Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged Inequality

28 notes

ikhsaara asked: What exactly is a 53%er? Pardon my ignorance.

These are supposedly the only people who pay taxes. Currently, 53% of Americans pay income tax. Sounds unfair, right? But this neat little point is wrong. The other 47% do pay taxes. They aren’t all getting full federal refunds or are in such a low tax bracket they don’t pay federal taxes, i.e. seniors on a fixed income.

This whole “53%-ers” thing started with Red State blogger and CNN commentator Erick Erickson whining about being in the 53%. He started a sad little tumblr, We are the 53%, to mock the We are the 99% site and Occupy Wall Street. He ignores that the 47% percent pay payroll taxes, gasoline taxes, sales tax, state tax etc. There’s a short summary of that talking point, and its fallacies here.

However, here’s how that breaks down:
Dark red and dark grey = State and local taxes
Light red and light grey = Federal taxes 

 

An explanation by G. William Domhoff from the University of California, Santa Cruz:

But what matters in terms of a power analysis is what percentage of their income people at different income levels pay to all levels of government (federal, state, and local) in taxes. If the less-well-off majority is somehow able to wield power, we would expect that the high earners would pay a bigger percentage of their income in taxes, because the majority figures the well-to-do would still have plenty left after taxes to make new investments and lead the good life. If the high earners have the most power, we’d expect them to pay about the same as everybody else, or less.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a research group that’s been studying tax issues from its offices in Washington since 1979, provides the information we need. When all taxes (not just income taxes) are taken into account, the lowest 20% of earners (who average about $12,400 per year), paid 16.0% of their income to taxes in 2009; and the next 20% (about $25,000/year), paid 20.5% in taxes. So if we only examine these first two steps, the tax system looks like it is going to be progressive.

And it keeps looking progressive as we move further up the ladder: the middle 20% (about $33,400/year) give 25.3% of their income to various forms of taxation, and the next 20% (about $66,000/year) pay 28.5%. So taxes are progressive for the bottom 80%. But if we break the top 20% down into smaller chunks, we find that progressivity starts to slow down, then it stops, and then it slips backwards for the top 1%.

Specifically, the next 10% (about $100,000/year) pay 30.2% of their income as taxes; the next 5% ($141,000/year) dole out 31.2% of their earnings for taxes; and the next 4% ($245,000/year) pay 31.6% to taxes. You’ll note that the progressivity is slowing down. As for the top 1% — those who take in $1.3 million per year on average — they pay 30.8% of their income to taxes, which is a little less than what the 9% just below them pay, and only a tiny bit more than what the segment between the 80th and 90th percentile pays.

The entire article is extremely informative in regard to taxes, income, wealth, power, and the disparities between all of them in the U.S.

Erickson’s site is truly sad in that these folks are completely enthralled with the ideas that they got everything they had themselves, and second, that this system of barely staying above water and working 3 jobs to do so is a-okay. Two excellent responses to this site can be found here and here.

Incidentally, Erickson’s site has been nailed making up the 53% pics at least once by the internet’s photoshop wizards. 

Filed under lyddawiya ask ask box taxes 53% 99% income inequality politics economy

755 notes

One of the most heartbreaking 99 percent photos I’ve seen yet.
His sign reads:

"I was deployed to Iraq 4x5 of my friends are dead.1 of my friends is missing his arm.1 of my friends killed himself.I’ve been blown up 2x by roadside bombs.Hearing fireworks makes me nervous.I can’t sleep at night.
All so bankers and war profiteers could get richer.
I am the 99%www.occupywallst.org" 

Nearly every active duty military member is in the 99 percent. End the war profiteering and bring them home.

One of the most heartbreaking 99 percent photos I’ve seen yet.

His sign reads:

"I was deployed to Iraq 4x
5 of my friends are dead.
1 of my friends is missing his arm.
1 of my friends killed himself.
I’ve been blown up 2x by roadside bombs.
Hearing fireworks makes me nervous.
I can’t sleep at night.

All so bankers and war profiteers could get richer.

I am the 99%
www.occupywallst.org

Nearly every active duty military member is in the 99 percent. End the war profiteering and bring them home.

Filed under We are the 99 percent Occupy Wall Street War Iraq combat 99 percent war profiteering politics protest inequality

49 notes

Living under Communism in China made me a fervent enthusiast of capitalism. I believe that over the last couple of centuries banks have enormously raised living standards in the West by allocating capital to more efficient uses. But anyone who believes in markets should be outraged that banks rig the system so that they enjoy profits in good years and bailouts in bad years.

The banks have gotten away with privatizing profits and socializing risks, and that’s just another form of bank robbery.

Nicholas Kristof, “America’s Primal Scream”

Kristof hits the mark in this column. In light of the mass arrests across the nation, let’s remember how this has grown since its beginning on September 17th. The Occupy movement has gone global in about a month.

September 17th was the beginning. October 15th is not an ending. It marks the commencement of occupying everywhere.

