Boys ‘n’ girls, let’s give this college senior a big hand here! No, really! They’re making it on their own without any help from anyone on very little! Or so it would appear…
Oh, college senior, but you are very much part of the 99% ! Say it loud! Say it proud, now!
First off, you’re not getting any help? Not even from family or friends? Do you share this small apartment with roommates? Nothing wrong with that, mind you. Most college/university students do (as well as getting family help and/or government help) and there is no shame in it.
However, what happens if you lose this minimum wage job? After all, it is those jobs that have the highest turn-over, the lowest security, and the lowest of employment standards. Often known as “last hired-first fired” type of jobs. If your job was in the manufacturing sector as a general day labourer, those jobs are being shipped more and more overseas to third world countries where labour standards are far more lax, thus cheaper labour than your minimum wage. And there is nothing you or I can do about it.
If this job is in food services as most tend to be these days, well, those jobs too have no guarantee of security. With a poor economy, restaurants close down as people like yourself claim, don’t eat out. Oh sure, MacDonald’s and Timmy Horton’s here will never close, but still, those jobs do have a high turn-over. And it is very difficult to get another job. From where I’m sitting, it seems to be a lot harder south of us.
More often than not, once a job is lost, a chain of events transpires which sets a life spiraling downhill. Yes, it can happen to you, college senior.
College senior, what happens if you do lose your job and not another is in sight for the foreseeable future? You lose your cheap apartment, even if you’ve managed to save some money, eventually, that does run out. Where would you live? If you have family you could move in with, great! I’m happy for you. However, many are not this fortunate. Either the family is just as unfortunate, no longer around or estranged or there is some other reason the family can’t take them in.
You’d probably have to drop out of school. Even if your college is a public one, there are still fees, expenses and the like you would no longer be able to afford. Maybe you’d be able to return at a later date if things improved. Maybe too much time will have lapsed and life has intervened that returning to finish your degree is no longer an option, despite the best of intentions.
As for your scholarships, even the most talented high school grads and those with the best grades are not always afforded bursaries and scholarships, despite their best efforts. Those awards, as you probably know by now are just that competitive. And what if some budget cut backs were to cut back on some your scholarship funding?
You also seem to begrudge those students who do take out student loans or other government aid for post-secondary education. Again, not all of them are as fortunate as you are. Should they be condemned to limited possibilities due to a lack of education simply due to the unfortunate circumstances in which they grew up?
What happens when you do graduate from college? Many college grads, despite their best efforts are having an awful lot of trouble finding that first job in their field of study. More often than not, these days, if they’re lucky, they still have to continue working at a McJob.
Oh, and speaking of those so-called ‘elites’, well, many large corporations, when recruiting college/university graduates tend to practice a form of exclusivity. Wall Street is one that would definitely keep you out, Mr./Ms Public moderately priced State University Senior, and make sure that you’ll never, ever become part of that 1% club you so obviously wish to join. They tend to recruit those from the Ivy league who are well connected.
Even CEGEPs here will weigh the grade average of a kid graduating from a public school against a kid graduating from a private school. In other words, a kid with an 80% average from a public school ain’t worth as much as a kid with say, a 75% average from a private school.
Yes, ‘elistism’ is what’s keeping you out and it has nothing to do with merit and everything to do with connections and where you come from.
You will find most of this out the hard way, I’m sure. I wonder if you will continue to chant the same mantra of the right winged tea-party, then?
What about health care? Oh yes! Health care is of top importance. After all, with such a busy schedule such as your’s, especially having the ability to maintain that high grade point average, you must be in tip-top shape. You can’t do that if you’re not in the best of health. Actually, you can’t work or contribute to society if you’re not healthy. If your job has health insurance, well, if you lose your job, you lose your health insurance. What happens if you become sick or injured? What then? If you’re suffering, are you still going to proudly wave your little ‘manifesto’, claiming you’re not part of the 99%? Are you going to preach to others that you’ll still happily live without necessary health care to get you back on your feet? If you have family and friends who are willing and in a position to help you get the health care you need, then more power to you, but when I read articles like this and this (H/T JJ), that is obviously not the case for your fellow Americans; hard working Americans just like you who also pay their taxes. Does health care qualify as a luxury like eating dinner in a restaurant or an ipad in your world?
You speak of not living above your means, but when housing takes up about half of one’s monthly revenue in this day and age, it often can’t be helped. And no, I’m not talking about condos and townhouses in posh neighbourhoods, neither. Speaking of housing, funny how folks like you would chastise someone for renting or buying a home that is too expensive, but would speak against something like rent control or subsidized housing.
What about the cost of food? There’s a necessity for everyone. The cost of groceries just keeps going up and many folks’ paychecques just can’t keep up. Same with other necessities such as pharmaceuticals, heating fuel, etc., transport. All necessities of life. Where are the luxuries in those items?
Again, if you lose your job, with none in sight for awhile, your savings will evaporate quickly due to the costs of the necessities of life. I wouldn’t get too cocky.
What about your future? Things like pension and of course, your health care needs? Health needs do increase as you get older. Do you begrudge those like your parents and grandparents, people who paid into medicare and social security all their working lives, to benefit from those social programs when they finally need it? Unless you’re part of that 1%, you’d be lying if you weren’t worrying, at least, about your own future as a senior citizen.
