Occupy Wall Street went global this weekend. While most of the 900 events on 4 continents were peaceful some violence did ensue, most notably in Rome where so-called "black bloc" elements came armed with Molotov cocktails and other weapons of mass anarchy.
"This is what the endgame looks like because people feel powerless," says John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Advisors. "They're trying to figure out what happens [next] and it's not really good."
What happens next is debt deleveraging, leading to weak economic growth and continued high unemployment, says the author of (most recently) Endgame. "That means we're going to be in a 'muddle through' economy, at best, over the next five years. That just increases the angst."
To date, the protests in the U.S. have been largely peaceful and Occupy Wall Street members have pledged non-violence. But the longer it goes on and the larger the protest becomes, the possibility of violence escalates.
America "needs to hit the 'reset' button on the blue screen of death," Mauldin says. "Otherwise, we'll become like Greece and Italy and I fear that people will get just as frustrated here...there's no generic code that says Americans will just sit by and do nothing."
While Europe is rapidly approaching the endgame, Mauldin believes America still has time to figure out a path out of what he says is the big problem worldwide: "We've overcommitted public monies and we don't have them."
The critical question here is "how much healthcare do we want and how do we want to pay for it?" Mauldin says. "Everything else can be worked out."
While somewhat sympathetic to the protestors' frustrations, Mauldin says their anger is misdirected.
"My message to the 'Occupy Wall Street' guys: if they really want to If they really want to go after the source of the problem, they should go occupy Congress," he quips. (See: Occupy Wall Street: Uprising a Response to "Bought and Paid for Politics," Howard Davidowitz Says)
Instead of focusing on Wall Street, Washington and the protests should be focusing on reducing regulation and making it easier for new businesses to start, Mauldin says. To that end, he offers a new slogan I somehow doubt will show up at any Occupy Wall Street protest anytime soon: "Up with Entrepreneurs"
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