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gimmethesimplelife
10-4-11, 8:43pm
Just a quick question I would like to throw out there.....I have been reading about this (movement?) lately and I am wondering - does anyone think that these protesters can raise any awareness, make any difference, or change anything? Don't get me wrong, I am personally behind them 100%, I just wonder if they can affect any change, or barring that, what their motivations are? What do you'all think? Rob

Alan
10-5-11, 5:20am
I'm with Rich Lowry (http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/279057/left-s-pathetic-tea-party-rich-lowry)on this one. It is a:


giant, ideologically charged, post-adolescent sleepover complete with face paint and pizza deliveries.

ApatheticNoMore
10-5-11, 7:36am
Sounds like the tea party then, only not as many square hats maybe. Square hats make one ahem very sophisticated and mature, ahem, ahem.

JaneV2.0
10-5-11, 8:43am
It's possible. We demonstrated back in the seventies, and many of us believe it helped get us out of Viet Nam. I'd like to see an American Solidarity movement similar to Poland's with enough numbers to apply pressure to the Job Exporters.

ApatheticNoMore
10-5-11, 9:33am
Just a quick question I would like to throw out there.....I have been reading about this (movement?) lately and I am wondering - does anyone think that these protesters can raise any awareness, make any difference, or change anything?

Yes. Here is how I think it works, people with similar problems with the existing system get together. Synergy, idea generation, potential solutions. People really can't do much as isolated individuals (just live their lives), but working together ... a lot can be done.

Also protest movements are one of the few things that can change the political situation. Electing a new twiddledee or tweedledum is not doing it (clearly - the failure of Obama illustrates that). But putting constant pressure on existing politicians through protests etc. might.


I just wonder if they can affect any change, or barring that, what their motivations are?

I think it's possible yea. But even if you assume the worst stereotyped characatured possible motivations. They are just there for a party (and not even a political party but just um a party, as in bring the beer) Ok EVEN THAT would speak volumes about the emptiness, lonliness, etc. of modern life. Aren't there any other good social opportunities? I mean really. But of course the sterotype is just that and there are of course also genuine political greivances.

What I see as dangers: too much ideology or partisanship too soon (it's fine to want to do somethinig about money in politics but if that just turns into - so therefore vote for this party - it is a waste of potential), cooption of the movement by many monied ideological forces, etc. And yea for all my mockery I think even the tea party was coopted to some degree.

JaneV2.0
10-5-11, 10:10am
It's worth pointing out that this country was founded by a small, brave group of people dedicated to throwing off rule by oligarchy. We do those founders a disservice when we don't vote, don't protest, don't register demands of those who represent us, when we don't participate at all. The vacuum we leave by shirking our duty as citizens will certainly be filled by a new oligarchy, better funded even than the last.

Spartana
10-5-11, 10:40am
The difference between this protest (and similair ones here in "Occupy L.A.") is that they are too unfocused. With the vietnam protests you had a VERY focused group who wanted only one thing and worked toward that one thing - end the war. They had facts, statistics, and the strong emotional support of a large number of people thru out the country and the world. Emotions who's flames were fanned night after night with pictures of the new combat dead on the news. This group has no such cohesion and their demands are so scattered and unrealistic that it would be hard for the average person - who may actually agree with much of what they say - to take them seriously. They need focus, leadership, and realistic goals to have any impact. At this point I think they are doing more harm then good for furthering their goals. They come across almost like the WTO anarchists without the violence - just disgruntled kids looking to stir things up just for the heck of it.

madgeylou
10-5-11, 11:21am
totally disagree, spartana.

in the 60s/70s when folks protested, they had one thing to protest -- the war.

the problems we are facing today are far more complex -- it's a constellation of problems that is all about corruption of our government by moneyed forces. this plays out in the corrupt political process, the fact that our transition to a post-fossil-fuel economy is happening so slowly, the fact that the middle class is disappearing while corporations make record profits, the fact that healthcare gatekeepers are far more interested in taking folks' money than in curing them ... it's not just one issue that can be boiled down to one slogan that will fit on one sign.

i do wish that the protesters would take more care with their appearance, though. the thing that made MLK-era protests so effective was that middle america could identify with the protesters. that's where i believe these folks are missing their mark. i'm a sympathetic supporter, and still i want to punch white kids with dreadlocks in the face.

loosechickens
10-5-11, 11:41am
When the Tea Party first started, they were not always focused, different groups of them went off in different directions, but slowly, they began to coalesce when some big money began backing them, Fox News began promoting the gatherings and giving them legitimacy, etc. It has made them powerful, although in the process they may have lost something, too. It remains to be seen.

I'm sure many in the Tea Party cringed at the racist signs, the pictures of our President as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose, and elderly people screaming about getting government out of their Medicare, just as we are kind of cringing at some of the young people who are presenting less than a serious appearance in these protests. But........

Both groups are actually talking about the same "elephant" ( no pun intended). The middle class in this country is feeling besieged. Standards of living are slipping, jobs are being outsourced, even good jobs for educated people who have never really been the target of mass layoffs before, globalization has changed business and multinational corporations chase the profits, wherever in the world they can be made, with little concern for how it affects American workers, so long as there is a rising middle class somewhere else anxious for their products.

Structural change has occurred, and while the Tea Party folks and these young people doing the occupying of Wall Street are both feeling the same inchoate grievances, both feeling as though the middle class in this country has been sold down the river by the forces in power (only differing in looking around them and having some different ideas as to who and what is at fault).

But they, all of them, DO make up that 99%, and the top few percent who have been consolidating power, buying politicians, getting laws and regulations made in their favor, exercising greed run amuck can only keep on so long as the 99% is kept divided, given scapegoats to chase, and fighting each other. Once that 99% of Americans, of all political persuasions, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., (whatever labels keep us apart), recognize that they still DO hold the power, because they are many and the richest and most powerful are few, well....Katy bar the door, because we may manage to take back our country.

BUT....it remains to be seen. It remains to be seen whether this movement will coalesce, whether money and support will go to them, whether they can manage to make common cause with others of the 99%, such as the Tea Party, or whether the powerful will succeed in sowing division among the various groups of people who make up that 99% or not. It's really up to all of us, ordinary people. Left, right, conservative, liberal, Democratic, Republican, straight, gay, black, white, Hispanic or anything else.....it's OUR republic, if we're strong enough to keep it.

If not, the process will continue, inequality scores will resemble those of Third World countries even more (they are already far closer to Third World statistics than those of the other developed Western democracies), and our middle class will continue to shrink, the top few percent will consolidate even more power and wealth, folks in the middle class will lose their hold and slip downward toward and then into an underclass, which will become much larger and even more powerless......

It's really our choice of what we want our country to be. JMHO

edited for danged typos...... ;-(

Spartana
10-5-11, 12:40pm
totally disagree, spartana.

in the 60s/70s when folks protested, they had one thing to protest -- the war.

the problems we are facing today are far more complex -- it's a constellation of problems that is all about corruption of our government by moneyed forces. this plays out in the corrupt political process, the fact that our transition to a post-fossil-fuel economy is happening so slowly, the fact that the middle class is disappearing while corporations make record profits, the fact that healthcare gatekeepers are far more interested in taking folks' money than in curing them ... it's not just one issue that can be boiled down to one slogan that will fit on one sign.

i do wish that the protesters would take more care with their appearance, though. the thing that made MLK-era protests so effective was that middle america could identify with the protesters. that's where i believe these folks are missing their mark. i'm a sympathetic supporter, and still i want to punch white kids with dreadlocks in the face.


True. That's why I think it's even MORE important now to have a very cohesive focus on the issues they are protesting. Back during the Vietnam war everyone knew exactly what the issues were and how they would go about enacting a change. There was no or little guess work. In this protest, with SO many issues involved all at the same time - and many that don't work in harmony with each other IMHO - it is much more vital to focus on a few of the more important issues rather than everything they can think of. As far as their appearence, yeah probably not helping much :-)! But I think the thing that has the most negative impact is just the over abundance of "issues" that they have - and that are written on their signs. It seems to cover everything imaginable. Very scattered, very ineffective when it COULD be a great motivater for change IMHO. It needs leadership and direction.

chanterelle
10-5-11, 12:52pm
"i do wish that the protesters would take more care with their appearance, though. the thing that made MLK-era protests so effective was that middle america could identify with the protesters. that's where i believe these folks are missing their mark. i'm a sympathetic supporter, and still i want to punch white kids with dreadlocks in the face."

Wow, that just made me so sad...I'm 60 and that sounds so much like my mother's..."now you dress nice, smile and be a lady" advice. She just KNEW that everyone would do right by you and treat you fairly in the world..... except for when we were paid less, dismissed and discriminated against...but you looked real ladylike!!!!

The figures released last week said that 55% of recent graduates cannot find work, while scores of others are in low wage, dead end jobs or those ever hopeful but permanantly unpaid trainee staff positions.
Outstanding student loan debt has now reached over 1 trillion $, more, even, that outstanding credit card debt in this country. Forces in Congress would have them pay interest while they are still in school rather than wait until graduation....with no job prospects.
Their parents, my peers, have lost earning power if not their actual jobs, lost their health care, houses and lots have lost the pensions they had worked towards for 30 or more years.
Banks, who have been gifted with several trillions of taxpayer dollars, for which we are all told that we must make severe and austere cuts to our society, not only refuse to list just how much they hold in derivatives but also refuse to mark to present market value what other assets they hold. When Greece defaults, and they will, a giant toxic domino effect will start to ripple through the global economy.
Perhaps at that time Middle America will be less worried about how the protestors look and start paying attention to what they are saying. I am confounded, that in the age of computers, people steadfastly remain unaware of just what is going on around us and need comforting visuals before they will absorb even a little info.
And by the way... if you go downtown and walk around, you will see lots of "normal" looking people there as well, even some of us greying, early retired simple livers....cow-hi

madgeylou
10-5-11, 1:34pm
chantarelle, i do agree that it is somewhat sad that a book is judged by its cover -- but to me, it's not at all about being ladylike or any such thing. it's about connecting with the public.

i totally respect an individual's right to project whatever kind of image they want to project. but part of the problem we are facing is that half of the 99% doesn't see themselves as part of the 99%. because of religion / conservative ideology / america's general hatred of the poor, many folks side with the anti-tax "job creator" rich folks ideologically, even when they are in effect shooting themselves in the foot. lots of these people see the oppress wall street folks as completely separate from them when they really aren't.

my point is that it's a totally different experience for a "normal" (for lack of a better word) person to see someone who looks like a "dirty hippie" (for lack of a better phrase) getting pepper sprayed vs. seeing someone who looks like them, who they can identify with, getting pepper sprayed. the latter is far more affecting.

JaneV2.0
10-5-11, 3:26pm
I don't know how much it matters what you look like. I marched in one massive protest wearing a sweater and skirt and carrying schoolbooks in my arms and some harridan still yelled at me that I should get a job. The irony was that I went right to work on schedule after the demonstration. I still regret not breaking ranks and telling her a thing or two...http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-taunt002.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php)

chanterelle
10-5-11, 4:28pm
ack...just lost an entire post!!!
oh well..
Madge, if looking like and sounding like somebody was the road to sucess than somebody like Bill Moyers, native Texan, man of active faith, ordained Baptist minister and upstanding looking white guy would do much better resonating with his fellow Texans and that half of the 99% than he does. Something else is at work here.
During the 60's and 70's mainstream media was much more responsible in their reporting than now.
I'm sure that you saw the web videos of those women being pepper sprayed....just ordinary 30 something New Yorkers dressed for the muggy sticky weather that day...mainstream media did it's best to avoid the issue.
The sit ins down south owed much to the media coverage of the brutality as to the nearly 100% concurrent boycott staged by blacks of all the white stores, which gladly accepted the custom of the black shoppers but did not let them eat in the lunchrooms or use the toilets. A 40 to 60% loss of business in these stores contributed much leverage to settle the boycotts. When you make a loud noise and follow up with force against business, you get noticed and things get done. Brown vs the Board of Ed was in place for several years yet nothing changed...make a big stink and cost businesses and the power brokers money and things finally started to give way....so long as you kept up the pressure.
The OWS protest is now getting attention, new groups are joining and soon the squeeze on banks and business will follow with various actions...but first you had to get their attention.
Have you read Joe Bageants books? he makes a good case for why so many people who need economic and social justice and change miss the boat...

Lainey
10-5-11, 5:48pm
Great posts, chanterelle.

Spartana
10-7-11, 9:38am
"
Wow, that just made me so sad...

While i don't think it matters much how a person persents themselves in a personal situation since they are not trying to gain anything except self-expression. However, I do think it matters when a person - or group of people - are trying to gain support and respect from a large segment of the populace for their cause. If MLK and his followers on the protest marches had dreadlocks, a skull cap, baggy shorts hanging around his butt, flip flops and a tee-shirt that said Legalize Marijuana or Save the Whale while pounding on bongos, I don't think he would have been as highly respected and the Civil Rights Movement would have been taken much less seriously by others. This was the same for the many other protest movements in the 60's and 70's - whether it was women's rights, gay rights, environmental issues, the the numerous other movements from boycotting tuna to boycotting oil companies to boycotting raisens to boycotting trade embargos (anyone over 45 remembers the fuel rationing, the high unemployment rate - around 9% -and the double digit inflation), migrant worker rights (Ceasar Chavez), etc... (see madgey Lou, there were alot of other issues besides the vietnam war going on back then - they just protested them seperately). Most people who wanted their cause to be taken seriously and garner support where more main stream in their appearance and probably more successful because mainstream America could relate.

ApatheticNoMore
10-7-11, 10:19am
Yea but it is the year 2011, isn't the mainstream appearance pretty casual these days? Especially when not at work, but sometimes when at work. I'm told it's ok to wear jeans to work (in an office). I haven't. But that's where the mainstream is at.

Zigzagman
10-7-11, 10:48am
While i don't think it matters much how a person persents themselves in a personal situation since they are not trying to gain anything except self-expression. However, I do think it matters when a person - or group of people - are trying to gain support and respect from a large segment of the populace for their cause. If MLK and his followers on the protest marches had dreadlocks, a skull cap, baggy shorts hanging around his butt, flip flops and a tee-shirt that said Legalize Marijuana or Save the Whale while pounding on bongos, I don't think he would have been as highly respected and the Civil Rights Movement would have been taken much less seriously by others. This was the same for the many other protest movements in the 60's and 70's - whether it was women's rights, gay rights, environmental issues, the the numerous other movements from boycotting tuna to boycotting oil companies to boycotting raisens to boycotting trade embargos (anyone over 45 remembers the fuel rationing, the high unemployment rate - around 9% -and the double digit inflation), migrant worker rights (Ceasar Chavez), etc... (see madgey Lou, there were alot of other issues besides the vietnam war going on back then - they just protested them seperately). Most people who wanted their cause to be taken seriously and garner support where more main stream in their appearance and probably more successful because mainstream America could relate.

Not sure where you were during the Civil Rights Movement but I was there in the front row seats for much of it. Not as respected? If you mean people getting beat up, crop dusters spraying them as they marched, and some even getting killed was a sign of respect then maybe so. The Civil Rights movement was by no means a movement that was respected by most of the people in this country. Only afterwards, with little or no choice, was the movement and the man respected - IMO.

I went to Occupy Austin last evening to see first hand who and what it was all about. I saw mostly young people with a few older folks and even quite a few workers from the Downtown area of Austin.

I am proud of the youth of this country for finally paying attention to the issues that will directly affect them in the future. When I see them I don't see a bunch of slacker hippies, I see the youth of America trying to stop the madness that is being ignored by most of us respectable people!

I'm hoping that the movement will gain strength as they are joined by the teachers, unions, unemployed, and the worker bees of America. Who knows this could be the beginning of actually getting some change that our Representative Government has failed so miserably in doing for the last 30 years.

No doubt that the solution will not come from us Baby Boomers - we are too smug in our comfy lives to actually rock the boat too much or we would not be at this point now.

Peace

Life_is_Simple
10-7-11, 9:03pm
I went to Occupy Austin last evening to see first hand who and what it was all about. I saw mostly young people with a few older folks and even quite a few workers from the Downtown area of Austin.

I am proud of the youth of this country for finally paying attention to the issues that will directly affect them in the future.



It makes me smile daily thinking that young people are getting involved. :)

RosieTR
10-7-11, 10:26pm
To answer the original post: I don't know. There were a LOT of people in the US and worldwide who protested the Iraq war.....and this was in 2003. We not only went to Iraq, we are *still there*. My mom, DH and I all went to a local protest and DH has a great/horrible picture of a line of police in riot gear. Many, many people did not want the war and protested it and it still happened. Also the guy behind it got reelected. OTOH, protests did eventually stop the Vietnam war, integrate schools, give women the vote, and even very recently made a couple of countries into fledgling democracies. I agree it could go either way. My sense is that there's a spark among everyone. Well, the 98-99% or so. Yes, it's splintered right now. Some are concerned about joblessness. Some about home foreclosures. Some the tax code (and different things about the tax code, even). Some corporate influence. Some climate change. Some health care. And on and on. The major thread in all this, however, is that things aren't right. Do we live, isolated, with a vague sense of unease? Or do we go through more than minor upheaval, possibly violence, to emerge as something better? Personally I don't think Americans will do the former forever; we're not that sort of a people in no small part due to the fact that a whole lot of our ancestors chose the upheaval route. If the movement fizzles for now, I think it just means the can gets kicked further down the road, but the buck will stop somewhere. It might be more painful the further it goes.
On a side note, I'm not terribly surprised. Any time you have a large cohort of unemployed young people who perceive their options to be poor or shrinking you have a recipe for protests at minimum and full-blown revolution/civil war at maximum. If the so-called "job creators" want to retain wealth and control, they'd do well to start creating jobs!

ApatheticNoMore
10-8-11, 12:56am
Yea protest movements that were everything protest movements *should* be according to some (focused on a single concrete demand such as ending the Iraq war) fizzled out into nothing. And yea that's about as concrete as you can get, end a very particular war. So maybe ... their approach might be brilliant?

Having less focus of course leaves them open to co-option by the Democratic party, by monied interests, etc.. Or alternatively if they aren't co-opted leaves them open to going in directions far more radical than many of their current supporters expect (heaven knows I've heard a few proposals that I can't see as being positive). But OTOH the current system is clearly not working. Most protests against it fizzle out into nothing. So in that quagmire ... their approach might be brilliant?

Zoebird
10-8-11, 2:49am
i think part of the problem is that . . .people don't necessarily know or agree on HOW to solve the problems that we face.

let me be honest here. i'm a smart girl. i got an A in constitutional law when going for my JD, so i get it. i mean, i understand the political system, what is going on, and all of that. I also know a fair bit of our history, and have read many writings and publications both BY and ABOUT our founding fathers and the legal histories of the important documents of the US.

but i really do not see a clear "solution" to get behind. we agree that there are major problems. what those problems are, how they came about, and how to solve them are hotly debated.

on the one side, you seem to have extreme religious ranting and weird rewriting of american history and values of our founding fathers and on the other, you have an incoherent process that says something about taking back power -- but who really holds that power and where do we protest to draw it back from them, and how is that protest going to work?

I think that ONE focus of this group is to demonstrate before a financial power to say to the government that we do not want corporate interests driving the government process. And while this group may not know it (the occupy wall st group), this could be done via regulation.

Those regulations will probably have something to do with how debt is managed (bank regulation). They might also have to do with the way government itself is run -- such as disconnecting corporate funding for campaigns, lobbies, and high-level officials in governments having held or holding high-level positions in companies for which their positions would have great benefits (eg, haliburton).

It might also mean doing a lot of radical things -- such as debt forgiveness for the middle class for everything from mortgages (eg, the mortgage cap idea -- where the mortgage is adjusted to the current value of the house, and payments adjusted) to student loan forgiveness. And these, which affect main street bottom lines month to month, rather than bailing out banks. By giving the middle class obvious, clear, month-to-month more expendable income, they may be able to better support their small businesses, or start them, or employ others, or simply put food on the table -- depending upon the circumstance.

To be sure, I think americans on both sides of this issue (leaning right or left) were seriously TICKED when bank big wigs managed to get bonuses while most people were losing jobs and homes.

Health care is a huge, hot-button issue, but the reality is that Americans do not have access to adequate health care under the current systems, and that includes the corporate, profit-run insurance system. Certainly a solution needs to be found, but what is the best possible solution? Well, at some level, we might have to rely on regulation again -- but where? Or, on a larger social system that covers the "gaps" where people are not covered? Extending medicaid/care? doing away with either system?

IMO, the tea party gets confused in it's religious language and it's positioning itself as being historically correct and upholding the central values of our founders, while apparently ignoring both history and the values of those founders. And, much of the constitution to boot, in many cases. Yet, the concept that these problems are real . . . and should be managed through NOT regulating (as i understand it, as regulation = socialism). . . but I don't see any viable solutions to the problems through not regulating, nor through simply "turning back to our original values" -- which seems to be code language for "turning into a theocracy based on neochristianity." That is, I simply haven't seen anything particularly viable in these talks. A lot of "returning to values" language, but no clear, coherent plan to how the country would function under those values, how the market would function under those values.

But, that's not to say I don't sympathize with the idea, since I find myself truly in the camp of the strict constructionist, which focuses largely on individual sovereignty and personal responsibility being wholly supported by the constitution and bill of rights. Problem is, there is also a government, and that government is designed. . . to govern. And it includes governing the marketplace as well (what is and isn't legal to sell, for example).

Anyway, I agree. the system is a mess and corrupt. I'm not sure either side has cohesive or coherent answers, but at least it's getting to the point of revolution. Which is what Jefferson had always hoped for -- if his diaries can be believed.

Zoebird
10-8-11, 3:02am
it's amazing to me, btw, that the current idea of students paying off debt before graduation, when they didn't have money in the first place to go PLUS then not having a job prospect . . . is insane.

particularly when trillions are going to banks, but nothing going to individual folks.

Zoebird
10-8-11, 3:52am
and a nice NYT op=ed (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/krugman-confronting-the-malefactors.html?src=tp&smid=fb-share)

creaker
10-8-11, 7:50am
It makes me smile daily thinking that young people are getting involved. :)

+1

ApatheticNoMore
10-8-11, 10:26am
So even if you forgive student debt, then what going forward? The whole student loan phenomena is an unmitigated disaster! I think they probably need to get rid of student loans period. They were a very very bad idea, possibly supported by some people who didn't understand economics, but more likely supported by those who stood to benefit (which incidently is not really the students). Passing out all that debt only inflated the cost of tuition to unmanagable levels and created a mass of debt slaves. Although even making them dischargable through bankruptcy would lend some caution to how they were given out *IF* they weren't government backstopped, but my impression is they are government backed!

And then how do you pay for student education with student loans gone the way of the dodo? Well I'm open to the idea that the whole education system is a bubble and we should start from scratch :). But being more practical and less revolutionary: my favorite answer is we need to have affordable education funded by the states. That existed in California for a REALLY LONG TIME (until really recently). CA state funded colleges were relatively affordable, they still aren't completely terrible, but the cost has definitely going up and the availability of classes down. And if people won't even pay taxes to fund the local universites (and all such taxes are blocked by the Republicans in the state legistlature!) then I just don't know.

All such programs to forgive debt do punish those who didn't take it out of course, and they too are often among the 99%. Ok sure there are rich people who never need debt, but there are also ways to avoid lots of forms of debt even without much money. Like for instance to minimize student loan debt in California you VERY DELIBERATELY go to community college for the first 2 years. Now this first 2 years takes you 4 years to graduate maybe because with the situation with the community colleges you can't get the classes you need to graduate in time. But if you are really determined to avoid debt you trade the amount of time it takes you to get a degree for actually being able to afford it, a very serious seemly crazy sacrifice, you'd only do it if you truly know what the term: debt that can't be extinguished even by bankruptcy really means (it means no less than selling yourself into slavery IMO - even credit card debt can be extinguished if you are willing to proceed with a bankruptcy, but not student loans).

By the way I've heard tell from vocational schools that don't charge a lot out of principle, that many vocational schools inflate their costs JUST to qualify for student loans and student aid. I'm told (and open to being contradicted if I'm wrong) that in order to get this kind of government money they have to have a certain percentage of students using it. Now suppose you charge 2-3k you probably will not get a large enough percentage of students applying for government aid because well some people have that money, can fund it out of their salary, can borrow it from their parents whatever. A few will need aid but it won't be a large enough percentage. But suppose you charge 12-13k, well bingo, a much harder sum to come up with. No, I don't think ALL vocational schools are scams, but with this kind of nonsense going on, of course much caution is needed.

Zoebird
10-8-11, 3:45pm
I agree ApatheticNoMore.

I'm not such a lollipop that I would think you forgive student debt and move on. I agree that we need to get rid of student loans. Grants, scholarships, and people working their way through, plus funding the schools to make education affordable, as well as making BASIC education (eg, a high school degree) valuable again -- such that people CAN find work with that basic level of education -- and bringing back the value for technical trades, etc. . . absolutely.

Zoebird
10-8-11, 3:47pm
and, i have to admit, i didn't realize the whole situation when i took out the loans that i have (and yes, I am paying them back! but I would LOVE forgiveness so that i could better invest in my business and eventually EMPLOY more people), that you cannot get rid of them, no matter what.

it is slavery.

likewise, i wish the college and grad school education thing had not been so important to my family. they were very adamant that I HAD TO go to school and that i HAD TO do this or that, and that if i couldn't afford it, I just take out loans.

I went with the best advice I ahd at the time, and this was all I heard from everyone.

But at 19, I'd thought -- you know, I could teach yoga and pay my way through community college getting a basic business degree and then run my own business. This is what I wanted to do. my parents sad ABSOLUTELY NOT! and that i would never amount to anything if i did, get bored with yoga and hate all of the hard work of running my own business, and never succeed if i tried becuase (in my family) i'm too lazy.

ironically, $100k in student debt later, i run my own business teaching yoga. I'm 35 and not bored yet. I love what I do and i love running my business. I just wish I would have chucked my parent's nonsense when I was 19 rather than 33.

Jemima
10-8-11, 9:33pm
I'm not sure if there was malicious intent or not, but the whole go-to-college push for everyone was a scam. Two people with whom I worked prior to retiring were too stupid to function like your average adult, yet they both had degrees, one of them a Master's degree. The Bachelor's level accounting degree was bestowed on a woman who I swear is borderline retarded and the Master's was attained by a very spoiled and lazy woman who was raised to be brainless and to look to a man for her every need or want. The first woman might have done well in a caseworker job as she just loved to talk, was very sweet and helpful, and was meticulous about what paperwork she was able to do. The second got her degrees in Finance, which is basically such a diluted accounting program that people have to go back to school again to get the credits for the CPA exam. Yet pursuing these degree programs is enthusiastically endorsed by many college counselors for completely unsuited students because they believe that's where the jobs are.

Most of the jobs for which college prepares one aren't real jobs at all, but figments of an overinflated consumer society that is rapidly losing air. People who provide real services, such as my handyman, are never lacking for work, although The Great Recession has affected everyone to some extent.

creaker
10-9-11, 5:54am
The whole student loan thing has been like a modern version of sharecropping or mining towns. And a way to take a generation and make them place working themselves to death just to make money over everything else in their lives.

Spartana
10-9-11, 9:44am
I'm not sure if there was malicious intent or not, but the whole go-to-college push for everyone was a scam. Two people with whom I worked prior to retiring were too stupid to function like your average adult, yet they both had degrees, one of them a Master's degree. The Bachelor's level accounting degree was bestowed on a woman who I swear is borderline retarded and the Master's was attained by a very spoiled and lazy woman who was raised to be brainless and to look to a man for her every need or want. The first woman might have done well in a caseworker job as she just loved to talk, was very sweet and helpful, and was meticulous about what paperwork she was able to do. The second got her degrees in Finance, which is basically such a diluted accounting program that people have to go back to school again to get the credits for the CPA exam. Yet pursuing these degree programs is enthusiastically endorsed by many college counselors for completely unsuited students because they believe that's where the jobs are.

Most of the jobs for which college prepares one aren't real jobs at all, but figments of an overinflated consumer society that is rapidly losing air. People who provide real services, such as my handyman, are never lacking for work, although The Great Recession has affected everyone to some extent.

Unfortunately the whole hype of getting student loans (and now many wanting them to be forgiven) is the same as the hype for buying overpriced housing with exotic and unrealistic loans that most people can't carry for the life of the loan (and that now many people want forgiven from the loans). A college education is great and there should be grant & work programs to help pay for poorer students (and I'm fully for funding those with an increase in corporate taxes) or do like millions of others have and join the military or work and go to aq state school, but otherwise if you voluntarily take on debt - for anything - then I feel you are obligated to repay that. To ask that any loan be forgiven just because many people got degrees in things like Ancient Languages or Elizabethean Poetry (as did one protester demanding his students loans be forgiven) is ludicris IMHO. Put a hold on the pay back if the needs to be done, but if you signed the loan documents then you need to repay that loan eventually even if the value of the thing purchased - be it education or a house or an investment - declines in value. I mean, many of the things we buy like cars and boats and RVs decline in value the moment we buy them. But no one is asking to be forgiven those debts. You are buying it ti "use" it. Same with investments - if I bought gold a month ago at $2000/ounce and now it's $1500/ounce I don't expect the govmint to fund the difference - even if I put that purchase on a CC or home equality loan. I took the chance on my investment and I should pay for it - gain or lose. To me, any money coming in from increased corporate and personal taxes, or ending this stupid war should go to the truelly needy. It should go to shore up Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and I'd like universal healthcare, infrastructure improvements, and job creation.

ApatheticNoMore
10-9-11, 10:26am
The thing about the total (as opposed to some percentage) debt forgiveness is they got actually got VALUE for their education, maybe a broad based understanding of the world, 4 years of enriching experiences etc. but not JUST that, also MARKET VALUE! Now this might not be relevant if they never get jobs or never work anything but I don't know Wal-Mart.

But say they land an office job or something eventually somehow, luck turns around and ... Every single time they apply for a professional/semi-professional job they will still be considered ahead of an IDENTITICAL person without a degree. No, they might not at all be considered ahead of a person with better skills, better experience etc without a degree. Degrees aren't some kind automatic in, but all other things equivalent. Now they may well have paid for a lamborghini and got a Vespa. :) Oh a Vespa isn't useless, it will get you around town. But ..... um yea.

Another advantage of a degree is it puts you on track for a masters which might have some real market value, although anyone drowning in debt should think long and hard before that, and then go to a state school if they do go for heavens sake!

I'm not sure where these kids come from who expect any degree is an automatic in, as that hasn't been true in awhile. But maybe if they have MUCH older parents it may have been true of their parents world when they were young (it was ONCE true in this country afterall), or maybe if they are first generation in college and don't realize it's not magic, because they really lack the basis for comparison. Picking what field of study might be in demand when one graduates is beyond the knowledge of almost any 18 year old (I mean you can hear one year there is a shortage of nurses and a few years later there are too many applying), but picking what fields of study will DEFINITELY NOT be in demand is somewhat easier, yea the Elizabethian poetry :)

Jemima
10-9-11, 10:41am
Unfortunately the whole hype of getting student loans (and now many wanting them to be forgiven) is the same as the hype for buying overpriced housing with exotic and unrealistic loans that most people can't carry for the life of the loan (and that now many people want forgiven from the loans). A college education is great and there should be grant & work programs to help pay for poorer students (and I'm fully for funding those with an increase in corporate taxes) or do like millions of others have and join the military or work and go to aq state school, but otherwise if you voluntarily take on debt - for anything - then I feel you are obligated to repay that. To ask that any loan be forgiven just because many people got degrees in things like Ancient Languages or Elizabethean Poetry (as did one protester demanding his students loans be forgiven) is ludicris IMHO. Put a hold on the pay back if the needs to be done, but if you signed the loan documents then you need to repay that loan eventually even if the value of the thing purchased - be it education or a house or an investment - declines in value. I mean, many of the things we buy like cars and boats and RVs decline in value the moment we buy them. But no one is asking to be forgiven those debts. You are buying it ti "use" it. Same with investments - if I bought gold a month ago at $2000/ounce and now it's $1500/ounce I don't expect the govmint to fund the difference - even if I put that purchase on a CC or home equality loan. I took the chance on my investment and I should pay for it - gain or lose. To me, any money coming in from increased corporate and personal taxes, or ending this stupid war should go to the truelly needy. It should go to shore up Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and I'd like universal healthcare, infrastructure improvements, and job creation.

I hope I didn't imply that student loans should be forgiven because the educational system suckers hoards of people into overwhelming debt. I fully agree that debt should be repaid. The problem with a lot of people (and hence, our society in general) is that they believe everything they hear, see, or read in the mass media. Allowing oneself to be suckered is no reason for debt to be forgiven, especially when it comes to such a big-ticket item as a college education. No thinking adult should sign such a loan contract without lengthy aforethought and some serious research. If the "victim" is too lazy to be bothered with all that, tough. Pay it back anyway.

Zoebird
10-9-11, 2:22pm
Jemima:

I totally agree about the whole "scam" of university and how some people have degrees who shouldn't and that it devalues the degrees as a whole and so on and so forth.

And, i think it is a real mess, particularly since it can't be forgiven in bankruptcy. I definitely would have gone that route myself (because honestly, it is difficult to make the payments each month -- which is also why we live so simply as well), had it lead to the same outcome. ANM is absolutely right that it's bizarre that this is the ONLY debt that's not covered (whereas cars, houses, etc are) in bankruptcy.

Between student loans AND bailouts, future generations are pretty much screwed UNLESS something changes.

I agree about more support for trades, as well. There was a great article about it around here somewhere. . . and seriously, I wish I had some handy skills like that. my family was adamantly against me learning any sort of trade work because I am "too smart for that" -- which is all about status and them and nto about what I might be interested in doing.

That being said:

1. i agree that a person should do their research about the loans before signing them, but I would say that I didn't realize the extent of the problem then, and I know that ignorance is no excuse, but it's also . . . well, I got scammed. LOL And part of it was my fault for sure.

2. I agree that one should pay back what they owe. The problem being that if a person is strapped, and would need to file for bankruptcy -- which is designed to help someone get back on their feet, etc -- student loans are exempt. it's really the ONLY debt that I have (seriously, we have NO OTHER debt AT ALL), so if i were to fall on hard financial times here. . . what do I do?

There's no protections, there's no safety net that a person running up TONS of debt in cars, houses, and consumer goods CAN get. even medical bills!

3. I *am* paying back my student loans.

There was a hiccup wherein my loans defaulted. i remedied that (it was very confusing when i went to consolidate, the bank was mucking things -- eg, I was making payments greater than the payments, which they would apply to the next payment instead of principle as I'd written on each check, and then they would say I hadn't paid this or that payment, and then say it was consolidated then it wasn't, and so on. It was such a mess of the bank just wanting to nab fees which is a total fraud cycle IMO). but then, I got *actually* scammed because my remedied default with one company was not divided in two, like i was told by a second credit company, who then were able to send me very blurry versions of the original loans (i knew to ask), and we used our home equity to pay a negotiated amount before they took me to court, which I later discovered was *entirely* a scam, even though I'd done all of the relevant research, so the $35k that i'd "paid down". . . wasn't paid down.

I did *everything* in my power to get that money back (as the government has a program to help with that), but now the company has no record of ever dealing with me, and while I have *every* record from them, there are so many different names/subsidiaries from this group that the government "cannot discern which company perpetrated the scam, and therefore you are unlikely to get the money back." And that's that. Sucks, but true. :*(

NOW, I pay back my student loan every month to the one company, and i *may* qualify for the federal student loan consolidation, but when I talked to the officer about it, my payment would go up 10x what my current payment is. I cannot afford that payment. And while that consolidation is A LOT safer than dealing with the credit company who is holding the reconciliation (which still shows on my credit report as "in default"), *if* I default on it, I'm back in the same boat, and there is NO WAY for me to push off repaying any more.

So, I'm rather "at the mercy" of the system.

4. Do trust me when I say that I wish that $100k would fall from the sky tomorrow and I could pay it off. I work really hard -- and in fact am saving up to -- have that money in an account. Every spare penny that I have goes into that account at the end of the month (some months it's $20, and some months it's $2000), but paying the principle through the credit company will lead to big issues.

According to my financial planner, he said that as soon as you start paying a higher payment, the credit company looses something of value to them. They chopped them up and create "investment funds" where people are investing in the debt. If they have people paying a modest amount every month, then it shows that they are collecting on the debts and the debts have value.

if you try to pay more, they will try to avoid putting the payments in the right place, because this means they can say that you are indefault, increase the fees, and basically make a mess of things to try to keep their "investment" safe.

the best thing that I can do is save up $100k, and when I have it, go to them and say "I would like to settle on my defaulted loan" and keep an accounting of every payment that I made (i ask them for this each quarter, so I have it in one place -- i also ask for what the original loan amount is, the interest rate, the current interest amount on top of the loan owed, plus an itemized list of all of their fees which includes "estimated costs of collections"), and then negotiate from that point. I hope that by the time I get to it (which I hoep to be sooner rather than later) we can negotiate to settle around $75/80k. My financial planner tells me that this is possible.

BUT it is not good for them to NOT have the debt on their books -- they don't want you to pay it off! Because the debt is what brings them investors. It's so bizarre -- i do not get it to be honest.

SO

I just don't want anyone thinking that i'm trying to be a freeloader on the system and not pay it back. I think that the whole process is CORRUPT -- with the original student loan company (citibank) which was a mess, to the credit companies and how they try to keep you all trussed up in debt -- that if there were debt forgiveness, I would feel like it was justice.

I am paying it back, and i'm working really hard TO pay it back. I'm not just some complainer not paying who doesn't want to pay.

Also, I recognize that I need to take responsibility for being scammed -- first in signing the loan papers to begin with and somehow feeling the need to do this stuff for some status seeking on other's parts and second in actually being scammed by a credit company and paying back a large portion that, in fact, i didn't actually pay back.

And I think I need to forgive myself for that.

Spartana
10-13-11, 10:03am
I hope I didn't imply that student loans should be forgiven because the educational system suckers hoards of people into overwhelming debt. I fully agree that debt should be repaid.

Oh no, I didn't get that from you at all. I was just agreeing with you that, while a college education is great (and I have 2 B.S.'s myself - although you'd never know it from my spelling :-)!),it should be carefully thought out before hand - especially before taking on huge debts to pay for it. Because, like any other investment, there is no guareentee that it will get you a well paying job. My take on the housing bubble is the same. If you buy a place as an investment - especially one you can't afford with a loan you can't pay back UNLESS you can sell that place for much more than it's worth - then you are taking a chance too. Both of those things are voluntary investments IMHO, and both may or may not lead to greater wealth. But in any case, I don' feel that the banks or the Govmint should foot the bill to write off student loans any more than I do for housing. However, as Zoebird pointed out, even when you fully intend and try to repay a loan, if you don't have the money, you don't have the money. And this is where I think banks and loan institutions should re-work the debt rather then forgive the debt. If you can only pay $25/month, then they should let you do that. Same with home loans. I am "ever so pissed" at the banks for not renegotiating with people to lower their monthly payments and interest rates to something affordable. They would rather let the place go into foreclosure and have an empty place then try and work out something with the owner. I believe that most people would stay in their homes and make some sort of payment rather than foreclosure if possible. Down right ticks me off that they don't do something to help more homeowners and those with student loans. Heck even credit card debt. I mean, doesn't it make sense that they lower the interest rate and reduce the amount owed each month and get their full amount owed back eventually rather than just take the loss? I guess they can write that off and reduce their taxes and then increase interest rates and fees to the rest of the card holders. UGH!

Jemima
10-13-11, 10:59am
And here's an article pointing out where jobs are going begging:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturers are failing to fill thousands of vacant jobs, surprising when 14 million people are searching for work.

Technology giant Siemens Corp., the U.S. arm of Germany's Siemens AG (NYSE:SI - News), has over 3,000 jobs open all over the country. More than half require science, technology, engineering and math-related skills.

Other companies report job vacancies that range from six to 200, with some positions open for at least nine months.

Manufacturing is hurt by a dearth of skilled workers."

LINK: http://tinyurl.com/3wenuuj

What is it with colleges that they can't get a grip on reality?

