money will be used to “support interdisciplinary education and research initiatives across the university and across the globe.”

No mention, of course, of using some of Dietrich’s generosity to reduce average tuition at CMU, which rose 4% over just the past year to a whopping $43,160 (not including fees, room or board). Or even to keep it static. Instead, it’s all about build, expand, rinse and repeat. After all, U.S. News & World Report doesn’t reward affordability.

Read it all here:

Kevin Williamson over at National Review Online’s The Corner makes a big point that the protestors in the streets of New York City could learn a valid lesson from Steve Jobs, who died yesterday, finally succumbing to his cancer. We owe Jobs a debt the country cannot repay. He is an example of what good corporations do for their countries and the world.

…Mr. Jobs’s contribution to the world is Apple and its products, along with Pixar and his other enterprises, his 338 patented inventions — his work — not some Steve Jobs Memorial Foundation for Giving Stuff to Poor People in Exotic Lands and Making Me Feel Good About Myself. Because he already did that: He gave them better computers, better telephones, better music players, etc. In a lot of cases, he gave them better jobs, too. Did he do it because he was a nice guy, or because he was greedy, or because he was a maniacally single-minded competitor who got up every morning possessed by an unspeakable rage to strangle his rivals? The beauty of capitalism — the beauty of the iPhone world as opposed to the world of politics — is that that question does not matter one little bit. Whatever drove Jobs, it drove him to create superior products, better stuff at better prices. Profits are not deductions from the sum of the public good, but the real measure of the social value a firm creates. Those who talk about the horror of putting profits over people make no sense at all. The phrase is without intellectual content. Perhaps you do not think that Apple, or Goldman Sachs, or a professional sports enterprise, or an internet pornographer actually creates much social value; but markets are very democratic — everybody gets to decide for himself what he values. That is not the final answer to every question, because economic answers can only satisfy economic questions. But the range of questions requiring economic answers is very broad.

I was down at the Occupy Wall Street protest today, and never has the divide between the iPhone world and the politics world been so clear: I saw a bunch of people very well-served by their computers and telephones (very often Apple products) but undeniably shortchanged by our government-run cartel education system. And the tragedy for them — and for us — is that they will spend their energy trying to expand the sphere of the ineffective, hidebound, rent-seeking, unproductive political world, giving the Barney Franks and Tom DeLays an even stronger whip hand over the Steve Jobses and Henry Fords. And they — and we — will be poorer for it.

And to the kids camped out down on Wall Street: Look at the phone in your hand. Look at the rat-infested subway. Visit the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, then visit a housing project in the South Bronx. Which world do you want to live in?

So all of these “educated” protestors in the streets of New York City were given a raw deal, but it wasn’t a raw deal from the corporations. It was a raw deal from folks like Barack Obama and Barney Frank. It was a raw deal from those educators in their universities who taught them little and those administrators who raised tuitions to out of sight prices. Once again, it is the Left who is to blame for their woes, but they continue to blame everyone else. It is capitalism that will lift us out of the mess, not government and not corporations giving profits to government or some great god of the universe who will come down and wipe away the debt they brought upon themselves.

Read all of Williamson here:

Just as an added bonus, check out this demand (and go read the other equally ridiculous) from some of the protestors, collected by and responded to by Ryan Young over at

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

Do this and no one will ever lend again. This demand has so little understanding of basic human nature, let alone basic economics, that it frankly doesn’t deserve serious scrutiny. It just sounds like he wants all the trappings of a modern first-world lifestyle without paying for them. As the economist Deirdre McCloskey would say: no, dear.

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

Moody’s and the other ratings agencies played a starring role in inflating the housing bubble. Oh, they deserve plenty of blame. But the solution isn’t to outlaw them. It’s to outlaw Congress from giving them special treatment. Congressional coddling allowed them to lie to their customers and not get punished by market mechanisms. Their legally protected oligopoly is an outsized example of crony capitalism. Don’t confuse it with the real thing.

It would seem by most of these demands, they didn’t learn a lot in college that translates to the real world. Word of caution to parents – if you send your child to a university, either counter the indoctrination they’re getting with real-world facts or look very closely at the university you’re sending your student to. This is the kind of education they’re getting. No ability to think rationally, just a lot of “demands.” Read it all here:


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