Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Email: good job

First let me start out by saying that I am very impressed with you. At 13 you are doing what most kids your age wouldn't dream of doing, paying attention to world affairs. That is very uncommon in your generation and I wish more people your age would start getting engaged in the issues and form their own opinions. Now, that being said I have to point out that your argument is pretty weak in both the factual realm and in its methodology. First of all I'm going to break down your message bit by bit to illustrate to you your errors. First of all you said that your dad is a successful computer engineer and that your family can survive solely on his income. Now you see not everyone can be born into a family as well off as yours. While you most likely have your future set up and paid for millions of other kids like you don't have the same opportunity to go to college and possibly grad school. You may be tempted to point out that some of the people who have posted on your site have pulled themselves out of poverty. Well that's great but you must realize that these people are the exception, and they are the exception for a reason, they are exceptional. Some people just have greater drive and more energy than others. Does that mean that we should deny the people who do not have that drive a decent standard of living? Even if everyone did have that drive in them and everyone worked 2 jobs while going to school, what then? There wouldn't be enough jobs for them all. So some would have to take lower level jobs despite their degree holding status, while others would simply not be able to find a job.

Now let me talk to you about your next statement, telling people to "live within their means". While I agree that the American public shares some of the blame in this crisis and we are being punished for our decadence, but you have to understand that people were pretty much tricked into these loans by being told that the interest for said loans would be at a low amount unaware that the lenders could arbitrarily raise the interest at any time. This would mean that people who thought they had enough to pay off the loan in fact did not. Now you may say "well maybe they should have read the contract before signing it". This is not a solid argument for one reason, the loan contracts are needlessly complex and the average man could not hope to understand it. I'm a double major in political science and economics and even after 3 years of studying the subject in university I can't even make sense of those things. You need a masters at least to have any hope of understanding those agreements. Now you could say that they shouldn't have signed anything they didn't understand and I'd agree, but mind you what I am talking about here is home loans, student loans are a completely different story. You don't need to own a home that is a luxury but in this country unless you want to risk a high chance of unemployment you NEED to go to school. For most people this requires student loans. Now it should be noted that once a person is in debt it is very difficult to get out of it especially if you have upwards of $50,000 in debt. So because of this you have people just coming out of school who have mountains of debt and no job (more on that later).

The third point you made is that people should have majored in a practical degree like biology instead of what you put it as "bitter women's studies". Now I agree that some degrees are more useful than others and that most people who go for a women's studies degree are doing for the sake of feminism and not their own career. However I should point out that even people with practical degrees such as biology are struggling to find work. I have a friend who graduated last year with a degree in Chemistry and he has yet to find a job, even one at McDonald's. Also I am inserting a link to an interview with a homeless man who as a PHD in Physics here: This recession isn't just affecting people with useless degrees such as women's studies but everyone.

Your fourth statement "so could you please stop crapping in alleys in New York, go home, and get a job at McDonald's?" First of all why do you care if people are camping on wall street? Does it inconvenience you some how? Does it affect your life in any way? Unless you are the world's youngest stock broker I doubt it. Also as far as going home and getting a job at McDonald's I hate to break it to you but McDonald's isn't hiring. Neither is Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Taco Bell, and any other big corporate chain. Nobody is hiring or so few people are that there aren't nearly enough jobs for everyone. Nobody is hiring and yet corporations are sitting on record profits, knowing this isn't it at least a little understandable that people are mad at these corporations? Yes we do get pretty much everything form these multinationals but just because we buy things from them doesn't mean we forfeit our right to protest their immoral and unethical behavior. Now if you say that because we buy things from them we DO forfeit our right to complain then by that logic we forfeit our right to protest actions taken by the government because we use their roads, schools, fire departments, ect.

Your fifth claim "because even at 13 I know I will be part of the productive members of society". Are you sure about that? What if this recession continues? Or what if in 9 years a new recession hits and you can't find a job? Will you still be a part of the "productive members of society"? It also sounds like you are assuming that these people in the Occupy Wall Street movement don't want to work, because that's not the case. They want jobs, but corporations have found out that they can make more money by laying people off than by hiring them, and if they need to hire people they do it in China or India. Also it should be pointed out that what people are protesting on wall street is the unethical behavior that is common in the financial world. They are protesting the fact that these people wrecked our economy and got even more rich in the process.

To conclude though at face value your argument seems valid upon closer inspection it is factually baseless and filled with straw men and ad hominem. It is my suspicion that your motivation for posting this is simply because you wish to provoke others and that I am just buying into your childish game by writing you this message. However if it was your goal to join the debate in a civil manner I applaud you in your attempt but must point out your failure in civility. I hope you email me back so we can have a proper debate. I look forward to your rebuttal.