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Occupy Toys’R’Us? Wall Street Protestors Lack Maturity

Occupy Wall Street! Occupy Tampa! The government is keeping us down, man! I’m reactive!

That’s what it sounds like. How about you occupy that 8 a.m. class you skip or occupy a job fair?

The Occupy Wall Street protests have been going strong for five weeks now. Seeing as the protests are composed of young people complaining in a disorganized fashion, it’s no surprise that the craze has hit Tampa. The streets are littered, people are yelling at cars passing by on Ashley Drive. There are sleeping bags on the sidewalk at night. Barefoot, dreadlocked guitarists sit in a circle that smells like marijuana, working on new harmonies. It’s like a Phish concert came to town with worse music.

When the protests started, it was easy to feel uninformed. People protesting in the cities across the country still feel uninformed. What exactly are they protesting against?

Are Occupy Tampa protestors too unfocused and immature? | Channing Haley/The Minaret

It’s about the 99 percent. We are the 99 percent. The claim is that, the one percent of the country that controls the heft of the wealth does so unfairly, and it leaves the rest of us financially gasping for air. Websites, blogs and message boards about this protest show pictures of sad people holding notes about how the world has been unfair to them. How they worked so hard only to belong to that 99 percent.
The one percent worked to be there. They got there through the capitalist system. Remember the system that made us a world power? The free market system where people have the right to start businesses and reap their own success? Yeah, that one.

By occupying city streets and demanding change through threat and disruption, the protesters are disputing that free market system for all the wrong reasons. Capitalism doesn’t treat men like slaughter for wealth. People are not a byproduct of capitalism. People propel capitalism, and that is what separated us from the broken Soviet Union. Fear mongering over the class system and communism didn’t end with the cold war because once people remembered that they had to work for their living, they got scared. Indirectly, and as opposition to our proven capitalist system at the time, communism seemed like the “other way” to live. Who wouldn’t want to live in a country where the government regulated everything economically? After the Cold War, some people liked the attractive aspects of communism; equal pay, free healthcare, etc. However, people soon forgot that what separated us from the communists was the idea that every man should, and could be responsible for his own financial welfare. Or at least 99 percent did.

We can’t simply demand a change, or demand something we want from others by occupation and complaining. We can’t be a screaming child. Remember how we all laughed at the redhead in Wedding Crashers throwing a tantrum at the wedding? That was funny because it was absurd. It isn’t funny now, though, because the way we look is equally absurd. We’re complaining about the financial system like a small child. It’s unattractive and ineffective.

It’s become American protocol to stand in front of the government, sad face on, hands out. Right now, the average American looks like the picture of the Monopoly Man when he’s told to go directly to jail.

Americans are constitutionally guaranteed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The key word there is pursuit. We are not guaranteed the right to happiness. The government should not have to take responsibility for people that feel as though they are entitled to happiness. These Americans have been so blinded by their direct association of work with money alone, that they feel like they’re too good to work manual labor. Work is not supposed to be fun. That’s why it’s called work. Not every job is a 9-5 gig, working behind a computer screen making six figures. Ask your parents or your grandparents. Think they made every dollar without some elbow grease and sweat?

That being said, for our generation in particular, this issue is a social issue in the guise of an economic one. Our generation has been raised to think that we’re special, unique and will ultimately be financially successful. The internal focus our generation has isn’t something previous generations have dealt with. Ours is one that believes we are defining ourselves by protesting and giving ourselves both a personal and generational definition. Our grandparents’ generation had World War II define them. Our parents had a cultural revolution through music and social rights. We really don’t have that identifiable trait generationally speaking, and we crave it. The protest itself does not and cannot define us. We’re fighting against something we potentially have the ability to change, but that we will not work to change. A protest cannot exist for the sake of itself; there has to be tangible goals.

The recent Minaret article titled “Teapot: Meet Kettle: Occupy Wall Street a Celebration of Democracy,” said of the widespread protest; “It’s about those 18-29 year old students who try to get ahead by taking on $80,000 of debt, only to be tossed into an economy with a 9.1 percent jobless rate.”

