Most of you have probably heard about the recent “protests” on Wall St. and in other cities across the country. Angry groups of people are banding together to protest “corporate greed” and “the rich”. People think that corporations are “making too much money” and think that a CEO doesn’t deserve to make millions of dollars a year. These protestors also think people who work hard to make millions of dollars a year need to pay more taxes, because they need to pay their “fair share” (which is total bullshit, mind you). This is maddening to me, in more than one way.
First off, I understand; these people are angry. They are angry because they are out of work, or under employed. Most of them have student loan debt, an upside down mortgage, credit card debt, or maybe even all of the above, and they think it unfair that others are profiting from their situation. Well, I can understand that anger; however, it is misdirected. If they are upset about the housing crisis, don’t blame a day trader on Wall St, blame uncle sam for allowing the housing crisis to occur. But, this is only the tip of the iceberg for me.
When I write about the social situation in this country today, it generally gets back to the same point; accountability. No one wants to be accountable for anything anymore, and instead, points fingers and claims things aren’t fair. Well, I have news for you: life isn’t fair, you better wear a helmet. Oh, what’s that, you are upset someone is profiting on the student loans you knowingly signed up for? No one forces you to take loans to go to college (some people actually work hard, save money, and then go to an inexpensive school that is within their budget. Imagine that.), and there is no universal law stating everyone HAS to get a higher education past high school. Your debt is a direct reflection of the choices you make. What’s that? You don’t like that your credit card has a 27% APR? Aww, that’s too bad. Oh wait, that’s right, you KNEW what you were getting into when you ran up those credit cards, you KNEW you would have to pay interest. Again, it’s a personal choice; it’s no one’s fault but your own. No one takes accountability for anything anymore, and it really pisses me off. Look, I have an outstanding balance on 2 credit cards. I pay a steep APR every month, and while I hate making payment after payment for things (read: bar tabs) I spent money on 2 years ago, I fully accept the consequences to my actions. It’s not some day-trader or CEOs fault I have credit card debt. It’s my own damn fault. Why can’t more people seem to understand this? You are NOT entitled to go to college, you are NOT entitled to have an iPhone or a nice shiny new TV, you are NOT entitled to own a house. If you are upset that lending institutions push this idea on you (the idea that everything is attainable right now, and that all you have to do is sign on the dotted line and its yours), the idea that you can have all that stuff without saving for it (and having to pay back substantially more than you borrowed as a result) then you are upset with the very nature of capitalism. If you talk to some of the protestors on Wall St, they will tell you that very thing; they are looking to end capitalism. You know, because the alternatives to capitalism have turned out so well for those who have tried…
On to the second part of my rant. Greed. Unions have sent some of their members to join in the protests of “corporate greed”. This makes me so mad, I can hardly see straight. Unions protesting greed? Is this an ironic joke? Let me tell you a story about how greedy unions, themselves, can be. A couple years ago, President Obama created some stimulus money for “shovel ready projects” nationwide (which, ironically, were not shovel ready, as it took 2 years for them to start working). So, basically, the economy sputtered, and the government literally said “Hey, we know you could use some work, so, here’s some money, come up with some road work to do”. 2 years later, they started work on an intersection near my house. (It should be noted that the intersection had no problems and functioned perfectly prior to the construction) It seemed like a fairly quick job; add a turn lane to each road at a 4 way intersection. So, in April, they broke ground, closed off one lane each at the 4 way intersection….then went on strike. The unions were protesting for MORE MONEY, despite the fact that the very jobs they had were a charity project in the first place. That takes balls. The government CREATED jobs for them, and the union in turn said “Fuck you, pay me more” after they had torn the roads up and inconvenienced the taxpayers, who were funding said construction. I’m sorry, but if you are trying to tell me that these are the “good guys”, you are smoking rocks. By the way, it’s now mid October, and the construction still has not been completed. So, what’s the difference? Bankers, stock traders, CEOs are all labeled as “greedy” because they want to make more money, but, when it comes to unions, they get a pass? I don’t understand.
For the record, I didn’t support the corporate bailouts a few years ago, and I don’t support tax breaks for big companies who stash profits offshore. If you are angry at these things, you need to protest in front of the White House, or write to your congressman. Those are the people to blame in this situation. Not corporations or CEOs themselves. However, since it is easier to just lob word bombs at “the rich” and “corporations”, people are more content to simply do just that. I recently read an article that supported protest Wall St. by saying “the super rich just keep on profiting, while the rest of us eat shit”. Is that how it is? Do us “middle class” (and even lower class, for that matter) really have it THAT bad? When was the last time any of you literally ate shit? We live in the best country in the world, and enjoy a remarkably high standard of living in comparison to the majority of the world’s population. The vast, VAST majority of us have electricity, clean running water, and a roof over our heads. Is that so bad? We can go and worship to whatever god or gods we please, and don’t have to worry about being persecuted to do so. We live in a country where anyone, ANYONE can make something of themselves. This is the land of opportunity, and with enough hard work and dedication, anyone can make themselves into a rags to riches story. Somehow, this has been lost on some of us, and that makes me sad. Instead of taking advantage of all the opportunities this country presents us, we sit and bitch about someone “making too much money”. In short, the choices we make shape who we are, and what we become. Take some accountability, America. Stop playing the blame game. Quit throwing stones at people who are more successful, as if there is some conspiracy out there that is hindering you from succeeding. And please, stop complaining that someone is making too much money, and that you deserve more. After all, that’s just being greedy.