THE BLOG
05/02/2013 06:34 pm ET Updated Jul 02, 2013

Too Quick to Nail

I cannot be alone in wondering wither the Occupy Wall Street movement. Yes, I have seen their encampments (for example, on The Federal Reserve's doorstep in San Francisco) and read of their demonstrations around the country. But regular front-page news of its labors is a distant memory.

What a change from the heady days of fall 2011, when the "occupying" in OWS was in full bloom. It cannot be, I would think, that their raison d'être has disappeared. Indeed, the reported breadth and depth of malfeasance in the financial industry appears to have increased, and "banksters" has become a common sobriquet. My guess is that the citizenry, with the attention span of a fly, might be themselves otherwise occupied.

I always thought the OWS picked the wrong target. As egregious as are the sins of the financial community, I would have picked the one percent of the political class as a much more worthy target of our collective wrath. Even today, I continue to pine for an Occupy Government movement -- OGOV.

GOV has all of Wall Street's deficiencies and then some: ready access to lots of OPM -- "other people's money" (Grant Williams, a Singapore-based financial advisor, opined that the acronym should appropriately be pronounced "opium," perhaps to accentuate its debilitating effects); access to power, or at least to those special corridors; a revolving door between the GOV and the private sector; an ability to play fast and loose with the law, morality, and ethics; a mixture of arrogance, ignorance, and ineptitude; and a myopia that ignores the long-term and the bigger picture. Rather than too big to fail, the GOVs are too quick to nail, despite their bloated presence in our lives.

I recall in the heyday of 2011, how many of the GOVs actually joined OWS in railing against the financial industry. I thought then that the GOVs artfully executed the magician's method of diversion, lamenting the offenses of the financiers while distracting us from their own transgressions. GOVs obfuscate and dissemble, yet thrive because of the evergreen hope of the dwindling percent of citizens who still vote.

I do not wish to malign magicians, however, as the true magician's craft is moral and ethical. He tells the truth: "My intent is to fool you." As Picasso once described art as "a lie that makes us realize truth," so the magician's art is to play with our minds for our own amazement and understanding (should that be misunderstanding?). Similarly, Penn and Teller began using transparent cups in their "find-the-ball" trick, relying on their speed and dexterity to achieve their magic.

The GOVs are convinced they understand the situation completely and know exactly how to nudge the system here and pull the system there. They fail to appreciate how limited are their powers to make sense of so much complexity. So they regularly produce at best tepid solutions and at worst what others have called "fatal remedies." Their one percent status, they might feel, sanctions their acting without understanding. Unless, of course, it's an election year, when inaction is the preferred option.

The GOV's arrogance and ignorance are based on an assumption that complexity can be commanded and micromanaged through detailed prescriptions. They conflate spending money with investing and assure us that just a few more horses and a few good men could, indeed, put Humpty back together again. I am reminded of Thomas Jefferson's foresight: "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretext of taking care of them."

Despite Jefferson's caution, "the people" increasingly cede their responsibilities to these one percenters who not only fail to take care of the citizenry but also diminish their individual and collective capacities and competencies. The GOVs suck up opportunity and dole it out to those that please them. The general decline of opportunity in our country can be traced in no small part to GOV's efforts to increase it.

We are in a great restructuring in our country, and the GOVs are not only clueless about its dimensions but believe they can command and control our nation through it. We must convince them otherwise. So, hunker down. Buckle up. And "Occupy Government"!

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