Who Are The 99%? Students Share Opposing Views

The above image has been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.

The original message, on the left, reads:

“I am a college senior, about to graduate debt free.

I pay for all of my living expenses by working 30+ hours a week making barely above minimum wage.

I chose a moderately-priced, in-state public university and started saving $ for college at age 17. I got decent grades in high school and received 2 scholarships which cover 90% of my tuition. I currently have a 3.8 GPA.

I live comfortably in a cheap apartment, knowing I can’t have everything I want. I don’t eat out every day, or even once a month. I have no credit card, new car, iPad or smart phone–and I’m perfectly OK with that.

If I did have debt, I would not blame Wall St. or the government for my own bad decisions. I live below my means to continue saving for the future. I expect nothing to be handed to me, and will continue to work my @$$ off for everything I have.

That’s how it’s supposed to work.

I am NOT the 99%, and whether or not you are is your decision.”

This is the response message, featured on the right. It was written by Ariah Noetzel a student at New York University and posted publicly on Facebook. “If you agree, I would really appreciate if you would repost it or something,” wrote Noetzel. “I would love for it to circle back to whoever originally wrote this.”

“I’m sorry to tell you this because you seem to feel quite adamantly about your position on the issue, but it seems clear to me that you don’t understand the issue at all. When the Occupy Wall Street protesters say “we are the 99%” it means “we are the 99% percent of Americans who are not billionaires.” So unless you struck oil while you were in college, then you are most certainly are the 99%. Graduation debt free from college is a great accomplishment, but it by no means makes you a billionaire.

I also feel as though you are missing the entire point of this movement. Average, hard working americans, americans who whether you believe it or not work equally as hard as you do have been ripped off. Wall Street Executives committed fraud and caused the entire global recession the world is currently suffering from. Regular people’s tax money went to bail out these banks, the executives of which proceeded to award themselves millions of dollars worth in bonuses. You don’t think people have a right to be angry?

And you claim that it is your choice whether or not you are in the 99%, but you said yourself, you went to an in-state public university, and while you may have gotten a fantastic education, in a competitive world, that university on a resume is going to be a disadvantage to you, and unless you have serious connections, or win the lottery, it’s unlikely you will make it into that 1%. Whereas someone born into the 1% is almost guaranteed. They can pay for an amazing education and their parents can use connections or power (for money is power) to get them high paying positions in companies.

The movement, despite what you think it is, is not a bunch of lazy americans complaining because they want hand outs. It’s a group of hard working americans, fighting the system that is unfair, and does not work. These awesome people are angry that they were ripped off, and they are fighting against corporate greed and against the banks and executives that put the country in this situation.

I implore you not to pay so much attention to the media, for media is run by big corporations, who want to paint this protest as a group of crazy, lazy people, just looking for a cause. It’s their greed that we are fighting against. But please, do your research before you lash out at a movement of hard working people being brave enough to use their voices. If we don’t speak out now, the gap will widen further, and I can promise things will get worse not just for us, but for you as well.”

(All spelling and grammar errors are the authors’ alone)

Related Reading:

DeFazio: A Politician That Understands Occupy Wall Street

#OWS Is The People’s Revolution: Will You Join It? [Video]

The 99% Harness The Power Of Song [Video]


William C
William C1 years ago

Thanks for the information.

W. C
W. C2 years ago

Thank you.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie C7 years ago

I have a job and pay my way and my family's way. I have benefits and pay my mortgage, yet I see so many struggling and I sympathize with them. I am not rich and sometimes its hard to pay my bills too so I still consider myself part of the 99%. If you are one of the lucky ones and have a job that doesn't mean you have a right to disrespect on the ones who do not. You are not in their shoes and don't know their situation.

Gloria Morotti
Gloria Morotti7 years ago

Tthe woman who told the first story has "made it" by being frugal and hardworking. Wait until she is 70 years old, has worked for close to minimum wage all her life, is ill because of doctors, hospitals and poison medications, etc., etc. It's easy when one is young, whether one accumulates debt or not.

Nancy L.
Nancy L7 years ago

MOST colleges AREN'T big name schools, so this person went to a college like most of us - that wasn't a big name school. Most people with degrees competing for the same job - probably also didn't go to "big name" schools, so it's hardly a detriment to not go to a big name school. She'll do fine.

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas7 years ago

one more thing don, reagan, papa bush, bill clinton or the shrub no longer occupy the white house. they were the big deregulators, not obama. i'm not a big obama fan, but i'll give him credit, he did try to pass laws and regulations on wall street that the CONservative republiCONS and CONservative blue dog democrats blocked. the monied interests of wall street that own the republiCONS/tea party and blue dog democrats are the blame for the destruction of this country. they don't give a rats a$$ about the well being of this country, all they care about is money and power.

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas7 years ago

Don I. said: What most of the protesters either aren't aware of, or just plain don't care about, is the fact that the banks, other lenders, and wall street firms aren't the ones who created the business environment that allowed them to conduct such highly risky and just plain bad business practices used by them to cause the financial downfall of our country. It was Politicians who created and passed the laws, and deregulated the banking and financial sector, that caused the illicit and business practices.

don l. since you are such an arrogant condescending jerk i'm not gonna be polite, you are either too stupid to know the fact or you just don't care about the fact that yes the banks other lenders, wall street firms, corporations and businesses who hire the big buck lobbiest's to hand out money on capital hill like halloween candy are the ones who created the finincial melt down. their money has corrupted our whole political system. they have bought both houses of congress, they paid for the laws and deregulation that "allowed them to conduct such highly risky and just plain bad business practices" that " caused the financial downfall of our country". there is an occupy dc group, you just choose to ignore it.
another thing, the 99% are those who aren't filthy rich. nobody ever claimed that 99% of the american people supported us. just another false claim you paid trolls make here. get a life and learn the facts.

Toby S.
Past Member 7 years ago

Debbie B, loans are debt that carries usury (interest). "Loans" enrich the money masters, not curtails them.

While more debt may seem like an answer, there is a wise old saying..."paybacks are a bitch".

Ask the students that have big loans what they think of borrowing more and more. Do they really believe they can pay them back? Fat chance.

There has to be an alternative to a debt based money supply. How do we get off the idea that we can borrow our way to prosperity?

That part, the TP has right. Borrowing does not create jobs, but instead bankrupts the borrower. Remember that 95 of 100 business start ups fail in the first five years, most taking all investment down with them.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 7 years ago

Great article. Thanks.

Marg Wood
Marg W7 years ago

Emanuel Put a sock in it and take your meds.