Streams

The 53 Percent Take on the 99 Percent

Friday, October 14, 2011

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson kicked off his "We are the 53 Percent" project with this Tumblr post. The project is a response to Occupy Wall Street's "We are the 99 Percent". (Erick Erickson/the53.tumblr.com)

In response to the now-viral Tumblr post “We are the 99 Percent,” some conservatives have launched their own venture “We are the 53 percent”. The site, started by RedState.org contributor Erick Erickson and Josh Trevino of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, features those who purport to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes.

The inaugural post features Erickson holding a handwritten sign in the style of the more famous blog, that states:

I work 3 jobs. I have a house I can’t sell. My family insurance costs are outrageous. But I don’t blame Wall Street. Suck it up you whiners. I am the 53% subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain.

A number of publications including Slate and the Washington Post have already pointed out that the other 47 percent don’t pay taxes because they are simply too poor. Slate’s Suzy Khimm summarizes neatly:

About half of households within that 47 percent do not end up paying federal income tax because they qualify for enough breaks to cancel their tax obligations out. Of that group, 44 percent are claiming tax benefits for the elderly, like an exemption for Social Security payments. And 30.4 percent are claiming credits for “children and the working poor,” like the child-care tax credit... When combined, it’s all enough to cancel out their income tax requirements… The other half of households are just too poor to pay them.

But Think Progress takes their analysis a step further, looking into the claims of hardship made by Erickson:

The three jobs Erickson wants you to believe he scrapes by on include occasional paid opinion blogging at RedState.com, a lucrative television contract with CNN, and a radio gig that paid the previous host $165,183 a year…The house Erickson can’t sell? Bibb County, Georgia records reveal that Erickson just bought a new $374,900 house in February of this year, and owns another that, according to an estimate by the website Zillow, might be worth slightly less than the amount he paid for it in 2001. And it’s likely that Erickson’s CNN job alone provides him with a personal driver and covered travel expenses when he needs to appear on the show.

Interestingly, many of the claims made in the We Are the 53% blog echo those made in the We Are the 99 Percent blog: “got laid off”, “slept in my car because I couldn’t afford housing”, “after a mildly successful career, I lost everything in 2009”.

It’s not that the 53 percent people haven’t suffered, these pictures seem to say. It’s that having clawed their way out of crisis, they now see virtue in their suffering. One commenter on Think Progress site summarized the mindset:

Look at me. I ran through a field of bear traps and only had to gnaw off one limb. Builds character.

For their part, the 53 percenters seem to think that the posters on the 99 Percent site are a bunch of whiners. Posts admonish people to “take responsibility for yourself”, “get a job”, “if you want something you have to go out and get it” and “”get a life”.

The site makes a place for those who do not identify as Wall Street top earners, but also don’t feel aligned with the protesters in Zuccotti Park. One says “I am not one of the top 1%, but I am also not one of your 99%.”

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Comments [45]

John

"Of that group, 44 percent are claiming tax benefits for the elderly, like an exemption for Social Security payments. And 30.4 percent are claiming credits for “children and the working poor,” like the child-care tax credit... "

I have worked hard my whole life..worked my way up..changing collars along the way (blue to white)..it hasn't been easy..but it was worth it. My sister, on the other hand, dropped out of high school. She pays no taxes and still receives money (paid by myself and the other 53%'ers) ($2K or so) back every year which she uses to go on vacation to Mexico! Meanwhile, I'm working my buns off and am lucky to take my family on vacation every 3-5 years. There are a lot of people who need to get off of the free ride. Not everyone is truly poor who isn't paying taxes. For those who need the help, great. But for the rest of you slackers please quit destroying our country.

Mar. 06 2012 12:18 AM
Dorothy McFadden from Pennsylvania

I am a 67 year old Black retired teacher. I own a small tutoring business; pay myself and three retired friends 12.50 per hour. Inner city children that are not being educated need us. I am also the granddaughter of a South Carolina sharecropper. I worked as many jobs as needed to realize the American dream. Now people sleeping in the street believe they should be given the dream that I earned. I encouraged these people to leave America. I am a very Angry Senior citizen who can never understand or respect the whims of LAZY People.

