I don't know what % I am
I'm not the 1%, but calling myself one of the 99% doesn't seem specific enough. Here are some other possibilities.
This guest post comes from Andrea at So Over Debt.
I think I'm the only blogger on the planet who hasn't posted about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Mostly, that's because (1) I don't think most of you care about politics and (2) I don't want to start a donnybrook.
But I will say I've been intrigued by the handwritten stories popping up all over the Internet -- the ones that say things like "I've been unemployed for five years. I live in my parents' basement and eat cat hair. I am the 99%."
I really wanted to make a sign of my own, but I couldn't figure out which percentage to identify with. Obviously I don't belong to the 1%, but there are lots of ways I could describe myself other than "not wealthy." The 99% thing just doesn't seem specific enough.
I pay income taxes. I am the 53%. Even though I'm broke right now, I generally make enough money to owe income taxes. I have enough deductions to get a small tax refund each year (I think I got $800 this year) but that's not much compared with the amount I pay in. Personally, I don't get too upset about taxes, especially since I have always worked for agencies who are at least partially funded by tax dollars.
I'm a divorced single mother. I am the 38%. Thirty-eight percent of single-parent homes exist because of divorce (as opposed to death of a spouse or parents who were never married). The statistics say I'm supposed to be living below the poverty line in an inner city somewhere, working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Luckily none of those things are true for me, but I know lots of single moms living that way.
I have a graduate degree. I am the 9%. This one was kind of surprising. I had no idea so few people had completed grad school. I'd like to think that this makes me special, but it's just another expensive piece of paper. I haven't achieved all the great things I thought I would with my degrees. Which brings me to my next point.
I borrowed more than $50,000 to attend college. I am the 12%. The OWS crowd is on a kick about student loan forgiveness. For everyone. And as someone with a ton of educational debt, I have to say I think they're nuts. Don't misunderstand -- I'm mad about my student debt. I don't think I understood the implications of borrowing the money when I was 18 years old. I think schools owe it to college students to explain EXACTLY how loans will affect them in the long run. Post continues below.
But I took out the loans, and now I keep deferring them because the payments are ridiculous, and I'll be leaving the balance to my grandchildren when I die. Is that anyone else's fault? Nope. It sucks, but I can't blame anyone else.
I am a dog owner. I am the 44%. I have three wonderful dogs -- Bentley (a Pekingese/Shih Tzu mix) and Apollo and Bella (both Shih Tzus). They are like my furry children. I love them to pieces and I'll be devastated when they're gone. I've always loved dogs, and I will probably always have at least two.
I prefer crunchy peanut butter. I am the 40%. This is kind of arbitrary, but so is all the other stuff people are raising such a fuss about. My son only eats creamy peanut butter, so I'm forced to buy both kinds. It hurts my soul that I've raised a child who likes weird incomplete peanut butter with nothing to break up the texture.
What percentage do I choose?
I still feel kind of left out because I haven't made a cool sign with my percentage on it. I could come up with percentages all day long, but none of them really grasped who I am (or who I think I am). Finally, as I was typing this post, I figured it out. I worried that the 99% wasn't specific enough, but I think it was actually too specific. Here's what I came up with:
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So, I have $130,000 of student loan debt after having graduated from law school. I was supposed to have a job making $150,000/year. Which I did have, but after the economic collapse--I actually lost it. last in/first out. So, I was unemployed for a year. Thankfully, a nice government agency gave me a job for less than 1/2 of what I was making before. I do not own my own home. Having lost it, when I lost my job. So, I pay a mortgage in student loan payments--just yesterday, I noticed that I actually owe 20 dollars less than I borrowed on one. After making payments for 5.5 years. I'm just so EXCITED. But guess what, I'm not sitting on my **** protesting in Occupy Wallstreet. Nope, I'm working--and happy to be. AND I'm paying taxes. I don't know how going to college went from something that you earned to something that you were entitled. Why should successful people who didn't go to college or law school have to pay for my student loans? That said, would I be grateful if they were forgiven, OF COURSE I would. But, in the meantime, I'm going to work and contribute to the economy.
I do want to point out that no one's grandchildren will be paying for their student loans...as they die when you die.
