Occupy Wall Street is the dumbest best thing ever. Wait-What?

I have been avoiding this post. But this post will not avoid me. It is plaguing me. I think about this post all.the.time. I have to write this post- if not for you- but for my sanity. I am cautious- because I know how brutal the internet is…but here goes nothing…

 

(CON)                                                              (PRO)

  99

Image from We are the 99 Percent site

I am confused. I am conflicted.

And I am feeling somewhat bi-polar when it comes to all things related to Occupy Wall Street. I have moments of pride and compassion and JOY to think of people rising up and taking action. And I have moments of disgust and anger at people whining and complaining and doing nothing constructive with their energy.

And so I give you She Said/ She Said.

A post that allows both sides of me to say what they want to say on the issue. If you don’t like what I say- then go read the other She Said section and you might.

She Said: The 99% are everything wrong with America.

Picture 141pI went to the 99% website and read lots of the personal posts there, talking about credit card debt, school loans and being over-qualified for jobs and I shake my head in disgust. Where has personal responsibility gone? Credit card debt is your fault. If you can not afford something –YOU CAN NOT AFFORD SOMETHING so you don’t use a credit card. And no way in hell should you be asking ANYONE to help you out of that mess. That is your mess. CLEAN IT UP. Same goes for school loans. School loans are foolish. You should have worked your way through school like thousands of kids do each year-and come out debt free. I especially love the guy who says he is 99% because he has 2 master degrees and can’t find a job to pay off his loans. TWO MASTER DEGREES? So while living off your loans and avoiding reality for years while prolonging your college lifestyle you expect someone else to help you with YOUR DEBT? Maybe if you had been working all those years, getting experience you would be employable. Oh and the woe is me people who are ‘over qualified’ for jobs. How about you stop writing about your dissertation on ‘The Philosophy of Politics’ on your application for Wal-Mart and maybe you will stop scarring off the  19 yr old hiring manager. You are only ‘over qualified’ because you make sure they know that you want a CARRER not a JOB. Well guess what? Careers are born out of JOBS. Real heartbroken that you are trained as an anthropologist or have a nifty degree in journalism and you can’t find work. Time to suck it up- and take a job ANY job, pay your rent and stop acting like you are too good for it. Remember you only have a college degree -you haven’t been knighted by the Queen.

And in typical lazy-entitled-American form, your plan of action is to go and camp out on Wall Street. No wonder you can’t find a job. I can not imagine a worse plan. You have no specified goal. You have no target. You have NO PLAN AT ALL. You hold signs and chant ambiguous things like “Corporate Greed Kills” and “Wall Street is our Street” and you sit around and WAIT for SOMEONE to come rescue you from your problems. Is life hard? Hell yeah. Is it unfair? HELL YEAH. But can you make it better for yourself? YES YOU CAN. And sitting around playing on your laptop on the steps of Wall Street is not how you do it. Occupy Wall Street is the laziest, lamest DUMBEST protest movement ever- and that is why it is having little to no effect on policy, legislature or government decisions. All it is doing is making you feel productive- but you are wasting your energy. And what a shame that is……Just think if the 99% fought hard for ONE piece of legislature to get past that would make things a little better. JUST THINK if the politicians actually KNEW what you wanted. You would be powerful. And now you are just pathetic. I pay my taxes. I work my @$$ off to make that happen and I will never expect anyone to rescue me from my own delusions of grandeur. My government doesn’t owe me anything.

She Said: The 99% are everything that makes this country great.

Picture 143pTo see the power of the collective voice come together in this way reminds me just how amazing it is to live in America. Thousands of people in many cities joining to be a force to be reckoned with. Our health care system is in shambles, property values have destroyed personal wealth, our schools and education are the lowest priority and the job market is disappearing.  Sure people are losing their homes, but not because they over borrowed and were foolish with their investments- but because companies they worked for went out of business. And they went out of business because our government failed to protect their interests globally and regulated and taxed small business to death. All while offering tax credits to the wealthy and largest corporations. Something is wrong in America. Something is broken. And the government seems to me covering their ears to the cries of its people. We need to learn to help hold up those who need help in times of need to bring strength to the country as a unified force. Without that, we are a fragmented society and lack any moral conscious.

The 99% aren’t looking for NO TAXES, but they want things to be fair. If most of us have to pay 33% taxes on our income then the corporations and top tier executives should have to as well. Instead they get all kinds of help from the government often avoiding taxes all together. So in essence we are all working ourselves into the ground to hold up the top 1% of society. The people who need the tax breaks the most; the ill, the poor and the unemployed do not get the same breaks as the wealthy. Doesn’t that seem wrong? We should all have decent health care, a way to provide for our families and the opportunity to afford an education. Those should not be only available to the wealthy. Things need to change- and since government seems to be ignoring the desires of the people, going and taking a physical presence outside places like Wall Street to get media coverage is the smartest thing they can do. Look at all the attention- at least now someone is listening. Someone can hear their dissatisfaction with the American dream.


