- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Judging by their list of complaints, most members of the “Occupy” movement are simply disaffected graduate students. These products of the most left-wing institutions in America have discovered that expensive degrees in useless fields don’t deliver instant wealth. What a surprise.

A substantial number of protest signs posted online by occupiers blame the U.S. higher education system for their woes. “I have a degree but no future,” one complained. “I will trade you my master’s degree for a permanent job,” another offered. “I am about to graduate with my bachelor’s,” another lamented. “All I want is to feel like that means something.” “I worked as a stripper in NYC,” another noted. “I made more money doing that than I do now, after receiving a graduate degree.” She’s another sad victim of the law of supply and demand.

Some of the complainers are desperate to blame others for their poor life choices. “I am a 28-year-old college student with 24k in school debt and a useless degree,” reads a white board next to a young bearded man with arms crossed. “I understand that I made the choices that got me here. However, my choices were led by the FAILED INSTITUTIONS that make up this nation.” Here is the emblem of American education, an overly entitled loser staring angrily out at a world that he thinks owes him something.

One demonstrator held a sign saying he had a doctorate, three postdocs and would “work for food.” Even not knowing the young man’s field, it makes sense that he couldn’t find a job. His resume tells a prospective employer that he’s a perpetual student who’s spent most of his life hiding from the real world. This protester proves the point that you can be extremely well-educated and still not know anything.

Many occupiers complain about their outstanding student-loan debt. “One semester from graduating college with a degree no one seems to hire,” one sign read, “In massive debt because of that once ‘dream degree.’ ” Obviously, Wall Street is not to blame for that. Since 1985, college costs have risen more than 450 percent, which is about 4.5 times the rate of inflation. The occupiers’ anger over student loans shouldn’t be directed at banks that made their education possible but at the colleges and universities that exploit the loan system to soak students for tuition in exchange for those worthless degrees.

Not everyone backs these crybabies. An older woman lectured the whiny youngsters: “My husband and I raise our family of six on a poverty-level income. But we live frugally and built a home business from the ground up. So we live pretty comfortably (though simply). Refuse debt. Live within your means and be a part of a productive solution.” That’s the attitude that made America great: Work hard, sacrifice and don’t expect something for nothing. It’s the exact opposite of the entitlement mentality that has transformed a nation that once was the world’s greatest lender into its largest debtor.

Our country needs to fundamentally change course and re-instill the virtue of discipline in individuals and government. Wall Street occupiers represent the problem, not the solution.