My problem with the Occupy-whatever movement.

Disclaimer: there may be the occasional drip of sarcasm in the following post. I couldn’t help myself.

You’ve all hear of it by now and if not I’m sure you’ve caught a few glimpses on TV or on the radio or hey, maybe there’s even been an Occupy-whatever where you live and maybe you’ve attended a meeting like I have.

I live in a fairly small community in Eastern Canada, I’m close to the city so recently I was invited by someone to an Occupy meeting and I went. It was the first group get together in our area and there were only a dozen orso of us at a local coffee shop. I didn’t say much during the meeting, partially because it takes me a long time to warm up to people and partially because I was baffled at some of the things being said.

I didn’t go to subsequent meetings or protests, but I am happy that I went to get an idea of what all this was about. At the meeting I attended there were various people from all walks of life so we weren’t all the same. There were different ethnicities, education and income levels represented, that’s pretty well where the commonality ended.

Here’s what I think: (excuse me if I sound a little unclear and all-over-the-place, I’m a wee bit frustrated)

I have never seen such a movement with such an unclear vision as this one. I’m not sure if it was just my region but here’s just a grasp of things that were talked about;

– Corporations aren’t taxed enough
– White guilt
– Socialism
– Healthcare for all
– Big bad banks, boohoo
– Education should be free/not as expensive
– rich people should be taxed more
– let’s protest somewhere with music

source below article

A few baffling points:

1. One person talked about being close to finishing a two year college degree and graduating with $40,000 of debt. SAY WHAT?!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That’s just plain stupid, that has nothing to do with economics or big bad corporations and filthy rich people. That is the definition of stupidity. This person also (while gasping) exclaimed that it is worse for university students. Dead wrong, it doesn’t have to be like that and I, and 99%  (yes that’s a pun) of other financial bloggers out there can conscisely explain to you why life doesn’t have to be this way. You are in charge of your circumstances and 99% of the time you do not have to be victim TO your circumstances.

2. At the meeting there was also someone pushing a white-guilt agenda, what does that have to do with what this movement is about? Wait, what is this movement about?

3. Corporate tax; I know a little bit about this subject and I listened to a well educated man try to tell me that dividends aren’t taxed and rich people blablabla. Actually dividends are double-taxed, first they are part of the company profit (and thus taxed) then as the dividend is paid out it is taxed again to the person receiving it, albeit lower. (correct me, with evidence, if I am wrong there). As well, income pulled out of an incorporated company IS taxed, yes there are tax shelters and ways to reduce your taxes but in the end… we all pay tax, and those of us that make MORE money, generally also pay more tax. The impression I am getting from this movement is that rich people pay less tax and should pay more tax, which isn’t entirely true?

4. Big bad banks. If you don’t like a company, don’t do business with them. Enough said.

My problem with this movement:

Many of the people that are speaking out about this, to me appear to be from a group of people that sticks their head in the sand and whine rather than claw their way out of circumstance. I understand it is not always possible to change your situation and that some situations ARE impossible to get out of.

I am part of the 99% and I have no desire to go on the street and protest things that aren’t going to change by standing on the street and protesting against them. I vote with my cash, I make changes happen with the way I behave and interact with businesses and most of all I am making changes in my own life that reverberate into that of others. Yes there are corporations out there that have way too much power in politics, and the way to change that isn’t by protesting on freaking Wall-street. What the hell does Wall-street have to do with it? We could go protest in the tar sands or at a gold mine… or at a Walmart, really any place where good money is made. Why Wall-street? If anything, some of the hardest working people in the freaking country work there.

I do NOT support raising taxes on the wealthiest, or any person in this world. Many people that have money have earned that money through working very hard … in fact… according to Stanley & Danko’s book, The Millionaire Next Door, 8 out of ten millionaires in America are FIRST generation rich. That means THEY earned their money, they didn’t hold up their hand to get it.

I’m for smaller government and a decrease in taxes across the board. I am a capitalist and I want freedom, not more regulations. I do not support Occupy-anything because to me it just seems like one big waste of time that will just fizzle out and accomplish nothing.

If you want something, DO SOMETHING, don’t go hold up a sign in front of a place of business with a bunch of other people doing the same thing. Educate yourself and know what you want, then go achieve that.

PS: IMG source here.

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14 Comments

  1. Jeez, where did she go to college? Hogwarts? My diploma cost me like $8,000!

    • I went to the same college for two years to get a two year diploma, I graduated with about $7,000 in debt that I paid off within 6 months of graduating. Even if you take out like 10 grand a year. That’s still only 20grand. If you take out tuition + FULL living expenses you may end up with 40 grand. But who does that? That’s dumb! You can work part-time, apply for bursaries, grants, work in the summer… move closer to school. There are so many things you could do to end up with little or no debt after school… especially when it comes to only a two year diploma!

  2. Surprised she racked up $40K for a two-year diploma when I have 2x that amount for a full four-year degree. What a mess.

    I’m generally unsympathetic to the OWS movement. I am soooo sick of people whining about big corporations — I always try to explain that the quickest way to take those corporations down a notch would be to STOP buying a new iPhone every year, STOP buying clothes you don’t need (or really even want) from every store you pass, etc. but everyone kind of just looks at me like I’m a weirdo. I don’t know why they can’t make the connection between their consumption and corporate profits. Morons.

