Despite all the protest and passion of the Occupy movement, the most important part is missing: details. A public stand against corporate greed is great, but it's much too vague. What instances of greed? Which corporations? Who are the villains? What should happen to them? Without a more specific focus for anger, the outdoor occupiers will begin fading after the first frost.
The focus doesn't need to be a major target like Madoff or the entire SEC. It could start with one small example and move up from there. Here's a perfect example. It was in an infuriating article by reporter Matt Taibbi in the April 28 issue of Rolling Stone. Titled "The Real Housewives Of Wall Street," the story, surprisingly, passed without much notice.
It begins by revealing America's non-public and completely secret budget, one operated solely by the Federal Reserve. This budget distributes trillions of dollars and, Taibbi says, equals the amount of our national budget. It's made up of "a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs." The "housewives" are Christy Mack and Susan Karches. Mack is married to the chairman of the Morgan Stanley corporation, a financial-services company that is one of Wall Street's giants. Karches is the widow of the former president of Morgan Stanley's investment-banking division.
The two women, who had no previous business experience, formed a "corporation" named Waterfall TALF Opportunity. The corporate name is itself maddening. TALF stands for "Term-Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility"; a bailout program offered by the Feds. It paid a waterfall of money to the new company: $220 million. Yes, 220 million taxpayer dollars were handed to Mack and Karches. With some of their share, the Macks paid cash -- $13.5 million dollars -- for a large,12-car-garage home on New York City's upper-crust East Side.
The crux of Taibbi's well-written story is how, legally, these bailout loans don't even have to be paid back. It's free money for the rich. The 99 per cent lose their homes, while Wall Street honchos -- and their wives-- are secretly given millions.
The Occupy movement should make an example of this example. It's easier to direct productive anger against two scheming women rather than a large corporation that can hide behind a bevy of expensive lawyers. If Waterfall TALF Opportunity is forced to pay back the $150 million still owing on its loan, and an investigation is opened into the legality of forming a corporation for the sole purpose of receiving millions of bailout dollars, there will be an outcry, perhaps even criminal charges. That's when the Occupy movement will suddenly become a power -- as powerful or more than the Tea Party. Wall Street miscreants will know there's a target on their backs. They will begin freaking out -- who's next? And that will be the beginning of reform.
Wina Sturgeon intends to make 25 copies of "The Real Housewives Of Wall Street," take them to Occupy Salt Lake at Pioneer Park, and pass them out to interested protestors. A link to the story can be found here: