Natalie W and Aaron Cynic write at Diatribe Media:
Ever since the Occupy Wall Street movement began, one of the ways members have told their stories is through simple photos of themselves holding writings of their life experiences and what makes them part of the “99 percent” of Americans who have been ignored, mistreated, and misrepresented by their government. Some of their heartbreaking stories include tales of vast amounts of medical debt due to unforeseen chronic illness and no insurance coverage, overwhelming college debt coupled with joblessness or no job prospects, and a shortage of work combined with short unemployment assistance, among many others. To read their stories, see We Are The 99 percent.
This week, founder of the right wing blog Red State, Erik Erickson began a Tumblr account dubbed the “53 percent.” The project attempts to be the conservative perception of Occupy Wall Street and solidarity occupations as a movement of whiners and layabouts who don’t want to pay their taxes and are looking for handouts.
First, the idea of the 53 percent is that a majority of US citizens pay more in federal income tax than they receive back in deductions or credits. Basically, the 53 percent are the people supporting the government and are complicit, even proud, to have the government operating in the manner it does.
The logic of the notion of 53 percent is skewed, as Alex Pareene at Salon points out: “Pretty much every adult American pays taxes. Workers who are too poor to pay federal income taxes still pay payroll taxes, and property taxes if they own their home. Even the unemployed pay sales taxes. The poorest Americans — people who make an average of $12,500 a year — pay, on average, 16 percent of their paltry income in taxes.”
The idea to seperate federal income taxes from payroll taxes is semantically splitting hairs. We’re all still paying taxes, not only in the form of either of those, but also in things like sales tax. The argument is a false equivalency, like saying a renter doesn’t have the right to decide what happens in their neighborhood because they don’t pay property taxes. The landlord or management company pays those taxes, but does that give them more of a right to decide what happens on someone’s block, rather than a person who might have been renting for years in the same home?
Read the full post at Diatribe Media