Oct. 28 2011 05:19 PM
Al from Texas

I am retired after paying into Social Security for over 50 years. I often worked two jobs and mowed yards to feed my family. I retired twice hoping to make enough to live fairly well. Now for every dollar that I make, I get taxed a dollar of my Social Security. For every dollar that I take out of my IRA, I get taxed a dollar of Social Security.
We were supposed to put money is an IRA and take it out at a lower tax rate after retirement. Gotcha. I am paying 50%. O, I guess that makes me a millionaire. I need to keep doing this so that a bunch of lazies can sit and scream gimme, gimme.

Oct. 28 2011 05:08 PM
Rich from NY state.

Can anyone point to any shape or form how how the people posting to this 53% tumblr site actually in any shape or form represent a "we"? I see a lot of, "Look me, I am awesome, and I make it. You suckers need to suck it down, shut up and fend for yourself". Nothing I see in any shape of form resembles connecting or helping anyone else by themselves, and they don't want to hear anything about anyone else's problems.

There is no "We" in that 53% site at all. If you find any, feel free to reply to it. I will say, when you have huge problems, you need a team, and you know what they say about a team, "there is no I in team".

Oct. 28 2011 01:54 AM
tiny

I am a Democrat. I am a teacher. I am happy. The 99 percent do not represent me. I agree with some of what they're saying, but I feel there are better ways to protest. I despise the tea party peeps. There are plenty of others like me- not stupid; we know big business gets away with too much. We know too much money goes into the coffers of politicians.

These protests are too unclear. There is no message people like me can relate to.

Oct. 27 2011 10:40 PM
biblicalaaronc from Albuquerque

53%ers assume without evidence that
1. All Wall Street protesters are 100% unemployed. Actually many of them have jobs, at least part-time, to make ends meet.
2. They are all collecting unemployment insurance, which is also not true.
3. Complaining about illegal and unethical behavior by banks, large corporations, and wealthy individuals means that you are JUST JEALOUS and LAZY.
4. Anything bad that happens to YOU is YOUR fault, but anything bad that happens to THEM is OBAMA'S fault.

I also have 3 jobs and no equity left in my house. But I support Occupy Wall Street because I can see clearly how Wall Street crashed our economy in 2008, and how Wall Street and bankers have done this in the past as well. I work hard and believe I have control over my destiny, but I recognize that these corporations are making it harder for me to succeed because they are skewing all the laws and government policies in their favor, instead of for the benefit of the people.
I address some of those issues at my blogspot site which is biblicalaaronc.blogspot.com
The latest posting is about the champion of Wall Street, Herman Cain:
http://biblicalaaronc.blogspot.com/2011/10/herman-cain-contradictionary-to-reach.html

Oct. 27 2011 03:53 PM
The Passerby from United Kindom

http://i.imgur.com/yarZ7.jpg
Somebody should do some handwriting analysis on those pics on the aforementioned Tumblr page.

Oct. 26 2011 09:02 PM
HAPPY TO WORK from new holland pa

Every government created job, is a current and future tax burden. That is a simple economic fact. Create too many gov't jobs as we currently see, and the burden exceeds the amount that could ever be paid into the system. The govt is like a leaky hose. All the water is in the hose at the beginning near the source, but by the time it gets to the end of the hose, most of the water is gone. Govt is inefficient and cumbersome. Let the private sector be free of all the useless regualtions and you will see job growth exponentially.

Oct. 22 2011 01:47 PM
Producers

"Politeness is one of those advantages which we never estimate rightly but by the inconvenience of its loss."--Samuel Johnson

Keep up the conversation, but please do keep it civil.

Oct. 18 2011 02:40 PM
Shaun Campbell from Honolulu, Hawaii

All that I can say is that Instigating soldier is reaping his bad karma for killing human beings. Now he feels compelled to be a "human doing", and that's fine for him, for this moment in his tortured youth. I hope he pays his debt to humanity and life can ease up for him a bit.

Oct. 17 2011 06:42 PM
Billy Bob

Hi Anon :) I'd like to apologize on behalf of the commenters.