Nobody forces young people to go to college. Attending college in today’s economy is a gamble because of the unemployment rate, true. It makes the idea of graduating and joining that 9.1 percent a potential reality. Wouldn’t that make us want to work harder in college? If we realize this, we’ve got to take advantage of all the institution has to offer and maximize the return. After all, we understand the debt we face upon graduation. Make the debt worth it. Get set up for a career. And then we’ll have something to show for our hard work, something that can define us.

These protests aren’t about necessarily changing our financial system; they’re about a generation fumbling around trying to find an identity. It’s about people who grew up hearing how wonderful they are, believing it, and now struggling with the fact that they’re not that special, they’re not that unique, and they probably won’t have anything other than an average life.

The great American leaders of the past brought about change in this country by showing that a system was wrong in a time of crisis. Martin Luther King Jr., for example, brought about change through peaceful protests against a lack of civil rights. And today, like during the Great Depression, wealth must be distributed. Then, it was redistributed through public works projects and the assembly line – with American hands and sweat. We yearn for a leader who will fix the system with change by way of organized, peaceful infiltration. We need to become part of the system that we are trying to bring down so that we may change it for the better. From the outside looking in, yelling at the people who have been successful will not work to our benefit. It will not be redistributed today through angry opposition and a lack of an organized vote.

We cannot be the screaming 8-year-old in Toys’R’Us. That’s not how it works.

Greg Spraklin can be reached at gspraklin@spartans.ut.edu.

36 Comments on Occupy Toys’R’Us? Wall Street Protestors Lack Maturity

  1. Greg,

    Bravo!! excellent and precise analysis.

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  2. bravo greg! bert is right,but no biggy:it’s in the declaration

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  3. white collar professionals always make more than blue collar workers. Why do you think so many people try to get Bachelor’s degrees?

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  4. A Questioner // December 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm //

    I’m throwing it out here, but getting a college degree in English Literature, Communications or many of the other Liberal Arts disciplines will net you far less money over a lifetime than going to a trade school and getting trained to be a master carpenter, electrician or plumber.

    Sure, you may have to sweat a bit, or work with your hands, and you won’t have a piece of paper saying “Bachelor’s Degree”, but with the dearth of trained electricians in the US, you can easily net a job worth five times the starting salary of the job flipping burgers you’ll get majoring in Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies; and you won’t be 100k in debt.

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  5. Dr. Cohen,

    Thank you for pointing that out. It is one of those errors that I only catch once it goes to print. Believe me, I feel a little foolish about it!

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  6. Dee, once again you are avoiding the point of what the OWS crowd is protesting about:Corporate greed,low wages AND excessive corporate control of our Federal government.You keep on saying that they dont have a “clear” message, but thats far from the truth.What is it that your so against these people that are clearly protesting the social and economic injustices of this day? You say you work 50-60 hours a week and have no time to go down to a street corner and hear them out? I work a fulltime job and protested on my day off in downtown Tampa.Once again, OWS has a VALID argument or arguments on what is totally wrong with our Country today.You say Iam passionate about this subject?HELL YEAH!! These people HAVE a right to protest(First Ammendment).Anyway, Ill be looking for you to debate in other articles here in this fine college newspaper(the unemployment article).Until then, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! ;=)

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  7. Just saying // November 15, 2011 at 7:39 am //

    Who cares? Welcome to America. Quit hating on people who make so much money, and leave if you aren’t happy. Easy as that. I will never make 1 mil a year, but I am not butthurt about it. I am in school, have a job, and no time to go out and stand on the street holding a sign and harassing people.

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  8. Meridian,
    I have never complained about a half a million dollars being insufficient. I would love to make $500K any year, as would most people in the United States/world. There may be “hundreds of deductions” as you suggest, but I am not able to take advantage of most of them except for funding my retirement account, and deducting state taxes and charitable deductions.
    I do live in a state with a HIGH income taxe, high property taxes, taxes on PERSONAL PROPERTY – cars; and even a fee on computers, if used for business. There are many small “nuisance” taxes aka “fees.
    I also never stated that I was overtaxed. I believe I asked “How much is SUFFICIENT/ENOUGH taxes” that OWS seem to be saying that the 1% or higher income earners should pay. Would I like to pay less taxes – absolutely. However, whatever my tax rate might be, I am advocating for greater transparency and efficiency in HOW my tax dollars are spent.

