Those of you who are familiar with San Diego know that the Gaslamp Quarter is one of the busiest areas in the city. People who live around it get used to large crowds. We're used to a typical Saturday night when the crowds spill off the sidewalk into the streets. And then we get street festivals and large conventions like Comic Con, which make it even worse. Generally, our reaction is, oh, man, how am I going to get home in this mess.
So what could get someone who's jaded and cynical about big crowds to pay attention?
When Occupy Wall Street travels about as far as it can come from New York without crossing an ocean.
I heard the whistles, drums, and chants this afternoon. Knowing that Occupy Wall Street was coming to San Diego, I grabbed my camera and headed up to the roof to take some pictures.
The crowd started to cross Fifth and Market at 4:31 Pacific time according to the timestamp on my camera.
You can see that San Diego's finest are escorting the march. So anyone who says they were doing this illegally is lying.
The people mocking this movement -- and it is a movement at this point -- will tell you that it's a bunch of burned out hippies and students. Wrong again.
Yes, there are students. But there is also an older individual in a striped shirt and a child who is on her parent's shoulders.
The other lie is that these protestors are violent and breaking the law. Really? Then why are two people in wheelchairs bringing up the rear of the march?
And why are the police escorting them instead of arresting them? By the way, San Diego's finest deserve a lot of credit for ensuring these guys could exercise their first amendment rights to peaceful protest.
The time stamp on that last picture was 4:37 Pacific. As you can see, Fifth Avenue is a three lane road, and it took six minutes for the marchers to pass by.
As many of you know, I use the same tools the one percent uses. I blog about how to use those to boost your investing returns.
So why would I support the marchers? Because it's ridiculous that I clicked on a mouse six times, and in 45 minutes, my options trades netted me the same amount of money as it takes a minimum wage worker 20 hours to earn. I clicked a mouse. He spent it mopping floors or stocking shelves.
And because the social contract has been shredded by the one percent.
When my father came here in the 1950s, the social contract was that if you were willing to work hard, you could live a middle class life. You could put a roof over your head, food on the table, and go to the doctor when you got sick. And you could do this on one income.
That's not the case anymore. The minimum wage in California is $8 an hour, or $16,000 a year. Yes, these are low skill jobs, but they simply do not provide people with a way to live that middle class life.
So the social contract has been shredded, but not just for low skill workers. Engineers can see their jobs vanish when one of the one percent decides that he wants to cut costs, so he'll send those jobs to India. A computer scientist can see his job sent to Poland when an exec decides to goose earnings by a couple of pennies a share. And a biotech researcher may see his job vanish if a Carly Fiorina type decides to send it to China.
We need to bring the social contract back. There is no reason why anyone who is willing to work hard should have to decide whether he should pay the rent or the doctor.
And that's why someone who uses the tools of Wall Street supports those who want to occupy it.