Occupy Bloomington

Suffering from the wrath of J344 and at my desperate attempt to find a subject to produce 50 pictures by Monday, I’d spent my entire Saturday morning (waking up early, by the way, a great sacrifice for a college student) scrounging stories in Bloomington. I’d attempted a pumpkin patch at a church, a little league’s game, and even visited the Bloomington Tibetan Monastery, but none produced a good variety of pictures that told a good story.

Just when I gave up and started driving to work, a crowd of hippies swarmed the road. I immediately pulled over, (aka. dramatically pulling into the nearest parking spot) and started snapping photos. It was like God’s ultimate gift to a procrastinator.

Joining the seemingly worldwide protest fad, (but significantly less violent, thankfully) the people in Bloomington have been marching regularly at local banks, the city council and the Monroe County Jail.

But as I was trying to caption the photos after the event, I was struck by a realization – I had no clue what these people were protesting for.

The reason why people are angry is obvious – the government is bailing out corporations, but won’t help out citizens in need; student loans are killing souls; the rent is too damn high… etc. There’s a lot to be angry about. However, my perception of a protest is that it urges an action, a compromise, or a solution of some sort. What exactly are they asking the government to do?

The truth seems like nobody in the world knows what to do to fix the economy. Your government needs money, but you don’t wanna tax and piss off the rich people. There are no jobs, and there’s no money to create any. It’s a never ending loop of despair.

With just a semester of tuition (already discounted due to instate and employee benefit) itself costing 7 months worth of my paychecks, it would literally be impossible for me to survive without my Asian mother, bless her soul, who’s been saving money since the day she was born. (Asians seem to come out of the womb holding accounting books.)

A lot of people argue that people should stop bitching about taxes, since they’re necessary to make sidewalks, streetlights and basically hold the country intact. But with $100 out of my $600 paycheck, almost 17%, taken for taxes every month, and the country STILL being in terrible shape, I’d like to bitch about taxes as much as humanly possible.

I don’t believe in equalization of wealth, and I do think those who worked for their money deserve it. However, taxing someone with an annual salary of 5 million a little more than someone of 50,000 really wouldn’t hurt anyone. Perhaps the rich won’t be able to buy an extra golden toilet seat for their fourth beach house, but at least then someone else won’t have to live off Twinkies.

In Bloomington, Indiana, a relatively wealthy, caucasian neighborhood in the US, I’ve been to the residence of a lot of the “rich.” I’ve seen the 1955 Ford T-bird that they leave parked in the garage just for shits and giggles; I’ve seen their medieval vases (and realize that if I broke it, it would cost me more than 40 years to repay the price);I’ve seen their 3 kitchens in their mansions with jacuzzis and pools. For them, buying a $300 pair of boots is like buying a bag of chips. Money is of no concern.

But then, there’s the argument that taxing the rich more would “discourage success.” Think about it, though. Would someone decide not to become a doctor or a CEO or any of those high-paying jobs because of the higher income tax? If you increase just 1%, it wouldn’t at all effect the higher class’ ability to survive in this economy.

Despite my defending of the poor, I’ve always been skeptical about welfare. The poor should be given tax breaks, but they shouldn’t be subsidized. Like my last Economics teacher used to say, when you give a hobo some change, you are not doing him any favors since you just increased his incentive to continue his life of beggary. If you really want to do him a favor, find him a job.

I don’t know if marching on the streets are actually going to fix anything, but some change would be nice.

The photo assignment got me a whopping 93%. I was pretty happy about that. Here are the best shots:

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