(Source: The New York Times)

Filed under Nicholas Kristof New York Times Occupy Wall Street inequality injustice capitalism politics economy US government big banks banksters free market

14 notes

Occupy Cheyenne in Cheyenne, Wyoming 

Photos taken Oct. 15, at the Cheyenne Railroad Depot plaza. It was a blast! We had roughly 80-100 in attendance at 12:30 pm. There were quite a few horn honks and waves, a few dirty looks. However, the reception was largely positive. Plans to do it again are in the works.

As for police, they circled a few times. However, leaving Cheyenne, I was pulled over. The officer asked about the signs and I told him I was at Occupy Cheyenne. He snapped his notebook shut and said, “Yeah? Well, good. I’m in the 99 percent too. Have a good night!” Some of the police get it. I’m still a titch surprised.

Filed under Occupy Cheyenne Occupy Everywhere Occupy Wall Street Occupy Together photos politics protest inequality October 15 USdor Cheyenne Wyoming Occupy WY OWS economy

545 notes

'Occupy Wall Street' -- It's Not What They're for, But What They're Against

I’m posting this in full, because I am literally stunned this was posted on Fox News. Emphasis mine:

Critics of the growing Occupy Street movement complain that the protesters don’t have a policy agenda and, therefore, don’t stand for anything. They’re wrong. The key isn’t what protesters are for but rather what they’re against — the gaping inequality that has poisoned our economy, our politics and our nation.

In America today, 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. That’s not because 150 million Americans are pathetically lazy or even unlucky. In fact, Americans have been working harder than ever - productivity has risen in the last several decades. Big business profits and CEO bonuses have also gone up. Worker salaries, however, have declined.Most of the Occupy Wall Street protesters aren’t opposed to free market capitalism. In fact, what they want is an end to the crony capitalist system now in place, that makes it easier for the rich and powerful to get even more rich and powerful while making it increasingly hard for the rest of us to get by.

The protesters are not anti-American radicals. They are the defenders of the American Dream, the decision from the birth of our nation that success should be determined by hard work, not royal bloodlines.

Sure, bank executives may work a lot harder than you and me or a mother of three doing checkout at a grocery store. Maybe the bankers work ten times harder. Maybe even a hundred times harder. But they’re compensated a thousand times more.

The question is not how Occupy Wall Street protesters can find that gross discrepancy immoral. The question is why every one of us isn’t protesting with them.

According to polls, most Americans support the 99% movement, even if they’re not taking to the streets. In fact, support for the Occupy Wall Street protests is not only higher than for either political party in Washington but greater than support for the Tea Party. And unlike the Tea Party which was fueled by national conservative donors and institutions, the Occupy Wall Street Movement is spreading organically from Idaho to Indiana. Institutions on the left, including unions, have been relatively late to the game.

Ironically, the original Boston Tea Party activists would likely support Occupy Wall Street more as well. Note that the original Tea Party didn’t protest taxes, merely the idea of taxation without representation - and they were actually protesting the crown-backed monopoly of the East India Company, the main big business of the day.

Americans today also support taxes. In fact, two-thirds of voters - including a majority of Republicans - support increasing taxes on the rich, something the Occupy Wall Street protests implicitly support. That’s not just anarchist lefty kids. Soccer moms and construction workers and, yes, even some bankers want to see our economy work for the 99%, not just the 1%, and are flocking to Occupy protests in droves.

I’ve even met a number of Libertarians and Tea Party conservatives at these protests. So the critics are right, the Occupy Wall Street movement isn’t the Tea Party. Occupy Wall Street is much, much broader.

Maybe it’s hard to see your best interests reflected in a sometimes rag-tag, inarticulate, imperfect group of protesters. But make no mistake about it: While horrendous inequality is not an American tradition, protest is. And if you’re part of the 99% of underpaid or unemployed Americans crushed in the current economy, the Occupy Wall Street protests are your best chance at fixing the broken economy that is breaking your back.

This is one of the most articulate defenses of Occupy Wall Street I’ve seen, and let me repeat - this is on Fox News. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pick my jaw up off the floor.

Filed under Fox News Occupy Wall Street politics protest holy shit y'all Occupy Everywhere Occupy Together conservative conservatives liberal liberals inequality economy We are the 99 percent

56 notes

Well, would you take a look at that? Apparently, Americans support Occupy Wall Street over the Tea Party. But that’s not how FreedomWorks sees it. No way are these people anything like the Tea Party. From Politico:

Brendan Steinhauser, campaigns director for FreedomWorks, evoked leaders of the civil rights movement in distinguishing the protests, saying the tea party’s tactics resemble those of Martin Luther King Jr., while the Occupy Wall Street protesters are more like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael.
"They just seem really, truly very unhappy, angry," he said of the anti-corporate protesters. Tea partiers, on the other hand are for the most part "kind of cheerful, happy warriors," he said.

