On December 12, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) attempted to shut down West Coast ports from Anchorage to San Diego. Protesters said that by shutting down the ports, they could shut down Wall Street’s profits.
OWS organizers called their event “Day Without Goldman Sachs.” They also could have named their port protest:
- “Day Without Holiday Paychecks for Truckers”: “I just lost $400 today. These people say they represent the 99 percent. They don’t represent me,” said Mark Hebert, a long-haul trucker who was stranded in Oakland with 36,000 pounds of Kansas beef bound for Asia. “This is joke. What are they protesting?” said Christian Vega, 32, who sat in his truck carrying recycled paper from Pittsburgh. He said the delay was costing him $600. “It only hurts me and the other drivers. We have jobs and families to support and feed.”
- “Day of Global Hunger”: An estimated 25,000 people a day die from malnutrition. U.S. agricultural exports play an important role in reducing hunger and lowering the cost of food. Half of all U.S. agricultural exports are shipped through the West Coast ports that Occupy Wall Street tried to shut down.
- “Day to Jettison Jobs”: The California Chamber of Commerce reports that cargo moving through West Coast ports supports more than 3 million American jobs. Port workers were directly affected by OWS disruptions: “They are targeting the wrong people,” Mike Gardner, a crane operator from Portland, told Bloomberg News. “The corporations are still making money today. We are not.”
- “Day to Plow Under Farmers”: About one-fourth of all grain grown on U.S. farms is shipped to people in other countries. More than 25 percent of U.S.-produced pork is exported, along with 14 percent of all beef. Farmers and livestock producers would be devastated if protesters shut down U.S. ports for an extended period of time.
- “Day to Shrink Teachers’ Retirement Funds”: The biggest owners of Goldman Sachs—along with just about every other publicly traded company—are pension and retirement funds for groups like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Shutting down Wall Street’s profits would mean reducing the retirement security of just about everyone who has a pension, 401(k), or individual retirement account.
As reported in a recent Gallup poll, most Americans view big government, not big business, as the biggest threat to the United States. If Occupy Wall Street is a democratic organization, as its supporters allege, the group will quit threatening the economic well-being of U.S. truckers, farmers, and teachers and start protesting out-of-control government spending instead.