– How do they propose to replace capitalism?

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To observe May Day (May 1st), Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel invited as a guest on his show Harrison Schultz of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to explain his organization’s objectives and motives. According to his LinkedIn profile, the 29 year old Schultz is a General Co-Organizer of the OWS and self-described “Anarchist.” Needless to say, the interview with Hannity, the polar opposite of Shultz politically, was rugged. Shultz argued, “The problem here is capitalism. That’s what needs to change. That’s what is failing all of these people.”

During the interview he went on to say he believes the government and big companies should provide the citizens free education, free health care, free dental care, free day care, free housing, and free transportation. “The government and corporations should get off our backs, stop enslaving us through debt, …”

Schultz’ comments on capitalism provides some rare insight into how the OWS movement perceives business and economics in general. Let’s consider the impact of each of Shultz’ proposed freebies:

In terms of EDUCATION, the average salary for a public school teacher is approximately $50.4K, High School teachers are $54.3K, and college professors average $80K to $120K depending on their specialty. This of course does not include school administrators, bus drivers, and maintenance personnel, nor construction costs for facilities, all of which has to be paid by someone, either the taxpayer, the consumer, or private benefactors.

For HEALTH CARE, the average salary for a nurse is $71.7K, and a doctor is $174.9K. This too, does not include office staff, medical technicians, or the cost of facilities, equipment and research. Likewise, this has to be paid by someone, either the taxpayer, the consumer, private benefactors, or insurance companies. On the average, the annual health insurance premium for a single person is $2.9K and $6.3K for a family.(1)

For DENTAL CARE, the average salary for a dentist is $141.7K and $61.7K for a dental hygenist. This too does not include the costs for facilities, equipment and support staff.

DAY CARE teachers average a salary of $27.8K and, of course, need facilities and equipment. Further, the national average cost for full-time day care is $611 a month.

As to HOUSING, single apartments range from $127-$360/month on the average; $616-$823/month for family apartments. This does not include utilities ranging from $60-$190/month. Then there is the matter of the salaries of the construction workers, architects, planners, engineers, managers and inspectors required to build the facilities, not to mention the materials needed for construction.

CNN recently reported, spending on public TRANSPORTATION totals roughly $50 billion a year, and noted that 75% of those dollars find their way to private companies in the form of construction contracts, fuel purchases and other expenditures.(4)

As an aside, the average cost for a bus is $424.8K, a railroad car averages $1.9M/car, and locomotives average $2.4M each.(5) Finally, the average cost for compact automobile ranges from $10K-$17K.(3)

This is how business works. If you perform a service, you expect to be compensated accordingly. If you build a product, you have to market it. All work involves competition and risk. The person who markets and delivers a better product or service at a more cost effective price will succeed while others fail. It also means nobody is irreplaceable; if you stumble and fall, someone will surely take your place. This is capitalism and if it sounds remarkably like Darwin’s theory of evolution whereby the strong survive and the species evolves, it is.

If we did everything Shultz suggests, the country would go broke at warp speed. There is a big difference between lending a hand or providing a safety net and giving everything away. People expect to be paid for services they render. Perhaps the OWS movement would want all of the people in the professions listed herein to waive their salaries and perform their services on a gratis basis. Unfortunately, this will not support their living requirements. The OWS have many complaints but no solutions other than Socialism which would do nothing but increase our debt. I do not believe they grasp the significance of debt as a concept. You do not spend what you cannot afford, for at some point your creditors will come knocking at your door demanding payment. You tighten your belt when times are lean, and you loosen it when you can afford to do so.

We have somehow developed a generation of people who sincerely believe they are entitled to everything as opposed to earning it, which is why they do not comprehend the concept of austerity. They want it all, they want it now, and they sincerely believe they deserve it. After all, if others can have nice possessions, why shouldn’t they? Envy has turned to rage. This is why the thought of earning and paying your own way is a foreign concept, not just to OWS, but to the Socialist Europeans as well.

To illustrate the point, following the Fox interview, it was reported Hannity offered Shultz a job which he refused as he wouldn’t settle for anything less than a starting salary of $80K. I wish I could have started at $80K. Don’t we all? You have to walk before you can run. It’s called “paying your dues.” Unfortunately, we are saddled with a country of Whizz Kids who believe they should start at the top. I don’t know where they were imbued with such genius, or perhaps it is nothing more than naive stupidity.

The one harsh reality the people do not want to recognize is, you are entitled to nothing. If you want something, you are going to have to go out and earn it. An education is not a right, it is a privilege. So is health care, dental care, housing, and transportation. Nothing is free. Forget what the promotion says, people do not offer something without wanting something in return. In the United States, the only thing you are entitled to is the freedom to try and hopefully succeed, but there is also the distinct possibility you might fail, a concept that frightens the laziest of people.

There is one last thing you are not entitled to, a helping hand. But if one is extended, you should definitely thank God and the person or institution offering it, but do not be so naive as to believe it is a right or free.

Keep the Faith!

1 – About.com
2 – Salary data from Salary.com
3 – Car costs from Motor Trend
4 – CNN – March 12, 2012, “Mass transit use rises as gas prices soar”
5 – American Public Transportation Association (2007-2008 figures)

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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