I’ve been watching news reports about the various Occupy movements around the country with interest. And I have to admit, I’m not sure I get it. Who are all of these people, and what are they trying to accomplish?
In several news reports, I have heard various spokespersons for the movement, or just people interviewed at the various places, and they all seem to say they don’t have a common goal, except that they want a piece of the pie, and don’t feel that they are getting their fair share.
Let’s talk about fair. My 81 year old father-in-law retired after 22 years in the Air Force, then worked two other careers. Now he’s working at WalMart to make ends meet. What’s fair about that?
What is fair? I don’t think it’s fair that huge corporations like GE, DuPont and Wells Fargo have not paid taxes in years, and in fact are actually getting money back from the government every year. In the meantime, you and I are supporting the nation’s poor, paying for wars we don’t want to be in, and are sending billions of our tax dollars overseas every year. In the meantime, many of us can’t afford health insurance, or college tuition for our kids, while chronic welfare rats get free healthcare, and illegal aliens get medical care, and can even send their kids to college on our tax dollars. Why is that fair?
I’ve heard it said that these huge tax breaks help businesses grow, so they can provide more jobs. Okay, then where are those jobs? Every time I want to buy something, everything seems to be made in some other country. What’s the answer? I sure don’t have it. But I do know some things.
Yes, we have a lot of problems in our country, and the way we are doing things isn’t working. Yes, I believe that there are some really big guys and big corporations that are getting too many breaks, courtesy of the congressmen and senators their lobbyists have paid off.
But the flip side of that coin is that there are way too many people in this country who have an entitlement mindset and want everything handed to them.
I keep hearing about this 99 percent who say that they are getting shafted. But nobody I know is out there taking part in the protests, because they are too busy working and living their own lives.
More than one person in the occupy movement has been pictured holding signs that say they can’t find work. Bullshit. There is always a job or a way to make a buck, if you want to. It may not be a great job, and it may not pay top dollar, but just about anyone can drive a taxi, work in a convenience store or fast food restaurant, or a thousand other menial jobs. No, you may not be able to pay all of your bills on those kind of wages, but guess what? There are millions of people who do live on that kind of money!
I’ve also heard a lot of comments about the rich people who have it all. But what’s rich? Obviously, we have people like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, or Apple Computer’s late Steve Jobs. But we also have a lot of people who have a lot less, and have worked damned hard to get it. Why should they be expected to give up what they worked and saved for so somebody else can have it? Mystery author J.A. Jance had an interesting post on her blog, titled Notes From a One-percenter that sums it up quite well, much better than I can say it.
I’ve been flat out broke, and I’ve had some relative success at different times in my life. Eleven years ago, when my wife was diagnosed with cancer, it wiped us out financially. I don’t mean we took a hard hit to our bank account, I mean we were broke. Busted. To the point where we had to borrow money to eat.
Man, it sure would have been easy to just give up at that point. But one thing about hitting rock bottom; you have nowhere to go but up. So we rolled up our sleeves and worked hard, and today we are doing just fine. Because those are the values we were raised on.
But I’ve noticed a funny thing. When we finally did get out of the hole that we found ourselves in, and actually reached the point where we could afford a small luxury or two, there were people who resented us for it. After I bought a used motorcycle, one person actually cancelled his subscription to our newspaper, saying “If Nick can afford a motorcycle, he doesn’t need my money.”
Years earlier, when we were first getting ready to go on the road as fulltime RVers, I had worked out a plan to sell my business to my employees. It looked like a pretty good offer to me, and all they had to do was keep right on doing their jobs, and within five years, they would own the place.
Instead, the minute my back was turned, they started stealing me blind. When confronted, they said “Yeah, well you have a new RV, and you have a Corvette. We deserve something, too!”
I realized that they were right, and they got just what they deserved, a quick trip out the front door, never to return. I will never apologize for busting my butt for years, and for reaping the benefits of my hard work.
I’m sure that there are some folks involved in the Occupy movement who really want to help change things in a positive way. But I also think that for many of them, this is just an excuse to party and hang out, and they really have no clue what they are doing. And I suspect that a lot of the people jumping up and down in front of the cameras at these gatherings have the same attitudes as that reader and those former employees of mine.
Tags: affordable health insurance, Air Force, college tuition, entitlement mindset, free healthcare, huge corporations that pay no taxes, illegal aliens, lobbyists, menial jobs, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, middle class taxpayers, military retirees, Mystery author J.A. Jance, news reports, Occupy movement, Occupy Wall Street movement, Steve Jobs, tax breaks, welfare rats