War of percentages


Move over, Occupy Wall Street –, there’s another group of fed up Americans named after a percentage, and they don’t like you very much.

They call themselves the “53 per cent,” deriving their name from a report released by the Tax Policy Centre in Washington D.C., which states that nearly 47 per cent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes because the amount of subsidies they get from the government equals or outweighs the amount of money they pay in federal income tax. Essentially, the 53 per cent argues, the 47 per cent of Americans that don’t pay taxes are simply lazy, uneducated people that aren’t trying hard enough to find a job and contribute to society.

Similar to the 99 per cent, the 53 per cent has a Tumblr with letters from people all over America that are tired of hearing about the complaints of the people at Occupy Wall Street. The letters read much like you’d expect from highly-entitled people, claiming that if the Wall Street protestors would just get off their asses and get a job, they’d be able to live a comfortable life.

That is simply not the case. A quick glance through the 53 per cent’s Tumblr reveals something very telling – nearly every single person on there is white, and the majority of them are male. The other funny thing is that it doesn’t appear that many of them have navigated the American healthcare system, one of the major grievances of the Occupy Wall street movement and likely the biggest reason for personal debt in the United States along with student loans. If you are a member of a privileged class and you’re lucky enough to have never gotten sick, then there’s a much better chance you’ll succeed.

Even if you get past the obvious problem of the 53 per cent – namely that 53 per cent of the American population aren’t white males – isn’t it concerning that 47 per cent of your population makes so little money that they are exempted from federal taxation? That in itself speaks not to the laziness of half your population, but to the inherent problems of the system. It’s obvious that not everyone is happy and prosperous in the United States, so why are you scorning the people out in the streets trying to make it better? If anything, you should be encouraging them to fight for a new system that would help them increase their earnings and start paying taxes.

But the most irritating claim of the 53 per cent is that people should stop whining, get off the streets, and start looking for jobs. Great advice, except for one thing: there are no jobs. Unemployment in the United States is not high because people refuse to work; it’s high because there are not enough jobs to go around. It’s not even a matter of taking jobs you don’t want to anymore, it’s a matter of not being able to find any work at all.

So, no one is saying people must support the 99 per cent, but the 53 per cent needs to stop being so selfish and entitled that they have to go out of their way to denigrate them. They are fighting to better their lives, and in the end, that’s exactly what the 53 per cent is telling them to do.

Either support their efforts or stay out of their way.

Edward Dodd
Op-Ed Editor

Comments are closed.