Who are the 99 percent of Occupy Wall Street, asks Ezra Klein in the Washington Post. Most are people with college loans they can’t afford and lousy jobs — or no jobs at all.
“We Are The 99 Percent,” posts the stories.
“I am 20K in debt and am paying out of pocket for my current tuition while I start paying back loans with two part time jobs.”
. . . “I am a 28 year old female with debt that had to give up her apartment + pet because I have no money and I owe over $30,000.”
“College debt represents a special sort of betrayal,” writes Klein. “We told you that the way to get ahead in America was to get educated. You did it. And now you find yourself in the same place, but buried under debt. You were lied to.”
“i am a 19 year old student with 18 credit hours and 2 part time jobs. i am over 4000 dollars in debt but my paychecks are just enough to get me to school and back. next year my plan was to attend a 4 year college and get my bfa, but now i am afraid that without a co-signer i will have no shot at a loan and even if i can get a loan i am afraid that i will leave college with no future and a crippling debt.”
If bfa stands for bachelor of fine arts, this 19-year-old is wise to make a new plan.
. . . “I went to graduate school believing that there might be some financial security afforded by a higher degree, and that with that security I could finally buy my mom her own house and take care of her. Instead, I have wasted six years of my life.”
Graduate school in what field? At what point did you realize there were no jobs in that field?
Klein thinks the protesters don’t want a revolution. They want to restore “the fundamental bargain of our economy — work hard, play by the rules, get ahead.”
Hard workers usually get ahead of the slackers, but there is no rule about a college degree guaranteeing a good job. Beheading bankers won’t change that.
Times are hard. A few days ago, I ordered lunch at Burger King. Instead of a teen-ager at the counter, a white-haired woman in her 60s asked if I wanted the value meal.