Should savers occupy Wall Street?
Like many, I’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street movement with interest.
Seeing protesters with signs decrying "corporate greed" and "bailouts," I’ve wondered whether, as a saver, I should join in.
First, though, in the interest of full disclosure:
* I’m a product of Wall Street, having worked on that fabled thoroughfare for many years, a member of the "1%" crowd now under attack. (That, of course, was before I retired and had to live on the pittance of interest income Ben Bernanke allows me to earn.)
* I’m also a product of the 1960s, having attended college and law school when Norman Mailer’s "Armies of the Night" were on the march. (I watched, but didn’t participate.)
Unlike the protest movements of my youth, the Occupy Wall Street movement is, so far, largely amorphous, noticeably leaderless and quite agenda-deficient.
But that doesn’t mean its participants are clueless.
It’s refreshing to see people pointing the finger at the big financial institutions that brought the economy down.
Nevertheless, as a saver, I don’t feel I fit into this movement.
The problem is that my personal agenda -- with which many savers would agree -- isn’t made for a catchy placard or an interesting sound bite.
For example, as someone who has long dreaded potentially destructive inflation induced by Fed money-printing, I believe the Federal Reserve Act should be amended to eliminate the "dual mandate," instructing the Fed to pursue both stable prices and maximum employment.
It should only pursue the former.
But how would I look, down there on Liberty Plaza, carrying a sign proclaiming, "End the Dual Mandate -- NOW!"
Would supporters flock to me, or would I only attract curious onlookers scratching their heads?
I also advocate a monetary policy that would return interest rates to their historical levels.
But, if a CNN reporter interviewed me on the street and I said, "I demand the annual yield on the 10-year Treasury note be at least 6%," would the clip make it onto "Anderson Cooper 360"? (Only, I suspect, if it included footage of other protesters clobbering me over the head with their placards.)
Finally, I’m techno-challenged, not into social media and very disconnected.
No, I don’t believe I’d go over big with the Occupy Wall Street folks or the media following them.
So, as in the '60s, I think I’ll just sit this one out.