Not all of the protesters are whiny. But there are many who abuse the works of the well-intentioned protesters. It is sad :(

As for the college situation, it's also sad that it has become big business. College may not be the answer anymore.

I personally would have preferred investing $100,000 education money in my own business than have $100K in college debt.

Here's a gr8 doc. about college conspiracy from economist Gerald Celente:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnS9e25bAUQ

Music Video for 53 Percent Group: (One guy makes 71K a year/no college degree)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exZiCVn86HA

**Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, and many others were autodidacts.**

anon from Brooklyn, New York
I am saddened by many of the comments posted here and the intention behind the 53% blog.

There are many reasons why I am saddened, but one of the most disturbing aspects is the suggestion that the protesters are simply complaining or whining. What is actually happening in the protests is that people are discussing ideas and coming together to voice their discontent about a system that is structurally flawed. There is an incredible spirit of optimism in the protests and I wish some of the people who disparagingly comment would suspend their preconceptions and simply visit some of the protests to get a better sense of what the movement is about.

Before you misjudge the protests, think of your children and your friends' children who are in college or in their late 20s. Do many of them have stable jobs? Do they have health care? Can they afford to start saving for retirement and for a modest home? Can they afford to start saving for the college tuition of their future children? For myself and many of my friends, the answers to most of these questions are no. I have seen quite a few friends leave the country because they can't find a job here and there is no way they can make a future for themselves regardless of how hard they work professionally or in school. Is this really the future any of us want for our country and fellow citizens?

Oct. 17 2011 01:58 PM
Billy Bob

Thanks Cathy! Fabulous idea :) I'm in!

(Music Video for 53% Group)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exZiCVn86HA

Cath NY from New York
I think all of us the 53%.....should stop spending money…do not going shopping….
Stock up on what you need for a month…gas up once a week ( all of us at the same station)
Watch how fast the 53% will be heard without ever attending a protest……
Someone pick a month………

Oct. 17 2011 01:27 PM
Steve from Maryland

I post this , because I am the 53% that see the other 47 % every day in my clinic. I am Ob seeing the abuse of the system everyday. We see people owns business use Medicaid , owns many property use medicaid, work at good jobs use medicaid, 26 years old on medicare because they claim some non-exist diseases. In our county the health dept already proposing Medicaid for all residents with low income even if they are illegal . The list goes on, I can write ten pages . Why can they use the money for something useful like renewable energy research or better gas milage cars . The amazing thing is the 47 % can have 5-8 children while we can only afford to have 2-3.

Oct. 17 2011 01:11 PM
Cath NY from New York

I think all of us the 53%.....should stop spending money…do not going shopping….
Stock up on what you need for a month…gas up once a week ( all of us at the same station)
Watch how fast the 53% will be heard without ever attending a protest……
Someone pick a month………

Oct. 17 2011 09:25 AM
Billy Bob

Why are the 53 Percent group quiet? Are there any protests soon?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exZiCVn86HA

Oct. 17 2011 02:04 AM
Mario from Port Chester

I worked in the home of a very wealthy man who was on the phone complaining about then candidate Obama to his elderly aunt. He said to her "there are no poor people in this country, what they mean by poor are the kids coming out of college who are making 40 or 50 thousand in their first job." This is what the 1% beleive!

Oct. 17 2011 12:29 AM
arlo bastion

Ok are we mad at wall street or the politicians who bailed them out?Speaking of occupation Democrats have had a majority occupation of Govt. since 2006 so who we mad at?

Oct. 16 2011 11:38 PM
arlo bastion

Ok are we mad at wall street or the politicians who bailed them out?Speaking of occupation Democrats have had a majority occupation of Govt. since 2006 so who we mad at?

Oct. 16 2011 11:35 PM
anon from Brooklyn, New York

I am saddened by many of the comments posted here and the intention behind the 53% blog.

There are many reasons why I am saddened, but one of the most disturbing aspects is the suggestion that the protesters are simply complaining or whining. What is actually happening in the protests is that people are discussing ideas and coming together to voice their discontent about a system that is structurally flawed. There is an incredible spirit of optimism in the protests and I wish some of the people who disparagingly comment would suspend their preconceptions and simply visit some of the protests to get a better sense of what the movement is about.

