Here’s Matt Labash and the Weekly Standard trying to mislead you about taxation and the income distribution:
“You’re either part of “us,” the “99 percent” (as all the surrounding signage identifies us), or you’re part of “them” — the rapacious 1 percent, who are purportedly strangling our nation by holding roughly one-third of its wealth, even if they also pay 38 percent of all federal income taxes while the bottom 47 percent of the population pay nothing (a Revolution is no place for facts and figures).”
You might as well say that the 20 percent of Americans who smoke cigarettes regularly pay 95 percent of federal tobacco excise taxes while 70 percent of the population pays nothing. Does 70 percent of the population really pay nothing to maintain public services? Of course not. They pay income taxes and payroll taxes and property taxes and sales taxes and alcohol taxes and all the rest.
…[T]hrough sleight of hand, you can convince many more than 53 percent of the people that they are part of the put-upon “53 percent” forced to bear the burden of a nation of slackers. It’s clever. But don’t fall for it, and don’t let your friends and family fall for it either.
A Message to the 53 Percent
Congratulations on successfully mastering a condescending tone. I have some news for you, though: you are part of the 99 percent. I am part of the 99 percent. My neighbor in his brand new Prius is part of the 99 percent. Our grievances are wide-reaching. Our stories and backgrounds are vastly different. [more]
A great take on this.
from PP’s post below the fold:
“The richest 5 percent of households obtained roughly 82 percent of all the nation’s gains in wealth between 1983 and 2009. The bottom 60 percent of households actually had less wealth in 2009 than in 1983, meaning they did not participate at all in the growth of wealth over this period.”
This is the problem with the “53%” tagline: they don’t realize just how badly they are being fucked. If the distribution of wealth in this country were more equitable, you wouldn’t have to work as hard. How is it rational to simply be complacent when we know from historical data that it doesn’t have to be this way?
This is my main issue with Conservatives who seem to believe that greater effort in one’s affairs, much like tax cuts, will always solve your problems. The answer always seems to be “work harder.” Really? What intolerable ignorance. There is currently 1 job open for every 5 job-seeking individuals. Everyone who is newly unemployed since 2008 had a job before the recession hit. These individuals are not unemployed because they choose to be.
And 100 hour work-weeks? Great for you. I’m sure every American would be proud to work 100 hours a week without complaining, right? That’s entirely reasonable. I mean that’s medically healthy, right? I mean, this country didn’t literally have extended periods of labor-related violence over work conditions of that nature, right? And when it comes to starting a small business, surely anyone can start a business when banks aren’t willing to loan you capital, right? But of course, to start a small business, you should probably learn how, meaning going to school, and taking on student loan debt, which will count against you when you go to take out a business loan, making banks even LESS likely to loan you capital to start a small business, right?
People living in hunterer-gatherer societies don’t even have to work this hard to survive. If you have to work 100-hour work weeks to make ends meet, you’d literally be better off stripping naked and running into the woods to live among the wolves. To be complacent in that sort of situation, and expect others to be as well, is self-defeating and absurd.
None of these protesters are complaining about a 60-hour work week; I’m sure many of them would view such a commitment as onerous, but I haven’t seen a single sign that says this is one of their central issues. I haven’t met anyone that supports these protests who feels you shouldn’t be willing to work more than 40 hours/week to be successful. They’d probably be happy to just find a job that paid them enough to make ends meet. And that’s why the sort of hyperbolic nonsense on display here completely misses the point. These so-called “99%” aren’t complaining because they’re not willing to work hard. They’re not complaining because they’re just “sitting on their ass.” They’re complaining because they played by the rules, and now they can’t make ends meet. They’re complaining because the same system under which they have tried to make a life for themselves seems to benefit some people much more than others. If you’re working 60-100 hours a week at a middle-class salary, do you honestly feel that a Corporate Executive who makes $10’s of millions of dollars a year is working harder than you? The attitude which says “there’s nothing wrong with this, suck it up,” is not only patronizing to people who want to work hard but can’t find work; it’s outright irrational and self-destructive.
Let me tell you what it feels like to stand in front of a white man and explain privilege to him. It hurts. It makes you tired. Sometimes it makes you want to cry. Sometimes it is exhilarating. Every single time it is hard. Every single time I get angry that I have to do this, that this is my job, that this shouldn’t be my job. Every single time I am proud of myself that I’ve been able to say these things because I used to not be able to and because some days I just don’t want to.
This all has been said by many many strong women of color before me but every time, every single time these levels of power are confronted it I think it needs to be written about, talked about, gone through over and over again.
And this is the thing: that there in that circle, on that street-corner we did a crash course on racism, white privilege, structural racism, oppression. We did a course on history and the declaration of independence and colonialism and slavery. It was hard. It was real. It hurt. But people listened. We had to fight for it. I’m going to say that again: we had to fight for it. But it felt worth it. It felt worth it to sit down on the on a street corner in the Financial District at 11:30 pm on a Thursday night, after working all day long and argue for the changing of the first line of Occupy Wall Street’s official Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. It felt worth it not only because we got the line changed but also because while standing in a circle of 20, mostly white men, and explaining racism in front of them: carefully and slowly spelling out that I as a women of color experience the world way differently than the author of the Declaration, a white man, that this was not about him being personally racist but about relations of power, that he needed to, he urgently needed to listen and believe me about this, this moment felt like a victory for the movement on its own.
And this is the other thing. It was hard, and it was fucked up that we had to fight for it in the way we did but we did fight for it and we won. The line was changed, they listened, we sat down and re-wrote it and it has been published with our re-write. And when we walked away, I felt like something important had just happened, that we had just pushed a movement a little bit closer to the movement I would like to see– one that takes into account historical and current inequalities, oppressions, racisms, relations of power, one that doesn’t just recreate liberal white privilege but confronts it head on. And if I have to fight to make that happen I will. As long as my people are there standing next to me while I do that."
let me say now that i in no way think people are obligated to explain their oppression. i just liked this part a lot. it gave me hope or something.