Yeah, I totally remember that one time that Martin Luther King Jr. said: “You know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around?”
Oh, and this: “We have the chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. That’s the beauty of our Second Amendment rights… Our Second Amendment rights were to guard against tyranny.” Oh, that was Tea Partiers? Oops. 
MLK supporters always open-carried, right? RIGHT?!
Geez, those Tea Party people… They’re so cheerful and happy, and not at all angry or appearing unhinged! They cheerfully tote semi-automatic weapons outside presidential speeches and happily use fluffy, fanciful comparisons meeting the criteria of Godwin’s Law - OFF the internet, no less. 
The above chart is from ThinkProgress. An explanation:

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Americans support the Occupy Wall Street protests by a two-to-one margin (37 percent in favor, 18 percent opposed) while more Americans view the Tea Party negatively (28 percent in favor, 41 percent opposed)…. A new Time Magazine poll found an even more positive results for Occupy Wall Street, showing 54 percent held a favorable view of the movement, compared to just 27 percent with a favorable view of the Tea Party. 

Hmmm… sounds like these unhappy people are faring better than your cheerful warriors. I’m sorry, but to those calling this a liberal Tea Party, it’s just not. I’ve personally spoke with conservatives who support Occupy Wall Street and liberals who oppose it. We’ll see where the Occupy movement goes, especially in the next few weeks. So, uh, sorry to steal your thunder Tea Party?

Well, would you take a look at that? Apparently, Americans support Occupy Wall Street over the Tea Party. But that’s not how FreedomWorks sees it. No way are these people anything like the Tea Party. From Politico:

Brendan Steinhauser, campaigns director for FreedomWorks, evoked leaders of the civil rights movement in distinguishing the protests, saying the tea party’s tactics resemble those of Martin Luther King Jr., while the Occupy Wall Street protesters are more like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael.

"They just seem really, truly very unhappy, angry," he said of the anti-corporate protesters. Tea partiers, on the other hand are for the most part "kind of cheerful, happy warriors," he said.

Yeah, I totally remember that one time that Martin Luther King Jr. said: “You know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around?”

Oh, and this: “We have the chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. That’s the beauty of our Second Amendment rights… Our Second Amendment rights were to guard against tyranny.” Oh, that was Tea Partiers? Oops. 

MLK supporters always open-carried, right? RIGHT?!

Geez, those Tea Party people… They’re so cheerful and happy, and not at all angry or appearing unhinged! They cheerfully tote semi-automatic weapons outside presidential speeches and happily use fluffy, fanciful comparisons meeting the criteria of Godwin’s Law - OFF the internet, no less. 

The above chart is from ThinkProgress. An explanation:

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Americans support the Occupy Wall Street protests by a two-to-one margin (37 percent in favor, 18 percent opposed) while more Americans view the Tea Party negatively (28 percent in favor, 41 percent opposed)…. A new Time Magazine poll found an even more positive results for Occupy Wall Street, showing 54 percent held a favorable view of the movement, compared to just 27 percent with a favorable view of the Tea Party. 

Hmmm… sounds like these unhappy people are faring better than your cheerful warriors. I’m sorry, but to those calling this a liberal Tea Party, it’s just not. I’ve personally spoke with conservatives who support Occupy Wall Street and liberals who oppose it. We’ll see where the Occupy movement goes, especially in the next few weeks. So, uh, sorry to steal your thunder Tea Party?

Filed under Tea Party Occupy Wall Street U MAD? Public opinion politics economic inequality economy protest You are not civil rights leaders MLK is disappointed in you MLK inequality one percent We are the 99 percent Occupy Everywhere Occupy Together OCCUPY ALL THE THINGS

61 notes

They tell you are we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are awakening from a dream which is tuning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself…

Carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days you know, like ‘oh, we were young, it was beautiful.’ Remember that our basic message is ‘We are allowed to think about alternatives’…

Philosopher and critical theorist Slavoj Žižek addressing the Occupy Wall Street protesters this Sunday at Liberty Plaza in New York City.

"We are allowed to think about alternatives…" Consider this every single time a demonstration is arrested or pepper-sprayed. Thinking about alternatives, asking for alternatives, considering alternatives, etc… all this seems to be very intimidating to those in power.

Žižek speaks the truth when he proclaims that we are watching the system destroy itself. We are. Late capitalism is a snake eating its own tail. 

(Source: alternet.org)

Filed under Slavoj Žižek Liberty Plaza Occupy Wall Street We are everywhere Occupy Together Occupy America politics economy protest inequality Late Capitalism inequality

70 notes

This is amazing.

Even if Geraldo Rivera was at the Zuccotti Park yesterday, Fox News has generally been a tad dismissive of the Occupy Wall Street movement… Bill O’Reilly sent a producer minion out with the same mission: to belittle OWS’s cause by cutting up interviews to make people sound stupid. Well, here is an interview that Fox News filmed, but doesn’t want you to see. The segment was shot on Wednesday for Greta van Susteren’s show… The speaker giving Fox News the business is Jesse LaGreca, a vocal member of the Occupy Wall Street protests. This video comes courtesy of Kyle Christopher from OccupyWallSt.org’s media team.

I keep watching this over and over because it’s fantastic to see this Fox News peon getting completely destroyed. 

Filed under Fox News Occupy Wall Street inequality politics economy NYC New York City like a boss conservative conservatives pwned