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Saturday, August 16, 2014
Occupy Wall Street - Finally A Tax Proposal Warren Buffett Should Love
Originally Published on forbes.com on September 30th,2011
I’ve been following “Occupy Wall” Street on Facebook since it began. In case you have been a victim of the corporate media blackout “Occupy Wall Street” is a group of people camped out in the New York City financial district. They describe themselves as:
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.
Nearly two weeks into a sit-in at a park in Manhattan’s financial district, the “leaderless resistance movement” calling itself Occupy Wall Street is at a crossroads. The number of protesters on scene so far tops out at a few hundred, tiny by Athens or Cairo standards. But the traction they have gained from run-ins with police, a live feed from their encampment and celebrity visits is upping expectations. How about some specific demands, a long-term strategy, maybe even … office space?
So far the group, which generally defines itself as anti-greed, has none of those.
I called my activist friend Tom Cahill, who has guest posted here. Responding from his gentrified barn near the Mendocino Coast, Tom was unaware that the movement was still going on, which he attributes to a corporate media blackout. I attribute it to Tom not being able to dealwith Facebook, where I have been getting regular updates from his ex-wife. He thinks it possible that the real leaders are laying low. I asked him if he wanted to be my roving reporter. I’m itching to go down there myself, but second tax season has another couple of weeks to go. Tom declined on grounds of age.
In terms of a specific proposal, I’ve yet to see anybody talking about“carried interests“, which seems odd since that has become the poster provision for people upset about the financial system. I’m dying to have an extended discussion of the subtleties of Subchapter K with some young anarchists. I finally did find someone pitching a specific proposal to the group:
The protesters — marching since Sept. 17 in the financial district, especially at the opening and closing stock-exchange bells — also got advice from a small grassroots political party for a specific demand they could call for.
They could call for a 50-cent Wall Street stock-trade surcharge, which it said would boost the U.S. economy at least $350 billion a year, Light Party founder Da Vic Raphael told United Press International Thursday night. I kind of like that one. Maybe it would put a dent in market volatility. One more proposal that won’t cost Warren Buffett that much since he thinks the ideal holding period is forever.
I rarely wish that I was sixteen again, but this is one of those times. When I was sixteen I worked on Wall Street, part of the army of runners that were necessary to the smooth running of the system. With occasional side jobslike getting lunch for partners, we spent the morning delivering paper stock certificates and the afternoon picking up checks. No question I would be dropping in at the park if I had the chance. I’m hoping to have some guest posts from people who know more about what is going on. It looks like it will still be going when second tax season ends so I’ll be making a visit in a couple of weeks. I’ll let you know what it is like unless the corporate media blackout police finally catch up with me. It’s only a matter of time.