Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I think this protest is going to last for a while.......

Occupy Wall Street seems to be gaining momentum with no end in sight. I think most Americans are angry and want much needed change, but where is the anger directed? We are all upset the economy is crumbling quicker than a week old cookie, but I believe the blame lies within us all. I, too, am upset and disheartened by corporate America. All too often, you see companies make millions of dollars in profit; the CEO gets a $5 million dollar bonus and the employees may see a $1000 dollar pay raise or they may see no reward whatsoever. The incentive for employees to be more productive is gone. Why should Americans work longer hours with less pay to see a few people become billionaires while the common worker is losing everything? I understand the anger!!! A college education in America could easily leave a graduate owing over $100,000 in student loans. The college graduate will be lucky to find a job, much less pay off the loan. I understand the anger!!!

However, I am also angry that greed has overtaken America on all economic levels. Right now, I owe money on one of my credit cards. What does this tell you? I spent more money than I should have! As a country, we have been educated, persuaded, and encouraged to buy things we cannot afford! I want to cry when I see people lose their homes because they can no longer pay the mortgage. Losing a home is one of the most devastating losses any family can ever endure. In many instances, a job has been lost or a homeowner has become disabled and can no longer afford the mortgage. Sometimes, we are just not prepared to face the circumstances life gives to us and I completely sympathize and grieve for the people who have endured those hardships. However, there are also instances where Americans have bought more home than they could afford just to satisfy selfish want and greed. In those instances, do you blame the banks for lending the money or do you blame the person who purchased a $300,000 home while only earning $30,000/year? As a country, we have to stop greed at the individual level before we can force the same type of change on corporations.

I may anger many by sharing this opinion, but I also see greed even at the lowest socioeconomic levels. Anyone at any time could face financial hardship due to job loss or illness. In those instances, I feel so grateful and privileged to live in a country, which offers financial assistance in those situations. However, I do see some people living in this country who do not have any desire to work even though they have the physical and mental ability to do so. Many of those people, who CHOOSE not to work, still expect and believe themselves to be entitled to receive government assistance and free healthcare. This is greed in its truest form. As a healthcare worker, I have witnessed some cancer patients continue to work while undergoing chemotherapy treatments and have their insurance only cover 80% of medical costs. The remaining 20% of medical costs could easily cause the patient to lose his or her home due to the financial hardship of covering the medical bills. If the United States Government is going to cover the medical costs for a patient who has never worked, then why can't they also cover the costs for a patient who works every day and actually contributes to Social Security?

I do support the protesters and their desire for change......WE NEED HOPE and I think they are forcing everyone to realize that GREED is the ultimate enemy. I am just not sure the "war on greed" can ever be won. Until we all choose to put the happiness and well-being of others ahead of own agenda, we will never progress and our country will inevitably collapse.