My comments are in response to people asking me why I am supporting "Occupy Wall Street."
I am a 24-year-old woman, a college graduate, and graduate student at Fordham University.
I am protesting because I am sick and tired of being disrespected by big banks. I am sick and tired of being disrespected by corporate America.
Why now? Let me tell you.
I had a conversation on the phone with my father last week regarding why I have joined the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I have joined the movement because collectively there is too wide of a gap between the haves and the have-nots. At the end of the day to function as an efficient society, people need to make a living wage to propel America back to its golden state.
We are all responsible for the financial crisis that we are in, but it seems as if only the big banks are the ones being saved.
Let me spell it out for you.
1) Yes, many Americans lived above their means by relying on credit, for two reasons:
- The cost of living increased, yet salaries did not rise at the same rate, so many people had to rely on credit just to survive.
- Access to credit was easily accessible and, yes I do recognize that many Americans lost track of their purchasing habits and overextended themselves by buying and solely relying on credit.
2) The "American Dream" of home ownership was not meant for everyone, however, America was sold on achieving this dream. And our economy relied heavily on selling this dream to the American public. When Federal Reserve Chairman Allan Greenspan lowered interest rates to only one percent to keep the economy strong, Wall Street (big banks) took advantage of this leverage. Investors saw a way to profit by connecting to homeowners through mortgages. And we all know how the story ended -- with people and communities being preyed upon.
3) The government's bailout of big banks was to help stimulate the economy, and nothing has been stimulated. The only thing that has been stimulated is American public's frustration with how corporate American operates. Salaries in the financial industry have risen, as well as bonuses while massive layoffs have occurred throughout the country. I've been told by many people that the bonuses were necessary to keep the best talent with the companies. How about using this logic to keep and attract our best teaching talent so we can have a better educated population and end failing schools?
I am a supporter of Occupy Wall Street because Americans are working harder and for longer hours, and yet every day we fear being fired or having to work for a much lower rate. This can no longer go on. It shouldn't be that our best and brightest thinkers go work for big banks and blue chip companies. Diverse fields of thought should be valued in the working world. I'm asking for every job to offer a living wage. It should not be that industrial development occurs and the wages are substandard. Because when we offer substandard wages, our taxes dollars end up subsidizing the lives of these workers.
Just like how our tax dollars subsidized Wall Street through the bailout.