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  9. John,
    Not so fast…. I didn’t think this debate was about winning OR losing but about listening.
    Let me try to address your questions/concerns:
    I am neither a millionarire or a one percenter but you have me labeled now as a “bagger.” I understand that you appear to be well educated but there are many sides to economics, as with most things in life. Not sure if you have studied different sides of economics or just studied what might reinforce YOUR perspective. Not necessarily a criticism, since a case could be made that everyone has their own bias for issues for their own reasons.
    You asked me about going to an Occupy Wall Street corner and get a feel on what it is people are angry about. I can’t do that because I am working – I work betweem 50-60 hours a week both because I want to and need to. I am not knocking the occupiers but from my limited perspective (watching the news and reading news reports), there seems to be many different issues and lack of a clear, unified message.
    You state that OWS’s “clear” message is “We are against corporate greed and lousy wages.” If that is the case, occupying the downtown public parks does not seem to be achieving any goals – either long term or short term. Maybe the occupiers should purchase a share of stock and then attend a corporation’s annual meeting where shareholders are allowed to speak. Also, it might be helpful, if the protesters provide SPECIFIC information about what exactly they deem as CORPORATE GREED. Right now, it is just a catchy phrase. If there is a specific corporation(s) that is annoying the protesters, facts should be presented as to what constitutes corporate greed and what constitutes “lousy wages.” Right now, the message is either not there, too vague and/or too angry.
    I appreciate that you enjoy debating me, but when you start your sentnence “I can’t stand your conservatism” it doesn’t allow much room for mutual respect.
    This debate, based on the original column, has probably garnered more comments than most Minaret columns. Debate, based on mutual respect is good. I can certainly see you are passionate about your position but you might be better served by provided greater specifics instead of sound bites or rhetoric.

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  10. A point of fact, Mr. Spracklin: the Constitution does not guarantee “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That phrase appears in the Declaration of Independence.

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  11. John Vitali // November 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm //

    Dee?? Dee, you there? You never answered Keynesian or I.Looks like we WIN this argument! lol

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  12. Keynesian // November 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm //

    I also think you miss the point of the OWS protestors. People like Warren Buffet and our Governor Rick Scott pay less than 15% in taxes on all of their income because they generate their income solely on investment income. It is subjected to a 15% capital gains rate. These billionaires and millionaires pay less in taxes as a percentage of income than their own secretaries.

    Conservatives want to eliminate the capital gains and estate tax entirely which would install a permanent American aristocracy that would propagate indefinitely. That means a family such as the Walton’s or the Koch’s can pass on their billions to successive generations without ever paying taxes. Not only that, they would be able to earn income off of investments and pay no taxes on that income either. This is what OWS is protesting, the ability for the wealthiest Americans to pay hardly anything in taxes while cutting critical services such as education, healthcare etc.

    Just look at this infographic on tax subsidies given to the wealthy and you may see why people are just fed up with the current system.

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  13. Keynesian // November 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm //

    sorry for the double post, the post was not appearing when I refreshed the page.

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  14. Keynesian // November 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm //

    Dee there is no way in hell you pay the full 35% in federal income taxes. That would mean you make more than $379,150 in any given year and any income below that would be subject to lower income taxes. If you are seriously complaining about close to a half a million income being insufficient, that says a lot.

    There are also hundreds of deductions for things such as municipal and state taxes paid, mortgage interest, child tax credit etc. Your effective tax rate would most likely fall to less than 20% and social security is payed by everyone, granted you pay double since you are self employed but it is only limited to the first $106,000 made.

    Also, if you live in the state of Florida, there is no state income tax and as a percentage of your income, you would pay less in sales taxes than someone who is poor because the wealthier you are the less you consume as a percentage of income. Don’t try and pass it off as if you’re completely overtaxed because that is the farthest from the truth.

    I’d rather pay 50% in taxes on a million dollars than 10% in taxes for $50,000.

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  15. meridian21 // November 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm //

    Dee there is no way in hell you pay the full 35% in federal income taxes. That would mean you make more than $379,150 in any given year and any income below that would be subject to lower income taxes. If you are seriously complaining about close to a half a million income being insufficient, that says a lot. There are also hundreds of deductions that include municipal and state taxes, mortgage interest, child tax credit etc. Your effective tax rate would most likely fall to less than 20% and social security is payed by everyone, granted you pay double since you are self employed. Also, if you live in the state of Florida, there is no state income tax and as a percentage of your income, you would pay less in sales taxes than someone who is poor. Don’t try and pass it off as if you’re completely overtaxed because that is the farthest from the truth.

