These OWS Protestors Aren't "Poor"

We’re about four weeks into Occupy Wall Street, and one of the common themes we hear is the protestors are dissatisfied with the 1% of Americans who are said to hold “all the wealth”.  Well, I will say that they have one point…. it is odd that “fat cats” are getting salary bumps during a recession.  I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you fall on, it seems weird that a company would fire thousands of employees and then pay their executives higher salaries.  That’s not a partisan observation on my part; it’s an honest one.  I’ll give Liberals and Occupy Wall Street Protestors that much, but I wrote this piece to focus on the plight of the 99% of people who “aren’t rich”.  Primarily, I want to focus on what it means to be “poor” in 2011.  I think some perspective is in order, because many people don’t seem to know what “poor” is.  Let’s begin.

When it comes to understanding poverty in America, there are two camps:  People who remember the 1970’s and 80’s, and the people who don’t.  Allow me to offer perspective.

You can be poor today and still live a comfortable life.  You can have internet, heat, air conditioning, 3 meals plus snacks, your own bedroom, medical care, and you can still do recreational activities like going to an amusement park or the movies.  As someone who grew up in the 80’s and was “poor” in the early 2000’s, I have some critical perspective that I think many are missing today.

I remember what poverty felt like in the early 80’s.  I hear it was worse in the 70’s, but my data banks don’t go back that far.  I remember winter mornings in the Midwest.  My parents’ car (singular) had plastic seats.  The kids at Occupy Wall Street can’t fathom what I’m going to describe next.  We lived in the kind of neighborhood where you don’t leave you car running unattended, so we would sit in it as it “warmed up”.  Cars had carburetors back then.  You couldn’t start them and drive away.  You could try, but the engine would keep stalling out, and eventually, you would be so frustrated that you would pull over and let the engine heat up like it wanted to.  So I sat there on plastic seats that were so cold that they hurt my bones.  I could feel the coldness even through my coat.  Not that it was a good coat.  See, technology has come a long way today, but in the 80’s, the cheap coat at Kmart was about “worthless”.  So I sat there on the cold seats and watched my breath make little clouds in front of my face.  That’s another thing… Car heaters back then didn’t really “work” until the car had been driven a certain distance, but we couldn’t drive yet, because the engine was still heating up.  So we sat.  We didn’t have anything on our iPhone to distract us, because iPhones didn’t exist.  And if they did, they would probably cost about $4,000, so it’s not like we would own one anyway.  We did have an FM stereo though, but it didn’t have presets.  It had big mechanical knobs, and you could feel tension when you turned them.  You could feel metal bands winding their way through the rectangular box as you chose your stations.  So we sat there looking at our breath while waiting for the car to be warm enough to be driven away.  You knew it was warm enough, when it “kicked down”.  Yeah, that’s a quirk about carburetors you might not know about.  The engine would run (loudly) at a really high RPM until it was ready to “kick down”.  You kicked it down by stomping on the gas pedal.  It usually took 2-5 minutes before it would go from “VRRRRRrrrrrrrrooooooMMMmmmmm” to “chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug”.  The engine chugged and sounded like it might want to stall because it was still too cold, and it probably had something to do with the density of the cold air outside.  I don’t know.  I was 8, and I hadn’t really figured out the internal combustion engine yet, but I remember what it was like.

Other things I remember are that we had one TV.  Just one.  And 25 inches was “big” for the 80’s.  So that’s what we had.  A lot of people had smaller TV’s in our neighborhood.  So imagine seven people watching a 25 inch box that was almost too heavy to pick up.  You know, a lot of you are reading this on an iMac that has a 27 inch screen.  Chew on that.  Heck, an iPad just about has a 10 inch screen.  Anyway…

Most kids I knew didn’t have their own room.  They shared one.  Sometimes they shared the same bed.  The lucky ones had bunk beds.  I was in the military before I ever got to sleep in a bunk bed.  In case you wondered, it’s really not as fun as it looks, but they are quaint.  Most of us brown bagged our lunch or had a lunch box.  My mom made me take food to school in a Tupperware container.  I really wished I had a lunch box.  I don’t know the economics of the 80’s, but apparently, it was cheaper to make your own food than to buy it from the school then.  I think it’s cheaper to buy it from the school today.  (but again, I haven’t priced out what a “brown bag” would cost)

For most of my childhood, we didn’t have air conditioning, at least not central air.  When I was 7, we got a window unit that kept the dining room cold, but our bedrooms still felt like crap.  If winter mornings sucked, summer nights might have sucked worse.  It was hard trying to sleep when you sweated in your bed.  They sold box fans back then, but in all honesty, it felt like they made more noise than they did the circulation of air.  So I didn’t sleep much during the summer.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to lay awake until 1 in the morning.  Central air conditioning would have been nice.