WARNINGS: whitesplaining racism-supporting “NO, YOOOOOU!” garbage; ableist appropriation of term “color blind”
Ok so let’s have a little lesson in economics and crime rates in cities. What made it the worst place in Philadelphia was the CRIME, and for the most part, the highest amount of crime in a city happens in the lower income sectors, the two are very seldom exclusive of each other. And guess what, there were all kinds of people living in poverty there. POVERTY IS COLOR BLIND, it does not inherently affect one race more than another strictly due to the color of their skin. I’ve lived next to Camden NJ ever since I moved out of that neighborhood, which is UNFORTUNATELY riddled with poverty and crime, which is not the fault of the people living there, it is the fault of the corrupted government not serving it’s people to the fullest.
How dare you imply that I think I’m better than the people that lived in the same neighborhood as me. I was an infant, just a little girl. I remember hearing gun shots from my bed room window and our house was broken into twice. I was not better than my neighbors, I am not better and I never will be. They are people all the same, and for you to think that I have such ignorant views of the world around me is slander, since you know pretty much nothing about me. I live in a diverse neighborhood in New Brunswick, and cherish the culture that exists because of the locals. My boyfriend helped create a program to help the illegal immigrants in the area get the proper medical services and food for their children. I have a large diverse group of friends who come from various different economic and social backgrounds and I respect and love them all the same. How dare you assume that because I simply stated that I’m tired of the hate that goes on on both sides, that I’m suddenly an racist elitist. I’m not going to sit and argue that there isn’t social injustice in the United States, but it’s good to know that it isn’t just happening to peoples of a certain race or ethnic background. It’s happening to everyone. And what an ignorant point of view it is to have that suddenly people care because it’s the “white” people who are suffering now, when EVERYONE is suffering now.
And also, what guilty conscience of mine is speaking now? Because I don’t believe I’m hurting financially any more or less than any other person in the United States? That I’m not hurting more or less than another student buried in student loans or a family trying to pay back a mortgage? I worked hard throughout high school to graduate with a fucking 3.8 GPA, 11th in my class. I worked part time jobs since I was legally able to at the age of 16, and yet for all my hard work, I’m 30k in debt, for a school I dropped out of and another 30k for the schooling I’m currently enrolled in. And there are millions of people who worked just as hard or probably even HARDER that are in my place or worse. I pay my own fucking rent, bills, food, school, EVERYTHING. I’m 20 years old and have had to work for EVERYTHING I have in my life right now, and I would gladly give the US government my hard earned money if it helped people, ALL PEOPLE.
It’s people like you who spread hate in the world; you think you’re doing everyone a favor by pointing out flaws in peoples arguments, telling them they don’t care about the world they live in simply because they hold an opinion. So how about instead of posting hateful remarks which you know no doubt will be responded to, go volunteer in a soup kitchen, write letters and make phone calls to your senators and representatives asking them to stop cuts on social programs, donate money to organizations for the homeless and disenfranchised, and stop thinking that chewing me up and spitting me out (which failed horribly BTW) is really going to change the bad things happening in the world.
“POVERTY IS COLOR BLIND”
And that is the only “point” I’m gonna take time to refute as this entire rant is so willfully ignorant of reality. But continue to whine about how white people have it just as bad as everyone else! Don’t ever click those links I provided to become a more informed citizen!
you are far more racist than I am, or ever will be if this truly is your opinion. “You must be white here?” Are you for real? You are totally not for equality if this is the opinion you hold. We’re all human beings, we have the same problems, although there is a clear history of discrimination and intolerance in this country, it is our duty as human beings to put aside our differences and work to break down barriers, both racial and economic. These are issues we need to stand for as Americans and they effect all of us. Don’t tell me I can’t understand something simply based on the color of my skin.
All men are created equal…
@maaaaaaag: NO WE DO NOT ALL HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS. there are some overlaps, yeah, but WHITES LIKE US ARE NOT TARGETED BY WHITE SUPREMACIST OPPRESSION. WE ARE NOT TARGETED BY RACISM — IN FACT WE BENEFIT FROM IT. and saying “NO, *YOU* ARE RACIST!!!!!” when people call you on YOUR racism is not even an argument. you are just totally unwilling to consider liquornspice’s points. you’d rather self-righteously troll than, i don’t know, ACTUALLY CONSIDER ANYTHING. we whites are racially privileged under white supremacist systems — THIS IS A FACT. whites like us under a white supremacist system CANNOT KNOW WHAT RACISM IS REALLY LIKE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, and BENEFIT FROM RACISM, so we often spout garbage like yours that demonstrates our willful ignorance of the truth about racism — THIS IS ALSO A FACT. you’re being willfully ignorant and swimming in your white privilege. AND POINTING THIS OUT DOES NOT MAKE LIQUORNSPICE RACIST AGAINST WHITE PEOPLE [and in fact IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE RACIST AGAINST WHITES UNDER A WHITE SUPREMACIST SYSTEM].
and again, your using the term “color blind” the way you do is ableist appropriation.
Why is it easier for you to believe that 150 million people are lazy and stupid than 400 people are greedy and malicious?
Because we have jobs and make a contribution to society.
Your point is…? Most of those 150 million people have jobs, too. Poor people work.
But I don’t know why I’m even responding to you, because anyone who aligns himself with the Republican party clearly lacks a deep, nuanced understanding of poverty, class and economics.
Wow… I’d be fascinated to hear what else separates the working class to make them so unworthy as to be cursed with this chronic poorness.