What is your stance on Occupy Wall Street?

What is your stance on Occupy Wall Street? –@KarimGuessous

I think a lot of people, including myself, have been badly hurt by the financial crisis that occurred in 2007-9 but really began in 2000-2002 and can be argued, began much earlier.

The problem is this: I used to live right on Wall Street. So I know the people who actually work there. Many of those people lost their jobs, their pensions, their homes, their savings, their 401ks, etc.

I hate to think now that along with all that they already lost they have to deal with thousands of people shouting at them and shoving signs in their faces as they try to get to work. A shit job they have to go to feed their families.

I understand “Wall Street” is symbolic but the reality is that “Wall Street” moved to Park Avenue between 45th and 57th Street many years ago. I used to live in the same building where JP Morgan worked (it got converted to rentals). Now Jami Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan works on 45th Street near Park Avenue. And the hedge funds are all in Greenwich, Connecticut. And the SEC and the Federal Reserve are in  Washington DC. Why protest in the face of hard working Americans when the real culprits who should be put on trial live and work elsewhere.

Here is the thing. OW!

That’s what the Occupy Wall Street people are feeling. They are in pain:

A)    They lost their jobs

B)    They lost money while rich people got bonuses

C)    They lost their homes

D)    Maybe they lost their families

All of the above happened to me. Specifically in 2008. I could easily be down there protesting for the same reasons.

But, I actually lived there for several years. On Wall Street. My roof overlooked the New York Stock Exchange.

You never saw a sorrier, sadder group of people going to work every day than on Wall Street in March, 2009. The actual people who work on Wall Street are low-level people who are slaves of the banks. These people lost everything. Now, to top off their depression, the protestors are waving signs in their faces as if the Wall Streeters are the guilty ones.

Let me tell you something: the guilty parties live in Greenwich, CT. Work on Park Avenue and Washington, DC, and they are more than happy to see Occupy Wall Street all the way downtown on Wall Street.

Because of the lack of organization, the Occupy Wall Streeters think they are protesting something symbolic: the greed of Wall Street. The rich bankers are 5 miles north laughing their way to the bank.

Lets get the banks to start lending again. Lets let the stock market go up instead of protesting it. When there is more money in the system, more people will get hired, more people will find opportunities, more businesses will get funded. Being angry at the people who lost the most won’t help anyone.

99% of the country doesn’t care about Occupy Wall Street.

Clearly people are angry. 9/11. The dot-com bust. The housing bubble (which provided for housing for many people who could not otherwise afford it) followed by the bust (all of those people then lost their houses), the Lehman crisis, the financial and unemployment crisis, the government bailouts that didn’t seem to have any check at all on CEO compensation. Heck, I’m angry. And filled with regrets over this past decade and what I could have done differently to avoided some of the pain that spread throughout the country and world.

But, lets keep the pain in check. It’s time now for people to clean their own house before barging in and cleaning everyone else’s house.

But to say even more. Every decade our quality of life gets better. The bottom 99%, the top 1%. All 100% gets better. Literacy goes up, lifespans go up, violence goes down, the number of families with two cars goes up (and the number of car deaths go down), etc.

Someone once told me, “Don’t look at what’s in my wallet and I won’t look at what’s in yours.” The same thing here. Okay, CEOs took too much money. That sucks. Bush and Obama gave them that money. It was horrible.

But now is the time for recovery. Get healthy first. That’s your choice about whether or not you can get healthy: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Build your health. Be a beacon to those around you so they can be a beacon to those around them.

There’s been horrible violence in these Occupy movements and there’s been no real demands. If you want to do some good in the world, get healthy, start a business (or manage one) and make your business do the right things instead of the horrible things that have happened this past decade. Become a leader, not a protestor, an innovator, and not someone peeing in Zucotti Park (a park where many people I know (chess players, food vendors) have had their lives disrupted negatively by these protestors of graduate students.) Now is the time to move on and be successful and show the CEOs of last decade how it’s done. Don’t blame them or the government on your own failures. Now is the time to succeed.

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