Our car didn’t have air conditioning either.  You ever hear of the “460 air conditioning” system?  A lot of people said that they had that back then.  You drive 60 miles an hour with all four windows down. (hence “460 air system”)  Air conditioning in our car would have been nice.

Since I’ve talked so much about cars, I may as well throw this out there… By the time I was 15, almost everyone I knew had to have a car’s engine rebuilt by then.  You don’t really hear about that very much anymore.  Transmissions, sure, but engines, not so much.  Today, when people blow an engine, they usually just get a different car.  That was a fantasy when I was growing up.  I personally rebuilt three by the time I was 18.  One of them was mine.  The others belonged to family members.  I don’t really think many kids at OWS would know how to do that.  I’m speculating, and I could be wrong, but this is my hunch.

I mentioned having your own bedroom earlier in the post.  I don’t know what getting government assistance was like back then, but I know some things about what it’s like in California today. (not from personal experience, mind you)  I’ve talked to some of my neighbors with 4 and 5 bedroom houses and found out that in California, if you have the right mix of boys and girls (and enough of them), then when they assist you with housing they HAVE to give you enough money to rent a house that has “enough” bedrooms.  It’s an interesting little clause, because that means these people get to live in nice houses while living on the government dime.  Think about it… most apartments don’t have 4-5 bedrooms, and the ones that do are pretty expensive/nice.  And most houses that have 4-5 bedrooms are also pretty expensive or nice.  So a lot of “poor” people I know live in nicer houses than my friends that work and went to college.  That’s another thing you might want to chew on.  Food stamps (or EBT)) out here in interesting too.  You get “about” $200 per person for food stamps.  The people in the 5 bedroom houses are getting close to $1000 a month in food stamps.  That’s not bad, especially because food stamps will buy many more things than they did in the 80’s.  My dad was out of work and got food stamps for about 2 months when I was growing up.  I remember there were many restrictions on what we could buy.  Today, you can use an EBT at Taco Bell or a strip club.  Times have changed for “poor” people, my friends.

Even on the more reasonable spectrum of things, the “working poor” have it better than my family did growing up.  I rented an apartment in 2001 that had air conditioning, a dish washer, a nice patio, a decent community gym, pool, and 24 hour maintenance.  It was actually pretty nice.  The cost?  $420 a month.  That was with no government assistance.  It was just what a cheap apartment went for in the Midwest in 2001.  I live in California now, and affordable apartments are about $800-$1300 a month for everything I described above.  In the scheme of things, that’s a lot of comfort for a price that most people with a job can afford.  Those options didn’t really exist when I was a kid.  The cheap places to live had no air conditioning, dishwashers, gyms, etc.  Sometimes they weren’t even what you would call “clean”.

And that’s the thing…  There used to be a really big difference between the “haves” and the “have nots”.  The “haves” didn’t sit in a frozen car staring at their breath.  They had multiple televisions.  Their kids got their own bedrooms.  They had air conditioning.  The had dishwashers.  They had the internet.  They had computers.  (poor people did not have computers… there was no such thing as a $200 netbook… computers were well over $1,000)  And minimum wage was less than $5 an hour.  Poor people in the past were lucky to have a clean place to live.  A lot (or all) of the kids at Occupy Wall Street don’t know these things.  They don’t know what poverty feels like.  They don’t know what fixing their own car feels like.  They didn’t eat peanut butter sandwiches out of a Tupperware container at school.  Folks, potato chips were a luxury to me.  I was jealous of the kids that got them.  Most of these protestors don’t know what “hard” is.

The most beautiful irony of all is this…. “Protestors” at these “occupy” rallies can read this blog and tell me that I’m a “stupid douche bag” from a cell phone that they’re using while they “camp” out.  It’s freaking hilarious.  In 2002, only the “rich” people had camera phones.  Nine years later, these brats can surf the internet and blog about how terrible “rich” people are from a device that fits in their pocket.  I love it.

I’m not saying that poverty doesn’t exist, and I’m not saying that inequality doesn’t exist either.  I’m not even saying that it’s prudent to raise salaries for executives while firing thousands of employees.  I’m not saying any of that.  I am saying, however, that most of these protestors aren’t “poor”.  They don’t know what poverty is, and a lot of hard working capitalists have created this comfortable world that coddles them.  If anything, they should hug a rich person, not hate them.  And if any of them wants to hear what being poor is really like, I’m more than happy to show them my photo album.  Oh, wait… we couldn’t afford a camera when I was growing up.


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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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One Comment

  1. Yup. It’s all about perspective. We ARE the 99% in that we live better than 99% of the world, and more than 99% of mankind that has ever existed. The more grateful we are for that, the more we can maintain and defend the institutions and cultural capital that got us here.

  2. Ai,
    Either you and I are of similar age or similar experience. When I was in grade school, I remember our one bedroom apartment. Mom and sister in one room and the pull out couch in the living room was mine.

