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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Odd man out...for now, anyway.

"I am a 32 year old mother of four. I pay nearly $1000 per month so that my kids can get a real education rather than the substandard indoctrination we have come to expect from state schools. I go to school full time on the Montgomery GI Bill, which I earned by giving ten years of my life to the United States Army. My ex works cash only jobs to pay for his beer and his cigarettes and help to support his new girlfriend (and her two children), but of the $20,000 he owes in back child support, we have yet to see one cent. We have no medical insurance, so we have to pay up front every time we visit a doctor or dentist.
My husband is a small business owner, and if Cap and Trade passes his business will go under. Every time he has work done at the business and hires a private contractor to do it, his business gets picketed by Union Employees who may be getting paid more to picket him than he pays the guy painting his sign or fixing his roof. Because he consistently hires nonunion contractors, he has been on and off local business blacklists pretty much as long as his family has had the business."

Oh, and for the record: I AM NOT THE 99%

I sound like part of the 99%, right? I am definitely not part of the 1%, and I have the debt to prove it. I have been reading the personal manifestos of those who call themselves "the 99%." You can read some of them here: 
Many of these people find themselves in awful situations. Many of these people are not personally to blame for those awful situations. But the common thread in every picture, every post, is that ALL of these people are looking at their situations the wrong way. Each of them is demanding that someone else be made to fix the situation. Not one is willing to do anything more than write up a short blog and snap a picture in order to help themselves. They are willing to "Occupy Wall Street" when it involves sipping Starbucks and attempting to avoid arrest, but not when it involves getting an actual education and showing up in business attire with a stack of resumes.

Each of these people is also blaming the wrong party. They are blaming the job creators (business owners and corporations) rather than job restrictors (government regulations) that force those business owners to send jobs overseas. They are blaming the banks for giving out bad loans when the banks were ordered by Congress to make those loans available. And what about the people who KNEW they couldn't make the loan payments and took out the loans anyway? Do they not get some of the blame?
This woman, who posted this picture here, also posted a comment under it: "I have done awful things to make my mortgage payments…including selling my body. 
But I am no longer willing to sacrifice my remaining shreds of dignity on the altar of a faceless institution that gave me
an ill-advised loan to begin with.
Are you guys really THAT greedy?" 
 My question to her is this: YOU took out an ill-advised loan to pay for something YOU wanted but could not afford. Are YOU really that greedy?
They are blaming banks for charging a $5 per month debit card fee when Congressman Dick Durbin issued legislation demanding that the banks find ways to assess fees to cover their own losses (and then suggested that people leave the banks when they did exactly as he told them.)

As you have probably guessed, the "manifesto" at the beginning of this post is mine. But I don't blame the 1% for my situation. I blame my ex-husband for not taking care of his children. I blame progressive policy for the fact that Cap and Trade could single-handedly sink a business that has been around for nearly 100 years. I blame "No Child Left Behind" for the fact that a smart kid can't hope to get a good education in a public school. And I blame Union bosses for attempting to strangle private contractors when there is enough work to keep both of them busy without blacklisting businesses and petty picketing.

So where do I fit in? I'm not the 1%, and I refuse to claim association with "the 99%." For now, I guess I'm the odd man out. But something tells me I'm not alone, and that our voices are getting louder.


  1. I'm the chick in the pic. I've always paid my taxes, voted, donated to charity, and picked up my dog's poop. Signing that mortgage was the ONLLY irresponsible thing I've ever done, and that was only done in pursuit of what I'd always been sold as the American Dream. Yes, I was greedy and dumb to sign off on a pile of deliberately obtuse legal mumbo-jumbo that I had zero understanding of, while my mortgage broker and lender stood by salivating and rubbing their hands, knowing FULL WELL someone with my pathetic income would never be able to repay this loan. It was a lack of regulation combined with man's innate crookedness and greed (my own included) that led to this mess......and now guess what? You Responsible Americans are the ones who have to shoulder the burden. YOUR neighborhoods are being overtaken by foreclosures, and YOUR taxes are going to be used to bail out all us losers. You should be just as angry at the system who created this perfect storm as I am!
    As for me, I learned my lesson. I'm short selling my house and with any luck will never have to take out a mortgage again. That much interest is nothing short of bloodsucking usury!

  2. Actually, I am angry at the system. And if you check into it a little further, you'll see that the problem was not a lack of regulation so much as a mandate from the federal government that forced banks to offer loans they knew would default. The banks did what they could to recoup their losses, but in the end the government sticking its nose in the mortgage industry was what caused the banks to need a bailout in the first place.
    And you're right, we do have to shoulder the burden. But the burden was placed on us by a progressive tax system and excessive government regulation of business ventures - not Wall Street.
    So I am mad at the system - but I am directing my anger towards fixing the core problem rather than putting bandaids on arterial spurts.
    What the government did to you is just as bad. You talk about being sold the American Dream - I was sold that same dream, but I was told that I would have to work my ass off to even get half of it. I was told that sometimes you hit the ball to the catcher, and instead of being told to take your base anyway you have to wait until your next turn at bat.
    The federal government is busy selling you a dream and at the same time whispering in your ear that you deserve it whether or not you've earned it. They do this because they know people want to believe that they deserve things. It's not a hard sell. Once you're hooked, they have the whole system - because when you can't pay, you default. Enough people default and the bank defaults. And here comes the fed to the rescue, and guess what? Now they own the bank - which means that they also own you.

    If you're mad at the system, direct your anger where it can be effective. Take aim at the ballot boxes, not at Wall Street. Elect politicians who don't offer themselves for sale to the highest bidder. Remind Obama that being in the pocket of Goldman Sachs might be comfortable, but it's not acceptable. Stop feeding the beast.