An occupational hazard

Christopher Coulter Columnist

The pesky disturbance to South Manhattan’s normally robust power lunch crowd, known as “Occupy Wall Street,” could be bad for business. If the menacing protests keep up, we could see productivity drop and profits fall. And not just for greedy waitresses and restaurateurs.

Sure, escaping back home to the Upper East Side world of doormen and limousines is a comfort to today’s beleaguered hedge fund manager, but recently there is less of a glide in his prodigious step. Something has disturbed his federally relieved habitat. Once accustomed to posh lunches at Capital Grille, the dangerous protesters clamoring on Wall Street are interfering with ever-hungry capitalists’ pursuit of gastronomical happiness. So far, the protests are just a nuisance, but the underclass occupiers contaminating the path to a satisfactory lunch are unstable. This must end, for nobody brings a sack lunch to Wall Street — all the refrigerators are filled with Champagne.

If the occupation keeps up, the financial bosses will be forced underground into parking garages, where idling chauffeured cars will have to whisk them away to some other Manhattan restaurant where the Lobster Newburg is only just as good. But annoyed financial services workers’ pain does not stop at the lunch line — it goes deeper than that.

Wall Street bosses are by nature a compassionate and sensitive people — their thoughtful position to bet on both sides of subprime-backed securities is proof enough. Looking down from their corner offices, bankers try to avoid glimpses of the lurid scene below where obviously rabid women are rounded up and pepper sprayed. Wall Street bankers are emotionally ill-equipped to deal with the real world grievances that they thought would never come ashore on the island. And in their defense, they should not have to endure such a close physical proximity to scenes of domination and violation — that kind of special activity is reserved for intimate moments in Washington.

This is not some scheme to rile up unfounded pity for the ruling class on Wall Street. Although their tireless work to defraud investors through the manipulation of securities rating agencies did go largely unthanked, this is a call to the “occupiers” for restraint. We do not know at what point empathetic Wall Street executives will break from the despair of the occupation continuing below. We do not know how much longer board members can last being presented the spectacle of these 99 percenters suffering day after day without a 2 p.m. racquetball match to break up the after-lunch malaise.

Market aftermath

The concern among financial sector insiders is that the entirety of Wall Street’s financial services sector will suffer an emotional collapse under the weight of the baggage being so irresponsibly drudged up by the protesters. And this emotional collapse will hurt more than just the common waiters, waitresses and restaurants that provide the lunches they can no longer enjoy — it could ultimately precede a deep and enduring depression the likes of which we have seen, very recently, only threatened.

But thankfully for us, the last time Wall Street declared a state of emergency in the fall of 2008, both our presidents got the message, avoided a drawn out hostage crisis and paid the universe’s ransom.

Even though 2008 was an economic crisis and the vile “Occupy Wall Street” campaign is an emotional crisis, the end result is still depression. While you might not think depressed bankers are much of your concern, you are forgetting the very structure upon which our economic system is based.

First, consider the widely practiced law of trickle-down economics, where we enjoy a gravity-assisted system that naturally allows wealth sitting at the top of some elevated geologic feature to gradually fall toward the lower classes at a rate of about 9.8 meters per second per second (the velocity of falling bodies under gravity). Therefore we must understand that any depression experienced by the top one percent’s bank aristocracy could somehow, perchance obstruct the natural downward flow of this wealth.

It’s a risk we just cannot take.

With the system functioning as well as it does, even a pesky disturbance like “Occupy Wall Street” should be dealt with swiftly.

In order to best perform his corporatist duty — which involves shrugging off humanitarian concerns and investing in companies that put fractional share value increases ahead of 30,000 now jobless workers — the happy banker must be unimpeded to lunch by activists and allowed a window view unspoiled by finger pointers. A happy Wall Street executive does not concern himself with factors that go beyond quarterly projections and stock prices — his conscience must remain clear in order for markets to function properly.

This is precisely why the NYPD should take a zero tolerance approach to the reckless occupation of Wall Street. Protesters are risking the financial structure of our nation and world. Each day the occupation continues is like another spin of the roulette wheel. At some point the occupiers’ gambling ways will place too much stress on the upper crust, and all of Wall Street will come crumbling down.

It’s time these dangerous protesters stop acting like Wall Street is a casino where they get to play with the government’s money.