Before you misjudge the protests, think of your children and your friends' children who are in college or in their late 20s. Do many of them have stable jobs? Do they have health care? Can they afford to start saving for retirement and for a modest home? Can they afford to start saving for the college tuition of their future children? For myself and many of my friends, the answers to most of these questions are no. I have seen quite a few friends leave the country because they can't find a job here and there is no way they can make a future for themselves regardless of how hard they work professionally or in school. Is this really the future any of us want for our country and fellow citizens?

Oct. 16 2011 08:38 PM
Kelly from Los Angeles

http://youarethe53.blogspot.com/p/note-to-53.html?spref=fb

Oct. 16 2011 06:22 PM
AesopsRetreat_Forum from Michigan

-
AesopsRetreat com has been saying the same, so its not as if this new forum is alone.
-
Fact is, its more like only 1% of the american population is actually complaining about the 1% Rich, and the rest of the 98% are home shaking their heads at the 1% hippie morons making fools of themselves.
-
The make-up of the OWS crowd is 50% hippie, 50% Socialists and 100% of childlike minded individuals who want others to foot the bills for them, like mom and dad always did.

Oct. 16 2011 04:46 PM
stag from brklyn, nyc

it's time we said it:
so-called american corporations that pay 0% in taxes while proudly sporting their CEO along with Obama everywhere (talking 'bout GE) are Un-American.

Un-American corporations that mooch off the US brand of a Capitalism - while not paying to help other US citizens prosper from it - are Un-American.

Start paying taxes GE!

Immelt is Obama's job creating guy - how many jobs did immelt help create? 1 for himself.
How many jobs did obama help create? 1, for himself.

who is obama fighting for in the WH?
#1, himself.

Oct. 16 2011 04:44 PM
Mark

America is a horrible country filled with horrible people.

Oct. 16 2011 04:02 PM
Tom austin from Austin texas

Thanks for setting up this blog.... Please don't put me in the 99 percent.... I'm not rich but the ows group disgusts me!!

Oct. 16 2011 03:34 PM
wesupportyou

Hi, as a member of the 99 percent I have recieved some touching messages of support so I set up a tumblr page to showcase them. I hope you appreciate them and spread them around.

wesupportthe99percent.tumblr.com

We support you!

Oct. 16 2011 08:28 AM
Rob from MA

Hey OWS, why keep going with this self-defeating dream to turn us into Europe? Why promote a system where most of the really wealthy got that way not by earning it but by inheriting it? That is not freedom guys, sorry to beak it to you. You are playing with fire by teaming up with the likes of the socialists, anarchists, Islamists, etc.

I feel like I need a shower after reading some of the comments here. People, understand this: stealing money from OTHER people (aka those who earned it) and then giving it to a government which even you think just wastes money on wars and bailouts WILL NOT BETTER YOUR LIFE. Doing this class warfare us against them stuff only leads to disorder and violence. And no those aren't euphemisms for the improvement of living standards.

A large majority of this evil "rich" in America got that way by being self-made millionaires! Wouldn't that be cool if there was a place where you could be born poor and die rich? Never has that been a possibility for people to pull themselves out of poverty by being productive members of society until the American style free-market/constitutional system. The poorest 5% today is far better off then they were in the 70s with progressive Carter, and even from 94' with Clinton. The American dream use to be far more common before progressive government policies took hold. Now it is admittedly more elusive but still more likely to occur then anywhere else in the world.

Also, to the people hurling "kool aid drinkers", "Stockholm syndrome", etc insults at anyone who believes in the freedom to succeed or fail without state interference: wake up and get a life. It doesn't make you stupid to not want to join a bunch of smelly people pooping in a park holding up communist/anti-Jew signs; it makes you sane. Is it intelligent to mindlessly repeat everything you hear like a zombie?

The problem with the Government bailing out wall street (which never should have been done since when you subsidize bad decisions you get more bad decisions) is NOT that the banks for a bailout, it is that the STATE stole taxpayer money and gave it to the banks. Not that the gov. wasn't just as much to blame for the financial collapse by forcing "private" company's to give money to people who everyone knew couldn't afford to pay back those loans.

