The conservatives have launched a "53% movement"
to win the propaganda wars against the 99 percenters.
Conservative activists have created a Tumblr called “We are the 53 percent” that’s meant to be a counterpunch to the viral “We are the 99 percent” site that’s become a prominent symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Tumblr is supposed to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes, and its assumption is that the Wall Street protesters are part of the 46 percent of the country who don’t.
Of course, this meme is a thorough falsehood. Much of the "46 percent" is composed of old people, very young people, the disabled, stay-at-home spouses, and those mired in the dregs of poverty. The working poor may pay less in federal income tax, but their overall tax bill is as bad as, or worse than, that faced by the wealthy.
The people who put together the "53 percent" movement leave Social Security out of their calculations. Excise taxes hit the poor harder. Sales taxes are inherently regressive.
Joshua Holland goes into this in his book The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy
, which is recommended reading. Holland totes up all
the taxes and finds that the bottom half and the top half of the population pay about the same.
Update: Dakinikat points out that the 53% figure (give or take a percentage point or two) was for the single year of 2009
, and that situation arose out of very special circumstances.
In a more typical year, 35 percent to 40 percent of households owe no federal income tax. In 2007, the figure was 37.9 percent.
So the 53 percent figure is bullshit. That said, "99 percent" may also be a slightly misleading figure. This site
says that there 5,139,385 millionaires in this country. If my calculatin' is correct, that brings us close to 98%. Of course, a million bucks just doesn't buy what it used to.Speaking of OWS
: Business Insider says that the protesters are being paid 20 bucks an hour
. (Insert standard issue "Evil Soros" conspiracy theory here.) Yeahhhhh. Right
. I'm much more willing to believe that the Koch-heads would pay some guy to say
that.By the way:
As long as we are talking about who pays more in taxes, can we do something about the "leech state" versus the "producer state" phenomenon?
Even with all of its problems, my former home state of California pays more to the federal government than it receives in goods and services. So does New York; so do pretty much all the blue states.
The red states tend to be leeches. The south, for example, receives far more from the government than it pays in taxes. Thus, the Iraq war was foisted on this nation by red state voters (who wield disproportionate power, thanks to the institutions of the Senate and the electoral college), yet the blue state voters have to pay for that stupid, ongoing mistake.
Is that fair?