A Response

This wall photo has been popping up on various friend’s Facebook pages the past couple weeks.  When I first read it, I wanted to scream obscenities.  Instead, I decided to post my response.

I am a college graduate and have thousands of dollars in debt.

I pay for my living expenses by working 38 hours/week at a job barely above minimum wage teaching low-income children educational and life skills while my husband attends medical school and my kids attend daycare.

I chose a low-priced, private, acclaimed religious university.  Instead of saving for college at 17, I helped augment my family’s meager income by working full-time while homeschooling myself.

I got above-average grades in high-school but did not receive merit-based scholarships because I did not know to apply for them.  I applied for college without any outside help.

I graduated with a 3.79 GPA.  I had 1 kid and another on the way.

I lived and continue to live in a cheap apartment knowing that I don’t need everything I want.  I choose to live within my means because I know I am more privileged than 90% of the world.  I do not have a new car, an iPhone, or new furniture–instead all our furniture and most of our clothes are second-hand.  And I am okay with that.

I don’t blame Wall Street or the government for my debt or my poor decisions, but I do blame them for using predatory strategies to ensnare low-income people in variable-rate loans that cost them their house and so much more.

I will continue living within my means because I want to. I will live pay-check to pay-check, without saving, because my husband is incurring $40K in debt each year and we chose not to delay our family. So half my paycheck will go to daycare and the other half to living expenses not covered by the loans, i.e. “income,” we received as a lump sum.

I AM the 99% because I CHOSE to go to school and start a family.

 

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “A Response

  1. Elastamom

    Great response, Amber.

  2. Those 1%ers or 53%ers don't want to talk about the core complaints levied by the 99%ers. It's not that they have to work, it's that there are no jobs. It's not that they don't want to pay their student loans, it's that they can't afford to because there are no jobs and the debtors use strong-arm tactics to get their money ….. as meanwhile, corporations get their loans wiped off the books or aren't held accountable for them from the start and they get loopholes to send those missing jobs to another country where they can pay workers pennies. That's the point. Not laziness and definitely not something for nothing.

    • Kelly, you hit the problem right on. I find it hilarious that they make these signs without THINKING about what the real situation is. I am completely abhorred by the corruption within corporations and their inherent selfishness. With all the money they bring in, you'd think they'd start to think about other people besides themselves. Nope. Not gonna happen.

  3. Mrs V.

    Good morning! There are some other of those letters out there on facebook or you get them via email. They are completely opposite of my believe and I can only wonder, why somebody is writing this. I still think, having a conversation about it, is the best and most successful way to change the system. I don't think, that to change something, everybody has to be on the same page. I think it is about communicating about the topic, even we are or different opinions. That's why I do not like the posts heading 'Bull $#!+' so much – but as it is not "my" post – every author has the right to choose his/her own heading 🙂 I can relate and understand why you are mad about this letter, and I really like your reply. I still post another reply here, which I also like, because it is very thoughtfully written. Here comes the link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/12/1025555/

    • Hey Mrs V! Thank you for your response and I readily agree, having a cuss word in the title is not normally my style. I had written this post intending to publish it after further editing, but had made the mistake of scheduling it to publish and not double checking the date. Thus I was quite surprised to see that it had published and slightly embarrassed that people had already read it. Whoops.

      As for your insight, I would agree with you that civil conversations are the best way to influence change. I wrote this because I find it frustrating that so many publish these types of posts on Facebook which will have only responses from those who agree with these outrageous claims, you know? I feel that most people are good at heart, they just need nudges–in the form of shared experiences–to compassionately evaluate a person's situation.

      • Mrs. V

        Hey Amber! No no no need to be even slightly embarrassed. I appreciate your cuss word in the title! I am completely on the same page as you are! I get frustrated, too with people who lack insight! Keep up your great writing. I came across your blog through another one and I love reading what you write!

  4. ShannonL

    Wowzers. Good for you, Amber. That’s why the first message is in the 1% – it’s just not the reality for virtually anyone! We do what we have to do… and we all have our own priorities. I think that was a great response!

  5. Lauren

    Oh wow! Good response. I'm with you on this. I've had full-ride scholarships and overage of grants my entire schooling and we've still had to both work part-time and take out loans for both of us to get through school at a low-cost university with a child.

  6. Christina

    I wouldn't say you are the 99%. Most people are not brave enough to get married and have children while still in school. No one will ever give you a medal for what you have chosen to do, but I think you deserve one. As I am preparing for my baby to arrive, I have wondered many times how on earth you and Ben even survived with 2 children while you were both in school, since I can tell right now that having 1 child with just Adam being in school is going to be hard enough – and EXPENSIVE, even living on a super tight budget. Really, I think you two are amazing and I thank you for your responsibility. It is refreshing to hear from someone who works hard, lives responsibly, and doesn't feel entitled, even though you are NOT debt free, extremely financially successful, and do not come from a wealthy family. I think our generation needs to take a page out of your book – life isn't always easy, even if you are responsible and hard-working, but that doesn't mean we should blame everyone else for our problems.