Picture 145pAnd now for a 3rd personality (I am a complicated woman) view point: Despite which of these “She Saids” you agree with, one thing that I have to add is that the lack of concrete focus on specific desires is killing the 99% movement. No one can understand what the 99%-ers want SPECIFICALLY. I predict if they do not raise up a leader internally to act as the voice of the group, and craft asks around legislature and tax reform they will lose their momentum and potential for effectiveness. Without a goal, it is nothing but noise and is doing more harm than good. It is actually fragmenting the society MORE and not creating empathy by those in a position to make change.

There are 9 million blogs and press stories explaining the grievances of the 99% and none of them offer any solutions. We need ideas.  LET’S LOOK FOR A SOLVE. We all know the problems- but what we need is answers. And camping out and getting arrested doesn’t seem like it is on the path to solving anything.

Oh and if you are looking to me for ANSWERS? I have none. I don’t know how to fix America. Except to say that everyone should pay the exact same amount percentage of tax on their income no matter what. Not have bazillionaires pay MORE and working poor pay LESS. Everyone should pay the same amount. That is the only thing I feel really strongly about. Well that and free birth control. But that is a whole nuther story.

Here are links to both sides of this story:

We are the 99 percent

The Blaze (explaining the 53% movement)

We are the 53% site

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

hannah singer October 13, 2011 at 7:44 pm

annnnnd, i love you. this is wonderful.
thank you for writing it, and publishing! xo

jess pearson October 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm

perfect. you said everything i’ve been trying to argue for the last couple of weeks.

YOU GET IT. thank you.

Sondra October 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Everyone should pay the same percentage- not the same amount…right?

Heather @ Cheeky Woman October 14, 2011 at 12:07 am

Well said. All 3 of your personalities reflect my own inner monologue. Thanks for publishing this.

Jason Falls October 14, 2011 at 12:08 am

Until I read your post, I hadn’t the slightest interest in Occupy Wall Street. Still don’t really. I’m sure they’re well-intended, but the last thing I’ll ever do is whine and blame my current situation on someone else. I’m a small town guy from a lower middle class family. I had to bust my ass to earn everything I have. And when someone took something away from me, I went out and found a different path. I did plow through some student loans because I didn’t have any other way. I did work in addition to that, so the insinuation that loan receivers don’t work is inaccurate, at least in my case. But I’m still not going to blame government (though ours holistically sucks these days), big corporations, Wall Street or the media. I’m just going to find a better path and beat the hell out of it until I get mine.

I sure hope the sitter-inners do some good. But I can’t worry with ‘em. I’m too busy busting my ass to support my family. But that’s just my take.

Keith Privette October 14, 2011 at 5:50 am

Marcy thank for presenting both sides of how you are feeling about this. I have been struggling with what position I take on either side of this. These are the struggles of being a moderate. The one point you make that should ring true on whatever side you are on, please for godsakes come up with a sustainable solution or solutions to all these problems. The reason I say sustainable we have to have solutions that have systemic value and problem solving. The solutions can not have a narrow scope. Solve one problem and create 5 more problems throughout different systems.

The one thing that could be a follow up is the cost of college. I do agree about working through college (i did almost 40 hours a week), but in the last 10 years the average cost of college has gone up 439%! No job while going to school is going to offset the loan aspect. I am really curious and do not have all the facts of why this increase has happened and is this bubble going to burst soon?

Thanks again Marcy for doing this post and the way you went about gathering perspectives on google plus was brilliant!

M. October 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Ok, I’m putting myself out there…but I just have to put in some words here. From another point of view. Growing up, I would say we were wealthy. Million dollar house wealthy. My father? No college degree. Nope. He left home at 16, enrolled in college (because dude was stupid smart, book-wise), and then dropped out several quarters later. (The only housing he could afford was a roommate situation with some kids he didn’t know. He would come home to weed on the windowsill, and nekkid girls in his bed…that he’d never seen before.) So, one day, down by the docks, a guy asks him to drive a truck onto a ferry. Turns out, you can’t leave a truck on a ferry. It’s not a delivery service. The next call home went something like this: “Hi, Mom? I don’t think I”m in college anymore. Actually, I’m in ALASKA.” And he never went back. The next 20 years were a combination of smart business moves, LUCK, and working harder than anyone else. That was his standard. If you could lift a table, he could lift a fridge. If you could hang a line, he could swim it across an ice-filled river. (These aren’t hyperboles.) He saved up, and put us all (all five of us) through college. No loans. We did in-state schooling. We took advantage of state programs – the state paid for my first two years of college, while I was in high school. That resulted in me having enough left over from my college fund to buy myself a piano afterwards, and thus supplement our income with lessons after I got married.