    Mom was a single-parent and doing the best she could.

    We had a single 10 or 12″ black and white TV with the circle and and antenna – CHF/UHF dials and such.

    Just like then, I still hate TV. I watch baseball, news and movies. So when our single, crappy black and white TV got stolen I was less grief-stricken than the rest of my family.

    I’ve been poor. Poor enough to think that a pull-out sofa in the front room of 1 room apartment is fine. Poor enough to make mac and cheese into three meals. Poor enough to know that not being able to pay the electric/gas bill means some really cold showers.

    The OWS idiots are brats. Spoiled, entitlest brats. They’ve never suffered and are now facing the real world. Everyone owes them something. Well, kids.. I got news for you. No one owes you ANYTHING. Quit crying, quit making excuses and go start another apple, get a job, or at least mow a lawn.

    Wait.. you can’t do those things because of xxxxx? yeah, excuses are for losers. Shut up and win!

  3. Thank you for the perspective of growing up poor in the 80’s AI.

    We grew up poor in the 60’s and 70”s in the Midwest, Northern Michigan to be exact. We had one TV, had 2 bedrooms for 5 kids, brown bagged lunch where I got so sick of Bologna that I still shudder when I see an Oscar Meyer commercial on TV, the only form of heat was the wood stove/oven in kitchen Mom cooked on for many of the earlier years, had to walk maybe a mile to the bus stop in -20 degree blizzards, and if we wanted something as we got into our teens we were made to work for it. No free ride, no molly-coddling, and if you got into trouble, were caught lying, or stealing, you got the belt, and then you were grounded. After dad was gone, Mom worked 2 and 3 jobs instead of demanding that other folks pay to raise her children, while sitting on their ass playing the victim card.

    The only thing poor about these OWS young protesters is that they are showing “poor judgement” in following around a bunch of radicals and 60’s misfits that think Socialism will somehow make everyone “rich.”
    The proof of their ignorance can be found in the demand that everyone be “given” a living wage, regardless of employment or qualifications. AI is correct in the fact that many of the younger folks “Occupying park benches” couldn’t fix a car, plunge a toilet or have the common sense to shut off the water main when the house is flooding.They have no actual work qualifications and their appearance is atrocious. Many of them could not pass a drug test for employment. Many have college degrees yet say they can’t find work. Bill O’Reilly brought up the point that the U/E rate for college grads is 5.1% today almost half of what the working stiff’s rate is. That sure sounds like UN-equal justice there, why aren’t they protesting that fact?

    As far as the Union political activists, the Liberal media and the Leftists from the White House “Progressive Media action center that Jesse Lee runs for Barack Hussein are concerned, this is shown to be nothing more than the anti-capitalistic wealth redistribution agenda taught by Saul Alinsky and terrorist Bill Ayers.You are correct AI, these people have a strange sense of what is is to actually be poor today. They do however, have poor judgment, poor work ethics, and a piss-poor attitude that says other people “owe” them a comfortable living,” regardless of employment.”
    They look at the ignorant, grammatically challenged, race-baiting, obviously unintelligent neanderthal, Al Sharpton and say “Hey if that moron can have a TV show and get rich without working a day in his sorry life, why can’t we? Maybe they do have a point there.

  4. Yeah, if people can’t find a job, it’s their fault. If people can’t afford for some expensive medical treatment, then they should just die. If people can’t start their own APPLE so they can have politicians in their pockets, then they don’t deserve to have a voice. We shouldn’t spend money on education either, poor people may get too smart for our own good, we need a lower class after all.

    classy guys. very classy.

  5. Guojenman,

    Look, here’s how it works, ” IF ” there are 14 million to 15 million more people than there are jobs in this country, let me say it again the other way for emphasis, if there are 14 or 15 million more people than there are jobs in the country, there is only one thing course of action to take if they get together to try to change something… anything. It’s not what you’d think. You don’t stand upon your political representatives to do something to create jobs. No. What you do is, you tell 14 to 15 million people that “the job shortage” is their fault. And as a part of that exercise in blaming / shaming… as a part of your making yourself feel better about it….you tell them just how well off they are, how resourcefully smart and tough you are, and that frankly… they should be thankful. Because after all, it really is a race to the bottom.

    1. and, conversely, rather than blame and shame the individual people for a national “jobs shortage” of 14 to 15 million jobs, you offer opinion like the opinion in another sage conservative article-contributor here is currently endorsing at the close of his blame and shame article as a workable solution: https://conservativedailynews.com/2011/10/the-latest-from-the-ows-gang/

      “And this article, “The Occupiers’ World Awaits,” by David P. McGinley, perfectly expresses my sentiments about the “occupiers” throughout the world – let the “occupiers” go to North Korea. But that’s just my opinion.”