Loved your sign. I can't confirm the accuracy of the following figures but I find they are fairly consistent internet wide. The numbers state that the typical high school graduate could expect to earn a lifetime income of $940,000. A typical college graduate could expect to earn $1.8 million or almost twice as much. Seems to me to be the best return on investment in America today. So if I borrow $50,000 to go to college and have the potential to double my income for life or borrow $35,000 for a new car and have it paid off in 5 years and it loses 80% of it's value, which is a better return on my dollar spent. Another one of the choices I have been given the freedom and responsibility to make. Not to mention, a college education enhances and expands every other area of your life.
I also have yet to see any evidence that the people in OWS are angry about the cost of education. I have yet to see Occupy SUNY or Occupy Harvard. They don't seem to be mad about how much the universities are charging, they just seem to be mad at the people who provided the opportunity to pay that over-inflated price and expect the money returned to them with interest (because that's how loans work).
If they are mad at how much universities are charging for their services, I'd love to see them occupy a few of them.
ELECTION 2012 IS COMING A Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!
I'M 100% for PASSING THIS ON!!!
Let’s take a stand!!!
Language: English only
Culture: Constitution, and the Bill of Rights!
Drug Free: Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare!
NO freebies to: Non-Citizens!
If the OSW'ers put as much effort into starting their own companies they would be a big help to the economy! You want to make a change, get off you're butts and do something constructive (literally) for a change!!!
People keep running around saying that the government should pay for their college, or pay for their home, or pay for their health care. When do those of us who pay taxes and support all these people get a break?
I worked my tail end off to get money to send my children to college, will I get the money back if we forgive student loans? If not, why? I pay my mortgage and property taxes, will I get the money back if we forgive loans? I pay my health care and I also pay taxes that pays for others health care, yet the initial effects of obamacare has increased dramatically what I have to pay.
Why don't we try something new, lets get the government out of everything and quit worrying about what people think is "fair" and "equal". Lets get out of everyone's business. Lets eliminate all the idiot regulations. Lets reduce taxes so that we don't have to pay for others mistakes and life choices. Let reduce corporate tax so companies want to do business here and employ Americans. Lets get rid of illegal aliens that have no place in our society and are a growing burden. Lets get rid of most of the Federal and state agencies that over see our lives. Lets get rid of the drug laws and allow us to treat ourselves.
In short, less government is better.
While I am certainly not in the 1%, the OWS who claim the 99% do not represent me at all. I support their right to protest and demonstrate as a part of our constitution. But when it comes to Setting fires and destroying private property, I draw the line. Actions like that destroy whatever good they want to get out of their protest.
From what I'm seeing these days, it's more about class envy than anything else. Students who signed loans for their education now want the government to bail them out of that debt? Now I can putting an extension on them if needed. With the economy the way it is, giving the student a longer time to start paying them off. But to relieve of them entirely? NO WAY!!! They signed the note, they are due to pay for it.
The world isn't Fair? Who ever told you it would be?
I am recalling a time of class warfare in the past. During the depression in Germany Adolph Hitler proclaimed to the German people that the Jew was the cause of all their problems. That the Jews owned the banks and the business' that the average German worked for for peanuts. He called upon the public to hate the Jews, to protest against them.
The Jews in Germany, at that time were roughly 1% of the population.
Just something to think about.
One of the key issues that the “Occupy” crowd tries to justify is increased taxes on 1 percent of the rich in this country. Their thought process is that since the 99 percent shared in the payment for the roads, bridges and infrastructure that allowed the rich to do so well then the 1 percent does not really deserve all that money. And, that the rich need to be taxed more. However, what I have not heard addressed is where the 99 percent got the money to pay their taxes in the first place. They think they worked to earn it but there is another way to look at this issue that makes more sense. I will use Larry Ellison as an example in explaining my position. For those who do not know who Larry Ellison is, he is one of the founders of and runs the company known as Oracle. Larry is a billionaire and makes millions a year in compensation for his effort but in the process he employs 100,000 people. Just a rough estimate but those 100,000 people pay 3 billion dollars a year in income taxes. Oracle also, through its products, makes it possible for millions of other people to make a living and pay taxes. So, although Larry is one of those evil rich who pay roughly 40-50% of all the taxes in this country he also makes it possible for millions of others to pay theirs. You might be one of those people who say that I’m all wet…or worse. However, imagine if you will, that there were no computers, no software, no light bulbs, no cars, no furniture, no bricks, no steel products or ships. I could go on but if it were not for the creative people in this world who were willing to work their ever-loving rear ends off and get rich in the process, the rest of us would be living in caves. They deserve all they make and more. The ones who should pay more are the ones who would rather sit around and do nothing while complaining all the while that the world isn’t fair but then they don’t have any money do they.
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