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by Kathleen Adams

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.

Financial institutions were rescued because they were said to be too big to fail. They were rescued with our tax dollars. Everyone is talking smack about “socialism”, however technically socialism saved the big banks.

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
a. 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
b. 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 1 percent to keep the economy strong, Wall Street (big banks) took advantage of this leverage. Literally investors saw a way to profit by connecting to homeowners through mortgages. And we all know how the story ended…People and communities were preyed on! Homes that were out of people’s budgets were advertised and the bottom line was to make a profit, by tricking people into disastrous financial situations.

3) The bailout by the United States government to the big banks that were instrumental to this financial meltdown, have been extremely stingy and have not held true to their promise. The bailout 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! The banks are holding tight to the money and not allowing any of it to trickle down to Main Street! Salaries in the financial industry have risen, as well as bonuses. While massive layoffs have occurred throughout the country, and salaries for Main Street have remained stagnant or have lowered. 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! Who in their right mind would want to go to college, taken on student-loans, and then get paid crap to teach long hours and have to come out of pocket (and not get reimbursed) for much needed supplies.

I am a supporter of Occupy Wall Street because Americans are working longer hours and harder, but everyday we fear being fired, or having to work for a much lower rate. This no longer can go on. Education should be valued, and especially if you are a college graduate, you should be able to get a job! 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.

Feel free to contact me with your thoughts.

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