Let me tell you – he. pays. taxes. Like 40% of his income goes back to the government. Yes, there are breaks. Yes, they sound stupid when you say them out loud. But today’s jobs aren’t like yesterdays. If your money is in stocks, and every. single. stock. you own went down this year? Well, why would you pay taxes on money you LOST. ?! So, when people start pointing their fingers at the 1%…it just makes my blood curdle. I mean, honestly – have they ever MET one of those people? Sure there are scumbags and tax-evaders. They go to white-collar prison, and get their fines. But they are NOT the rule. I watch my father “adopt” families, quietly, and just pay for things. Single-mother families. Women and children in shelters. To say that 99% of the population now wants to come in and tell him he has to pay MORE taxes, just so someone else can use that money to do…exactly what he’s already doing, but less efficiently? That, to me, is asinine. Am I part of the 1%? No. But we don’t have student debts. My husband worked his way through school, and chose his major SPECIFICALLY because he knew it would always afford him a steady job and he was good at it. Not because it was something he LOVED.

Do I mind that all those kids are parked out on wall street? No. Sleeping there for weeks sounds miserable, and I don’t envy them. They’ve chosen their own pastimes. If they feel solidarity from it, well…fine. It’s nonviolent. It’s not really hurting anyone. Just please, please, stop the vilifying. It does nothing for your claims. And it makes me cranky.

Andy Keown October 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Great post, Marcy, and very insightful. I mostly empathize with the Occupy movement because I feel that the balance of power and wealth has shifted dramatically to the top 1%, as all of the statistics show. (The girl above who says she’s in the 1%?? She’s NOT in the 1%… at least not by the definition I understand. She’s debt free, which is great, but she’s hardly proven her success yet.) The rich have gotten richer (MUCH richer in some instances) while the poor and middle class have been treading water, if they are lucky. I feel like government policies were put into place to help corporations grow and increase profits, but rather than increase hiring and paying people for what they are worth, that 1% at the top took the money, laid off employees and asked the remaining employees to work much harder. I saw it firsthand at Hilton… when they sold the corporation, the top execs walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars, then the new owners turned around and laid off hundreds of middle class people. (I left for sunnier shores because I didn’t want to be one of those people!) That hoarding of wealth at the top is the part that I think is unfair, and I have no idea how to fix it. How do you make rich corporations hire more employees or pay better wages without a whole lot of ugly government intervention? No clue. When you look at CEO pay in the US vs. other “advanced” countries, it is radically higher. So that’s something to consider. It’s not about the hard-working entrepreneurs and the truly innovative business leaders; it’s about this perceived class of people who stumbled their way to the top by being at the right place at the right time and are now manipulating the system to keep as much wealth as possible. NOW, to add a different layer to my argument, missing from the general dialogue about the recession has been anything about how we must each be our own innovator, find new opportunity, CREATE new opportunity. We can’t just show up and expect to find a nice, secure job. Not in this world. We have to create new ideas, new demand, think differently, work much harder or at least much smarter. Maybe that’s idealistic or unrealistic but it seems like the American way… innovation, hard work, etc. Wow didn’t realize I had so much to say about this but thanks for the opportunity to do so.

Crystal October 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Marcy! I agree with you. I think it’s because we largely had the same experience growing up in the same family as cousins perhaps.
What irks me about the OWS crowd is that they aren’t smart enough to figure out that they are just tools of President Goldman Sachs (Obama is wholly owned by Wall Street) and that they need to be protesting. They need to be occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., D.C. Not only that, but do they want to destroy one of the last industries where the USA is actually a world leader (financial services)?
I’m a free market capitalist, and the one thing I have in common with OWS is that I HATE crony capitalism. It does not represent free markets. Government currently has a hand in every aspect of our economy and it is killing us. What the heck is the government doing handing out loan billions of dollars when we’re broke to companies like Solyndra? Makes me sick.
As for the student loan debt problem. I really think this is the next “bubble” to burst, akin the the housing bubble. This is an issue I have been following closely. The reason college costs have risen, is because the government has made money so available in the form of student loans. There is as much, if not more, “predatory lending” in student loans as there ever was in housing, except the “lender” is government subsidized. Much in the way it was public policy that everyone shall own a home, it has become public policy that everyone shall go to college. Sad. Watch this explode in the months or years to come.
I really don’t give OWS much weight beyond just sympathizing with the amorphous feeling of frustration that I think we, as a nation, feel for being in a near Depression for four long years. It hurts.