Healthcare should be free! Why don't doctors and nurses work for free! The billionaire capitalist Steve Jobs is my hero and I couldn't live without my iPhone and iPad but I still supposedly hate capitalism! We shouldn't have to pay for college! Me me me!! Gimme Gimme Gimme! Wah! Hey that socialism thing worked so great to bring us a great standard of living, lets move America to that! Right? Wait... that doesn't sound right.

Oct. 16 2011 06:38 AM
Hacksaw

The other 47% would kill to make enough to pay federal income tax. I'm from the 53% and I know this!

Oct. 16 2011 05:30 AM
laurie from GRESHAM ORE

I had a 25 year old man stay in my home for free . Fore over a year he said he did not have anywhere else to go .Come to find out after he went to jail for 18 months he was making 32000.00 dollars a year off the state and fed, 20000.00 free collage . 300.00per month food stamps oregon health plan medical and dental I DO NOT HAVE DENTAL . I own a store and work 60 to 80 hrs a week . My 34000.00 I pained in taxes went to him who laided around all day . Doing heroin drugs MY TAX DOLLARS . HOW OUTRAGES . WHY WONT THE GOV. DRUG TEST THE FREEBEE GETTERS

Oct. 16 2011 12:13 AM
The Real 53%

For those interested, consider joining this serious response to the (so-called) 53%:

http://thereal53.tumblr.com/

Oct. 15 2011 11:01 PM
jenn Nelson from MA

The three jobs Erickson wants you to believe he scrapes by on include occasional paid opinion blogging at RedState.com, a lucrative television contract with CNN, and a radio gig that paid the previous host $165,183 a year…The house Erickson can’t sell? Bibb County, Georgia records reveal that Erickson just bought a new $374,900 house in February of this year, and owns another that, according to an estimate by the website Zillow, might be worth slightly less than the amount he paid for it in 2001. And it’s likely that Erickson’s CNN job alone provides him with a personal driver and covered travel expenses when he needs to appear on the show.

Oct. 15 2011 10:40 PM
jenn Nelson from MA

The three jobs Erickson wants you to believe he scrapes by on include occasional paid opinion blogging at RedState.com, a lucrative television contract with CNN, and a radio gig that paid the previous host $165,183 a year…The house Erickson can’t sell? Bibb County, Georgia records reveal that Erickson just bought a new $374,900 house in February of this year, and owns another that, according to an estimate by the website Zillow, might be worth slightly less than the amount he paid for it in 2001. And it’s likely that Erickson’s CNN job alone provides him with a personal driver and covered travel expenses when he needs to appear on the show.

Oct. 15 2011 10:39 PM
Christine from California

This is nothing new. In the 70's I worked 3 jobs, went to college and ran a household. Give me a break. Stop whining and get on with your life!!

PS: Now I am retired and living the good life, bet that irks you now doesn't it.

Oct. 15 2011 10:32 PM
Jen Quinn Realtor from california

As a Realtor watching all these home owners illegally thrown out on the streets for the past 4 years, while the banksters and servicing companies lied to these home owners saying “Oh yea your good just keep sending in this $ amount per month and your going to be fine, long enough to collect from these home owners as much in pocket then pull the rug from under them and foreclose, while the courts allow this is a shock to what I once knew… These poor people /families /kids /animals thrown out of their home and lied to by these bastards!
Their have been families who killed their entire family thinking their was no other way out, their were people who hung themselves or put the gun against their head and pulled the trigger!! THIS IS MURDER ON THE BANKSTERS AND ALL INVOLVED.

Oct. 15 2011 10:31 PM
Bob from Oregon

Erickson is a loser, floats lies and half truth, has no credibility except for his locals who the GOPs want for the election and will say anything to fill his pockets with cash. While having his vino with limbaugh and riley, he should have been disbarred because of the Souter comment long ago. He has never had a good hour let alone a good minute. All of his listeners and followers keeping drinking the Kool Aid. GOP mole and puppet he doesn't care who he runs over, not even his own mother.

