Occupy Your Checkbook

by Katy on November 2, 2011 · 55 comments

Napkin drawing by Carl Richards.

There is an article in today’s New York Times by Carl Richards titled It’s Time to Occupy Your Checkbook. In the piece, Richards writes that:

“To be clear, I think there is plenty to be angry about. I think there are things that must change on a national and even international scale. All I am suggesting is that it might help that effort if we ourselves, as the saying goes, try to become the change we want to see in the world. So in addition to marching through cities around the country, I wonder if we can stage a personal version, an “Occupy Your Checkbook” movement.”

Last week, I wrote about how difficult it can be for people to figure out where they stand financially. Part of the difficulty comes from an unwillingness to sit down and do the math. Maybe you can outline in detail everything the banks did wrong, but how familiar are you with your own financial situation? Isn’t it time we devoted some attention and passion to our personal finances?

Perhaps it’s time to talk openly about past mistakes we’ve made. Time to take responsibility for our own financial situations and make a plan to improve it. Time to stop buying crap and hoping it makes us happy. Time to stop pretending to be something we aren’t financially. Time to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, since we all know they’re buried in credit-card debt anyway.”

“Time to stop buying crap and hoping it makes me happy?”

Yup, that line alone sent me over to his website and then over to my library website to put his book, The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things With Money on hold.

I am not a pitch a tent and protest kind of citizen, and I quietly live my choices such as banking at a credit union, refusing almost all newly manufactured goods, minimizing electricity usage, supporting my public schools and the like. I think twice and then a few times more before I make large-scale purchases; and I do not yearn to live a life of conspicuous consumption. I’m not perfect, but I’m comfortable with who I am and how I live my life.

I may not be occupying Wall Street, but I am occupying my checkbook. How about you?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Dogs or Dollars November 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

Hear! Hear! I love that people are standing up and protesting, but I wish there was more of an element of personal responsibility, and less a sense of entitlement. Its a fine line to walk.

In my checkbook occupation, I make sure that my purchases are as closely aligned with my personal politics as possible. Social change by voting with your feet and your dollars. No tent or poster board required.


Rachel November 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

You put this really well… I agree 100%. I support a lot of what they are protesting but it’s definitely a fine line!


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 2, 2011 at 10:04 am

Thank you (and Carl) for this! I’ve been saying this all along…check yo’self before you wreck yo’self!

I keep seeing so many 99% posts about how they got into so much debt with college. And all I can think is that they didn’t try very hard for a different option because there’s no reason to pay for college. Get good grades. Apply for scholarships. Work at the school. Seriously, there are SO many opportunities to get free schooling!

Otherwise, I understand the medical debt because that’s insane. Everything else though…sort of their own doing, even the houses!


Dogs or Dollars November 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

But somebody has to pay for school. It’s really not that easy any more to get it free. I say this as someone who went to school on mostly a free ride. Providing as increasing number of “free rides” drives up the cost of tuition for those that do have to pay.

Working at school is also not a free ride. The Simple Dollar did a post recently about how the concept of working your way through school is becoming an impossibility given inflation and minimum wage. You’d basically have to hold down a full time job (36 hours a week) to make it even feasible.

What I don’t get is being and English/History major and then expecting to land an 80K job after graduation. I love me a liberal arts education, but it doesnt lend itself to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Nor should one invest 60k plus interest in it. Cost/benefit analysis, Im just saying.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 2, 2011 at 11:12 am

A lot of schools will waive tuition costs if you work in certain departments/areas.

There’s also an extreme option to go which is marriage. Many more students would qualify for financial aid if they didn’t have to use their parents’ incomes on the form. Part of the reason I got married so young was because I was switching from a community college (got paid to go there) to a university and refused to pay for college. Being married qualified me for full Pell Grant, which then in turn opened me up for grants. I generally made 3k/semester for my last 2 years of college. I firmly believe that few, if any, should have to pay for college. It just depends the extremes you are willing to go in order to avoid that debt later on.


Dogs or Dollars November 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

Wow. College should be a valuable enough experience to pay for. Perhaps even to acquire a reasonable amount of credit building debt for. I have no problem paying for the things I value. Somebody always has to pay. Your free ride is only possible because somebody somewhere is paying tuition. Its that whole, there is no free lunch concept.

