Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 53%

This new conservative counter-movement I think is testimony to the success of Occupy Wall Street. The OWS hippies are doing what the Democratic leadership (including the White House) couldn't and wouldn't do, seize the initiative and set the terms of the public debate, instead of reacting to Republican initiatives and debating on Republican terms.

The "53%" are those who pay federal income taxes as opposed to the 46% who don't. This assumes that the other 46% are simply freeloaders. My friend Doug Hayes over on Facebook points out that this is really an embarrassing admission by the right, that 46% of the population doesn't earn enough to pay federal income tax, and as we all know, that income threshold is a very low one (about $17,000 for a married couple filing jointly in 2011). That means that 46% of the population earns a pittance that does not even pay the bills.

The Dems are too inept and compromised to point this out, but I'm sure legions of others already have and will do so promptly.

The Establishment punditocracy wrings its hands over the trouble the Democratic Party leadership will have with an insurgency from its base. Good. I hope so.

The insurgencies from the right and left that both parties now face point to a major corrosive effect of concentrated money on democracy: elected representatives are no longer accountable or responsive to the people who elected them. In our system of legalized corruption, those who can donate huge sums of money to buy broadcast time and professional sales campaigns will always have the ear of elected representatives. Policy will always be shaped with the next extremely expensive election campaign in mind.

And for those of you who haven't seen it yet, Alan Grayson shuts down PJ O'Rourke and makes a clarion call:


MarkBrunson said...

Well, P. J. O'Rourke looks like a complete idiot, now doesn't he?

NancyP said...

A significant fraction of the 46% are children. What, the 53% want to bring back child labor?

Counterlight said...


Why yes, they do.

MarkBrunson said...

What I see of the 53% can only be termed "Uncle Toms." They disgustedly tell you about - for example in the article - working three jobs to pay a mortgage and take care of kids.

So . . . tell me again why you would support Wall Street laissez-faire capitalism? It did this to you, and you want to feed it?!

I think, in the end, they see their own reflection in OWS - they believe it's a group of people who, having suffered and gone without, have neither grown nor learned and want to take from them in the zero-sum game that is capitalism. Perhaps this spurious 53% really believe they have the opportunity to "succeed" by their fruitless labor - the lie of the American Dream, manufactured by the wealthy to keep the rest working to make them more wealth.

In any case, they don't understand that OWS and those who support it want us all to have a decent, comfortable life. It's not Monty Python's Dennis Moore redistributing the wealth by fiat - we want everyone to be well-off and there's no possible reason they shouldn't be. The cry of "I'm not supporting a bunch of lazy bums!" is self-defeating, because then, you are feeding that same predator which you have to keep feeding to preserve the basics of life. I don't deny the reality of "lazy bums," but that's not the majority of humans, and the real "lazy bums" are more often the wealthy who've found the way to make others work for them, or low-level grifters who will still get theirs. They won't be hurt in the slightest by constricting social welfare, because they live off of rather than in the society.

It's all so senseless and easily-overcome and I despair that humankind can go any farther with so many unable to see such clear and self-evident realities.