Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street

Open Letter to the 53%

Article originally published on Technorati as Open Letter to the 53%

From the 53% home page:99 percent lady

Those of us who pay for those of you who whine about all of that… or that… or whatever.”

It seems your movement has formed in rebuttal to the 99% movement. Your name derives from the percentage of Americans who are in a taxable income bracket. (I am a public safety professional and homeowner, and am in that taxable 53%.) Your position appears to be that you are carrying the poor, who do not contribute, nor wish to contribute, to society. Your premise is that you do not agree to finance those lower down on the socioeconomic ladder than yourselves.

The 99% crowd derives its name from the fact that 1% of the population owns 50% of the money in the American economy. They believe the middle class is nearing extinction due to rampant greed on the part of the wealthiest 1%. Their premise is that they do not wish to finance those at the very top of the socioeconomic ladder.

Nobody disputes that 1% of the population owns 50% of the money, or that 47% of the population falls below the federal income tax bracket. Everyone seems to agree that times are very hard for middle and working-class Americans. There doesn’t appear to be any debate about the distribution of income, only where the blame should be laid, and who should be asked to contribute more.

For those of us old enough to remember Reagan’s candidacy, trickle-down economics was an agreement; we would cut taxes on the wealthiest, who would then re-invest in the community, i.e., the money would trickle back down. Since the 1980s, 80% of all income has gone to the wealthiest 1%. Bill Maher offered a pizza analogy: It’s like 100 people pitch in on a pizza with 100 slices. Then when they open the box, the first guy takes 80 pieces.

The math on the 53% is more complicated; while the poorest 47% don’t meet the minimums for federal income taxation, they do still pay property, payroll, and sales taxes. Being below the minimum income tax rate does not automatically imply unemployment or receipt of government benefits. Most Wal-Mart and fast food employees remain below the minimum tax rate, and are not eligible for healthcare benefits though they work one or more jobs. Many military families qualify for food stamps.

Does it make sense to snatch crumbs from the mouths of minimum-wage workers while Paris Hilton discards a Thanksgiving feast every day of her life? If we were to squeeze the very last nickel out of the working poor, we would have far less money in our coffers than if we brought the tax rates on the wealthy back up to where they were when we were all prosperous.

Why stomp on ants while elephants roam the halls?

Computer systems are normally designed with fail-safes and multiple servers. The concept of not having all one’s eggs in the same basket is well understood by everyone from financial planners to electrical engineers. At this point, half of America’s eggs are in a single, tiny basket. The center cannot hold.

As I see it, the tide has already turned. I know, most people feel it’s too early to call. I will stake my reputation, please mark the date and quote me: Occupy Wall Street will dramatically change America. That’s not hubris, or political bias. It’s based on math, science, and common sense. The pendulum has gone all the way to one end, and now it will swing back to the center.

There is a huge irony in the making, and that is why this letter is addressed to the 53%.

When this movement effects real change the difference will be obvious, especially to the middle class and the working poor. We will have found new ways of conducting the business of politics, and the game will be changed forever.

Do you really think thousands of people in the streets of every city in America will have no effect as we approach the election? What if OWS forces the breakup of too big to fail banks? The destruction of the Federal Reserve? What if the groundswell is such that we move to direct democracy instead of an electoral college? Overcome Citizens United?  Will you learn to acknowledge the contributions of others when they literally reclaim your voice as a voter?

You who rail against the “arrogance” of the 99% who count you in their ranks though you refuse to support them, will you ever recognize that most of the people in the streets are in your same tax bracket?  Do you really believe you are in the majority, and that your contribution is the only one that counts?

You who blame, deride and ridicule the poor, you who have felt the need to put your faces and stories on the 53% site, have taken a stand against the majority of citizens in order to row for the 1% who rob us all.

You saw the battle lines being drawn, and chose not to contribute your time, effort or money to the solution. You mocked the ones doing the heavy lifting as they built a better world for you to share.You who believe the poor are poor because they are too lazy and unwilling to help themselves sat back and let others work and sacrifice to make your lives better.  And you mocked them while they did it.  No wonder you think the poor are abusing you.

Remember the scorn and ridicule you heaped on those who you wrongly identified as not pulling their weight. Every time you look in the mirror please direct that same derision at the real free rider.You felt righteous about it when you made the decision. After you prosper due to the productivity of others, remember that you chose not to help yourself.   You felt entitled to be dead weight.

Fortunately most people are aware that there will always be some people who think only of themselves and do not care to be contributing members of society. Those of us who will find ourselves on the winning side of history, the majority of taxpayers in the 99% movement, are very clear that it is you.


If you liked this article, please help get the word out —  “Stumble Upon,” Tweet, share on Facebook, subscribe, etc.   Thanks! — Xavier


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