The 99%

Since September 17th, protesters have been participating in demonstrations in Zucotti Park and on Wall Street. When I first heard about the people sleeping in tents, I thought they were nuts. As I learned more about Occupy Wall Street, it started to make more sense. The top 1% of the American population controls about 40% of total wealth in the country. The rest of us are the 99%.

I never really considered my financial situation until getting pregnant. I had been laid off from a pretty good job and was temping–which meant I had no health insurance. I had a decent amount of student loans to pay back from both undergrad and grad school. I applied for Medicaid, but I made too much money, even though I was working only three days a week. My temp assignment ended, and I thought I could finally get some financial assistance, but what do you know? Being married meant I wasn’t living in poverty. Never mind that we were barely making ends meet–according to them we were ballin’. My unemployment was cut because being ready, willing, and able to work doesn’t add up to being almost 8 months pregnant. The next few months were pretty tough. WIC didn’t really give a lot of food. I swallowed my pride and applied for food stamps, but when I was able to file for unemployment again in September, they decided I made too much money. On unemployment. Oh, and I only got them for the month of August.

It’s frustrating to be so close to being flat broke, yet because you’re not destitute, you just have to suck it up. Between trying to get out of the debt I got while getting the education that was supposed to keep me employed, and keeping food on the table and bills paid, I just don’t see how we’re supposed to make it. And yet, people like Kim K can make millions just with a sham of a marriage.


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