      That conservative article-contributor appears to be confused, in his article, about why people are occupying the streets. If one still cannot not understand “why people are in the streets” a month later, because they are insulated into being completely oblivious about what has already changed in the minds of average Americans (or because they feign confusion about it in sophomoric set-ups to ridicule, blame and shame), they are likely a part of the problem.

  6. I believe that the word “poor” has changed over the years and what it means to each person. What is being poor to someone who grew up that way may not think what they went threw was so bad compared to some, who really didn’t have much more, but the difference was how much money they made to sustain their level of poverty. Sustain their level of poverty? Why would anyone want to do tthat? So as to keep from falling down the ladder even further, that’s why. Who would want to become poorer? No one. So a person had to work very hard to keep from becoming poorer.

    There came a time in the 80’s where the “official” definition of what “poor” was came along. Being poor in the 80’s was a three bedroom house, one and ahalf bath, two cars, and all the amenities to go along with that level of lifestyle. Except what made you poor was the fact that you were living from paycheck to paycheck and couldn’t afford to do anything. See, I’ve been through all these levels of poverty in America and I know. Once we reached the new level of what was known as the “new poor” we had the house and cars, except we didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Like, once or twice a YEAR we slurged and bought “bacon” because it was so expensive and was a luxury to us. Everyone has some little thing that their income just wouldn’t allow, and for us it was bacon.

    We went to a free debt councilor in our church one time. We wanted to know what we were doing wrong that it seemed we just couldn’t get out of the rut we were in. He was shocked we lived on so little that he asked “Why haven’t you gone bankrupt years ago?” When he figured out how much we spent a week on food he was shocked again. He was so saddened by our financial fix, being poor, that, at the end of the sessioin with him he had to tell us, “There’s nothing I can do for you.”. Well, hell we knew that when we came in there. We just wanted to have someone else take a look at our finances and figure out if there was any more we could do to free up somemore money. There wasn’t. We knew that.

    But you know what? We worked our way out of all that and became “unpoor” after some years of hard work and sacrifice.

    1. WillofLa says (below): “So a person had to work very hard to keep from becoming poorer.” and “But you know what? We worked our way out of all that and became “unpoor” after some years of hard work and sacrifice.”

      Glad to hear your community figured it out. One attributing one’s success to “hard work” and “sacrifice” is one’s prerogative based upon one’s outlook and perspective. Another in your community might contribute the same success to your community beginning to “work smarter” vs. “work harder” (?) for example. If one is feeding one’s family employed as a dishwasher or sandwich meat cutter in a packaging plant, etc., the advice that they “should work harder and sacrifice” more easily translates as a nice motto for management to post around the workplace than it does as practical advice to someone working hard and not being able to keep up. It’s even less practical advice for any of the 14 or 15 million people for whom there exists a shortage of a job for them to work hard at.

      But let’s go back to the validity of the underlying premise in a meme asserting that “hard work” and “sacrifice” are the solution to poor. As anecdotes, we see rags to riches stories now and then. Those stories are story-worthy not because they are common life experience like “Man eats toast for breakfast” but because they represent the exception, not the rule. If one takes the time to research and read the studies exploring upward economic mobility in the US one discovers that reality is not aligned with that American myth. Very few of us are actually able to climb to the next highest wrung above the economic strata we are born into. It happens, to be sure, but only incidentally (as story-spreading news goes lotto winners are story-worthy, lotto losers are not.) “Hard work and sacrifice” works – nowhere near the rate or myth implies. To paraphrase somebody, “If hard work and sacrifice were in fact the key, the slaves shipped into this country would have worked and sacrificed their way into owning this country long ago.” It’s the system we’re a part of and working with.

      It’s the system that matters. Ours is broken today… for too many people. Income disparity has been increasing for 30 years, not 3 years as conservative political talking-point messaging would have us all think.

  7. Things like education is not always a guarantee of not becoming “poor”. Look at all the college grads these days where people with diploma’s are working at McDonald’s flipping burgers. Of course the obvious reason why is all the manufacturing and industry and their associated support businesses are all gone out of the country and the only thing left are a handful of support businesses that are barely hanging on by their finger nails.

    In the mid 80’s America went through a horrible time when our oil and gas industries went on the skids. What I believe is the major oil companies knew that the powers that be wanted to create a scam called the “global economy”. Basically there is no such thing as a global economy. What it is, is a handful of “developing countries” that the international bankers and investors want their money to funnel through in order to suck those economies down so as to control what they do with their money. If those “developing” economies were to be allowed to develope on their own, eventually they would become self sufficient, almost a free interprise like America. But that’s not what the super wealthy want out of those economies. The super wealthy want control over any blossoming economy that used to be poor, but are now getting themselves out. But where did they get the money to develope their industries and manufacturing in order that their people have finally got jobs to provide for better lifestyles those people could only dream about before? The World Bank, and the International Monitary Fund. Where do they get their money? From “developed countries” tax payers whose money is being funneled through those countries governments. It’s from UN treaties developed countries sign in order to provide money other countries can get loans from. In other words it just more “redistribution of wealth” as ordered by the UN. And now Obama is talking with UN advisors about paying into what they are calling a “world poverty tax”, which is even more redistribution of wealth from America that syphons off our nations wealth we could use in order to help our developing industries and manufacturing by NOT taking money from them in more regulations and higher and higher taxes. It’s all geared to take money from our private companies ability to generate it’s own wealth, and give it to somebody else who the powers that be believe need it more than our countries companies do.

