As a "devout follower" of Schiff (according to Hava-gava-kasha), I will share his article on his experience at OWS. I doubt Hava-gafa-kasha will read it as it doesn't fit his preconceived political dogma, but...

In Defense of the 1%

By: Peter Schiff
Friday, October 28, 2011

Last week, I spent the afternoon visiting the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in lower Manhattan. I brought a film crew and a sign that said "I Am The 1%, Let's Talk." The purpose was to understand what was motivating these protesters and try to educate them about what caused the financial crisis. I went down there with the feeling that much of their anger was justified, but broadly misdirected.

Indeed, there were plenty of heated discussions. I did little more than ask how much of my earnings I should be allowed to keep. In return, I was called an idiot, a fool, heartless, and selfish. But when we started talking about the issues, it seemed like the protesters fell into two categories: those who generally understood and agreed that Washington caused this mess, and those who could only recite Marxist talking points. It was the latter who usually resorted to calling names once I pointed out the hypocrisy of their positions. They might shout, "the banks have taken over the regulatory agencies, so we need more regulations!" Obviously, this is paradoxical. If they're blaming government for causing this problem, why would they suggest more government as the solution?

I think some of the leadership of Occupy Wall Street comes from this kind of radical Marxist background – and perhaps they're smart to intentionally keep quiet about their goals. Because the vast majority of protesters I met did believe in capitalism - they're just tired of being screwed over by crony capitalism. Noted school-choice activist Michael Strong calls it "crapitalism," and that's what it is. It's a rotten deal for everyone, and they know it.

The problem is that many of these people are under the mistaken impression that Wall Street banks are to blame for this state of affairs. That's like blaming the dogs for getting into the trashcan. Sure, it's bad behavior, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the authority figures - in this case, Washington. After all, it's not the New York metro area that has benefitted the most from this crisis. Rather, the counties around DC are now ranking as the wealthiest in the country. And while wealthy New Yorkers have historically made their living providing essential financial services to the global economy, Washington has always made its living one way: at our expense.

That's why I have trouble sympathizing with people calling themselves the “99%”, implying they stand in opposition to wealth no matter how it's earned. I own a brokerage firm, but I didn't receive any bailout money. In fact, I have to work twice as hard to compete with bigger financial firms that are propped up by the US government. The least I deserve is the ability to keep what I earn.

Remember, if the IRS weren't taking so much from the wealthy who have earned it, there would be that much less for Wall Street bailouts. A hundred years ago, major banks had no business lobbying Washington, because compared to their free-market earnings, the government simply didn't have that much money to dole.

The other tool the government didn't have to use against us back then was the Federal Reserve. Even if we drastically reduce taxes, the Fed might decide to do what it has been doing: printing money to finance government profligacy. This acts as a secret tax on everyone with a bank account, and is critical in transferring wealth from hardworking Americans to politically connected elites. So, really, the protests shouldn't be on Wall Street but around the corner on the ironically named Liberty Street, site of the New York Federal Reserve Bank – the heart of this dishonest system.

This gets you to the fifth paragraph under the video link - enjoy: