Most “Occupy” Protesters HAVE Jobs … Unemployment Much Lower Than In Tea Party

Unemployment Much Lower Among Occupy Protesters Than Tea Party

One of the mindless attacks on Occupy protesters is that they are lazy and should “go get a job”.

In fact, most Occupy protesters have jobs.

For example, Scott Olsen – the Marine veteran peacefully protesting in Oakland who was shot in the head with a projectile by riot police – had a very good day job, but was so dedicated that he went to the protests after work:

Scott Olsen, 24, joined the protests as he worked his day job as a network engineer and left his apartment each night to sleep alongside protesters in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., Keith Shannon said.


Olsen, who is originally from Wisconsin, served two tours of duty in Iraq, makes a good living at a San Francisco software company and had a hillside apartment that overlooks San Francisco Bay.


Each night, he would go out to the tent camps that have sprung up over the past month in cities as the movement spread to protest economic inequality and what they see as corporate greed.


People at OPSWAT, the company where Olsen works, were devastated after learning of his injuries. They described him as a humble, quiet guy who worked hard over long hours.

“He’s been a big piece of what we do here and our growth strategy, so obviously it’s pretty devastating for us that he’s in the shape he’s in,” said Jeff Garon, the company’s director of marketing.

Olsen was awarded seven medals while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, which he left as a lance corporal in November 2009 after serving for four years.

He went on two tours in Iraq, one in 2006-2007 and another in 2008, where he worked as a datanetwork specialist. He was awarded seven medals, including the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, according to the Marine Corps.

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal found:

The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).

(And see this.)

Professor Hector R. Cordero-Guzman and business analyst Harrison Schultz from the Baruch College School of Public Affair puts the unemployment rate of the Occupy protesters at 13.1%.  In other words, approximately 85% employment rate.

In contrast, a 2010 New York Times CBS News poll found that only 56% of members of the Tea party were employed (question 105).

(This is not a criticism of the Tea Party, with which the Occupy protests have much more common cause than the mainstream media would have us believe.  According to the New York Times/CBS poll, 32% of the Tea Party members surveyed are retired.  So one of the primary reasons that a higher percentage of Occupy protesters have jobs than Tea Partiers is that the former tend to be younger, and so still of working age.)

Get a Job? Bad Policy Regarding Unemployment Is One of the Main Problems Protesters Are Mad About!

The “get a job” slur is, in fact, highly ironic.

Specifically, a large part of what the protesters are objecting to is high unemployment rates.

There are lots of jobs for the 1%, but few for the poor.

The politicos and lobbyists are doing great – D.C. has the highest income in the country – and yet Main Street is suffering.

Idiotic government policies and ruthless behavior by the big banks have led to Depression-level unemployment.

No wonder the protesters are angry.

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  • “Work is the curse of the drinking class.” – Oscar Wilde

    “Stay thirsty my friends.” – Mr. Dos Equis

  • Zog

    Keep up the good work Mr Washington. Your fact-packed posts are more useful now than ever.

  • bill3

    Who cares if they are employed or not!
    Point 1: everyone is conserned about high unemployment.
    Point 2: To buy votes, Congress for generations has created a dole system that the top 50% support the bottom 50%. Take out the top 1% and the system collapses. The mentality has been “why should I get an education when the government will support me”.
    Point 3: Of course DC has the highest income. What was left out was the bloated federal salaries including Congress.
    Point 4: Congress ,in its infinate wisdom, passed the “Affordable Housing Act” which started the housing bubble. The banks knew many of the loans were bad so they figuered out a way to get rid of them and make money.
    The common theme here is Congress. Instead of protesting Wall Street or the banks they should protesting a greedy, power hungry, inept, and self-centered Congerss.

    • Tom

      True, it is Congress that has created the problem. However what you are forgetting to mention, or perhaps aren’t aware of, is that Congress is OWNED by the Banksters (among other Corporate Party (both Rs and Ds alike) interests), and they control and create by proxy what goes on.

      A congresscritter has very few fund raising options to keep his/her position without catering to their Corporate sponsors, now do they.

    • davidgmills

      Bill, Spell Check is your friend.

    • Frank Lenetti

      Your point 3 is exactly what was meant by “The politicos and lobbyists are doing great – D.C. has the highest income in the country. Your arguing the point that was made by making the same point. If you spent some time looking into your facts you would realize that all of your points are exactly what this is all about.

  • Commentator

    No. I saw the video in Oakland. Olsen was part of mob, many of whom had their faces covered, who were engaged in violent combat with the police. The police have every right and obligation to protect themselves as they go about the people’s business and that tear gas cannister was correctly fired into the crowd. How many times do we have to hear this tripe about “peaceful protest”? We have a mechanism for peaceful protest – elections. These OWS types get routed every election day and even when they reach a high-water mark, 2008 for example, they complain. Obama is as close as they’ve come to the regime they want and he put the USA out of work by wasting the stimulus on the most unproductive investments he could.

    • davidgmills

      The police don’t get in line formation when they are in protect and serve mode. That is attack mode. If they really were there to protect and serve, they would have been intermingling with the crowd.

    • Emcee

      The rest of us saw police pepper-spraying peaceful, prone people. The excessive use of force on obviously peaceful protesters has already become a public relations nightmare for the police in many cities. Moreover, there is no doubt that, taking the long view, the people condoning and employing violent tactics against the protesters will, as always, come out on the wrong side of history. They are the thugs, the bad guys, in the end. That they never learn this lesson is truly sad. “What did you do during the great progressive revolution, grandpa?” “Oh, I pepper-sprayed old women and pregnant ladies and tore up libraries.” “Wow, grandpa! You were a real jerk!”

    • Chastain

      Absolutely an unacceptable assessment, Commentator. I encourage you to watch this: All who watch that footage can see this was a peaceful demonstration, Olsen had on no mask, and he wasn’t even moving.

    • Yet another pious Wall Street poodle. I’m sure this will spoil your day.

      Interview with Scott Olsen About His Injury from the Police Attack on Occupy Oakland: video

      He is still having difficulty speaking from the injuries he sustained from what you describe as an “obligation” by the police. He is out of the hospital and we pray for his full recovery.

      You…not so much…

  • Te

    If there are, as the article claims ‘lots of jobs for the one percent’, shouldn’t more of us be in the one percent? I think it is more accurate to say there are lots of jobs for the 99 percent, but some of the 99 percent are not willing to do them!

    • Emcee

      You just finished reading an article showing that the meme that the OWS are lazy, jobless slackers is false and you respond by repeating the false meme. There are plenty of jobs for the 1% because of the good ole boy network. They put each other on boards and pay them exorbitant fees for “consulting.” The Paul Ryans of our society take relatively low paying government jobs knowing full well that they can get a plush lobbying job when they’re out of office. Meanwhile, our actual unemployment rate is really around 20% for most of the population, and many people are underemployed or working two or three jobs that still have them scrambling to pay the bills (for a truly heart-wrenching picture of the American nightmare, see the pathetic stories of the uninsured, overworked “We Are the 53%” crowd, who manage to prove the point of OWS even as they think they are countering them). A recent headline says that, currently, one in three children in the US lives in poverty. If our response to these children is that they should stop being so lazy and go out and get a job – maybe picking strawberries in the field – then we truly have become a miserable, barbarous nation. The fact is the middle class is rapidly shrinking, poverty is growing, and the US economy can be said to be functional only for the very top tier. The 99% movement really should be supported by 99% of the population, as many honest people in the 1% (Warren Buffett, George Soros, Bill Gates, Al Gore) will tell you.

  • Rich Mackin

    The link which looks like it should go to the Wall Street Journal site actually links to the Christian Science Monitor.

  • Rachel

    Excuse people like Bill Gates for being a genius and working hard. Not like he changed the way the world uses technology or anything.
    C’mon. Yes, there are people who abuse the system, multi-millionaires who never pay taxes, I understand that. But there is nothing wrong with hard working people making money. People like Bill Gates who have worked hard and continue to give their money away are not to blame.

    There is a peaceful way to protest. It’s called voting. Researched voting.

    • YourLocalITGuy

      Voting DOES work as a peaceful way to protest – until the system is manipulated to the point when the choices being voted on are effectively the same. Remember – the old Soviet Union and Saddma Hussein’s Iraq both had “elections” and “votes”.

      Once the voting system no longer works to carry the voice of the people – THEN protests by methods other than voting become important.

      There IS nothing wrong with hard working people earning money. There is also nothing wrong with the government – who allows and protects those hard earning people; requesting that they pay a little more for their assistance and protection…

      (The idea that high individual taxes cripple economic growth can easily be seen as a bit of a myth when you look at 40 YEARS of high individual taxes rates and the fact that they DIDN’T seem to have a negative effect on the economic growth of the US in the middle of the last century…)

  • I think that it is great that most Occupy protesters have jobs. One does not have to fight for a cause just because it directly affects them. When one person is jobless it affects us all! Fitness Program