This is why.

For those looking for the underlying reason behind the occupy protests, this sign pretty well sums it up.

If there were a line for the cost of living increase, it would make it crystal clear for even the most dense.

This is the reason why there are people occupying.

This is the reason that there are no individual demands – the problem needs a conversation, not some concrete manifesto that can be dismissed as hippie nonsense.

This is the reason that if things get worse, the protests WILL turn violent. It is inevitable.

But lets be clear about a few things:

Telling people to pull out of big banks and into small banks will accomplish squat. First because people will simply not do it in numbers to have any real meaning. Two, because that will simply make the small banks the big banks and they will behave exactly the same way.

Telling people to shop at small independent shops will also accomplish squat. First is that most people will simply not do it, even the people occupying won’t do it. Second, that ship has sailed. Your local Hardware store used to have 12 sinks in stock, but Home Despot started carrying 100, which killed the local store and if you have a local hardware store at all anymore, they only have one or two sinks, not twelve. I had my family hardware store of three generations robbed out from under me by Home Depot and Lowes and even I shop at them now. Its just the way it is.

Being against corporate greed is stupid. Corporations exist to make money, and if they are public they are accountable to their shareholders. It is literally illegal for them NOT to be greedy (eg: move in ways that make profit for the shareholders.) . Government and the public sector exist to keep corporate greed in check and to provide services that corporate greed would work against. Unfortunately we are infected with a right wing virus in this country that wants to do away with this.

The problem is not too much government. The problem is too little. No matter how bad you think the government is, they are at least accountable to you in terms of your vote, with a corporation you get nothing.

Go Occupy.
Go Vote.
Go Enchant.

About Inominandum

Author. Sorcerer. Consultant. I have 30 plus years of experience making magic a reality for myself, my clients, and my students. For a complete background go to
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19 Responses to This is why.

  1. RO says:

    Oh, I disagree about the smaller banks and stuff. I think it sends a message. And so what if no one else does it, it’s good business for you to do it anyway. Smaller banks have smaller fees, and they’re more likely to extend credit to small businesses, though I think taking out loans in the digital age is just lazy.

    I’ve found a local hardware store that has everything I need for most jobs, and it’s family owned. It survived by selling lumber at discount rates to the construction industry. It’s in danger of failing now because there’s little new home construction, and the remodel-and-flip market has dried up considerably.

    The housing bubble was in part caused by the government requiring a percentage of loans go to low income people through fannie and freddie. That was originally a liberal idea, I suspect, but once the banks saw how profitable it could be, it became accepted and quotas were raised by the right to stupid amounts. To meet quotas, allegedly, the banks lowered their standards and took on riskier borrowers. The Fed’s concerns about inflation kept the housing interest rates repressed too.

    Government is very much to blame for this, the corruption on both sides of the aisle, but mostly the lack of governance. The lack of representation. I agree with you that government needs to police corporations a hell of a lot more, but it needs to focus more on cooperating for the common good and governing than whatever else it’s been doing for the last few years. mostly flame warring, I think. making things bad and blaming each other for it.

    Bigger government isn’t the answer. Reformed, refocused government would be better. I want to see more cops in the boardroom policing the greed and less on the war against drugs. put the corporate tax rates at international levels, but take away the personhood of the corporations, and raise the taxation of CEOs making 100 times their average employee’s wages, and subsidize small businesses. That would be ideal imo.

    • Inominandum says:

      True that it was a liberal idea to have Fannie and Freddie get loans for lower income people, but it was a controlled thing. It was the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 that allowed it to go bat shit crazy. It allowed the kabbalistically complex mortgage packages, credit default swaps, and other types of legalized de-regulated gambling that crashed the system.

      Smaller Banks do not necessarily offer better rates than big ones nor more loans.

      I also disagree on the need for small business loans. Its easy to do something like what we do, but if you want to open a brick and mortar business, or a hardware intensive online business like a VOIP telecom, you will probably need a loan.

      Government is to blame because it has been giving away all of its power since the election of Ronald Reagan.

      Think about how Republicans run for office on the idea that Government is bad and can’t do anything right. It’s fucking crazy.

      Yet the formula since Reagan has been:
      1. Run on the idea that government is broken and cannot do anything right.
      2. Once in office, prove your point by breaking government thru de-funding good programs, de-regulating corporations, and privatizing anything you can get away with.
      3 Repeat steps one and two.

