I have been out of college for ten years, but am still paying on student loans and will be for some time. I went to school to be a music teacher. Since there was never a job for me in that field, I have spent my entire career in a business and sales/marketing setting. To me, college was useless.
I make what could be considered a Median salary now. I live in a very affordable house, and do my best to live within my means. When banks and businesses make grave financial mistakes, they get millions or billions in bailout money. If I make a financial mistake, I get hit with hundreds of dollars in NSF fees from my bank, and some bill isn't going to get paid.
I have scrapped. I had to ride public transit for two hours each way to go to college. I lived off ramen noodles. I sacrificed, paid my dues, all to live the American Dream. Yet here I am, age 30. Credit rating in the tank. Struggling to get back on track. Working 60+ hours a week, travelling across 5 states just to play keep-up. A third of my paycheck going to child support, when my ex works two jobs and makes way more than I do. A third of my paycheck going to debts that will take years to pay off. I can live off my share (33% less taxes) but my take-home doesn't justify the amount of work and effort I do.
Dear 1% - Is there anything that 1/3 of YOUR paycheck goes to? Have you ever hunted for change in your couch cushions, just to have enough gas money to go to work? Have you ever had to sell your possessions on eBay, just to have enough money to keep going?
I am the 99%. I work hard, I earn my keep. I deserve better. I deserve to get out of this system what I'm putting in. I am a good person, working hard, making a difference. I think that's worth something. I fight every day to improve my life.
I have an entrepreneur's spirit. Give me a hundred thousand dollars, and I'll turn it into 3 million. Give me a chance, since mommy and daddy couldn't hand me one, and watch me go. Of the 99%, there are some lazy-ass people, but the same can be said for both sides. More often than not, you have someone who will work hard, and deserve to be treated (and rewarded) accordingly.
I am the 99%. And I am tired of being held down. To those occupying Wall Street, I salute you. Keep fighting the good fight.