But college isnt the end all be all solution for everyone. The last couple generations have been sold this idea of college=ticket to easy street income wise, and thats just not the case. Not for all degrees and not for all individuals.

I think there are a lot of “kids”, the lost generation, if you will who feel like they’ve been the victim of a bait and switch. They did their time. Went to school, unquestioningly, and now they can’t make enough income to keep themselves (and their shiny college education) a float. We’ve lost the sense of personal responsibility.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

College is SO valuable, but I never plan to pay for any of it (even the Ph.D I hope to move on towards). And I completely understand about getting that degree, and it not paying off. With the Bachelor’s I have, there’s really no hope for making a decent living without an added graduate degree. However, that’s also why I chose my career field. I WANT a graduate degree.

Also, I don’t feel bad for a second for my “free ride” for college. I worked my ass off for it. I got amazing grades in HS & college. I didn’t party or waste my time in the typical college experience. If parents want to pay for their kids to slack off and party which in turn helps pay for those of us taking our education seriously, then that’s their problem. I’m just glad that there are options to help those of us who actually take our education seriously to not have to pay because other people want the “experience.” Others’ slacking & failing only lends a hand to those who work hard for their diplomas.

Becky November 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm

D or D, I totally agree with you . I went to private college (liberal arts education thank you very much!) and then veterinary school. No amount of work study and no amount of scholarship money got me out of that debt! I always find the implication that by working harder I wouldn’t have this level of debt insulting. I worked my a** off in school, because I was focusing on SCHOOL. And by not compromising on the type of school I attended, I got the most value for my money. I’ll pay it off. It may take a hundred more years, but I’ll get there. Until then, I read the Non-Consumer Advocate 🙂

AnnDenee November 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

But Megyn, as you just stated, you didn’t go to school for free. There were costs and they were paid for by taxpayers (pell grants) and other foundations/organizations who sponsored the other grants. There is NO free education. There are costs and those costs have to be paid by someone.
You say few if any should have to pay for college. Why? Is there no value in college? Why should a person not pay for their own choice to further their career choice by attending college?


Elaine November 3, 2011 at 9:40 am

My church recently started granting scholarships to students in our congregation. I was surprised at the stipulations that were put in (grade point average, only 2nd year & up students), but the parents in our group told me that their kids get all kids on scholarships because so few students apply. They’re too lazy to even fill out the application (I was told). Honestly, I was surprised to find out how much free money is available for those who research and do the work to get the scholarships.

And Suze Orman always advises that student loans should be the very last resource people look at. That lady knows what she’s talking about.

Rachel November 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Awesome for you that you met your life partner that young… Most of us don’t. A sham marriage isn’t really an extreme I’m willing to go to to avoid paying (especially because, as Dogs or Dollars says below, SOMEBODY’S paying for it and I would just see that as cheating the system). And I have never heard of a school that waives tuition costs for undergrads… master’s or PhD, yes (it’s what I’m doing now for my master’s–working as a TA), bachelor’s, no.

Plus, I really hate the assumption that people who have a lot of student debt were lazy slackers or partiers in college and simply couldn’t get scholarships. Yes, I made a mistake in going to a really expensive school that I couldn’t get enough scholarships to cover (it doesn’t help that my parents are in the middle income bracket that really gets screwed when it comes to getting need-based aid). But I too worked my ass off and graduated summa cum laude in a technical field… so please don’t make that assumption.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Rachel-Truly sorry if I offended you! I’m sure there are definitely those who take out loans out of necessity. However, about 85+% of the people I know who have taken out student loans did so because it was the easy way out (even my siblings who lost scholarships due to slacking grades). Also, there are some university programs where you can work in labs and get your tuition covered as an undergrad…they just take a lot of work searching for.

I think in the end students need to research all of their options before diving straight into loans. The problem is that they are handed more information on how to obtain loans over other options. No university will tell students not to take a loan and take gen. ed.’s at the community college and transfer later. They will tell students to take loans or get a job. Sorry to rant on about this, I come a family of educators, so the whole “how to pay for college” and general importance of higher education subjects have been shoved down my throat since birth!

Becky November 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

The thing I appreciate about aligning my checkbook with my politics is that I don’t need to find people who agree with me. This is actually pretty difficult; not because I’m fringey, but because people with moderate and thoughtful opinions are often not very loud about them.