I will not blame Wall Street or the government for my own bad decisions
I found that part particularly adorable. That’s precious. Uh, College senior? This may come to you as a complete shock; we’re not blaming governments or Wall Street for our bad decisions neither. The whole Occupy Wall Street movement and why folks are increasingly pissed off is due their own screw-ups. It’s due to unabashed greed and drunkenness for power and trying to maintain their own bottom lines and bailing themselves and each other out on our (working and middle class, hence the 99%) backs!
My point is is that this is not about having what we want, as in a luxurious lifestyle that Robin Leach likes to prattle about on his tv shows years ago. All we want is fair treatment as workers. We all pay taxes, taxes that are supposed to be for programs that are supposed to help all of us, not bail out banks and other corporations for their screw-ups due to their own greed and stupidity.
Corporate greed and stupidity which caused the global economic melt down in the first place, yet it is expected of the working/middle class to be ‘grown-up’ and accept ‘compromise’ — code for austerity, so those bungling corporate fools never get punished. Paul Krugman offers this explanation:
What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.
Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.
Ah yes! Remember Warren Buffet’s admission that he pays less taxes than his own secretary.
That is a system that many of you still want to support? Why? Explain how any of you, the working/middle class will benefit from any of it? Fortunately, it appears that many are wising up and this is why Corporations and the Rethuglicans and by extension, the propoganda machine through ‘friendly’ media are feverishly attempting to brainwash everyone. If the fat cats are starting to panic, it’s a good sign.
What was it Deficit Jimbo Flaherty said about those banks once upon a time? “They’re too big to fail?” Wrong answer, but anyway… The point is this endless bail out of banks that seems to be going on, now in Europe, as well as a stubborn refusal for stronger regulations on the American financial sector, is a clear illustration of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Isn’t it about time to try something different? Oh yeah! Silly me, anything different that what I mentioned in the paragraph above would be ‘evul soshalism’ and Lawdy knows, we can’t have that, now, can we? Although, the momentum the Occupy Wall Street movement has been gaining (although, they could well be ended tomorrow morning at 7AM), which to me, means that middle America and the working class are finally starting to wake up and realize that they’ve been had. Realizing that everything the propoganda machine have fed them about the so-called American dream being for everyone with just some hard work can achieve anything. Paul Krugman explains it best:
The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.
Bingo! Mr./Ms College Senior, you’ve swallowed the kool-aid, haven’t you? Somehow, I doubt that a picture of you, holding up your little hand-scrawled manifesto will even get noticed by those you’re so vehemently brown nosing.
You and others like yourself, having been fed the kool-aid Rethuglicans and Wall Street and the Tea-party have served up are clamouring about the poor and the working class bullying their way to simply take what is not their’s or what they didn’t earn. Or as that wingnut Sen. Rand Paul put it, “protestors are going to steal the ipads of rich people…” You chastise the worker for simply wanting fair wages for work done; to be able to adequately support their families; to educate their children and of course, to have health care when you need it. Yet, you’re ok with the shenanigans these corporations and banks caused and that you’re paying for while they continue to play? Are you suggesting that you don’t deserve fair wages and decent working conditions. Another question, are you ok with repealing child labour laws? A Missouri law maker was planning to do just that.
It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child ages fourteen or fifteen obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under sixteen will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment.
Do they teach Charles Dickens in that College of your’s? Mercifully, this hideous bill did not see the light of day. Thank Gawd there are some sane people in Missouri. But the very idea that this bill was even entertained in a supposedly civilized society should signal the red flags. But seriously, can you honestly say that you wouldn’t be the slightest bit disturbed by your own future children not being protected from child labour laws?
Oh, and I do want to ask another question. Are paved roads, street lights and a normal school year for children a luxurious ‘entitlement’ and a waste of tax dollars? Because, due to austerity, not long ago, all that was being cut in some parts of the US.
Meanwhile, a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: In a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain and returning them to gravel.
And a nation that once prized education – that was among the first to provide basic schooling to all its children – is now cutting back. Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled; in Hawaii, the school year itself is being drastically shortened. And all signs point to even more cuts ahead.
Did you know that the richest continued to get richer during the recession. According to a report in July, 2010, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, millionaires saw their wealth climb by 17%. Now, how do you think that happened? Magic? Voodoo? I’ll say! For the most part, it’s off the backs of the workers, naturally.
Ironic how those billionaires and those right wingers and their propoganda machines accuse the protesters of wanting to take from the rich simply because they think they’re entitled, when in reality it is those very same right wingers, corporate scammers and many of those billionaires who are guilty of that very behavior. They did get this wealthy by not paying their fair share and they did it off the backs of the other 99%.
Ironically, after looking at your hand-scrawled manifesto, you are a typical member of the 99% whether you want to admit it to yourself or not. It doesn’t matter whether or not you support the Occupy Wall Street movement or any other similar protest or movement. That is your decision to make. Participating in those movements doesn’t make you a part of the 99%. Being a typical member of the working class, struggling to pay your bills, pay your taxes, leading a frugal life, trying to do the best you can is precisely what makes you part of the 99%.