      The flaming has to get worse before it gets better. Basically the last 30 years has been the right telling the left it needs to meet in the middle, the left moving to the middle, and the right moving further to the right so it can tell the left to meet in the middle. There comes a time when the “both sides are at fault” mentality has to go. One side is marginally sane and crappy at getting their point across. The other side is bat shit crazy and great at getting their point across because facts mean nothing to them. The very idea that people like Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum are in actual debates for the Republican Primary should itself be enough to show how FAR we have gone.

      Reformed and Refocused Government is not going to happen. It is as utopian an idea as attaining world peace because we all just decide to get along. Government is government, it gets smaller and it gets larger. It is WAY too small for what it has to govern.

      • RO says:

        Locally last week I looked at the rates and fees of two smaller banks and a credit union, and they all had better rates on CDs and savings accounts and lower fees with higher thresholds for triggering the fees, so I’m only speaking from my experience here in b-more. I’m in the process of moving my business account out of BoA. It’s harder than it used to be, what with debit cards linked to amazon, google checkout, and paypal to coordinate, scheduled bills to move, etc, but it’s interesting.

        And I eventually plan on getting an office space for the Baltimore chapter of the Centers for Applied Hermetics, so I can treat the kind of clients we get without letting them know where I live. My neighbor’s a Reiki III practitioner who, I recently discovered, is making a couple grand a month treating five regular clients in her basement. I’m interested to see where it goes and if it can be self-sustaining. There’s a place that rents office space on an hourly basis here in town that I’m going to use when I’m ready for testing, but it had better be self-supporting.

        I think brick and mortar stores are for folks who are fine making $20k a year off their sales. A tiny shop on main street here is $675 a month. Can’t imagine taking a loan for that kind of thing though, but that’s my taste.

        Agreed on just about everything else.

        • inominandum says:

          Rent is $675 a month, what would you stock a store with?

          Keep in mind that you need to not only stock it for opening, but have enough on hand to rotate stock even what does not sell.

          And since most businesses loose money their first two years you need expenses covered, not to mention salary for you and perhaps someone you hire.

          But not everything is retail.

          My friend just opened up a Pizzaria, Thats a lot of equiptment, insurance, liscenses, etc.

          You are kind of thinking very narrowly about what someone might need an Small Business Loan for.

          When we opened up a Paint Store, a $50,000 loan was no where NEAR enough.

      • Ngawang says:

        That’s the conventional story. The problem is that it isn’t true. Republicans, Reagan in particular, usually talk(ed) about deregulation, about the “free market,” about “privatization,” about cutting taxes.
        What they actually do is entirely the opposite. The federal government as a percent of GDP expanded FAR, FAR more under Reagan and Bush than it did under Carter and Clinton.
        That’s the whole problem with this weird Reagan-as-Tax-Axer meme that has grown up in recent years: even an EXTREMELY cursory examination of the facts will show that Reagan never deregulated anything, and never cut taxes, rather being responsible for several large tax hikes.
        Hell, Carter actually produced way more deregulation than Reagan ever talked about, since he was responsible for deregulation of, among other industries, the airlines, trucking, railroads, and telephones. (The trucking and railroad deregulations undid the “reforms” documented by Kolko, as it happens.)

  2. Alex Kennedy says:


    I think you are correct about there needing to be a conversation and work, but I don’t think that graph shows what you think it shows. There is a statistical problem.

    First of all, the top line represents the incomes of the top 1%, while the other ones represent 20% slices. Is the average income of the top 1% going to be much higher than the average income of the bottom 20% (or even the average of the top 20%)? Of course it will be. If it wasn’t, then those people wouldn’t be to top 1%, by definition.

    There is more to it than that, but I’m in a hurry right now, and not the best person to explain anyway.

    • Inominandum says:

      No there is not a statistical problem. Yes the top 1% will be at the top or they would not be the top. Being SO far away from everyone else, and at a climb that much steeper than everyone else IS a problem.

      The top 1% have 34.6% of the nations wealth.
      The rest of the top 10% have 38,5%
      The bottom 90& have 26.9% of the nations wealth.

      NO OTHER 1st world nation is like this. It is a 3rd world distribution of wealth.

      • Alex Kennedy says:

        You’re right, and I apologise.

      • Ngawang says:

        Plot growth in real (vs nominal) federal, state, and local spending over that chart showing household income. As spending increases, the incomes of the people on the bottom decreases. Correlation isn’t causation, but it’s usually a damn good clue.

  3. Auberon says:

    Well said Jason!

    We need more people willing to stand up for this and against the Right and it’s lackies.

  4. Erica says:

    I am with RO on the small shops and banks issue. Maybe it won’t do much. But it won’t do *nothing*. And change at the aggregate level happens person by person. Maybe the small will then become the big – or maybe with more demand, some more credit unions and small scale farmers and independent artisans will make a go of it.