Politics is the art of compromise, which is necessary and useful. But voting with my dollars is relaxing (in comparison) because I can act entirely according to my own lights.


Jenni November 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

Great post! I read the news about the Occupy Camps (specifically in PDX) and I’ve wanted to participate as I feel strongly about the need for large scale change. But, then reality hits, and I have these two darling kiddos to care for and impart our families values, my home needs tending and care, and managing our families finances, keeping purchases in check and planning for meals and next year’s garden must be done. So, it has been a quiet protest at home, and a quiet protest that I will continue to make.


Heather November 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

Very true. I am now clicking over to his site based on this. Thank you.


Megan November 2, 2011 at 11:41 am

Heading there now.

About student loan debt though… Even with nannying for cash for 20+ hours/week, work study, a paid summer internship (I lived with parents or boyfriend during this time so minimal out of pocket), and some freelance work, I still came out behind. Oh yeah, I graduated a semester early too. And had pretty good scholarships- not a full ride mind you, but good. Legally my parents had to put their information on the FAFSA- however they provided no tuition funds for me. (not to say that they weren’t helpful in other ways, but I paid that bill!) I came out with little debt- at least vs. what it actually cost, and thinking I made really good choices. But I think students need better counseling on how any amount of student loans will affect their finances the next 15-30 years. I have a BA, hubby has no college degree. I will be staying home shortly, and he will be paying off my loan. Hmmmm.


Robin November 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm

We need to bring trade schools back. Ones that actually teach a viable, useable, hands on craft. Plumbing, electricians, these are people who can’t be outsourced and who will make decent money. A college degree is not a free ride to a great job (or any job) and its not the solution for many people.


Dogs or Dollars November 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Couldnt agree more on the trades. I was a more of a academic myself, but the Husband is a blue collar guy. Those are good jobs, that we are loosing sight of.


AnnDenee November 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I agree. My husband is from Australia where they still have apprenticeship programs for trade jobs.
There will always be a need for plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, and most other hands-on trades.


Jessica November 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm

We have to be careful though about flooding markets with these type of skilled tradesmen too. If the local trade school puts out too many then wages don’t stay decent, they go down with competition between the graduates.

Not that I disagree with tradeschool, its great to have the option there, but it is not a pancea and not the only solution.

I think a lot of high school graduates should take a year off if they are unsure about what they are going to college for and parents need to be more supportive of these options for their children.


Dogs or Dollars November 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

As another aside, paying for school yourself doesnt necessarily mean your parents are paying for the experience, or that you are a slacker. There aren’t and will never be enough scholarships for everyone. There are many good students who have to pay for school, because they come from honest working-class families who might make a little to much money, and they don’t have anyone to marry to skew the numbers.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

What I find skewed is that students who receive no financial backing from their parents have to claim their parents’ income on their FAFSA. My parents helped me out 0% (not for school, living expenses, bills of any sort) other than the occasional free meals. A lot more students would receive aid if the gov’t would allow students to NOT add their parent’s income as long as the student received no financial support from their parents. That seems much more fair to all rather than having to take drastic measures such as marriage just to avoid massive debt.


Mary Kate November 3, 2011 at 5:30 am

Again, there is no free lunch (education). Money does not grow on trees in Washington, despite the fact many seem to think so. If the government is paying for your education then I and other tax payers are paying for your education. Or maybe the money is coming from those paying full tuition rates. Someone is bearing the cost of a free education.


Dogs or Dollars November 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Ditto that. My parent gave me absolutely $0 for college. I’d occasionally get a sack of groceries or a place to do my laundry, but that’s all she wrote. Why? Because my parents make jack and squat. That’s why I qualified for financial aid for the portion of my tuition my scholarships didn’t cover.

I’m just intrigued by this idea that “No one should have to pay for school”. If higher education has a value, then someone ( most even) should have to pay for it. Paying for it doesnt lessen the experience nor should the focus be on manipulating the system to get out of paying for it. If you can pay for it, you should. If you can’t, then hopefully the systems in place arent so over taxed that they can’t help you.

