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La Grande Observer 12/22/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Jeff Petersen: ON SECOND THOUGHT arrow Occupy Cove

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Occupy Cove

As my mom, 78, pointed out, it’s less expensive to go on a cruise for a week than to live in a nursing home for the same period of time.

Whatever the case may be, times are tough. Even seniors sailing the salt-encrusted seas have a tough time deciding between shuffleboard and the buffet line. Enjoy Miami, Mom.

For those not exercising the cruise option, it’s time to bring the occupy movement home. You’ve probably heard about Occupy Portland. Occupy

La Grande even, in an effort to get back at the fat cats of Wall Street.

Now it’s time we Occupy Cove. We’ll have to push the deer aside to find campsites. Once that’s done we can voice our outrage at the 1 percent who are getting rich while the rest of us tread water — or buy 3,000-square-foot McMansions.

If you are not among the 99 percent, you are not welcome in Occupy Cove — unless, that is, you have a truckload of pulled pork and cold beverages.

The only criteria for being part of Occupy Cove is being in middle class. Yet this is a moving target. People making from about $20,000 to $200,000 consider themselves middle class. One end of middle class gets dizzy looking up. The other end gets dizzy looking down.

Truth is, the middle class is the most vaguely defined class in the history of class warfare.

The bottom 99 percent covers the spectrum. We’re all in different boats — everything from rowboats to waterskiing boats — a flotilla of Wall Street protesters.

Face it, though. Not all rich are bad people — especially the ones that share their barbecue. And not all poor are good people.

Yet I have sympathy for the Occupy movement. Anyone with a heart softer than a rock knows that the stock market is thumping retirement savings, especially those tied up in 401Ks.

The big point is, the nation and our region need more than a Band-aid or a quick fix goverment handout. We need family-wage jobs, affordable health care and retirement savings plans that are less volatile than the 401K.

We need to be thankful for what we have. That’s especially true if we have a job and our health. A recent study pointed out that medical expenses cause 60 percent of bankruptcies.

We also need to be thankful if we can see a way out of our personal debt. Students and former students are drowning in nearly $1 trillion in college loan debt. Homeowners, too, are struggling. Many credit card holders are paying exorbitant interest rates for the privilege of borrowing.

There is a light at the end of the economic tunnel. We in the Occupy Cove movement hope it’s not another oncoming train.


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