Are you one of the 99% represented by those participating in Occupy Wall Street?
- Yes (50%, 20 Votes)
- No (50%, 20 Votes)
Total Voters: 40
Those scorned by Wall Street before, during and after the financial crisis of 2008 have taken to the streets in a bi-coastal (and now very international) protest known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS). Although the media has zeroed in on their efforts, the OWS mob is mostly disorganized and has yet to send a clear message to their rentier oppressors. Their unofficial mantra — “We are the 99%” — heaps criticism on the wealth disparity between the top 1% of the population and everyone else.
first tuesday take: Readers, your time has come. The OWS movement is long overdue, but it does not matter at this point whether this particular protest will succeed since one eventually will. Time is very much on its side. A financial revolution will eventually erupt once the public is given enough information. The 99% know something at the top is wrong.
It is time for the trade union of organized brokers — the California Association of Realtors (CAR) — to get off their cell phones and choose their side. The real estate and construction trade unions are to be admonished for not quickly involving themselves in a movement that encapsulates every frustration of those negative equity homeowners they claim the special right to serve.
The insolvency of 2.5 million underwater homeowners in California is a direct result of Wall Street’s avarice; compounded by an unregulated competitive advantage allowing lenders to marshal personal wealth with no regard for how their conduct impacts a real estate industry they do not understand. Wall Street lenders and mortgage bundlers created the Millennium Boom — knowing full well the financial crisis of 2008 was impending — by capitalizing on homeowner ignorance about economics. [For information regarding the asymmetry of information between lender and homeowner, see the June 2011 first tuesday article, Closing the real estate information gap.]
Lenders have been allowed to run rampant as bullish Wall Street bankers infiltrate all parts of government, including the White House and Federal Reserve. Now, as the OWS group clamors for a redistribution of wealth, they aim their rhetorical pitchforks at both lenders and the government. They need the support of trade unions — who claim to have plenty of money for peddling influence — to manifest into one united movement with the power to affect change.
The public has plenty of time to get angry. As we now stand on the cusp of this swelling uprising, we estimate 20% of the public at this early stage in the demonstrations intellectually supports the cause of OWS. Note that the operative word is “intellectually”.
But just as in the year leading up to the impeachment of Nixon, the opinions of the people will be swayed by exposure to the facts. One year from now, when 80% of the public demand change on Wall Street, those on the sidelines will be embarrassed it took them so long to climb on board.
Brokers and agents, for the sake of your clientele, don’t wait that year.