Oct. 15 2011 10:13 PM
tom yarnes

For all the hard working people out there who do not believe that wall street ( and the republican congress ) has anything to do with the destruction of our middle class,..I feel bad for you. I feel bad for you because those whom you defend will sip their estate bottled wine, smoking hand rolled cigars and not give you a second thought. Educate your self. If you think having three jobs just to make ends meet is the American Dream, Then a very old quote comes to mind,... "there's a sucker born every minute" in this case,..a whole new for m of Stockholm syndrome...

Oct. 15 2011 06:04 PM
Scott

Erickson's website misses the point... and this is the difference between conservative "populism" and true populism. The Occupy Wall St. protesters are being inclusive - the point is that everyone was screwed, that's what the phrase, "we are the 99%" means, it's explicitly inclusive. "We are the 53%" is explicitly divisive: It says that we're not interested in helping all Americans, only our friends.

Oct. 15 2011 05:05 PM
lizzy from new york.

the 53% have fake images. bahaha ! learn how to photoshop fools: http://i.imgur.com/yarZ7.jpg

Oct. 15 2011 04:21 PM
Peg

Erick Erickson assumes that 53% of Americans are as stupid as he is. Let's hope he's not correct.

Oct. 15 2011 12:46 PM

If you do the math, the same hard-working, macho Americans that call themselves the 53% that pay taxes would have to include the 1% that owns 40% of wealth in this country.

Do they really think this 1% would include them in any group or organization they in turn belong? How about inviting the 52% to a potlatch?

Nah, can't do that. That would be class warfare.

Oct. 15 2011 11:25 AM

I dislike anyone who defines a group which happens to include me -- and then goes on to assert that he 'speaks' for me.

By what stretch of the ego can anyone assume that right?

Oct. 15 2011 10:58 AM
Vince

So, We Are The 53% are advocating that we don't stand up to injustice and just take it up the a$$, like they do? Very admirable.

Oct. 15 2011 09:38 AM
vmgillen from Staten Island

America=Equal Opportunity.
Not!
Huge chunks of wealth are transfered from one generation to the next with little or no tax. The richer get better schools, legacy admissions, and connections into top-tier jobs. Everyone else? the deck is stacked. Let's get real about the American dream: it's just that, for most: a dream. Dare I say the American Dream is an opiate for the masses? Yes, I do.

Oct. 15 2011 08:53 AM
R M from New York

Let us be done with the nonsense that the 47% don't pay taxes.

Most of the 47% work, and pay payroll taxes on *all* their income (the 1% pay it on at most half, usually much less).
They pay property taxes. They pay sales taxes on nearly all their income. They pay gasoline taxes. They pay State and local taxes of all kinds. Those who have small businesses pay business taxes and fees.

Many file 1040 or 1040A and have no deductions, only the same exemptions that rich people also get.

I think you'll find that when this is taken into account, most of the 47% pay at least as high a percentage of taxes as many of the 53%. And the 1% do even better. More of the 53% should be paying attention to that.

Oct. 15 2011 07:32 AM
Karl

The 53% are NOT:
- General Electric
- Bank of America
- Goldman Sacks
- Chevron
- Citigroup
And other corporations that pay NO federal income taxes.
They are not part of the 53% and not part of the 99%.

Oct. 15 2011 05:30 AM
Johnson Rice from Connecticut.

So... a bunch of "conservatives" bragging about paying taxes... while accusing "liberals" of "not paying their fair share"

AM I IN THE GOD DAMN TWILIGHT ZONE???

If you think what you are paying is so wrong... THEN STOP PAYING. The real whiner is in the MIRROR.

How about EVERYONE ... Voters, Politicians, Police, Corporations, and ESPECIALLY GOVERNMENT.... STOP asking anyone to use violent force to get their way???

Stop saying "there oughta be a law"
Stop demanding more regulations.
Stop being DICKS.

Leave everyone else the hell alone and admit that you don't know how to run anyone else's life because like most of the rest of people in this country, you can barely get a grip on your own damn life.

Oct. 15 2011 01:30 AM

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