To me this is another side of the whole entitlement puzzle that we as a country are currently grappling with.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I think it may be coming across wrong…I believe the college system should be public as our schools are. In France, college is paid for by the country, not the individuals. I strongly value a college education whether it be for a trade or academics. I believe everyone should have a right to that education despite their financial status. Thus is why I’m a big advocate for everyone to try and find a way to make it work without the loans. To me, it seems like college students just assume that this is how the system works, when it doesn’t have to. The more people show how important this level of education is, but will not succumb to the hands of the lenders, the sooner the system will change! Do I feel entitled to education? Surely. But I believe everyone should share that sense…stop caring about the labels & football & fancy cars or tv…start demanding the education we all deserve!


Robin November 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Right so it’s paid for by the govt but how many people go to college? It’s definitely NOT something everyone gets to do. If you switch to that system then you have to realize that college will not be available for the majority of students. Not to mention how much the government would then dictate what is taught, etc.

College is a useful tool but it’s not an end all be all for everyone and so many students think it’s a magic pil and are now learning the bitter truth. A college education has been devalued and it’s now much more important what school you attend, internships you get as well as the connections you make while you’re there . This coming from someone who had her tuition paid for by family, mostly uses college as a growing and maturing experience, graduated with an art history degree and worked on wall street for 10 years.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm

College is for everything these days now, and is NECESSARY for almost every field. Want to be a firefighter or plumber or childcare worker or social worker or forklift operator? There’s a degree/certificate for that. It used to be that you could get your HS diploma and get on the job training. Not the case anymore. For example, firefighting used to be notorious for hosting academies. All you needed was a HS diploma & be able bodied. Due to budget costs, a lot of departments cut their academies and require that applicants already have their certifications. Obviously, this costs money and requires college. Also in order to move up in FF-ing ranks, most departments generally require a Bachelor’s degree. What you used to be able to get with a HS diploma, you now need a Bachelor’s for. What you used to get on the job training for, you now need special certification for. Unfortunately/fortunately college is now having to be for everyone, no matter what their skill set or trade is! Thus, I’m such a huge advocate for affordable/no-cost options for students in order to avoid the sharks that recognize this added importance of higher education and are making out BIG time!


Jessica November 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I agree in many ways here, and applaud countries who work to help let students attend college. It also makes a big change in the way colleges are beginning to be run. As businesses where students are paying customers. Instead of the student feeling entitled to grade because they paid for the course, now they are the ones who must work to prove they belong. No more getting away with failing and staying in, etc. but you are out when you mess up.

We also need to try to reverse the notion that you need a bachelor’s degree for everything, make the path to employment meet with actual needs instead of an inflated propostition. I don’t know how we do this and now with a bad economy it seems less likely to reverse because people of all educational endeavours are searching for jobs and not finding enough of them.


Jinger November 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I was Occupying my Checkbook today as your post came up on facebook. I need to cut back even more to afford my rent increase. So I increased my deductibles on auto and property insurance to save and am looking at creative ways to increase revenue without going back to work full time. I have pretty much stopped going to stores altogether except for basic needs and food, even my favorite thrift stores, rather I am making do with what I have…upcycling and reusing.


Diane C November 3, 2011 at 6:31 am

Jinger, have you spoken to your landlord about the amount of increase? Sure, there are lots of people looking for rental homes, but most of them have blown their credit. If yours is good and you have a good rental history, you should consider negotiating with your landlord to reduce or even postpone that increase. Can’t hurt to ask.


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares November 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Yes, I am occupying my own checkbook, too. I believe in capitalism, but I also believe in my right not to buy, and it is a right I exercise with abandon.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary November 3, 2011 at 8:26 am

“…it is a right I exercise with abandon.”

Brava! I couldn’t agree more.


Jessica November 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I agree with both occupations. Individuals making good choices about their finances and pushing for banks to have to do the same.


Karen November 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I do, too. And it seems pretty satisfying to see these headlines side by side in my paper today: Occupy Oakland strike today (Oakland is 50 miles from me); and Bank of America decides against 5.00 a month debit card fee.

Seems obvious to me that the Occupiers have stirred things up to the point that B of A’s learning curve came faster than usual! The big banks are finally starting to become aware of the atmosphere in this country.

A we used to say in the 70s, the personal IS the political.


Jessica November 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm



jan November 3, 2011 at 5:50 am

I am very surprised that no one has said anything about getting married to get a free education. To me, this seems a really WRONG reason to get married.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 3, 2011 at 6:59 am

LOL! I was already engaged…just signed had the ceremony sooner than most would’ve liked. It wasn’t like I was like, “Hey, I don’t want to pay for school. Someone want to marry me?” I was engaged and planning to switch schools. Neither of us wanted to wait, but family did. In hindsight, we should have waited, but what’s done is done.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 3, 2011 at 7:03 am

P.S. Even though it would be a crazy reason to get married, the divorce after college would cost less than one semester at a university (assuming it was just a marriage for show & no kids/assets are involved).


Diane C November 3, 2011 at 6:38 am

I don’t get this “Occupy” thing at all! Another blogger I follow sporadically has apparently jumped from his paying job in Alaska to camping out in NYC. WTF???
Also, if a lot of these folks are among the unemployed, where are they getting the travel money and who is paying for their upkeep while they are “Occupy”-ing public properties? Maybe I’ll hop on over to Carl’s website to see if I can find some answers there. Thanks for the lead, Katy.


Jessica November 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Public properties? You mean public spaces that are open to free speech demonstrations? Where those protesting are given food and shelter by donations of plenty of people who “get” this “occupy thing” . Who believe that it is unacceptable for public money to be given to banks to bail them out and for those banks to then turn around and continue to speculate with money and give out bonuses while the unemployment rate hovers around 9.1% at best?

But besides that, many people who are occupying are not unemployed but attending when they are off of work or on vacation. They don’t need to unemployed or poor to see that the money from corporations that is overtaking our government is wrong and to want fair regulation of the economy.

Because some people were fiscally irresponsible does not mean that there is no reason to protest or to lump all people who are having trouble with bills together in a bad money manager camp.

While earnings for middle class families have stagnated, the earnings of the top 1% have continued to grow exhorbidently. You can find some other charts about the issues on the table here


Yankeegal November 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Here in my neck of the woods, Boston, all groups are required to obtain permits in order to hold a demonstration-not this group though. The local tea party group had to do this in order to hold their rally. Who is paying for the cost of police details, clean-up, etc..? The Boston taxpayer. Not right!


Jessica November 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

If those people are local, their own tax dollars are paying as well. They are being advised that you do not need a permit to exercise your right to freedom of speech because, do you?

Most occupations take charge of their own clean up, etc. And once again if they don’t, as some won’t, they are also tax payers. We can’t only have our taxes go for things we all want, they sometimes go to roads we don’t drive on, or rally’s we don’t support, that’s the way it is.


Yankeegal November 4, 2011 at 3:39 am

The mayor of Boston, T.Menino, was just on the local news and was asked what the cost was so far for this demonstration. He said $200,000 and that they would not be asked to reimburse the costs. It is outrageous! These are not all local people-the unions have shipped people in and college students come from all over to Boston for school. I worry that these kids are taking needed funds away from people that really need it-the homeless, the elderly, the people in the area who own businesses already vandalized by graffiti and trash. Freedom of speech is important, but rules must be followed as well.

Jessica November 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I realize I’m replying to myself here, but embedded comments won’t go below yours. Permits are one thing, but it is pretty clear these would be denied, they are consistantly trying to oust protestors in many cities and in the end I feel the constitution comes before any local laws pertaining to obtaining permits.

The money being spent is keeping other people in Boston in jobs, and I doubt the money is coming from the homeless or elderly to do so.

In my state of Ohio have been told a number of times by the governor that cuts to public institutions are needed to balance the budget. This same governmor gave tax breaks to corporations to nearly the same tune as what he says we need to make up for in the deficit. Those things are not fair.

I have not seen hard evidence of large amount of people who don’t really care being bused in. I have seen lots of personal stories of people who took trips to be part of things. And if unions want to pay the costs of laid of union employees who want to attend, I don’t see a problem with that.

Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares November 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Has anyone else read Dave Ramsey’s take on OWS? It’s hilarious, and, I think, spot-on. He seems pretty into occupying your own checkbook, too. That seems to be the consensus with the 99% of us. http://www.daveramsey.com/newsletters/online/edition/personal-finance-newsletter-november-2011?ectid=1111cnl_2#feature


Yankeegal November 4, 2011 at 3:40 am

This is spot on!!! Thanks for posting it!