    This kind of government intrusion into our ability to generate our own wealth is what keeps people poor who shouldn’t be poor, but since they can’t find work that pays enough for them to be able to work their way out of poverty, they remain poor. That is not those people’s fault, it is bad government that believes our money belongs to them in government, and not to us. Liberal Democrats are the one’s who take out these treaties with those in the UN who want money to be controled from developed countries and give it to developing countries. That would be fine if it weren’t for the purpose of controling that countries economy for the purpose of wealth redistribution, which is simply Socialism heading towards Communism.

  8. I have always believed that American’s, any American can come up with an idea of something they could sell and make money off of. In other words American’s are inventive enough be able to start their own business and make themselves more money they could make if they were working for someone else. We’re inventive, bright, and come up with ideas to do things better or different, all the time. And we are more able to do those things more than anyone else in the world. And do you know why more inventions come from America than any other country, even though God gave a creative ability to each one of us? It’s because we are FREE to come up with ideas about how to change our world. FREEDOM is what allows American’s to be inventive more than anyone in any other country. So why can’t those people do what we do? It’s because they are used to being kept down, and not allowed to change their own world around them. When you live in a country that does not allow you to get yourself out of your own poverty, because they are in control of everything, it’s impossible to move from poverty to a better place. After awhile it affects those people’s minds where if they were given the opportunity to be more creative, they couldn’t do it, because their minds have been affected and that part of their minds doesn’ work anymore like it is supposed to. And that small percentage of people who just don’t possess the creative ability to create new things, or improve something that exists now.

    I am a inventor. I have the ability to invent things. I am registered with the government patent office as an “independent inventor”. As long as I can remember I have always been able to take things apart and do different things with the parts. I’m not McGiver, now, so don’t think I could build a nuclear reactor with a tube of toothpaste and a box of pencils. I’m not that kind of inventor. But when I had my business I realized that the reason why American’s are so inventive is because we are FREE to be that way. Freedom makes a huge difference in a person’s ability to create things. Our ability to create and invent is one of the other things that separates human’s from the animals. Our power of reasoning is what does it. But you definately have to be free to unlock that ability to it’s fullest. American’s can do that, and most other people in the world can’t. And it’s the only reason why, and that is because of our being FREE to do it, and they are not.

    When those in our government believe that the American people should be controlled, it is they who are afraid of our ability to create ourselves out of poverty. That is what those in government want to control. They probably aren’t that creative themselves, and usually it is people like that who want to control someone who can create. If it’s a little bit more of money we earn for ourselves that we need in order to be able to create something we could sell, and then it could snowball and eventually get us out of poverty, then it’s that money those in government want to take away from us, in order to keep us poor. See, how that works?

    1. You wrote: See how that works?

      I write: No. As a matter of fact I don’t. Your underlying premise, the underlying abstract conceptual “assumption” for this comment is flawed in fact. Your comment argues actually provides the argument against itself:

      The USA is not the most inventive people dur to “freedom”, we are pathetically, number 40th.

