The Occupy Wall Street or #OWS movement is sweeping the nation, and the globe. This movement started in New York and has now spread to 1,500 cities around the world. I have no problem with people protesting because they care about the direction of their country, and want to have their opinions heard. What I do have a problem with is the fact that these protesters are blaming everyone else for the economy without taking any responsibility for their actions.
#OWS has some legitmate complaints, but there are also many that are either ridiculous or just not true. Their”demands” are all over the board, and Wall Street has little power over most of their issues.
Just lumping together everything you’re upset about, and yelling at Wall Street is not going to solve anything. #OWS’ main complaint is that powerful companies are controlling the United States politics. I think the thing to do here would be to vote for someone you believe in, or vote at all. Less than 51 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18-24 voted on the presidential election in 2008, and that was when voting was “in”.I do not think anyone has a right to complain if they do not vote, but that is another issue.
Have we been tricked and swindled by “Wall Street”? To some extent yes, but every person has access, and the capabilities of knowing what they are doing and making informed decisions.
Whose fault is it when you purchase a 400,000 dollar home when you can clearly only afford a 200,000 dollar home? People who did this were told that they would be able to afford these homes with ARM (adjustable rate mortgages), but that is not an excuse. Hasn’t your mother been telling you since you could understand words that you cannot trust everything you are told/read?
People have to look at their cash flow, income, debts, assets, etc and understand what they can and cannot afford.
I have very little pity for someone who makes huge financial decisions without discerning for themselves (or seeking advice from someone who is not trying to profit off them) if they are making the best possible decision.
This brings me to the topic that I am most upset and enraged by; students complaining about their debt or the inability to find a job.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand fully how difficult it is to get a good job, “good” being the opportune word. There is not a shortage of part-time or low paying jobs, but most college graduates see these jobs as beneath them. They want a job making 50k plus with benefits right out of the gate. They believe since they put in four years of extra school they are automatically entitled to better jobs immediately. They don’t want to take what they learned in school to help them excel in their careers, they believe their diploma should do that for them.
They fail to understand that finding a good job is difficult because of our economy, they want to blame someone for not finding a job that doesn’t exist. It is not Wall Streets fault that your pride is preventing you from getting a job to begin to pay off your debt.
On the OccupyWallStreet.org website, they have a link in their About Us section, “We are the 99%“. There are pictures and stories about how Wall Street is ruining their lives.
Here is an example that made me laugh, sick, and sad all at the same time.
His sign reads:
” I am 18-year-old college student pursuing a B.A. in sociology. It costs me $40,000 per year to attend my dream school. I can’t afford a third year. But nothing can stop me. Happiness > Money I am the 99%”
This is what his sign says to me.
“I did not properly map out how I was going to pay for school. I got good grades in high school so I could attend my top college choice, even though I could not afford it. I could have got a great education at an affordable school, but I got great grades, a community college is beneath me. Well I guess I will just go into tremendous amounts of debt instead of starting off my adult life with a fiscally responsible decision. I can’t go wrong borrowing, I’ll just pay it all off when I get a job in four years, the economy has to be better by then. My emotions > my brain.”
One of the points on #OWS’s declaration is “They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.”.
NO, higher education is not a human right, it is not a right at all. Food, shelter, safety are rights, but going 100k in debt to go to your “dream” school is the furthest thing from a right, it is a privilege. Sadly not everyone has equal privileges, but that is part of living in a free market and the United States.
I feel bad for students like this. They excelled in high school and the media and their parents told them if they didn’t go to a school that costs as much as a nice home they would have no chance in life.
I understand how they are feeling, they just graduated with their Bachelor’s Degrees, and don’t want to take a job making $10.00 per hour, but tough shit. You’re an adult now, you are going to have to do things you do not want to do. If you want to live on your own, take a job you hate that pays the bills. Or live at home until you can afford to move out, but don’t complain that no one will give you a job.
So in conclusion, #OWS protesters need to have realistic expectations, change their focus towards people that will listen to them / can help them invoke change (i.e. not wall street), and take some responsibility for their own actions and the actions of their fellow Americans.
By: Max G. Mickey