Along with the growing and inspiring Occupy Wallstreet movement, there has been an equally inspiring tumblr that you have probably seen by now called We are The 99%. It’s filled with stories of people who have done what they were told to do, tried their best but feel cheated by our economic system. Two of the most common stories are people who went to college, racked up a lot of student debt, and are now underemployed and unable to make ends meet, as well as stories of financial burdens because of medical expenses. They want a more fair system that rewards everyone for working hard, not just the wealthiest 1%.
Of course, not everyone reads a story like this and feels the same way I do. Some look at this post and think “Suck it up whiner.” Those people have created their own tumblr called We are the 53%, a reference to the current Republican claim that 47% of people pay no taxes. For right now, I won’t focus on how that number is completely false, or on how a lot of the people on this tumblr are actually not even in the 53%, but rather on how odd I find it that all of a sudden conservatives seem to be all for raising taxes.
The people who actually don’t pay any income taxes are split up into five major groups. The first three: retired people, children, the unemployed all have no income to tax, the last two are people who have income but are so poor that they receive a refund, and those who have enough deductions through either utilizing tax incentives or donating to charities.
So recapping the 53%er’s argument…
Making rich people paying their fair share = Class Warfare (you freeloading hippie)
Making the poor, elderly, and children pay taxes on the income they don’t have = Compassionate Conservatism.
Luckily, it looks like Occupy Wallstreet is gaining steam in all areas, even among Fox News readers. That’s good news, because this has the potential to be the most important movement since civil rights. But along the way, let’s not forget to be inclusive of all the percents, even the 2%.
Jon Stewart’s two part piece on Class Warfare from Thursday was really great. I recommend you watch it.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|World of Class Warfare – Warren Buffett vs. Wealthy Conservatives|
|World of Class Warfare – The Poor’s Free Ride Is Over|
Obama announced his budget for 2011, and since I have long believed that budgets are moral documents I think we need to take a look at this thing pretty closely.
The best and easiest way to look at it has been the NY Times interactive graphic.
In the budget some severe cuts to domestic programs, especially ones that help the poor and children like LIHEAP and Head Start. And of course no cuts were made to military spending, and our military aid to Isreal actually increased. It’s hard for me to look at this document and reconcile it with the State of the Union speech that Obama gave just a few weeks ago about investing in the future.
Is the deficit a problem? Yes. But it’s pretty hard to see our politicians seem perfectly fine with cutting jobs and programs that help the people hit hardest by the recession when they aren’t willing to even look at military spending, let alone raising taxes on rich people.
John Boehner made this perfectly clear.
“In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs,” Boehner said. “If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We’re broke.”
Yeah, that’s the same guy who’s been railing against Obama for not creating enough jobs, and then fought tooth and nail to keep taxes for the wealthy low even though it will raise the deficit. But now the deficit is so important he’s willing to put people out of work and lower our education standards. At least he’s made it clear where is priorities are.