["Here Are Some Thoughts I Had For America!" is a column that grinds up only the very finest American punditry and pontificating of the past week through a complicated process of recombination in order to create a fulsome catechism of bourgeois thought.]
You know, I'm proud to have my nation compared to Slovakia. I'm pleased that the new head of state in Peru -- Ol' What's His Name -- is tamping down the leftist rhetoric and embracing the investor class, rather than flamboyantly consolidating his own power, like the guy who runs Brazil. And rather than concern myself with the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street, I'm sending some money to Somalia, because despite the fact that the Somalians are dirt poor, they have their priorities right. Rather than organize for relief of the destitute, they did something that was in our best interests. They demonstrated against an offshoot of al Qaeda, which heretofore was and forever hence will never be on our list of strategic priorities.
But I will send them a few dollars, and you know why? They make me feel good. They take my mind off the hardship that I see all around me and ridicule. I'm glad that, somewhere in this world, there are some poor people who understand that the best thing they can do is warm my heart, just a bit. Those Somalians, they understand their role within the Great Chain of Being -- it's the austerity of their lives that allows the rest of us to feel the richness of our own. And that gives me the opportunity to share this inspiring good news with you. That's called "paying it forward," from the slums of Mogadishu to your home. Those Somalians have a job to do, and they do it well.
By contrast, these Occupy Wall Streeters continue to Occupy far too many of my thoughts, contributing nothing but sputter and clutter. Unlike the noble Somalian paupers, these wretches don't seem to care about making anybody feel good about themselves. The people who do the work on Wall Street? Well, I know them. I work alongside them. We come together to provide many fabulous educational opportunities at America's best for-profit colleges. These occupiers don't seem to appreciate any of that!
Naturally, I blame Obama. By referring to decent men and women as fat cats, and constantly seeking to return the tax rates of millionaires and billionaires to Clinton-era levels (and by opposing our great for-profit colleges as if they were actually debt-trap sinkholes), he's done as much as anyone to fan the flames of populist anger. And for what reason? As one person said on the television the other day: "At this point, who can even remember who took worthless subprime mortgages and knowingly bundled them as mortgage derivatives so they could be sold, rebundled and resold to pension funds and banks around the world until -- because this entire scheme is a castle of sand and shit -- it inevitably collapsed, annihilating $17 trillion, [the] national economy, centuries-old financial institutions, and the life savings of untold millions of Americans?"
All the same, I am, by my very nature, a seeker after truth. So I gave these demonstrators a fair hearing. I sent one of my best guys down to the Occupy Wall Street encampment, and he reported back that this movement just embodies values that are just plain radical and dangerously out of touch with the respectable Americans I imagine to be centrists. True, we found out that over two-thirds of the people my man spoke with would not ever consider using violence to achieve their ends, but another way of looking at that is that nearly one-third would!
And yes, I've heard that other people have done similar surveys and found these demonstrators to be fairly non-elite, not as poor as one might imagine, only a little more unemployed than the rest of the nation, and that the vast majority consider themselves to be politically independent. There are others who suggest that the people of this city, by huge margins, look favorably upon this movement and that the protesters enjoy broad support across the nation as well. But those surveys employ tricks like "a larger sample size than the one I used" and "professional polling techniques." Well, I can see right through that.
Look, my point is this: If you spend too much time occupied with this loud and distracting protest movement, you'll just be missing the rest of a nation that I'm sure is undergoing some sort of very quiet and very well-behaved transformation that I'm sure will work out just fine for everyone. I understand that Americans are still roiled by those bailouts. They feel that way because, despite the fact that Tim Geithner has assured us that TARP was super successful, the people who really broke the system never got punished.
And by "the people who really broke the system," I am, of course, referring to auto workers, teachers, firefighters, policemen and other public sector teat-suckers. But we don't march around in the streets and risk getting trench foot in public parks to correct this -- we quietly use the system to squeeze from these people the pint of blood that they owe us, like civilized people.
Oh, you say that I have erroneously fingered Brazil as a state run by a man who is flamboyantly consolidating his own power, when I meant Venezuela? Well, if you're right, I'm sure one of my best people will fix it. He's got a job to do, and he does it well. Leaves me more time to think pretty!
Anyway, viva Somalia!
Good News! No, Really! [Bill Keller @ New York Times]
What are those OWS people so angry about? [Glenn Greenwald @ Salon]
34 Ways to Solve our Fiscal Crisis [The Fiscal Times]
Student loan debts crush an entire generation [Alex Pareene @ Salon]
The Exasperation of the Democratic Billionaire [Wall Street Journal]
Polling the Occupy Wall Street Crowd [Wall Street Journal]
The Great Restoration [David Brooks @ New York Times]