Who Are The 99 Percent? Seems concerns about our nation’s economy and financial system know no generational bounds. In much of the media, Occupy Wall Street—the burgeoning protest movement that began in New York City and is spreading across the United States—is portrayed as something for 23-year-old art school grads with thrift-store duds and student loan debt. But older Americans have been joining in the movement as well—and adding retirement security to the range of Occupy movement concerns.
I am a 67-year-old teacher lucky enough to have a part time job that provides a substantial portion of my health care premium,” writes an anonymous man on the We Are the 99 Percent blog. “I live paycheck to paycheck and am unable to save for even a delayed retirement. When I am no long able to work I will be dependent on Social Security.”
See also: Occupy Wall Street Movement slideshow.
The nascent Occupy movement has been increasingly brandishing the slogan “We Are the 99 Percent,” a reference to the fact that the top 1 percent of earners in this country control about 42 percent of our nation’s wealth. A quick perusal of entries on the We Are the 99 Percent blog reveals a recently growing number of older faces and stories. “Had to rent rooms to raise money to pay my mortgage,” one woman writes. “I can’t keep up with my bills and I have no savings. I am 57 and have been unemployed for 4 years. What am I supposed to do?”
“I am 59 years old with a Master’s degree,” notes another 99 Percenter. “I do not have a full time job. I have four part-time jobs. My credit card companies raised my interest rates from 18% to 31% even though I have never been late with one payment.”
Several major union groups joined the protests last week, which has also helped up the average age of the Occupy crowd. Retired union member George White, 60, told the New York Times that it was up to the young protesters to champion labor issues in the future. “Unions are on the way out,” he said. “These are the children of mothers and fathers who have worked hard all their lives and now can’t put food on the tables. These are the children who can’t pay off their loans, who have nowhere to go and no opportunities.”
The Girl Is Mine: The first time Paul McCartney climbed the Old Marylebone Town Hall steps to take a bride, the year was 1969, and thousands gathered to see the former-Beatle wed Linda Eastman. Yesterday, McCartney—now aged 69, and in front of a much smaller crowd—climbed those same steps once again, this time to marry 51-year-old Nancy Shevell. Shevell is a vice president of a New Jersey-based trucking company owned by her father and serves on the board of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
It was “a simple civil ceremony attended by close family and friends, including drummer Ringo Starr and Barbara Walters, a second cousin of the bride,” the Associated Press reports.
Though the ceremony took place at the same town hall where McCartney first married, it couldn’t have been more different than his last wedding, to Heather Mills—a large, lavish affair that took place at a remote Irish castle. McCartney and Mills divorced (unamicably) in 2008.
Rosie Returns: Actress and TV personality Rosie O’Donnell, 49, is returning to television, with the first episode of The Rosie Show kicking off on the Oprah Winfrey Network tonight. O’Donnell, who previously hosted six seasons of a daytime talk-show (The Rosie O’Donnell Show) from 1996-2002, told USA Today, “It feels like the same me, an older me.”
I was 33, 34 when the show started. Now I’m almost 50. A lot happens in those years. Your whole life happens. You live the dream of what you thought life would be, and then reality comes and crushes you and you start to rebuild, hoping to live something authentic for Chapter 2.”
Monday Quick Hits:
- Older adults may be overdoing vitamins and dietary supplements—and an excess of minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc could cause health problems.
- Actress Shirley MacLaine, who made her professional debut dancing in a Broadway revival of Oklahoma! in the 1950s and starred in more than 50 Hollywood films, will be honored with the American Film Institute’s lifetime achievement award next year.
- Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 91, just published his first book, Five Chiefs; the book is filled with opinions about cases where Stevens thinks his fellow justices went wrong.
- This month, performer William Shatner, 80, is releasing a new spoken-word album (featuring famous collaborators such as Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Dave Davies and Lyle Lovett) and a new book called Shatner Rules.
- The overall jobless rate stuck at 9.1 percent last month, though for older workers, the rate fell. For women 55-plus it dipped to 6.6 percent from 7.1 percent, while for men it declined to 6.9 percent from 7 percent.
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(Photo: We Are the 99 Percent)