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  16. John Vitali // November 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm //

    Dee, you couldnt be farther from the absolute truth! I enjoy debating you ( ;=)and Ill refrain from “pigeonholing” you, BUT
    1. You dont acknowledge or casually dismiss my expertise on history and macroeconomics matters due to my research on it.
    2. You say that I should have an “open mind” and “listen to other viewpoints”? Dee, about you going to a OWS protest on a street corner and get a feel on what it is people are angry about? Ask questions and see what their grievences are instead of knocking on them?
    3.You say that the OWS lacks a clear message?? The message from OWS is clear as crystal.WE ARE AGAINST CORPORATE GREED AND LOUSY WAGES!
    4.You just want to push your views thru to me without listening to what I have to offer!
    5.I cant stand your conservatism, BUT i think youre an intelligent woman.Even though we have different political philosophies, I enjoy debating you ;=) Have a good day!

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  17. John it is incredible to me that you state that you have studied various economic theories and periods of history yet still refuse to acknowledge that your ideas may be misguided and misinformed. The articles that I suggested that you read quoted GOVERNMENT statistics about raising and lower taxes and the effect on the GDP. You have never provided one source of your ideas or statements. Also, I never said that the “government was the problem all the time.” I wrote that I was opposed to the inefficiences of the government. There is a huge difference. Also, you are protesting that public company CEOs are making an obscene amount of money. How much is TOO much money for anyone to make? What aren’t you outraged over the bonuses being paid to the executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – government agencies which had a huge effect on creating much of the housing crisis by lowering their lending standards and providing guarantees to mortgages that some people were incapable of repaying. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have NOT shown a profit and have been bailed out by taxpayer money – yes your money, if you pay Federal Income taxes, and my money. Why isn’t there more of an outcry about this issue?
    As to the fact that you are continue to try to “pigeonhole” me as either a “one percenter or millionaire” you feel it is within your rights to label me as a “bagger.” Why? Am I easier to dismiss if I fit nicely into one of your categories that you despise?
    Your lack of respect for other viewpoints, listening and true debating saddens me but makes very clear what another poster wrote -about fighting a battle that can’t be won. Although I am not trying to win any battles, I am trying to represent that there are various nuances and information to every story and no one has to be right or wrong. You just need to be open minded and truly listen – neither which I am sensing from you.
    You may think that because you went to a university and read 10 books on economics that you know all there is to know about the OWS. But the OWS group lacks a clear message, lacks cohesiveness, borders on promoting anarchy and advocates a lack of empathy for anyone else’s situation except their own.

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  18. John Vitali // November 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm //

    Dee, if your not a millionaire or a “one percenter”, then you have to be a bagger with the way you talk about government being the problem all the time.Your information on tax cuts are WRONG, my dear because tax cuts for the rich DONT create jobs.That is the biggest myth for the last 30 or so years that needs to be exposed. Tax relief for working people and the middleclass DOES work and boosts our economy.I have studied the Great Depression(read ten books on it)and I have a university background in political science and history, so I have an understanding of macroeconomics and the political economy of the United States.Income inequality was one of the reasons why we had that nasty Depression in the early and mid 1930s.There was income inequality in the 1920s(tax cuts for the rich and increasing poverty and lack of rights for workers).THATS EXACTLY what OWS is fighting against!Why are CEOS making OBSCENE amounts of money, while workers wages are stagnated? The OWS protestors are protesting what they perceive(me too)as too much wealth concentrated on the very top of the economic period.I didnt say your the “enemy” and Iam just debating your thoughts.I dont agree with your logic either.

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  19. Just saying // November 8, 2011 at 10:01 am //

    Dee, I believe you are fighting a battle you will not win. If they listened to both sides, they wouldn’t be out there and would probably have a job. Since most don’t want a job and only handouts, they will NOT listen.

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  20. John, I find it interesting that you assume that I am a “one percenter” or a millionaire. I am neither, but I still am not buying into your logic, mainly because much of it is incorrect.