Raven Casey October 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Thank you. This helped clear up a lot of emotions and thoughts for me; you managed to organize the subjective rubbel that I have been pushing around in my own mind. They need a leader. We need a leader–our society, I suppose, needs a leader who is one of us–not some congressman/woman who is payed way more than he/she should be. Otherwise the movement is going to crumble; you’re right.

Thank you so much, again.

Danielle October 24, 2011 at 4:40 am

I am in total agreement with both of your “she said’s”, more so with the “Occupy is Dumb” viewpoint. However, just to play devil’s advocate, there is more to “School loans are foolish. You should have worked your way through school like thousands of kids do each year-and come out debt free.” I went to a private university. The private university gave me so much in scholarship money that it was actually cheaper to go there than an in-state school. I worked full-time (40+ hours a week spread over 2 jobs) the entire time I was in school. I didn’t live a glamorous lifestyle, often going without buying groceries for weeks on end because I was too tight on money. However, all the money I made went straight towards living with none left over for loans. Rent, gas, electric, water, groceries, and internet (the lowest speed, which I did need to do homework assignments), plus textbooks and other materials I needed to buy for classes. I didn’t have a car and therefore no car payments/gas/insurance. I still graduated with over $70k in debt. I was blessed in that my parents picked up $40k of that. I still have $30k to my name after paying for over a year, which is a drop in the bucket in the scheme of things.

The flip side of going to a private university that specialized in my field (engineering, math, science) is that I believe it helped me get a job right away–a great job, in my field, that I knew I had before I even graduated. It has given me the opportunity to meet my minimum loan payments, in excess. So while I agree that student loans can be dangerous and foolish in excess (I have friends who lived on campus with a meal plan all 4 years that graduated with an excess of $100k of debt for an undergraduate degree), they are not necessarily a “bad” concept. Government-backed student loans helped me get the education I needed to succeed in this market.

kelli October 24, 2011 at 8:59 am

I have always worked for everything I have and no one has given me anything. The only frustration I have with your post is about college loans. When you’re 18/19 years old you have NO CLUE how student loans work and what you’ll payments will be monthly. No one trains you on this and then you graduate and here’s $500 payments/month! Private banks make their payments outrageous. I went to school full-time and worked full-time to pay rent, car payment, utilities and so on. So I do get a bit offended when you say we should have been paying for college while we were in school. If I had any clue what happened after college I would have but I didn’t. I’m not blaming this on anyone but I wish you’d give 18/19 yr olds the benefit of the doubt. We didn’t all have parents saying we should have been paying while we were in college.

Sarah October 24, 2011 at 9:21 am

Sometimes credit card debt is created trying to keep your children alive. We had over $50,000 of medical bills during our premature daughter’s first year of life because I had an unpaid leave from work to try and stay pregnant, our insurance was therefore canceled, and I would do anything to save her life. Yes, 4.5 years later I am down to $16,000 in debt. Yes, I did this through hard work and having multiple jobs. Still, though, sometimes credit card debt isn’t from stuff you shouldn’t buy because you can’t afford. I may not have been able to ‘afford’ my daughter’s health interventions, but that doesn’t make me wrong for paying off collection agencies with my only form of money at the time, credit cards.

That is the only part of this post that bothers me. I do not expect anyone to help me out of my mess, but if I could have paid off the hospital bills in any other way I would have. When I did use cash and not cards, I would run out of money and use the cards to feed my family. at 18% interest credit cards, I of course would have chosen any other way possible to take care of this. Yes, most people make bad choices to get into debt, some of us don’t.

Colleen October 24, 2011 at 11:23 am

I can’t agree with you about a flat tax. Say it’s 10%. You don’t think a family making $30K would miss that $3000 more than the millionaire would miss his/her $100K? Dude, the guy still has $900,000 to live on, where the working poor, be it single or family now has to get by on $27,000!

Art October 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Wow… while I am in debt on school loans, I have a means to pay them off, and it sits well on my credit report as being paid on time. But to assume that we can pay our way all the way through college is plain ignorance on your part. I was lucky to have a job that put food on my table and paid the rent, but it wouldn’t ever cover the majority all of my college expenses, especially going to a UC. Thankfully, it paid for books and materials. Do proper research and then come back with a more valid point of view. This whole post actually annoyed me.

Cara October 27, 2011 at 6:05 am

I dont understand how American university works it sounds harsh that you have to pay up from though, in Australia you can get a loan from the government for higher education but theres no interest. You dont pay the loan back until you earn over a certain amount (I think 60,000 or something) and if you cant/dont work then it does not get repayed. Is that different to student loans in America?

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