open letter from the middle class: two responses to the 53%ers

I have been steadfastly avoiding the so-called 53%, the US right-wing reaction to the Occupy movement, but two responses to their claims caught my eye.

Suzy Khimm in the Washington Post takes on the hypocrisy of right-wingers flaunting their status as taxpayers, and the ridiculous notion that the protesters don't pay taxes.
Part of the reason that over 40 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes is because of the continual push to lower them — a cause that conservatives have championed. For example, while the Bush-era tax cuts benefited the wealthy, they also lowered taxes at every income level, making it “relatively easy for families of four making $50,000 to eliminate their income tax liability,” as the Associated Press notes. Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts, similarly, took many lower-income Americans off of the tax rolls, an accomplishment about which the Gipper was quite proud. . . .

What’s more the “53 percent” Tumblr also implies that there’s a certain mantle of responsibility that paying taxes confers upon people — i.e. grown-up, self-directed Americans like us can earn enough money to pay taxes, so you should, too. That’s an unusual message coming from conservatives who’ve pushed so mightily for an anti-tax agenda.
A right-wing PR man explains, "On a more visceral level, there’s always the reaction against the hippies." The hippies? What century is this again? Although no surprise, this sad, ignorant, utterly knee-jerk reaction still amazes me. I wish some of the folks who throw this word "hippie" around would get themselves to the nearest Occupy demonstration. They would, of course, see regular, everyday, garden-variety working people, or people who would love to be working if only there were jobs. Does it not occur to them that these protests are far too large and too widespread to be gatherings of "hippies"?

* * * *

The writer of the second response is a US liberal. He favours capitalism and the middle-class dream far more than I do. I no longer believe the system can be reformed; it has to be re-made. But I'm sharing his post because it's a passionate, eloquent and nearly comprehensive rationale for why everyone should support the Occupy movement. It's long, but well worth your time. Please read: Open Letter to that 53% Guy, by Udargo on Daily Kos.

No comments: