Another way Occupy Wall Streeters are like Tea Partiers (this one, anyway)

I follow @riseofthecenter for obvious reasons, and was for a moment excited about this Tweet:

Absurd Statements from 99%ers Show How Out of Touch So Many of Them Are — — #politics #news #cim #nolabels

… because it seemed that it would provide evidence confirming my prejudice that Occupy Wall Street equals Tea Party equals Something I Will Never Agree With.

You recall the video of outrageous things that people at a recent Tea Party event in Columbia believe, right?

Well, I figured this would be the mirror image.

But when I clicked on it, there was only one example of the absurdity the Tweet mentioned. And as much fun as it is to construct a universe from a single example, I restrained myself. But I did enjoy the one example:

Have you been seeing these pictures of people claiming to be among the 99% of people who aren’t… I’m really not sure, because I’m not any of the evil things they say about “the corporations”, and I’m for damn sure not one of them either.

This one is particularly amusing, in it’s ridiculous sense of entitlement:

Learning is free, if the person imparting the knowledge wants to give it to you for free… and there is a ton of stuff you can teach yourself if you go to the libraries out there (free) or internet (free, once you have access), but those pesky professors want to get paid to teach, those darn janitors want to get paid to clean the building at night, that evil corporation that makes the electricity that powers the lights expects to be paid for that electricity and administrators… those selfish evil people expect to get paid to sit in their cubicles and run the school.

How selfish of those people! This girl wants KNOWLEDGE, and by gawd the universe should conform to her wishes without expecting anything in return!

What a joke.

52 thoughts on “Another way Occupy Wall Streeters are like Tea Partiers (this one, anyway)

  1. Steven Davis

    To the Generation Of Entitlement girl in the picture, I paid student loans for 11 years to finance my education. Maybe this would be a good time to consider a useable degree to pursue once you get into college and not one of those “what do you do with a degree in XXXX” degrees.

  2. bud

    Steven, I assume you’re younger than I am so try to understand something. When I went to school in the mid-70s my family was able to pay my way along without any student loans at all. It was a bit of strain but not a crushing burden. Now there’s no possibility of doing the same for my children. They’ll be in debt for year. It’s very hard to build wealth that way. A rich kid won’t be saddled with that burden so they already have a huge built-in advantage.

    I’m not suggesting college should be free but a return to an inflation adjusted tuition schedule typical of the 70s-80s would be reasonable. Why has this gotten so out of hand?

  3. Doug Ross

    Any young person dumb enough to go into tens of thousands of dollars of debt to get a degree in a non-technical field is an idiot to start with. Go to a tech school and learn something practical at 1/4 the cost. Get a job and get real experience.

    My son’s first semester at USC has basically been a $10K bill for what is essentially a fifth year of high school. It’s a joke. “You must take English Composition and write a three page paper interpreting what you see in this picture of Johnny Cash sitting on a porch playing a guitar with his daughter”. Really? What an utter waste of time.

  4. Karen McLeod

    Doug, I agree it’s a waste of time unless your child needs to learn grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. It also helps teach people how to put together a coherent piece of writing on a given subject. If you already know these things, you can (or could) exempt that course. Unfortunately, most freshmen cannot.

  5. Steve Gordy

    Yes, Doug, we’re well aware of your opinion that anyone who is a non-techie is too stupid to comprehend things. This non-techie worked 30 years in a technical business and is now happily engaged in his first career love – teaching college kids. It’s not just the field of study, it’s also the person.

  6. Cotton Boll Conspiracy

    I understand the importance of getting your money’s worth out of a college education, but I don’t think education can be boiled down to a simple cost-benefit analysis. And while one doesn’t need to go to college to become a better-educated individual, it often helps. In addition, there is an inherent value in education that I believe many overlook when they simply see college as the means to an end, with that end being a high-paying job.

    Conversely, the 100-plus percent rise in tuition that has taken place in our state schools over the past decade is ridiculous. Too many state schools are run like fiefdoms with no regard for those the schools were originally set up to serve – the citizens of the state. No school today can afford to be all things to all students, at least not without incurring incredible costs.

    I have no problem with someone who wants to study English, Theology, Philosophy or any of the other oft-maligned majors that can leave graduates waiting tables and paying down student debt for years if that’s something they truly feel a calling to study.

    The world has more than enough business majors; what we need are more well-rounded people who have a firm grasp of the liberal arts. Smart people almost always eventually find good jobs, even if it takes a little longer than they’d like.

  7. James Cross

    Ah yes, those free libraries. Well, I’ve worked in a public library, and it’s funny: those pesky librarians want to be paid for the work they do, those darn janitors want to get paid to clean the building at night, the evil corporation that makes the electricity that powers the lights expects to be paid for that electricity and administrators … those selfish evil people expect to get paid to sit in their cubicles and run the library.

    And another amazing thing: an awful lot of jobs *require* a college degree, which all the knowledge acquisition from libraries, teachers willing to teach for nothing, and the Internet will not get you. Are there alternatives? Sure, and some pay very well. Many, however, do not.

    She’s an easy target because she’s young and inarticulate. But her worry about how to pay for her education is one shared by many people.

  8. Steven Davis

    @bud – So my 111 monthly student loan payments isn’t “debt for years”? My parents weren’t in a position to pay for my college, so I worked summers, went through college on a partial scholarship and took out student loans. Was it easy for me? No, but I knew it was my responsibility to pay them. I realize these 20-somethings expect to be driving a new BMW upon graduation, but sometimes life is hard and you have to drive grandma’s old land yacht for a few years and not live in a downtown condo.

    Besides, there’s always the military option when all else fails.

  9. Steven Davis

    James – The Thomas Cooper Library at USC is open 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. for those without a student ID and 24/7 for those with an ID. If a person wants to go to school bad enough, he/she will find a way.

  10. Steven Davis

    I agree with Doug’s technical school comment. For example, I had my A/C system worked on a couple weeks ago and the guy that came out was telling me that they’ve got so much work lined up that they’re having to turn down jobs because they can’t find qualified people to hire. And that the last two guys they hired were working for another HVAC company.

    Is this a life’s plan for some? Nope, but at $20-$30/hr. a person could work hard for 3-4 years and have enough saved to make a big dent in his future tuition bills.

  11. bud

    But if everyone uses the military option then that won’t be an option for many. (Sounds like something Yogi Berra would say).

  12. Phillip

    I agree with CBC, and to Doug, I would just offer some of the many comments the late Steve Jobs made about the value to our society (including to technical advances and innovation) of a liberal arts education. These are floating all over the web now especially with Mr. Jobs’ passing. To me, he really “got it.”

  13. Brad

    Yeah, bud. Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.

    And Steven — that’s a course of study that they’ve been pushing at Midlands Tech. Lots of opportunities in HVAC.

  14. Brad

    And Phillip… I was really impressed with some of the Jobs recordings I heard on NPR after his death, while I was driving to and from Florence last week…

  15. Doug Ross

    How much debt would you encourage a college student to take on on the pursuit of a liberal arts degree? Four years on campus at USC will run you around 85000 if you started this year. Gotta get a.lot of tips as a coffee barista to cover that nut.

    And if you don’t know how to write a paragraph by the time you are 18, you don’t belong in college. Colleges are just as interested in profits as businesses are.

  16. Steven Davis

    @bud – “But if everyone uses the military option then that won’t be an option for many.”

    Wow!!! That’s your response to my suggesting an option for those who need to get money for college?

    I’m out of suggestions, I guess if you can’t afford to pay student loans, can’t enlist in the military I guess you’ll just have to stand out on Wall Street with the 99%ers.

  17. Steven Davis

    I hope some here realize that the top mechanics in some of the dealerships around Columbia are making close to 6-figure salaries. So you don’t have to go to school and get 4-year degrees to make a decent living.

    My HVAC guy told me his boss just put a $20,000 Trane system (our cost, $10,000 his cost) in his house. This is an HVAC company with 7 employees… not one of the big companies. I’m not too worried about him not being able to put food on his table with his 1-2 year technical degree.

  18. Phillip

    Well, Doug, I would say that taking on a crazy amount of debt in order to go to college is a terrible thing that unfortunately is a fact of life for so many…and you’re right in one sense, which is that going into that much debt for college kind of does necessitate aiming for something highly “pragmatic” in the short-term. Thus the system is skewed against the liberal arts. But this all brings us back to square one, which is the picture Brad posted above. Surely there is something between “free” and $85,000 of debt.

  19. Steven Davis

    The system isn’t skewed against the liberal arts. The liberal arts are skewed against a liveable wage.

    Would you prefer your son/daughter go into Accounting/Engineering or Art History/Sociology?

    As for something in between, how about this. Take your general requirements at Midlands Tech. Then transfer all those credits to USC. Does it really matter if you take Sociology 101 at Midlands Tech or USC?

    How much does the state legislature budget and contribute to USC? How much did they contribute 20 years ago? There’s the answer to your problem. USC and Clemson might as well go private if they could get away from the little property tax thing.

  20. Doug Ross


    How much would you encourage your own child to take on for debt in today’s dollars?

    My daughter is just about done with getting an associates degree in Baking and Pastry from one of the tech colleges. It has been a fantastic experience for her. With the lottery scholarship, the cost was ZERO for tuition, plus she got $150 per year for books. And her prospects for a job paying a reasonable salary are pretty good. She doesn’t like math, isn’t interested in science, but can make a mean croissant. And I think that’s great.

    My older son graduated from USC last year with a business degree. 3.4 GPA. Tried for many jobs locally and out of state. Too much competition, especially from out of work people with experience. He could have taken a low level accounts receivable job — a job he could have got with a two year degree from Midlands Tech. Instead, I have him learning software development and he’s going to start his own business the first of the year. I can teach him more job related skills in three months than he got in four years at USC.

    I’d like to see the USC career center publish information on hiring rates for grads from the past two years. Starting salaries, percent of students finding jobs in their majors, average student loan debt. The numbers would probably scare parents of current high school seniors to death.

  21. James Cross

    Steven – The R. M. Cooper Library at Clemson where I work is open 24 hours Monday to Thursday, until 8pm on Friday, from 10am-8pm on Saturday, and from 12pm-12am on Sunday.

    Oh, and I lived at home when I was a undergrad and grad student in the late 1970’s-early 1980’s, paying a ridiculously low rent which certainly didn’t cover what I was costing may parents in room & board but was their way of helping out. I went to school 12 months of the year as an undergrad to avoid some of the tuition increases and worked a part-time job that was just a hair under being full-time to pay for books, tuition, etc. After I graduated with my undergrad degree (and no debt) I worked in a manufacturing job I hated (not so much the work as the management) to save up $ for attending a private school for my graduate degrees. While there I worked another part-time job that was just a hair under being full-time and that, plus a modest fellowship and working for a summer at NARS in D.C. (while doing a directed reading course) was enough to get me out of grad school with no debts as well.

    So yes, I know that one can find a way.

    And all of that is irrelevent. If I tried to do the same thing today all I would be doing is knocking down my debt a bit–I certainly couldn’t do what I did back then and get out of school debt free.

    And that fear of being overwhelmed by debt in order to get a degree is what is driving the anxiety that this young woman is expressing.

  22. Doug Ross

    And another thing –

    Are you skilled at writing? I can help you become a technical writer producing documentation for software systems… a skill that is SORELY lacking in the industry now with so much offshoring of software development.

    Are you a creative graphics person? I can help you find your niche in developing interactive dashboards for business executives for tablets and mobile devices (an area just taking off).

    There are technical jobs out there for people with non-techie skills who are willing to do a couple months of in-depth training. If a person is out of work and NOT investing in educating himself, I can’t drum up a whole lot of compassion. There are literally HUNDREDS of free college level courses available from MIT, Stanford, etc.

    I’ve somehow been able to progress through a 30 year career in IT without doing any math tougher than what I learned in middle school, knowing Shakespeare’s sonnets, memorizing the periodic table, or speaking Russian (which I spent a couple hundred hours of study time on in college). People need to do what they do well and/or enjoy doing. Wasting time in college on other topics is just fitting someone else’s definition of well-rounded to their benefit.

  23. bud

    Doug, the world would be a sad and empty place without the inspiration of liberal arts and higher mathematics. Music, art and literature provide for a rich life for people and there needs to be an educational process to pass this knowledge down. While I recognize the importance of all these techie skills it’s clear there are important needs for nurses, accountants, financial planners, mathematicians, chemists, physisists, excercise therapists, psychologists, auto mechanics, animal breeders, photographers and on and on. To suggest the whole world revolves around what can be learned with a couple months training in a limited specialty cheapens the wealth of knowledge that young people can and should be exposed to. After all, if your son’s experience illustrates anything it’s that young folks may not know what they want and have to be exposed to many disciplines before they can decide. I would suggest the high schools need to do a better job of teaching the fine arts, mathematics as well as practical writing. We also need to find a way to make college less expensive. And yes, I agree that not everyone should go to college.

  24. Steven Davis

    @James – Where is it written that graduates should leave school debt free? Do you leave a car lot debt free? Do you leave an attorney’s office mortgage free after closing? It must have been in the early 1990’s when people decided that every high school graduate needs to get a 4-year degree beginning the following Fall semester. Look at college enrollment records today vs. two or three decades ago.

  25. Doug Ross


    First, I never said that the world doesn’t need non-techies. What I said was that if someone can’t find a job in a non-technical field, they may be able to apply their skills in a technical area. People should do what they like to do and are good at. And most of us knew by the age of 18 what we were good at. I didn’t go into ballet because I can’t dance. And I didn’t become a doctor because I wasn’t interested in science. But I was forced to spend hundreds of hours in lab science classes in college because someone thought that it would make me a more well-rounded individual. It didn’t. I forgot everything I learned in physics and chemistry shortly after taking the final exams.

    Second, are you seriously suggesting that a young person invest $60K or more to find out they don’t like a profession or can’t find a job in the field? How many times should they try that?

    College needs to change. It doesn’t HAVE to be four years. It doesn’t HAVE to include a liberal arts requirement. My ideal college would include 5 classes per semester with 3 related to a specific major and 2 being whatever interested the student. If a kid interested in Marketing doesn’t want to take a science class, no problem. It’s wasted time.

  26. Steven Davis

    I’m not against fine arts… IF you know you can make a living off it. I know an artist in Charleston who makes a damned good living off his paintings… but for everyone of him there are a dozen in art school who need to stick to painting houses and the learn the fine art of caulking. I’m guessing Phillip here has been able to make a living twinkling the ivories, but there are probably others he went to school with who are lucky to get their dog to stay in the room when they sit down at a piano. How many people do we know who can’t sing even though they’ve convinced themselves that they can? Most of these talents are known by the time they are college aged, and then improved on while they’re there. But I doubt there are many who haven’t played anything but the recorder in grade school who suddenly think that music is what their calling in life is.

  27. Brad

    But the thing is, if people aren’t exposed to stuff in school, they might not find they’re good at the arts…

    For instance, if we hadn’t had wrestling in P.E. in high school, I wouldn’t have learned that I was good at it (I was totally shocked — all that time trying unsuccessfully to be good at baseball and basketball and the like, and there I was beating guys several weight classes bigger than I was). And I wouldn’t have gone out for the team.

    Of course, that’s probably not a great example. For one thing, it’s not considered an art (although that’s just because you haven’t seen ME wrestle). Secondly, because I didn’t turn pro or anything. Not that you CAN turn pro at REAL wrestling. In fact, I never accomplished anything in high school, because of injuries and such. You know, my neck thing.

    But you get my point. It could work the same way with the arts. Kids should get a chance to try their hands at things.

    I really hated it when I started hearing about kids being encouraged to pick a career in middle school, and to concentrate on that area through high school. Kids shouldn’t be jammed into a rut like that so early in their lives. I had a bunch of arguments about such programs with my colleagues on the editorial board several years back…

  28. Mark Stewart


    My liberal arts degree – in art history no less – led directly to a career on Wall Street in finance and sales. Well, on Park Avenue anyway.

    The thing that is different than here is that one could pay off student debt by the end of the second year of work. There are lots of happy English majors in that world of finance.

    That’s where being happy to have a bunch of tire plants is a relative economic disadvantage.

  29. Steven Davis

    @Mark – Are you telling me you worked on Wall Street in an investment position or some sales associate position in a retail store? How long ago was this? Could you do it as a 2011 USC graduate?

  30. bud

    Doug, I’m 55 years old and I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. But at least I got to experience a bunch of stuff along the way. I started as a math major, switched to engineering, then accounting and again to economics and finance. I graduated but felt disasastisfied to I went back to school and studied statistics. Most of what I learned was quickly forgotten but I did become a pretty good statistician. But by then I was 28. Eventually I taught at Midlands Tech for a year. Then later on started a part time business as a computer animator working with reconstruction engineers and law firms. And I even delivered pizzas for a while when I turned 50. So I’m not sure I can really agree with you on this knowing what you’re good at by 18. I’m still trying to find my niche. And by the way, the pizza job was the most fun, at least for a while. Got to meet folks and drive around listening to music. But like everything else it eventually got old too. Oh well, George Burns didn’t really come into his own until he was in his 80s. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

  31. Stewart


    Didn’t Darla Moore do it – spectacularly? I’m sure there have been some other USC grads who’ve made a career in finance in NYC. But I have no idea.

    Success is a pot-boiler of traits and circumstances. And talent, of course. However, key ingredients will always include three central strengths: the ability to analyze critically, to write with clarity, and to speak persuasively. Those lie at the heart of a solid liberal arts education. And at the center of most intellectually engaged careers.

  32. Doug Ross

    On another post, someone mentioned Steve Jobs as a role model for kids. Just read a post-death bio of him today. His total college experience was 18 months at Reed College in Portland. He studied calligraphy for free.

    Bill Gates – dropout. Larry Ellison – dropout.

    These smart visionaries apparently figured out that college is not all it’s claimed to be.

  33. Nick Nielsen

    “Take your general requirements at Midlands Tech. Then transfer all those credits to USC. Does it really matter if you take Sociology 101 at Midlands Tech or USC?”

    Except that it doesn’t work that way, Steven. Ask any student who has tried to transfer credits from one of the SC tech ed schools to USC, Clemson, Lander or Winthrop: English 101 at Midlands, Piedmont, Denmark, or Trident is NOT the same and every four-year school will tell you that. Unlike New York or California, SC has no Board of Regents to set standards for all state-assisted education: primary, secondary, technical, and college. There is no mandate that all state-supported colleges will teach core classes to the same level, where the syllabus for English 101 is the same throughout the SUNY system and the credits transfer freely. Heck, public schools, tech schools, and four-year colleges in SC are regulated by three different agencies!

  34. bud

    In the Doug world of anecdotal analysis it’s easy to prove any claim by citing a few examples. But it’s crystal clear in the bud world of full-blown factual analysis that college grads make more money, by far, on average than non-college grads.

  35. Kathryn Fenner

    Didn’t Darla Moore graduate from USC?

    and we can’t set policy based on outliers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Almost no one is that extraordinary. The rest of us need more help. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean a four year university degree, but statistically, it means more than high school.

  36. Doug Ross


    Where did I say they didn’t? But does your in depth analysis include a comparison between engineering degrees and liberal arts degrees? The discussion was about taking on massive debt to obtain a degree in a field with no jobs . It would be better to not do that… Right? Or I guess you believe in personal massive deficit spending like you do for the government… The magic fairy will take care of the debts someday.

  37. Steven Davis

    What does Darla Moore graduating from USC have to do with anything? She was handed a job by her billionaire husband which helped escalate her name more than her degree from USC.

  38. Doug Ross


    “and we can’t set policy based on outliers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Almost no one is that extraordinary.”

    You mean they are in the 1% (or .0001%)? You mean there are people who excel at running businesses just like there are those in the top 1% of athletics, music, acting, medicine?

    That’s what I find amusing about the whole “we are the 99%” meme. They can’t grasp that maybe there are people out there who are simply better than they are at doing something they could never do. They need the 1%’ers to create the environment that the 99%’ers depend on.

  39. Kathryn Fenner

    and the 1% need the environment paid for by the 99%.

    There’s a saying afoot about the justice of a society that thinks it’s okay to slash by 20% the salaries of teachers who make $50K, but not tax millionaires an extra 3%.

    Proportion matters. It’s not winner-take-all in a just society.

  40. bud

    Let’s forget the justice aspect for a moment. How about the productivity of the society. If average folks like teachers and cops don’t have any money the wealth of everyone, even the super rich, is likely to diminish over time. Even a few billionares like Ted Turner and Warren Buffett understand that.

  41. Doug Ross


    You think the 1% need the 99% more than the 99% need the 1%? There will always be a 99% and a 1%.

    And a large percentage of the 99% survives on the labors/taxes of the 1%.

  42. Kathryn Fenner

    In countries where the 1% exploit the 99% even more than they do here, like certain South American ones, the 1% have to live under armed protection behind gates. Not what I want for America.

  43. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – What do you call gated communities that we live with in this country? Take Steve Spurrier, as a local example, he lives on a lot that is gated within a gated community. There are plenty of armed guards in wealthier neighborhoods around this country, mainly in the larger cities.

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