    It is worth a shot, when we have the chance, to spend our money wisely. I’m not saying to be foolish, I would not go without something needed to ‘stick it to the man,’ but if I can get a dozen eggs from a local farmer in my area *or* from a Super Wal Mart? Why on earth would I go to the Wal Mart?

    • Inominandum says:

      Erica. I am not against such measures. I myself do not shop at Walmart.

      As a personal choice it is great, but as a solution it sucks because it takes focus off the real issues and makes you feel good about the piddly ass thing you can do with very little effort.

      The dark side of it is the judgement of people that end up shopping at the walmart or the fast food place, or the big box.

      The reason that most people will buy their eggs at the wal mart is that the Farmers Market has decided to become an “Artisinal” market so that he can over charge for the eggs and sell them to wealthy Liberals who read Michael Pollen and Alice Waters and mock the salads at McDonalds.

      Basically the reason you would buy them at Wal Mart is that if you are poor, that is the place it makes sense to buy them.

      • RO says:

        I think I just realized the difference of our opinions on things. You’re talking realistically. I was talking ideally.

        Realistically, I still think the oligarchs will rule. I’ve only softened my stance on the Occupation because it’s steam roller time, and a magician needs to keep that shit in mind as they plan and plot their domination of the world.

        • Inominandum says:

          The Oligarchs will rule. That is not the point. The point is that the masses are OK with the Oligarchs ruling as long as the bulk of the populace is made comfortable enough, and has enough opportunity to move upward in status and wealth when they work hard for it. That was the deal, and they are breaking their end of it.

          If they are too stupid to give up enough wealth and power to make the masses fat and happy, than soon it will blow up in their faces.

  5. Well, said Jason. While I dislike republican and democrat alike, I find the neo-con right wing mentality nearly insane. Their current insistence on stopping the re-election of Obama at the risk of the nation itself speaks of the uncompromising ideology that leads down a dark road.

    Given the history of these things, I fear these protests may turn nasty…

  6. Jow says:

    Agreed generally.

    What is needed is a diffusion of wealth and power. Not a total diffusion to be sure, but far more than we’ve got. The government needs to sack up, and do what we pay them to do: Stop people from cheating us, killing us, poisoning us, exploiting us, etc.

    The current Cooperate Neocon movement behaves like the abuser in a grand cycle of abuses against the American People. Including re-framing of arguments, making us generally afraid to speak out, dismissing us, telling us what WE think, and then of course the actual abuses of power, and the funneling of wealth to those who are so buffeted up by the system that the only way they’d be able to be poor or homeless is if they went off to be a wandering yogi.

    As much as I am a frothing liberal, there needs to be a balance, but the issue is we’ve gone sooooo far out of balance that madness begins to look like sanity to too many.(Thank you Jason, for the Bachman/Santorum example.) I have reletives who lived through the 60’s movements and somehow are now believing that Obama “wants to make us all Communists”, and bitch about “Obamacare”, and the only thing I can think to do aside from present them with.. you know actual facts.. is the scream, “You are the working poor! You are the marginalized! This is for YOU!”

    It is a crisis of names and identity. A word game. A shell game. And in some cases a willingness to be ignorant because the problems loom too large.

    I giggle when right wing economists always claim the “Market will self correct”. In cases of vast inequity, the market often self corrects violently. Ask China, or Russia, or France.. or the framers of the Constitution.

    The control of money is the control of the exchange of goods and services. Like water, air, and land, or anything that we need to survive, these things should be heavily regulated, in trust, for the good of all, because their corruption can cause catastrophe on a global scale.

    No one small thing will change the system. It will take billions of small things to change it. One army ant cannot do much, but thousands can strip an elephant bare.

  7. Ngawang says:

    I can’t recommend to you strongly enough that you read Kolko’s Triumph of Conservatism. As he shows by going back and looking at the actual historical record, the conventional story of the triumph of Ultimate Good in the form of reformers over the Ultimate Evil of late nineteenth century robber barons might be a myth, but it has almost nothing to do with what actually happened, which is that the those robber barons worked to get reform legislation passed to protect their bottom line and shield them from smaller, more innovative competitors.
    Similarly today, the official purpose of government might be to regulate so as to reduce unfair practices and reduce information asymmetry, but in practice, what happens is that large corporations “capture” the regulatory agencies and use them to regulate their smaller, more innovative competitors out of existence.
    For a practical example of this, take a look at the amount of paperwork needed to set up any sort of investing or financial services form. You have to have an entire compliance department just to deal with it, and as the crash shows, that paperwork does absolutely nothing to protect investors.

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