Spartana
10-13-11, 12:53pm
And here's an article pointing out where jobs are going begging:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturers are failing to fill thousands of vacant jobs, surprising when 14 million people are searching for work.

Technology giant Siemens Corp., the U.S. arm of Germany's Siemens AG (NYSE:SI - News), has over 3,000 jobs open all over the country. More than half require science, technology, engineering and math-related skills.

Other companies report job vacancies that range from six to 200, with some positions open for at least nine months.

Manufacturing is hurt by a dearth of skilled workers."

LINK: http://tinyurl.com/3wenuuj

What is it with colleges that they can't get a grip on reality?

Yeah I saw something similair to this on the nightly new last night. Lots of well paid skilled labor jobs going unfilled because there are not enough qualified US workers. Apparently there is a big push to re-open and fund more trade schools - who's govmint funding has been cut during the economic downturn as well as in previous years because of lack of interest (must be caused by more people going to college for their Elizibethean Poetry degrees ;-)!). I've also posted here before that there are numerous companies hiring large amounts of workers (Halliburton being one who is hiring close to 15,000 skilled and un-skilled jobs in North Dakota - as well as thousands more jobs within the local community) but many people have social justice issues with some of the companies or are unwilling to move to a new area for a job. I've also heard that Ford will be hiring over 5,000 trade jobs at a new plant in the US soon - again skilled and un skilled labor. As well as other companies bring back manufacturing to the US. I really hope more people will consider the trades as a good way to go instead of seeing it as something belittling and too far beneath them as a career. Even though I have 2 degree's, I think that my technical and law enforcement skills learned in the service were much more valuable to mecareer-wise then college ever was. And of course having my dear old favorite Uncle Sam pay for part of it (along with having one of those job-thingies) wasn't too shabby either - left me with no student loans or any debts :-)!

P.S. Also heard that because of the new illegal immigration reform in Alabama, many farm workers left and now they need help with the harvest (same in Florida and other states) so there are jobs in that field too (pun intended ;-)) - and they pay OK like $12/hour - although it is seasonal. Something to pay the bills between protesting the lack of jobs ;-)!

ApatheticNoMore
10-13-11, 2:07pm
Well if they want science and engineering degrees they presumably aren't looking for trade school grads.

Spartana
10-13-11, 2:14pm
Well if they want science and engineering degrees they presumably aren't looking for trade school grads.

The jobs they mentioned were for trades - plumbers, electricians, machinists, welders, mechanics, etc... as well as administrative types of jobs that don't require college degrees. The jobs Jemima was talking about required science, technology, math and engineering related skills - not degrees. Most of those can be gained thru trade schools or the military.

creaker
10-13-11, 2:19pm
What is it with colleges that they can't get a grip on reality?

It may not be the colleges - a lot of employers are looking for specialized people with experience - you don't have those walking out of a college.

ApatheticNoMore
10-13-11, 2:29pm
Ironically older people fled those exact fields and they fled them for their economic survival. They fled fields like chemistry (except bio-chemistry maybe) because there were no jobs. They fled fields like engineering after aerospace went down (to do IT, until the dot bomb). Etc.

Spartana
10-13-11, 2:50pm
Ironically older people fled those exact fields and they fled them for their economic survival. They fled fields like chemistry (except bio-chemistry maybe) because there were no jobs. They fled fields like engineering after aerospace went down (to do IT, until the dot bomb). Etc.

And remember all the auto workers, steel workers, and other blue collar jobs that were lost when so much manufacturing was lost or automated? All those people left the trades and re-trained at white collar jobs. And now those are drying up too. Seems you just can't win no matter which way you go :-)! I guess the service industry still exists to a certain extent but they have seen big declines too. Who wants to pay for dinner out or a massage if they don't have a job?

Zoebird
10-13-11, 5:57pm
a lot of white-collar folks are learning trades, to be honest. DH and I talked about possibly learning some trades here -- one because it's good income, and two because we would like some skills to maintain our home. We were thinking carpentry, electrician, and plumbing. We don't qualify for all of the work-aid, but there are folks in these fields who will take on apprentices (unpaid training -- or you could say, you work in exchange for them to teach you), and then they can choose to hire you for other jobs, etc, and you can do whatever (paperwork and an exam) to get into the guilds and stuff.

It's actually a good idea, particularly as we are heading into rebuilding infrastructure. We want to have more hand knowledge.

Zoebird
10-13-11, 6:01pm
I think, too a lot of this is about re-valuing "non white collar" jobs.

The education system would do well to 1. make sure the high school degree actually creates something in some one (basic skills), and then 2. equally value (socially) trade schools and vocational schools. And then, 3. university should (imo) really only be for those who NEED that sort of degree.

Honestly, I think that parents, teachers, and guidance counsellors should be honest with themselves and with students that if you don't know what you want to do, spend a year volunteering in your community or working, and then see if you have any more ideas. Students should be encouraged to envision any number of jobs as viable, helpful possibilities, not just "you need a good job, you need to go to college." Guess what? financially speaking, plumbing is a much better job than technical writing/editing, and earns nearly double what my husband did with his fancy pants degree.

so, seriously.

I truly, truly wish i'd gone to community college and gotten a business/accounting degree. I swear to jesus I wish I had. Or that I'd gotten into a trade.

But my parents kept telling me i was "too smart for that" and "shouldn't waste my god-given talent of my mind!" but my mind just focuses on yoga (and well, btw), and the rest of it focuses on running abusiness, which requires a lot of marketing, economics, and accounting. . . most of which i've had to learn on my own, by reading books. my english degree, useless. law degree, useful, but I HATE practicing law. I'm good at writing wills, trusts, and contracts though, And i'm good at negotiations. but i didn't need law school for that either.

such a PITA.

For DS, I want him to know that whatever he wants to do after high school is up to him. But, i want him to pay cash for wahtever training he is going to get, or do it via barter (how i got 8 years of intensive yoga teacher training -- the best in the world IMO!), and just keep on keeping on and working and enjoying his life and for GOD SAKES DO NOT GET INTO DEBT OF ANY KIND. :D

Jemima
10-13-11, 6:17pm
P.S. Also heard that because of the new illegal immigration reform in Alabama, many farm workers left and now they need help with the harvest (same in Florida and other states) so there are jobs in that field too (pun intended ;-)) - and they pay OK like $12/hour - although it is seasonal. Something to pay the bills between protesting the lack of jobs ;-)!

That doesn't seem to be working very well:

Hiring Locally for Farm Work Is No Cure-All

"OLATHE, Colo. — How can there be a labor shortage when nearly one out of every 11 people in the nation are unemployed?

That’s the question John Harold asked himself last winter when he was trying to figure out how much help he would need to harvest the corn and onions on his 1,000-acre farm here in western Colorado.

The simple-sounding plan that resulted — hire more local people and fewer foreign workers — left Mr. Harold and others who took a similar path adrift in a predicament worthy of Kafka.

The more they tried to do something concrete to address immigration and joblessness, the worse off they found themselves." - New York Times

FULL ARTICLE: http://tinyurl.com/Hiring-Locally-for-Farm-Work

puglogic
10-14-11, 6:53am
As a Coloradan with many friends on the Western Slope, I can tell you that's true. It's a strange system we have here. Perhaps it has to get REALLY bad (as in dust bowl bad) in order for things to change.

I like that people are protesting - I always do, even Tea Partiers. That's democracy in action. I don't anticipate much change though. Maybe it's the pessimist in me. Or maybe I just know too much about who really owns America.

iris lily
10-14-11, 7:22am
a lot of white-collar folks are learning trades, to be honest. DH and I talked about possibly learning some trades here -- one because it's good income, and two because we would like some skills to maintain our home. We were thinking carpentry, electrician, and plumbing. We don't qualify for all of the work-aid, but there are folks in these fields who will take on apprentices (unpaid training -- or you could say, you work in exchange for them to teach you), and then they can choose to hire you for other jobs, etc, and you can do whatever (paperwork and an exam) to get into the guilds and stuff.

It's actually a good idea, particularly as we are heading into rebuilding infrastructure. We want to have more hand knowledge.

DH has a graduate degree and a lot of coursework toward a phD in horticulture. After working in the plant/green industry for some years, he started up his own handyman business. It's been about ten years (?) and he is super busy. He calls it a "handyman" business but he actually does light construction, whatever he can do with a one man shop and no licensing.