helen November 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Whoa! Dave Ramsey’s take on OWS is NOT spot on. It is not envy that is causing people to protest!! People who have made lots money did not make money in a complete vacuum or on a desert island all by themselves. It is not envy it is simply a request to share some of the wealth made off the backs of a lot of working people trapped with slave wages and without health insurance in a country with crumbling infrastructure and overcrowded old schools etc. It is a request to SHARE in the interest of making society a better place for all. I saw a bumbersticker on a fancy Lexus SUV the other day that had me fuming. It read, “Don’t share my wealth, share my work ethics!” How absolutely arrogant and disgusting to imply that poor people are lazy and that it is their own fault that they are poor. THAT is what the protests are all about that the American dream is not and never has been available to a huge portion of the population. Oh well, I may as well stop. Someone said, “Explanations are wasted when nobody listens.”
Personally, I am thrilled about the Occupy Wall Street movement. OWS is frontpage news daily now. People are listening. Finally. They better be.


Jessica November 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’m with you Helen, all this talk about you can do it work hard. Nope sorry, that bumper stick is bs, I see tons of people who work hard and get crapped on all the time because the system is rigged against them. Because its cheaper to outsource labor to places that have no oversight and treat people horribly under the noses of their government.

There were some financially irresponsible people sure, but there were tons who were not. They had the misfortune to lose their job, get a degree that unfortunately not the path that lead them to success, lose health insurance or get so sick that insurance would never cover the costs of getting well.

There was a great article about what lead Elizabeth Warren into what she does now. She once viewed people like the person with the bumper sticker, as the reason for their demise. So she went out and was going to do a study on all the people who filed for bankrupcy, and lo and behold what did she find? That people did it becaues of circumstances outside of their control the majority of the time. These were lazy people, but people who had fallen on hard times and not been able to fight their way out. We’ve seen her struggle to try to get regulations in place, she is being fought tooth and nail along the way because she is going to end the oversized pay days for a small portion of the population. Good for her, America has the largest weath gap in the industrialized world, that’s something we should all be upset about.


Jessica November 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm

And now after reading that Dave Ramsey article, I will not be able to take his analysis seriously again.


Jessica November 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm

weren’t lazy that should have said!


Kori November 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

In this case, I don’t think it’s so much nobody is listening. I think the biggest problem is that there hasn’t been a clear, cohesive message coming out of the protests. Perhaps a lot of the blame there lies with the mainstream media, as the majority of stories I’ve seen only give a general “we’re not happy with how things are” viewpoint, but nothing specific that’s easy to grab onto. Of course your average person isn’t happy with how things are – that’s a given, our economy is a mess. What I would love to see (and I think would probably rally a lot more people behind the movement) is more cohesion behind the message and some actual plans and specifics on how the problems can be resolved. These things may already be out there, I just haven’t found them yet.

Also, at least where I am, the protestors that have managed to get interviewed and get the most media attention so far have come across as being very entitled. The complaints and/or demands that they’ve expressed haven’t been about things that would drive fundamental changes in how our economy works, or things that would benefit the common good. They’ve been very self-centered in what they’ve expressed that they want, and when those are the people that get the spotlight and whose messages are most widely broadcast, the whole thing loses credibility. Again… that’s a media thing… I’m sure the majority of people that are out there protesting really are looking for true social change, they just aren’t the ones getting the attention.


Jessica November 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I wouldn’t trust much of what the media is saying. They have pretty strong reasons to make it out as if the protestors don’t know anything and don’t have a firm grasp on the situation.

Another point would be, why do they have to have all the answers? We don’t have to have a solution in order to point out a problem. There are lots of people who have suggested solutions to the issues we are facing, the problem being they aren’t being implement.

Anytimes anyone says “they are clearly stating goals” or “they don’t have a clear agenda” I am frustrated because from their website and communications coming from them, I clearly see their agenda and agree with most of. I’m not sure about getting rid of the fed, I’ll have to see what wiser people than myself have to say.


Katy November 4, 2011 at 7:11 am

To clarify — I support the Occupy Wall Street movement. The banks and financial institutions in this country are shameful.



imelda November 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Meh. Tbh, this reminds me of a quote from a recent NYTimes article, “Going Green but Getting Nowhere”:

“individual action…distracts us from the need for collective action.”

The problems we’re facing in this country do not call for a balance between personal responsibility and change in government. They call for radical, systemic change.

That’s what OWS is all about, and we could all do far more for our country by writing letters, calling congressmen, signing petitions, protesting, etc., than by becoming frugal.


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