      Patents granted (per capita) (most recent) by country

      Rank Countries Amount
      # 1 Luxembourg: 431.098 per million people per 1
      # 2 Slovenia: 52.2128 per million people per 1
      # 3 Iceland: 50.5498 per million people per 1
      # 4 Malta: 45.1655 per million people per 1
      # 5 Finland: 35.8032 per million people per 1
      # 6 Latvia: 31.0044 per million people per 1
      # 7 Sweden: 30.1044 per million people per 1
      # 8 Ireland: 26.3944 per million people per 1
      # 9 New Zealand: 25.5266 per million people per 1
      # 10 Switzerland: 24.4358 per million people per 1
      # 11 Norway: 22.4254 per million people per 1
      # 12 Austria: 20.1588 per million people per 1
      # 13 Mongolia: 20.0645 per million people per 1
      # 14 Korea, South: 16.0153 per million people per 1
      # 15 Georgia: 14.3254 per million people per 1
      # 16 Israel: 11.7891 per million people per 1
      # 17 Netherlands: 11.5195 per million people per 1
      # 18 Denmark: 9.5729 per million people per 1
      # 19 Japan: 7.80116 per million people per 1
      # 20 Lithuania: 7.50626 per million people per 1
      # 21 Belgium: 6.94712 per million people per 1
      # 22 Belarus: 4.85437 per million people per 1
      # 23 Slovakia: 4.41908 per million people per 1
      # 24 Australia: 3.7332 per million people per 1
      # 25 Kazakhstan: 3.62176 per million people per 1
      # 26 France: 3.37972 per million people per 1
      # 27 Romania: 3.17958 per million people per 1
      # 28 Bulgaria: 3.08725 per million people per 1
      # 29 Germany: 2.85087 per million people per 1
      # 30 Czech Republic: 2.73411 per million people per 1
      # 31 Kyrgyzstan: 2.72056 per million people per 1
      # 32 Armenia: 2.68186 per million people per 1
      # 33 Hungary: 2.59818 per million people per 1
      # 34 Turkmenistan: 2.01939 per million people per 1
      # 35 Croatia: 2.00178 per million people per 1
      # 36 Singapore: 1.8075 per million people per 1
      # 37 Ukraine: 1.78735 per million people per 1
      # 38 United Kingdom: 1.35669 per million people per 1
      # 39 Spain: 1.04112 per million people per 1
      # 40 United States: 0.97723 per million people per 1

      Source: https://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_pat_gra_percap-economy-patents-granted-per-capita

  9. LOVE this. I’ve been saying the same thing all along – these kids have no clue what it’s like to be poor! Some friends and I got into it on Facebook. In her words, “the fact is there are things in place that push against and oppress a majority of the people in our nation, and that needs to change. our human rights are being violated (as per the universal declaration of human rights, and others signed in the geneva convention–signed by all sovereign nations).”

    To which I replied, WHAT “human rights” are being violated by Wall Street?! And how on earth do you feel somehow entitled to what Wall Street has when you haven’t worked for it? I personally know one of the richest men in the world via the Forbes list – he went from NOTHING to being a billionaire on his own hard work and ingenuity, founding an entire industry that never even existed before he had the idea (leasing airplanes to airlines). And is he such a stingy fatcat? Heck no! He donated enough money to the Smithsonian that their aviation museum is named after him. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and for others like him who have made the “American dream” reality – not because they felt somehow entitled, but because they went to work and MADE things happen. It’s more than I can say for these “protestors.”

  10. Oh, one more thing – let’s not forget, as soopermexican said, we live better than the vast majority of the world. Even our “poor” are hardly poor. As you point out, thanks to handouts, someone can live off the government and have a pretty cushy existence. And they want to enable people even more along those lines?! Baffles me. We should not provide incentives for freeloading – rather, we should find ways to get people to enjoy the soul-building benefits of hard work. And these protestors should thank Wall Street for creating jobs that got them their entitled, privileged lifestyle.

    1. Conservative conjecture: “someone can live off the government and have a pretty cushy existence.” Have you ever noticed that no conservative ever attempts to define or support what their elusive “cushy” really is… in real dollars for example?

      The reason? They’d find themselves needing to advance unreasonable arguments. Their “cushy” existence suddenly looks an awful lot like subsistence existence.

      So they never do.

      Your comment: “And these protestors should thank Wall Street for creating jobs that got them their entitled, privileged lifestyle.”

      LOL! Right. After they’re bailed out by taxpayer money, in addition to $5 ATM fees, here’s more of their version of graditude. Sourced ABC NEWS: Sept. 12, 2011… “Bank of America, trying to break free from a pile of bad mortgages and a sagging stock price, announced plans to lay off 30,000 employees over the next few years.”

      1. You question “cushy”? I’m referring specifically to crap like this: https://www.txtrendychick.com/2011/10/steak-lobster-on-the-government-dole/ Or to anecdotes I’ve heard from friends who could qualify for food stamps but choose independence – and struggle and budgeting – instead, and yet they watch friends who collect food stamps and disability (even though that person could work) who eat way better on the dole. It’s disgusting and wrong!

        1. best you can can offer is one (1) single anecdotal instance of someone with bad judgement (mentally impaired perhaps? Probably? ) obviously burning up all their allocation of food stamps on a couple lobster and steaks. That single instance has probably circulated through every political conservative’s e-mail inbox at least twice and serves for all conservatives for the next 10 years to rant about all people ever receiving any kind of assistance… as having a “cushy” life on the government dole… eating steaks and lobster everyday. I get it and it’s dishonest. It’s clear to me why I reject conservative ideology. It’s all the unfortunate global conclusions constantly being drawn from a small anecdotal for a dismissive argument argument like this. It’s precisely why there is a popular uprising happening across this country: it’s a mentality and it’s a culture of dishonesty that people are not willing to endure anymore as okay. Expect us.

      2. Oh, and I find the bailouts DEPLORABLE, so please don’t put words in my mouth. NOTHING is “too big to fail.” Using that argument is what’s causing all of our financial ruin and irresponsibility.