Personally, I think educated tradesman are very sexy. :)

ApatheticNoMore
10-14-11, 9:59am
Cool, but I'm kinda skeptical that that would really work everywhere - seems there would be a lot of immigrant competition for that type of work here.

Spartana
10-15-11, 10:13am
Personally, I think educated tradesman are very sexy. :)

"I'm too sexy for my toolbelt, too sexy for my toolbelt, too sexy..." Ex-Dh had a full ride engineering scholarship to Hofstra University (guess it's a good one in NY) and after completing it joined the Coast Guard as an enlisted mechanic (ship engineer) rather than an officer (eventually became an officer though). His family - highly educated bohemian types - were mega disappointed. Like Zoebirds family, they felt he was too intelligent to work in such an menial position, and that he was wasting his talents and education. He loved it though and felt he had found a much higher calling being in the Coast Guard then he did if he were designing widgets just to earn a higher salary. He has a much more interesting job as well as lifestyle then he would otherwise have had. And yeah, he was pretty sexy in his toolbelt too :-)!

puglogic
10-15-11, 5:36pm
My husband graduated (on his family's dime) from a very prestigious eastern university and promptly went to work on a brewery bottling line for minimum wage, so he could work his way up to a brewing position. He has great passion for what he does, and he's the sexiest man I know :)

creaker
10-16-11, 8:37am
Apparently Bank of America and Citi Bank are using an interesting strategy for keeping customers - they are not allowing them to close their accounts. And when a group of Citi Bank customers expressed their disapproval of this strategy, the bank locked them in until the police showed up to arrest them.

http://www.economicvoice.com/citibank-arrests-customers-for-trying-to-close-accounts/50024660#axzz1axYHMsvd

JaneV2.0
10-16-11, 8:58am
I have a brilliant young relative who, while dawdling through college with a detour to serve his country in the Reserves, got his contractor's license and is self-employed doing remodels and some new construction. But he realizes there's a down side to doing hard physical labor--eventually, he's going to get old and installing a new roof in 80-degree weather is not going to be very appealing.

Stella
10-16-11, 10:29am
But at 19, I'd thought -- you know, I could teach yoga and pay my way through community college getting a basic business degree and then run my own business. This is what I wanted to do. my parents sad ABSOLUTELY NOT! and that i would never amount to anything if i did, get bored with yoga and hate all of the hard work of running my own business, and never succeed if i tried becuase (in my family) i'm too lazy.



Zoegirl we could be sisters! I started my own catering company in my late teens and loved it, but my parents were not especially supportive. I went back to school to please them. Unfortunately I was an idiot and kept living in my apartment, letting my then-boyfriend move in with me and using most of the money I made working full-time on top of full-time school paying for living expenses and his debts and took out loans to cover school.

Similar to Zoebird, there was so much confusion and, I really think deception, on the part of the student loan companies that I ended up defaulting. Companies selling my loan and not telling me who I now had to pay, a company that listed my name under someone else's social security number and applied my payments to that person while sending them my late payment notices so that I wasn't aware until it was too late that I was "behind" according to them. It was just one gigantic hose-up after another.

I'm not saying my student loans should be forgiven. Not for an instant, but it does piss me off that banks can get away with pretty much whatever they want.

I plan to encourage my kids differently. I want them to actively consider a year or two volunteering if they don't have a solid idea of what they want to do. I would wholeheartedly support their desire to start a business, or trade school or apprenticeship or (as we are Catholic), monastic life. If they took a crap job that had potential for learning and growth (like puglogic's DH) I would be heartily in favour of that. As long as they are doing something valuable with their time and contributing to family life (which I would imagine they would, since they do even now with enthusiasm) I am fine with them continuing to live at home, or possibly contributing a bit financially to their upkeep if, for example, they decide to take a year volunteering.

I know several kids who've gone the volunteering route and been happy with it. One thing I like about it is that it teaches kids to live on very little. One girl I know was sent by the group she volunteered with to Ireland. She lived at the church there in a small room and either ate at the church or was hosted for dinner by a family. She had a small amount of money for spending and had a really life-changing experience in another country. When she came back she had a clear idea of what her talents and interests were and was able to pursue them with a clear head and a clear plan. She had many contacts she had made in her area of interest and is doing well. Her year of living in "poverty" helped her figure out what she needs and what she doesn't and she is able to live without.

I want to keep my expectations of my kids high enough that they grow up to become responsible adults, but I also want to be supportive enough that they have the opportunity to really figure out their niche in life. I want them to experiment and not be afraid to try something different and, if it doesn't work, pick themselves up and try something else. I want to keep their material expectations low so they have flexibility. So far that has been pretty easy, actually, and in some ways having a big family makes that easier for me to do.

I also agree that we need to add more value to pre-college education. Middle school through high school is not a useful experience for most people, but it could be if it were reworked. That's probably a whole other thread right there, though.

Alan
10-16-11, 10:33am
Apparently Bank of America and Citi Bank are using an interesting strategy for keeping customers - they are not allowing them to close their accounts. And when a group of Citi Bank customers expressed their disapproval of this strategy, the bank locked them in until the police showed up to arrest them.

http://www.economicvoice.com/citibank-arrests-customers-for-trying-to-close-accounts/50024660#axzz1axYHMsvd
Just to play devils advocate here, what makes you think any of those people were customers?

Maxamillion
10-16-11, 10:36am
Apparently Bank of America and Citi Bank are using an interesting strategy for keeping customers - they are not allowing them to close their accounts. And when a group of Citi Bank customers expressed their disapproval of this strategy, the bank locked them in until the police showed up to arrest them.

http://www.economicvoice.com/citibank-arrests-customers-for-trying-to-close-accounts/50024660#axzz1axYHMsvd

Very disturbing. :/

creaker
10-17-11, 5:21am
Just to play devils advocate here, what makes you think any of those people were customers?

They were there to close their accounts.

Alan
10-17-11, 5:53am
They were there to close their accounts.
The branch said there was one person there to close an account, which was accomplished, and the rest were people disrupting the bank's operations.
For someone to say that a bank is not allowing people to close accounts and the police are arresting those who disapprove would, in my mind, require a little more proof than what was offered in the link provided.

Zoebird
10-17-11, 7:06pm
i've been waiting for confirmation as well on this story.

reports from OWS themselves is that these were OWS protesters who went in to close their accounts with those banks and were detained, and that one woman had just closed her account, but wasn't associated with OWS. She was later released entirely, from what I read.

i haven't read a statement from the bank (i've been looking) and I also haven't read any other information -- eg, what this group was charged with, for example, and whether it is confirmed that they had and were closing bank accounts at those banks or what.

"jury" is still out on this one. :)

Alan
10-18-11, 5:29am
i've been waiting for confirmation as well on this story.

reports from OWS themselves is that these were OWS protesters who went in to close their accounts with those banks and were detained, and that one woman had just closed her account, but wasn't associated with OWS. She was later released entirely, from what I read.

i haven't read a statement from the bank (i've been looking) and I also haven't read any other information -- eg, what this group was charged with, for example, and whether it is confirmed that they had and were closing bank accounts at those banks or what.

"jury" is still out on this one. :)
Oh I don't know, this seems pretty apparent to me. Other than the sensational headline, the story pretty much admits that they were not real customers. Notice the part about "even legitimate customers" being locked inside the bank while awaiting police.

I would bet this is another of those manufactured stories designed to inflame the easily ignited.

frugalone
10-18-11, 9:12pm
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.--Margaret Mead

Zoebird
10-19-11, 12:10pm
The problem is, who is doing the reporting, from which perspective, and why?

I haven't found a source that I consider reliable.

steve s
10-20-11, 9:00am
I spent early childhood years in the South of the US.
Press coverage of OWS has an eerie resemblence to contempory coverage of lunch counter sit-ins.

However, I have no idea how OS might evolve. I am not making a prediction here.