    Please refer to the historical data from the article by Alan Reynolds of the Wall Street Journal (you can access it online)
    “Why 70% Tax Rates Won’t Work

    Memo to Robert Reich: The income tax brought in less revenue when the highest rate was 70% to 91% than it did when the highest rate was 28%.”

    Here is some additional information that can be accessed on at Pinnacle Business Solutions – Federal Tax Overview 1940-2009

    “The progressivity of the federal tax system means that high-income taxpayers bear a high share of taxes. In 2008, the top quintile of the income distribution will receive 55 percent of income and pay 69 percent of federal taxes.”

    …”The tax cuts have disproportionately benefited high-income taxpayers. In 2007, the tax cuts will raise after-tax income by 0.3 percent for the lowest quintile, by 2.4 percent for the middle quintile, and by 3.2 percent for the top quintile.”

    Sources: Joint Committee on Taxation – 2008, Budget of the United States Government Fiscal Year 2009 – Historical Tables, Tax Policy Center- Urban Institute and Brookings Institution

    Do you dislike “whiny wealthy people” because they are wealthy or for some other reason? Go back and read my first post about how I got started and worked my way up over the years without a trust fund or family help and living through 2 major layoffs.

    Also, when you post information and statistics, it would be helpful if you would quote your source(s). There is so much misinformation out there. Both sides need to listen to one another, but with open minds and with mutual respect. The rich or the “one percenters” are NOT the enemy. The enemy is the inefficiency of the WAY our tax dollars are being handled or mishandled. The wealthy are paying MORE than their fair share but are also angry and frustrated at the enormous waste and government growth and making promises that can not be kept. How do you feel about these issues of inefficiency, government growth and promises that will not materialize?

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  21. John Vitali // November 7, 2011 at 5:25 pm //

    Dee- I take it that your a “one percenter”?! LOL-Are you earning six figures or are you a millionaire? I think your missing my points in general about OWS and the protests and what they really aim for. Let me give you an American history lesson.In the 1940s,1950s, 1960s and even up to the 1970s, the wealthy in this Country were paying 70 PERCENT or MORE in income taxes! Nowadays, the rate is 35 percent or lower.You asked me what is “sufficient tax revenue”.Ok, heres your answer-go back to the Eisenhower and Kennedy years when the income tax was at 70 percent and we can solve our debt problems(which conservatives LOVE to vent about),and have enough funding for infrastructure, health programs,and other social safety net programs.Iam SO SICK of whiny wealthy people in this Country crying “CLASS WARFARE!”,”CLASS WARFARE!” when they are PAYING THE LOWEST TAXES in the last 50 YEARS! The era of Reagan(overrated President)trickle down economics DOESNT work and will soon be history.The OWS protestors(and the protestors in Tampa), are protesting income inequality and the EXCESSIVE, obscene amounts of money that CEOS are making in this Country.They have a VALID point about their grievences! I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THEM and I went to a protest myself!

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  22. Dee, you’re awesome.

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  23. Eric,

    Again, as another writer you write about GENERALITIES without specifics of what has been identified as corrupt in our government. I might be inclined to agree with you once I knew the specifics to which you refer, but you haven’t said one thing.

    Where is it written that “it is NOT healthy for a society to be as unequal and as immobile as we are. We are pounded by debt that was given to us by the banks that should have failed, a financial sector that is run by computers making high-frequency bets that can make millionaires billionaires in a good week”
    From what sources do you get this information? Is it your opinion or do you have FACTS to back up your assertions? Have you taken on debt in order to achieve a higher standard of living? Have you purchased a home with a mortgage that is now valued at less than the debt you owe? Are you unable to move around the country or world as you please, in order to secure a lifestyle to which you are accustomed? How is this occupation personally affecting you?

    “Eric writes” ‘We’re looking at a REVOLUTION here people, not just a few reforms” What type of “revolution” are you advocating? Please be more specific and and tell us why this is so important to YOU. Please don’t write about what is fair and unfair, or who is rich or poor, who is smarter or not, who is taller or shorter, etc. Think about why this is important to YOU and why we should listen to you and consider your perspective.