  11. Here’s the thing about patents. A large number of ideas that receive patents, never become products. In reality, ideas are a dime-a-dozen. The ones that can be turned into successful products are rare indeed.

  12. I saw an article on a liberal blog and realized just how responsive it was to the article above. The responsive article I saw was responding to a young man who in picture, was holding up a sheet of paper that said:

    I am a former Marine.
    I work two jobs.
    I don’t have health insurance.
    I worked 60-70 hours a week for 8 years to pay my way through college.
    I haven’t had 4 consecutive days off in over 4 years.
    But I don’t blame Wall Street.
    Suck it up you whiners.
    I am the 53%.
    God bless the USA!

    The response was this:

    I wanted to respond to you as a liberal. Because, although I think you’ve made yourself clear and I think I understand you, you don’t seem to understand me at all. I hope you will read this and understand me better, and maybe understand the Occupy Wall Street movement better.

    First, let me say that I think it’s great that you have such a strong work ethic and I agree with you that you have much to be proud of. You seem like a good, hard-working, strong kid. I admire your dedication and determination. I worked my way through college too, mostly working graveyard shifts at hotels as a “night auditor.” For a time I worked at two hotels at once, but I don’t think I ever worked 60 hours in a week, and certainly not 70. I think I maxed out at 56. And that wasn’t something I could sustain for long, not while going to school. The problem was that I never got much sleep, and sleep deprivation would take its toll. I can’t imagine putting in 70 hours in a week while going to college at the same time. That’s impressive.

    I have a nephew in the Marine Corps, so I have some idea of how tough that can be. He almost didn’t make it through basic training, but he stuck it out and insisted on staying even when questions were raised about his medical fitness. He eventually served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has decided to pursue a career in the Marines. We’re all very proud of him. Your picture reminds me of him.

    So, if you think being a liberal means that I don’t value hard work or a strong work ethic, you’re wrong. I think everyone appreciates the industry and dedication a person like you displays. I’m sure you’re a great employee, and if you have entrepreneurial ambitions, I’m sure these qualities will serve you there too. I’ll wish you the best of luck, even though a guy like you will probably need luck less than most.

    I understand your pride in what you’ve accomplished, but I want to ask you something.

    Do you really want the bar set this high? Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week? Is that your idea of the American Dream?

    Do you really want to spend the rest of your life working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week? Do you think you can? Because, let me tell you, kid, that’s not going to be as easy when you’re 50 as it was when you were 20.

    And what happens if you get sick? You say you don’t have health insurance, but since you’re a veteran I assume you have some government-provided health care through the VA system. I know my father, a Vietnam-era veteran of the Air Force, still gets most of his medical needs met through the VA, but I don’t know what your situation is. But even if you have access to health care, it doesn’t mean disease or injury might not interfere with your ability to put in those 60- to 70-hour work weeks.

    Do you plan to get married, have kids? Do you think your wife is going to be happy with you working those long hours year after year without a vacation? Is it going to be fair to her? Is it going to be fair to your kids? Is it going to be fair to you?

    Look, you’re a tough kid. And you have a right to be proud of that. But not everybody is as tough as you, or as strong, or as young. Does pride in what you’ve accomplish mean that you have contempt for anybody who can’t keep up with you? Does it mean that the single mother who can’t work on her feet longer than 50 hours a week doesn’t deserve a good life? Does it mean the older man who struggles with modern technology and can’t seem to keep up with the pace set by younger workers should just go throw himself off a cliff?

    And, believe it or not, there are people out there even tougher than you. Why don’t we let them set the bar, instead of you? Are you ready to work 80 hours a week? 100 hours? Can you hold down four jobs? Can you do it when you’re 40? When you’re 50? When you’re 60? Can you do it with arthritis? Can you do it with one arm? Can you do it when you’re being treated for prostate cancer?

    And is this really your idea of what life should be like in the greatest country on Earth?

    Here’s how a liberal looks at it: a long time ago workers in this country realized that industrialization wasn’t making their lives better, but worse. The captains of industry were making a ton of money and living a merry life far away from the dirty, dangerous factories they owned, and far away from the even dirtier and more dangerous mines that fed raw materials to those factories.

    The workers quickly decided that this arrangement didn’t work for them. If they were going to work as cogs in machines designed to build wealth for the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Carnegies, they wanted a cut. They wanted a share of the wealth that they were helping create. And that didn’t mean just more money; it meant a better quality of life. It meant reasonable hours and better working conditions.

    Eventually, somebody came up with the slogan, “8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure, 8 hours of sleep” to divide the 24-hour day into what was considered a fair allocation of a human’s time. It wasn’t a slogan that was immediately accepted. People had to fight to put this standard in place. People demonstrated, and fought with police, and were killed. They were called communists (in fairness, some of them were), and traitors, and many of them got a lot worse than pepper spray at the hands of police and private security.