  3. I’d like to quote you in a blog I’m writing tomorrow if you don’t mind…I’m working on a post describing the differences between capitalism and corporatism. I think most people don’t know the difference.

  4. As far as I am concerned, I don’t have a problem with their movement. As a matter of fact, they have a problem with me! No matter what aspect I look at, I cannot convince myself that I should join them.

  5. Like you, I can’t seem to figure out what they actually stand for. Like you, it bothers me that many can’t seem to accept responsibility for their own situations. .And like you, I changed my circumstances and I vote with my money.

    I expect no one but me to be responsible for my choices.

  6. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  7. Maybe the person is supporting himself and family to have a debt that large for two years. Some two year degrees are worth that much.

    I think you went with your mind set anyway. You did not question. You did not go back. It was only the first meeting. Sometimes the leaders have to narrow down the issues and cut out things like “white guilt” from the agenda. Making an agenda helps to keep issues clear and crisp.

    As long as corporations and their officers run Wall Street and use every advantage to line their pockets at the expense of others less savvy, then I see a good thing in OWS.

    When marginalized people cannot participate in Wall Street affairs, they are making uninformed decisions. Some people don’t have the means to vote with their money since every dime is dear.

    People with privilege, guidance, and luck or maybe just one of those, can manage to do well enough to live and eat. Many people are not buying new clothes, iPhones, second cars, eating out or being selfish when they spend because they cannot afford all the special treats that others do. You cannot just look at one spendthrift and extrapolate that all people who are hurting are spendthrifts.

    Okay, I am too tired to continue…lol…looks like I am odd woman out, anyway.

    • Which two year degree is worth that much? A four year degree maybe, education is currently severely overpriced and overvalued in the market. Is it smart to go that deep in debt to support yourself and your family while pursuing education? I work full-time and attend part-time post-secondary education and have been doing this for a while. Yes it takes longer but I currently owe less than $5,000 on three and a half years of university education. I will graduate student-loan free and I didn’t do anything crazy, it just took me longer.

      You are making a few assumptions here: I did not go to the meeting with assumptions, I hadn’t been told much about it and had no idea what to expect. My sole reason for going was curiosity, my curiosity faded quickly while attending the meeting and I wasn’t able to attend the second meeting because of work obligations. After receiving the emails from the group after that second meeting I saw the direction they were taking and decided not to attend the planned local protest. Would it have been fair to push my personal agenda since my opinion varies so much from theirs?

      I disagree with you that you can’t vote for with your money, even if you have no money to spare you can choose not to do business with a business whose practices you do not agree with. I don’t assume that one spendthrift automatically means all people with money are the same way. Like I said, you are in charge of your circumstances and 99% of the time you do not have to be victim TO your circumstances. Even in grim times such an attitude is a bad one to have.

      It’s great that you’re the odd woman out, if we all thought the same way the internet would be a pretty boring place…. and I don’t bite. 😉

  8. I don’t know the name of the degree but it is the tech that takes xrays, MRIs. I don’t have time for a pissing contest. I have 50 lbs of bananas to dehydrate. No, I am not backing down because you make sense and I now agree. The fruit flies are my problem now.

  9. Do you know the history of the civil rights movement? There was great dissension at times, false starts, hanger ons, people who wanted to push their own agenda in front of the groups. It was splintered at times, but always with an over-riding goal that was finally accomplished. Occupy Nashville has had the police arrest people in front of a public building, closed at night. But, right nearby, movie-goers are ignoring the governor’s curfew. The night magistrate will not hold the protesters because there is no cause, they have broken no laws. It seems the curfew was only for those who opposed the government.

    It was not dogs and fire hoses, but the principle is the same. Those who are peacefully protesting against injustice are the targets.

    Back to the civil rights movement–did you know that the ill treatment of women in the groups led to women demanding their own rights? Women were used for sex, cooks, and dishwashers. They did not like this attitude and the place in the movement. So, the women’s movement, the second one was born.

    Just because a movement seems splintered and sprinkled with anomalies, does not mean it does not have merit.

    Percentagewise, no, the rich do not pay as much in taxes. Corporate welfare is alive and well, and there is no shame. There is shame for those who take food stamps, etc. The disenfranchised are exploited; the wealthy and connected are working the system just like they accuse the poor of doing.

    Okay, more bananas await me. I am getting really bored with this banana slicing.

  10. I can appreciate your aghastness at the OWS movement. I’m a self-help kind of person and know that a sustained camp-out would change (improve) my situation. We all need to be adapting to the system. Want jobs, go to North Dakota. Can’t pay-off student debt, why did you study arts? Can’t find any job, you need to think about lowering your standards and start building your life from the ground up. The factories and manufacturing jobs are not coming back anytime soon. The internet offers the current economic boom…adapt and take advantage.

    People are complaining about a terrible economy and a flawed political process. The thing is that the economy can get a whole lot worse. Wait until oil spikes to $150-$200 per barrel.

  11. The whole Occupy-Thing is such a headache, I’m just ignoring it. There just doesn’t seem to be a straight answer about anything.

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