Right Wing Counters Occupy Protests With ‘We Are the 53 Percent’

You may not know this, but there’s a right wing talking point that says only 53 percent of American households pay taxes. (The patriotic 53 percent.) It’s the GOP’s way of saying, “You’re lazy; I subsidize your life.” It’s completely untrue, but, uh, whatever!

With that in mind, founder of right wing blog ‘Red State’ Eric Erickson has started a new tumblr called ‘We Are the 53 Percent.’ It’s a place where people can write why they’re awesome and hardworking and all that stuff on a notepad, take a picture of it, and then post it to the Internet. Here’s one:

The notes are strange the way most rugged individualism-isms are. For instance, there’s a person who claims “I’ve never been wealthy. My truck has over 200,000 miles. I can barely afford my rent. I am thankful for the low paying job I do have…I don’t have health insurance, but I don’t blame Wall Street.”

In this world, getting your ass kicked by life is worn the way Joseph wears his technicolor dreamcoat. No people-powered societal change should ever happen. Economic downturns aren’t the result of 30 years of further Wall Street control over the government, massive Wall Street bailouts and a bank-based housing crash—they’re shit just that happens, because shit happens. Deal with it!

To be clear, this ‘53 percent’ talking point, pushed frequently on Fox News and affiliated websites, overly simplifies the idea that 53 percent of households pay taxes. When you look a little closer, they actually mean “Federal Income Taxes.” Which is true. This article explaining the talking point says “the stimulus programs of the last two years – the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.”

But, as stated by the same article, payroll taxes, investment taxes, “among others” aren’t included. And it definitely doesn’t include state and local taxes, which are much higher in big cities than anywhere else, which is where many of the occupiers, who, according to Erickson, need to “suck it up you whiners,” live.

And if you’re only taking federal income taxes into account for such a project, someone who can “barely afford my rent” or whose house “lost 60 percent of its value” probably isn’t part of the 53 percent who pay income taxes, since most who make under $50,000 per year, well, don’t. Literally everyone who’s put a picture of their notepad up could easily be protesting as part of the 99 Percent. They’re just too tough to do so.

8 Responses to “ Right Wing Counters Occupy Protests With ‘We Are the 53 Percent’ ”

  1. Alberto says:

    If you pay federal income tax, you are also paying state income tax (if your state has such a tax). All of us pay sales/use taxes. But food bought at grocery stores is exempt from sales tax in almost every state to help the poor.

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  3. Ed. Dickau says:

    I am a retired teacher on a fixed income under $25,000 a yr. and I pay both state and federal taxes. Get real and get used to the truth because it will be published!

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  5. Philly RN says:

    Protesting banks and Wall Street is like barking at the mailman.

    They only do what government lets them. I’m sure the dog feels like it gets something accomplished though, because everyday when the mailman comes, he goes away again.

  6. Philly RN says:

    Not everyone claims exemptions that negate tax liability. If they claim they pay federal income taxes, there’s no reason to doubt it.

  7. Philly RN says:

    Plus, we really are blessed to be in America. The worst job here is nothing like what you see in China or Haiti. Even traveling in Europe now you see the poverty of the world as the world tries to bash in the door to get into Paris or other major European cities. How illegal immigrants live in Europe makes how Mexicans fare in the US look like citizenship.

    European illegal immigrants live in extremely bad conditions with shocking work abuses and it’s common to see them begging in the Metro. There are hordes of them.

    It makes it hard to take in that someone is complaining about their rent, student loan payment, not finding that dream job on the first try.

  8. Adam Parker says:


    Both the congress and the White House and beholden to large firms that donate campaign money and other perks to candidates and officials.

    The US has some of the loosest campaign finance laws of any developed democratic republic.

    In exchange for the donations, firms receive favorable legislation: tax breaks, easing of environmental/health/safety/labor regulations, and yes, reduced oversight vis a vis the dissemation of risky financial devices.

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