I have seen too much in the media that confuses me, and I believe these political commentators are right about this Occupy Wall St movement. Its too confusing to know where all this is going. Although, I commend these protestors for exercising their 1st Amendment Rights to peaceably assemble in order redress grievances, just what exactly are these grievances?
I have seen a lot of photos of people posting hand written messages explaining how they are the 99%, and all make very valid points. Being foreclosed on because you owe the bank over $300,000 on a house that is worth less than $100,000? Yes, that needs to be addressed. Not being taken seriously in the job market after taking out over $100,000 in student loans for pay for an “excellent” education? Okay, you have a voice that needs to be heard. But is this seriously the corporate greed that you are protesting? I think this movement needs to take a step back and seriously think about what is going on.
Teachers all over this country are losing their jobs, or taking serious pay cuts, due to budget cuts. Meanwhile, huge corporations are planning spa weekends for their executives. Over two administrations, the government had no problem with bailing out the banks and other Wall St. businesses. At our, the taxpayer’s, expense, none-the-less, these same corporations spend that bail out money for executive retreats. They would hire a new CEO with a 6 figure sign on bonus, only to let him go less than a month later, giving him a 7 figure severance package. Yet, this same government refuses to come up with that same sentiment for our teachers. Our teachers, the very same ones that teach our children who will grow up to be the next CEO, senator or president. Can someone explain to me how that works?
What about our military? The government expects these young men and women to serve a minimum of four years, promising them a paid education, medical, and god only what else. Yet, when it comes time for them to make good on these promises? “Oh, well, we’ll put you on a waiting list, but there is no guarantee that it’ll be there when your name comes up.” Seriously? What about the injuries that these men and women incurred while serving? Is the government taking care of that? That would be a huge “no.”
I once worked with a young man who served during the second Gulf War, and sustained injuries during combat. He had to quit his job just so he can apply for Medicaid just to pay for the surgery to repair the hernia and broken vertebrae he sustained, since the government “couldn’t” pay for it. Seriously? How does this make sense? And his so called pension? What pension?
Meanwhile, if you are the child of a congressman or senator, your student loans are forgiven. Your education is practically free. If you have served one term as a congressman or senator, you get full pension with. That’s only 4 years, but for someone who has served for 20 years in the service, their pension gets reduced, and if they served less than that, you get nothing, even if they served during wartime. Might I ask, how exactly does that work?
Just recently, a small community north of San Antonio reduced it’s police force, leaving only 2 policemen, one of them, only a dispatcher, and the other, a deputy, citing fiscal reasoning. The Sheriff’s Department of Cameron County is battling for collective bargaining rights, just to ensure that they don’t get a dock in a pay because of budget cuts. The Fire Department of the city of Lake Charles released their contract with the city because they refused to allow the citizenry to vote whether or not they can have a pay raise. Keep in mind, they get paid less than the police force, and with the fire certification being lowered, meaning the fire hazards in the area are worse due to the chemical and oil industry found there, these men take bigger and bigger risks every time they go out to do their job. It’s not just the fire but the health conditions in some of these locations. LCFD Veterans have died from nonhereditary cancers they’ve contracted from exposure to dangerous chemicals, and they are doing this is a cut budget and reduced benefits? Please, someone explain to me how all of this works.
And with all this going on, corporate heads are threatening to fire every single employee they have working for them and allow their businesses to fail if they are forced to pay taxes. Seriously? I recall a line Tyler Durden says in the movie Fight Club. “Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not… fuck with us.” These are the people we depend on everyday: Our teachers, our soldiers, our EMS, firefighters, policemen. And while the CEOs at the big corporations get to line their pocket books with virtually tax free money, these very people we depend on are losing their jobs, their pensions, their benefits. For the love of god, exactly how does this work? Can someone please tell me? I would really like to understand this.
Our teachers, our soldiers, our public servants: These are the 99% we should be fighting for. Whereas my heart goes out to the nurse who lost her home because she owed more than its worth, and to the McDonald’s assistant manager with the masters degree in chemical engineering, I’m sorry. I truly am, but I have known too many people with Harvard degrees who have good paying jobs in the fields they have chosen to study. I have known too many people who have chosen to buy homes that fit within their budgets and chosen mortgages that wouldn’t adjust rates causing a lopsided debt to worth ratio.