    Your response sounds like unfocused and unresearched innuedo, rummor and sound bites. Eric, please get back to us once you have done the work, not just mouthed the latest rhetoric

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  24. This comic explains s few of the bigger holes in this post’s logic:

    http://wisesloth.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/how-to-become-a-billionaire-in-7-steps/

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  25. Eric Johnson // November 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm //

    They aren’t UNFOCUSED! They simply have identified the amount of corruption that is in our government and corporate world so that it requires taking their influence and greed as much out of our politics and society as possible. It is NOT healthy for a society to be as unequal and as immobile as we are. We are pounded by debt that was given to us by banks that should have failed, a financial sector that is run by computers making high-frequency bets that can make millionaires billionaires in a good week. We’re looking at a REVOLUTION here people, not just a few reforms.

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  26. John, How much EXACTLY is “sufficient tax revenue” to support my country. I support my country plenty – just ask me and the millions of other people out there who, though we may have worked hard over MANY years to achieve success and had many downturns and pitfall along the way, pay more than our share in taxes. In YOUR mind – what is sufficient tax revenue? Do you have a specific number or percentage? I am already paying OVER 50% to various local, state and federal governments. Do you think I am not contributing MORE than sufficiently – look at the percentages that I presented in my first post.
    As for watching FOX news and it being propaganda – how did you come to THAT conclusion? Do you watch FOX news? or are you parroting what others from the liberal media are spreading as propaganda along with the class warfare division that the top 1% are not paying enough.
    Again, I truly sympathize with those people – young and old – who are unable to find a position that can sustain both them and their families. But to label a specific news show propaganda and that by watching it you become zombified. Based on WHAT specific information? What nonfactual information that FOX news has disseminated?
    There are haves and have nots all over the world – in capitalistic, socialistic and communistic societies. I am NOT the enemy – I have nothing to be ashamed of for achieving some modicom of success. I pay MORE than my fair share, am not a tax cheat and give generously to charities.
    I think you need to broaden your vision and listen to other points of view before condemning everyone for the perceived sins of a few well publicized cases.

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  27. Just saying // November 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm //

    Why should I support the rest of the country just because I am doing well? Entitled much? I work hard, have worked hard for all I have. Learn to take care of yourself, have some self- accountability, and quit acting like the world owes you something.

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  28. John Vitali // November 5, 2011 at 11:00 am //

    Conservatives and other critics of the OWS movements fail to understand why these good people are protesting for-AGAINST corporate greed and income inequalities, which have been hurting our society and Country for the last 30 years or so. If a person can make a million dollars(or more)in our free enterprise system, then thats peachy, but people who make their money here should support their society/Country with sufficient tax revenue.Iam SO proud of young people today taking a stand against these economic injustices.Ill rather see them in the streets protesting and practicing their civil liberties than just sitting at home watching FOX corporate propaganda news and becoming zombiefied.We CANNOT have a society of haves and have nots. Every society in the World that has had a rich and poor society has crumbled!

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  29. Erin you have a LOT to learn. I am NOT a trust fund baby. It took me 10 years to pay off my student loans because my father didn’t think it necessary for a daughter to attend college. He said “why should I waste my money on you – you’re just going to get married.” I went to college and struggled like many people did/do. When I got out of college, there were no jobs. I lived at home for months and my first job paid $550/month for a 40 hour work week and a 1.5 round trip commute. I got married late (30’s) and made my last student loan payment one month before my wedding day. I went into my marriage with less than $100 to my name. One month after getting married my husband lost his job and was out of work for 6 months. He finally got a job selling electronics in a department store for $6/hr. We had no money to buy furniture so we sat on the floor for almost 2 years and the bed we bought for $50 was used as was the lamp and dresser.
    We worked and went BACK to school and pay the following taxes:
    Federal Income taxes 35%
    State taxes 6.5%
    Medicare 1.45%
    Social Security taxes 13% (I pay this because I am self employed)
    Personal Property taxes
    Real Estate taxes
    Erin, do you think I pay enough taxes or should I be paying more? If you think I should pay more taxes, HOW much more and for what purpose? I have worked since I was 13 years old and am still working full time, with 2 children.
    How much is ENOUGH taxes for me to pay? Please tell me.
    This does not include any monies that we set aside for savings and retirement. We give very generously to charities each year. Therefore, we live on very little and live below our means.
    So should I continue to work and work and work to support the over 50% of the popululation who currently pay NO taxes. For what am I to be held accountable for? What have I done to upset these protesters – worked hard, paid my taxes, given back generously with both my time and money.
    And as for quoting Elizabeth Warren, she believes in sharing the wealth and that people got rich by using the resources of the government provided roads, infrastructure, pell grants, post office, public education systems, etc. People who are entrepreneurs risk their OWN capital EVERY SINGLE day without a government hand out or safety net. And the resources of government – those are OUR tax dollars building the previously mentioned infrastructure and resources
    I think you are making very sweeping generalizations. There are many people out there who work hard every day – Read the book “The Millionaire Next Door” about plumbers, gas station owners, small business owners living below their means and below the radar but are worth millions because they have invested time and money in their businesses and provided jobs to millions.
    This discussion should not be about the have and have nots and the demonstrations should be held in front of the White House and Congress so they hear the message loud and clear.
    Erin, I congratulate you on your hard work, effort and determination. Remember that just because I may not agree with your perspective it doesn’t mean I don’t care about those less fortunate.

