Friday, October 14, 2011

Get ready for OccupyTO and Right Wing Manipulation

I saw this picture(below) being sent around with a student showing a hand written letter about how wonderful they are for having no debt in their last year of University, supporting themselves and only working for a little more than minimum wage.  Many people praised the student and said they are likely to go places in this world.  First off, I don't think so because their attempt to protest one of the draft Occupy Wall Street demands doesn't even make sense and I think it's a complete lie!
OWS draft demands  (search for Education Reform)

I think this student completely misses the point though. People aren't blaming wall street for their own debt. They are blaming wall street and corporations for greed, risky decisions and the fact that corporations have as much legal protection as an individual and this has been abused leading to a unsustainable economy. Greed wasn't included in the models for a successful free market system and is immoral.  I feel like a broken record somewhat.

I think the OWS demand is misunderstood.  The OWS group is suggesting that instead of spending money on war, they should look at putting that money into loan forgiveness programs. Loan forgiveness programs aren't new and work very similar to scholoaraships.  Is this student saying that money should continute to be spent on war instead of scholarships and student aids??

Hope everyone is having a a great day and I'm looking forward to checking out what people have to say down town Toronto tomorrow.  Here are some of the messages I've seen already.

IMAGE: The unrealistic letter from a supposed student and why I think it's a LIE!!

APPENDIX - assumed student budget with bare essentials
Weekly $9/hr @ 30 hrs/wk (before Taxes) (Note that $9/hr is about $1.50-$2 over the average minimum wage in the USA
Monthly (befoere taxes)
Monthly (estimate after taxes)
-$     10.50
Income Remaining after basic expenses
Monthly Amount
 $ 400.00
Lucky to find rent this cheap and lets even assume it has laundry and included utilities.  It's also assumed that this is shared with at least one roomate
 $   30.00
Basic phone with very litle use
 $   98.00
This is actually much less than the average monthly premium for medicare in the USA for most without coverage through employment
 $ 200.00
$50/week isn't that much and is kind of unrealistic
 $   62.50
10% of Tuition cost at average US public state univeristy($7500)
Transport Transit / Travel/Home Visits?
 $   30.00
Asssumed the student lives near the university and work which is very convenient and lucky with such low rent.  Or assumed the student uses a bike, lives somewhere with year round warm climate and that bike is not stolen and few repairs or tune ups are required.
 $   90.00
Any good budget puts aside 10% for miscelleaneous items and unexpected expenses (clothes, emergencies, day to day)
 $          -   
Nothing left for saving
Books and School Supplies?
 $          -   
Nothing left in budget
 $          -   
Nothing left in budget


  1. As a father of 5 kids who are closing in on college age, I can still dream that what this college student claims to have done is possible.

  2. You shouldn't have to dream or figure out impossible budget dilemmas. It should be a reality.

  3. Intuitively, I knew that picture was just words. I did all those same things, except I worked more, received better marks, probably socialized less (because I don't drink and I didn't live on campus), and I didn't pay rent. I still had debt when I graduated. And, since I never had time to explore my career field outside of non-career related jobs, I wasn't entirely prepared nor did I really find my direction for another a few years.

    Now, I'm a math teacher. And, of course, the math wasn't going to add up.

    Too insist that the American dream is real insults my work ethic (to work hard even knowing it's not enough). Thank you for doing the math. I wish it was so obvious to everyone else.

  4. Unless this was written up prior to the early 90's it just can't be true. I think perhaps many late Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and older may think this is still possible. Maybe those with dyscalculia might think it is too.
    I got sick of seeing people posting this and praising the student so felt compelled to open Excel for 5 minutes to prove it's impossible. It is misleading and wrong to get people's hopes up like this.

  5. Thanks for doing the math! This girl also assumes that everyone gets the same starting point, which is false. I, for example, come from a loving and financially stable family. I never had the pressure of getting a job to pay the bills so I just focused on getting a job in my field, which I did after a bunch of unpaid internships and work-study positions. I even when to south america for 6 months to travel, take courses, and "find myself". How ridiculous is that? Pretty stupid but Everyone should have this opportunity! And most people don't. Money should not be an obstacle to go to University and have a great time while you're there. But it usually is. How are you going to worry about marks when you have to pay rent? It shouldn't be this way. University should be fun, not a burden. This girl is also definitely lying, It is impossible to have a complete student experience while working full time 30hrs/week. Why should you even try? We're going to be working full time for rest of our adult lives, why start at 18?


What do you think?