    But by the time we got through the Great Depression and WWII, we’d all learned some valuable lessons about working together and sharing the prosperity, and the 8-hour workday became the norm.

    The 8-hour workday and the 40-hour workweek became a standard by which we judged our economic success, and a reality check against which we could verify the American Dream.

    If a family could live a good life with one wage-earner working a 40-hour job, then the American Dream was realized. If the income from that job could pay the bills, buy a car, pay for the kids’ braces, allow the family to save enough money for a down payment on a house and still leave some money for retirement and maybe for a college fund for the kids, then we were living the American Dream. The workers were sharing in the prosperity they helped create, and they still had time to take their kids to a ball game, take their spouses to a movie, and play a little golf on the weekends.

    Ah, the halcyon days of the 1950s! Yeah, ok, it wasn’t quite that perfect. The prosperity wasn’t spread as evenly and ubiquitously as we might want to pretend, but if you were a middle-class white man, things were probably pretty good from an economic perspective. The American middle class was reaching its zenith.

    And the top marginal federal income tax rate was more than 90%. Throughout the whole of the 1950s and into the early 60s.

    Just thought I’d throw that in there.

    Anyway, do you understand what I’m trying to say? We can have a reasonable standard for what level of work qualifies you for the American Dream, and work to build a society that realizes that dream, or we can chew each other to the bone in a nightmare of merciless competition and mutual contempt.

    I’m a liberal, so I probably dream bigger than you. For instance, I want everybody to have healthcare. I want lazy people to have healthcare. I want stupid people to have healthcare. I want drug addicts to have healthcare. I want bums who refuse to work even when given the opportunity to have healthcare. I’m willing to pay for that with my taxes, because I want to live in a society where it doesn’t matter how much of a loser you are, if you need medical care you can get it. And not just by crowding up an emergency room that should be dedicated exclusively to helping people in emergencies.

    You probably don’t agree with that, and that’s fine. That’s an expansion of the American Dream, and would involve new commitments we haven’t made before. But the commitment we’ve made to the working class since the 1940s is something that we should both support and be willing to fight for, whether we are liberal or conservative. We should both be willing to fight for the American Dream. And we should agree that anybody trying to steal that dream from us is to be resisted, not defended.

    And while we’re defending that dream, you know what else we’ll be defending, kid? We’ll be defending you and your awesome work ethic. Because when we defend the American Dream we’re not just defending the idea of modest prosperity for people who put in an honest day’s work, we’re also defending the idea that those who go the extra mile should be rewarded accordingly.

    Look kid, I don’t want you to “get by” working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week. If you’re willing to put in that kind of effort, I want you to get rich. I want you to have a comprehensive healthcare plan. I want you vacationing in the Bahamas every couple of years, with your beautiful wife and healthy, happy kids. I want you rewarded for your hard work, and I want your exceptional effort to reap exceptional rewards. I want you to accumulate wealth and invest it in Wall Street. And I want you to make more money from those investments.

    I understand that a prosperous America needs people with money to invest, and I’ve got no problem with that. All other things being equal, I want all the rich people to keep being rich. And clever financiers who find ways to get more money into the hands of promising entrepreneurs should be rewarded for their contributions as well.

    I think Wall Street has an important job to do, I just don’t think they’ve been doing it. And I resent their sense of entitlement – their sense that they are special and deserve to be rewarded extravagantly even when they screw everything up.

    Come on, it was only three years ago, kid. Remember? Those assholes almost destroyed our economy. Do you remember the feeling of panic? John McCain wanted to suspend the presidential campaign so that everybody could focus on the crisis. Hallowed financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch went belly up. The government started intervening with bailouts, not because anybody thought “private profits and socialized losses” was fair, but because we were afraid not to intervene – we were afraid our whole economy might come crashing down around us if we didn’t prop up companies that were “too big to fail.”

    So, even though you and I had nothing to do with the bad decisions, blind greed and incompetence of those guys on Wall Street, we were sure as hell along for the ride, weren’t we? And we’ve all paid a price.

    All the” 99%” wants is for you to remember the role that Wall Street played in creating this mess, and for you to join us in demanding that Wall Street share the pain. They don’t want to share the pain, and they’re spending a lot of money and twisting a lot of arms to foist their share of the pain on the rest of us instead. And they’ve been given unprecedented powers to spend and twist, and they’re not even trying to hide what they’re doing.

    All we want is for everybody to remember what happened, and to see what is happening still. And we want you to see that the only way they can get away without paying their share is to undermine the American Dream for the rest of us.

    And I want you and I to understand each other, and to stand together to prevent them from doing that. You seem like the kind of guy who would be a strong ally, and I’d be proud to stand with you.

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