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  30. Funny how many trust fund babies must be replying, or those who regurgitated that silly “I am the 1% because I have no debt” photo that went viral. Congratulations on missing the point completely. It’s not about debt. It’s not about handouts. It’s about accountability. Funny how many super conservatives complain about those lazy liberals that get a job, and then stand behind the economic crash and the unemployment rate as a platform. “Nobody has jobs! We want to create them! Meanwhile, get a job!” Lol wut. It’s not about debt. It’s about exploitation and preferential treatment.

    It’s not about the 1% being rich. They made it. Awesome. But why, as fellow Americans, are they not held as accountable as the rest of us? THAT is the 1%. Why is special treatment given to them that they don’t have to pay their dues like every other citizen? These are the questions we should be asking. I work 2 jobs and am a full time student at UT. I am already saving up and paying off loan debt to the point where I will be able to comfortably manage the rest of it after graduation. I live within my means, and I work hard academically so that I will succeed in a career that not only provides financially but makes me happy. I also pay taxes. I am the 99%. And those “I am the 53%” hawkers…check your facts. Really. Because I’m fairly certain 100% of the people I know pay taxes, even if it’s not all income tax.

    As Elizabeth Warren TRUTHFULLY pointed out (but who cares about being right? It’s about being dominant, isn’t it?), nobody in this country got rich on their own – no matter how much hard work was put into it (and especially those who are still leaching off of old money). Opportunities to live the American Dream and become the 1%, becoming the self-made success, are available because something funded by someone else (or a collective) was a resource. Pay it forward, and quit whining. Tax breaks for the rich are a double standard to the very reason they got rich in this nation; the declaration that all men are created equal. Really? Then pay up already. The fact that in the long run the ever expanding gap between the rich and the middle class doesn’t seem to bother people just gives me chills.

    Now, for those of you complaining about those damn socialist freeloaders who just want everything handed to them while the rich worked so “hard”….thank you for your opinion, but please stop using our public education system, post offices, police stations and fire departments, roads, buses, social security, military, and pell grants since, ya know, you’re doing such a hot job on your own.

    Odd that the Americans who own nearly 50% of the nation, while looking down on those middle class freeloaders, stamp their feet about paying taxes like the rest of. Who’s being immature, again?

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  31. Greg – you are my hero. Well written article with fact, not emotion. I am tired of hearing about how people who risk their OWN capital, without the security blanket of a government program, to pursue their dreams – physical, psychological and/or financial are the enemy. Many business owners fail more than once before they become successful. And some business owners never succeed, but still they are risking their own money. But because we live in a country where a person is free to TRY, they have the opportunity to thrive. The 1% are not the enemy – most have worked very hard and made many sacrifices along the way.

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  32. Good points all around. The people participating in this make me sick. I saw a group of them squating in downtown Miami last week. Everyone is walking around them in the middle of the workday. Meanwhile, they are just sitting around smoking, waiting for a hand-out, and contributing nothing to society.

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  33. Bert stop nitpicking and worry about the message you ass.

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  34. bravo greg! bert is right,but no biggy:it’s in the declaration

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  35. “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Isn’t in the constitution. Read it before you quote it.

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  36. “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” isn’t in the constitution. Read it first before you quote it.

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