Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Peter Schiff Explains It All For The “99 Percent”

We haven't talked much about the "Occupy" movement here, whether on Wall Street, or in other major cities. My son and I have discussed it at some length, as he has been following the "Occupy Atlanta" movement closely. Paul admits to frustration over the extent to which people fail to articulate their grievances, into a platform or other statement of principles. That said, he does not support the notion at all, that this movement has any common ground with the "Tea Party," other than a dissatisfaction over TARP.

David Weigel of Slate.com begs to disagree with Paul, and even drew up a handy little chart to prove his point. Meanwhile, his colleague Jacob Weisberg is more succinct: “One looks cooler. The other smells better ...” Which is all most young people care to know, if they're really honest with themselves, and that's a shame.

Late last month, Reason.tv followed the investment guru, radio show host, not apologist for capitalism (not to mention author of the book How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes) Peter Schiff, as he spent three hours among the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. Carrying a sign saying "I Am the 1%, Let's Talk," Schiff spent more than three hours on the scene, explaining the difference between cronyism and capitalism, bailouts and balance sheets, and so on. Schiff understands their anger, but considers it "misdirected," which appears to be putting it kindly about two minutes into the clip. Most of these people don't argue so much with him as at him, with little more than the usual litany of knee-jerk clichés and regurgitating bumper sticker slogans.

They probably wouldn't listen to Reason's Steve Chapman either.

The conviction among OWS activists is that the rich have improved their lot by taking money from the not so rich—that wealth has been cruelly redistributed upward. What they overlook is that the real gains come from the creation of new wealth.

Steve Jobs did exceptionally well for himself, but he made the broad mass of consumers, here and abroad, better off in the process. Same for Sam Walton. What Oprah Winfrey created made her rich, but without her ...

My son should have been there. He and Schiff would be equally matched. Then the guy would be so impressed, he'd have a job waiting for Paul the minute he graduated. That would work out great, because Paul would learn to love capitalism, hopefully keeping his conscience along the way. It also doesn't hurt that Paul really loves New York City.

If you can't stand listening to a bunch of hippie-dippie wannabes for nineteen minutes, catch the two-and-a-half-minute version here. On the other hand, if you're a glutton for punishment, catch the nearly-two-hour uncut version here.

(Video produced by Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Nathan Chaffetz.)

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