HKPassey
10-20-11, 5:18pm
A lot of students are 18-year-olds getting royally hustled by high-pressure pitches from "admissions counselors" (read "salesmen") who will tell them anything to get them to sign. "Ignore the sticker price, you'll more than make it back once you get a job" is common. I went back to school two years ago after losing my job, and every school I dealt with put on more pressure than buying a used car, including the "buy it now or lose it" game. I was shown phony figures on what my degree would be worth, inflated hiring statistics, lowballed loan costs, the works. Students are also aggressively targeted to take on credit card debt at the same time, often by the same lenders. I'm fighting with my school now, because they neglected to apply my federal grant funds at all, then added tuition after I graduated, backdated 5 months to a time I wasn't even attending school. And I wasn't informed until it was referred to the recovery department as a bad debt. What chance do teenagers stand against that? And once you're captive to the system, you're stuck.

Also, in the 2 1/2 years I've been looking for a job, I've seen a lot of "education creep" in job postings. It's now common for entry-level clerical jobs to state an absolute requirement of a bachelors, and a few mid-level clerical jobs now require a masters! One that required a bachelors to even be considered was an $11/hour file clerk position: two years ago the same position would have required a GED. I've done executive-level administrative support for more than 20 years and have an associate's in business (high honors), but I can't even be considered because I don't have a 4-year degree. No wonder people are getting suckered.

stuboyle
10-31-11, 9:07am
Oh I don't know, this seems pretty apparent to me. Other than the sensational headline, the story pretty much admits that they were not real customers. Notice the part about "even legitimate customers" being locked inside the bank while awaiting police.

I would bet this is another of those manufactured stories designed to inflame the easily ignited.

I'm inclined to agree with you on this one Alan. You think it would be more widely reported if this were true.

stuboyle
10-31-11, 9:11am
Here is another thing for OWS to protest about:

Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers by Ellen Schultz

I copied this off the book description on Amazon.com:
"'As far as I can determine there is only one solution [to the CEO's demand to save more money]', the HR representative wrote to her superiors. 'That would be the death of all existing retirees.'"
It's no secret that hundreds of companies have been slashing pensions and health coverage earned by millions of retirees. Employers blame an aging workforce, stock market losses, and spiraling costs- what they call "a perfect storm" of external forces that has forced them to take drastic measures.
But this so-called retirement crisis is no accident. Ellen E. Schultz, award-winning investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, reveals how large companies and the retirement industry-benefits consultants, insurance companies, and banks-have all played a huge and hidden role in the death spiral of American pensions and benefits.
A little over a decade ago, most companies had more than enough set aside to pay the benefits earned by two generations of workers, no matter how long they lived. But by exploiting loopholes, ambiguous regulations, and new accounting rules, companies essentially turned their pension plans into piggy banks, tax shelters, and profit centers.
Drawing on original analysis of company data, government filings, internal corporate documents, and confidential memos, Schultz uncovers decades of widespread deception during which employers have exaggerated their retiree burdens while lobbying for government handouts, secretly cutting pensions, tricking employees, and misleading shareholders. She reveals how companies:


Siphon billions of dollars from their pension plans to finance downsizings and sell the assets in merger deals
Overstate the burden of rank-and-file retiree obligations to justify benefits cuts while simultaneously using the savings to inflate executive pay and pensions
Hide their growing executive pension liabilities, which at some companies now exceed the liabilities for the regular pension plans
Purchase billions of dollars of life insurance on workers and use the policies as informal executive pension funds. When the insured workers and retirees die, the company collects tax-free death benefits
Preemptively sue retirees after cutting retiree health benefits and use other legal strategies to erode their legal protections. Though the focus is on large companies-which drive the legislative agenda-the same games are being played at smaller companies, non-profits, public pensions plans and retirement systems overseas. Nor is this a partisan issue: employees of all political persuasions and income levels-from managers to miners, pro- football players to pilots-have been slammed.

Zoebird
10-31-11, 1:25pm
thanks for that stu.

Lainey
10-31-11, 4:50pm
I'm inclined to agree with you on this one Alan. You think it would be more widely reported if this were true.

Here's a first-person account: http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/152882/occupy_wall_street_protester%2C_arrested_and_jaile d_for_30_hours%2C_tells_her_story_for_the_first_ti me/

Lainey
10-31-11, 4:53pm
Ellen Shultz talked about her book on The Daily Show as well. Definitely one I want to buy. These people have no sense of financial stewardship or morals whatsoever.

flowerseverywhere
11-1-11, 5:27am
A lot of students are 18-year-olds getting royally hustled by high-pressure pitches from "admissions counselors" (read "salesmen") who will tell them anything to get them to sign. "Ignore the sticker price, you'll more than make it back once you get a job" is common.

Also, in the 2 1/2 years I've been looking for a job, I've seen a lot of "education creep" in job postings. It's now common for entry-level clerical jobs to state an absolute requirement of a bachelors, and a few mid-level clerical jobs now require a masters! One that required a bachelors to even be considered was an $11/hour file clerk position: two years ago the same position would have required a GED. I've done executive-level administrative support for more than 20 years and have an associate's in business (high honors), but I can't even be considered because I don't have a 4-year degree. No wonder people are getting suckered.

Your story is very interesting and one that needs to be shared, thank you. I wish you could go to high schools and talk to prospective graduates. How many of them could benefit by simply living at home, taking some classes at a community college to at least get a base. A family member is getting his doctorate at a California state University. He was telling us that these private schools that advertize on TV are very big culprits. They could care less about the outcome, what you learn, and how much debt you take on, their only focus is to get you to enroll any way they can and even help you fill out aid forms. After attending the school the kids end up with a mountain of debt and then have to go on to a normal bachelors or masters programs if they want any hope of good employment. He sees a lot of them when he teaches courses and in labs.

The admission creep is for real, one of my sibs has a four year degree (which probably cost $150,000 and resulted in four years of lost earnings) and felt very lucky to have landed a $35,000 job. The rest of us are Nurses and can always get a job, the nursing shortage still exists in this area anyway.

I do have a disconnect in blaming the banks though as the colleges are the ones putting on the pressure. Afterwards, however, in situations such as yours I can see why people are plenty mad.

HKPassey
11-2-11, 10:48pm
Your story is very interesting and one that needs to be shared, thank you. I wish you could go to high schools and talk to prospective graduates. How many of them could benefit by simply living at home, taking some classes at a community college to at least get a base. A family member is getting his doctorate at a California state University. He was telling us that these private schools that advertize on TV are very big culprits. They could care less about the outcome, what you learn, and how much debt you take on, their only focus is to get you to enroll any way they can and even help you fill out aid forms. After attending the school the kids end up with a mountain of debt and then have to go on to a normal bachelors or masters programs if they want any hope of good employment. He sees a lot of them when he teaches courses and in labs.

The admission creep is for real, one of my sibs has a four year degree (which probably cost $150,000 and resulted in four years of lost earnings) and felt very lucky to have landed a $35,000 job. The rest of us are Nurses and can always get a job, the nursing shortage still exists in this area anyway.

I do have a disconnect in blaming the banks though as the colleges are the ones putting on the pressure. Afterwards, however, in situations such as yours I can see why people are plenty mad.

Not so much of a disconnect, really: if the lenders weren't making it profitable for the colleges to do it, they wouldn't. There are a lot of sweetheart deals and kickbacks involved.

Oh, and the corporation that owns my (for-profit) school is now under pressure from the feds over illegal admissions practices, specifically, paying "admissions counselors" based on how many students they enroll. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44093876/. I complained several times to the school that I felt pressured into making decisions based on missing or inadequate information. What they should consider is compensating them on the basis of how many of their students graduate: that would pretty quickly shift the incentive from warm bodies to people who have a hope of success. Only about 35% of 4-year students a for-profit schools graduate, about half that in 2-year programs, far, far worse than non-profit schools. Those that do graduate, or try to transfer, often find themselves unable to use the credits anywhere else, too, the major reason I didn't transfer. I'd chosen a school with an accreditation that could partially transfer, but not completely (which is NOT what I was told by the helpful admissions salesperson).

One thing to remember when discussing student loan debt is that some of the options that work for young "traditional" students, in terms of saving money by choosing a community college or state school, etc., often don't apply to working adults. Once you have a mortgage, kids in school, and a job, often the pricey and chancy for-profit schools become the only realistic option for place-bound students. Due to disability issues, a campus school wasn't an option for me, but there were virtually no "real" school programs in my chosen field that I could attend online.