n response to the viral "We Are the 99 Percent" Tumblr site created in support of Occupy Wall Street, RedState founder Erick Erickson and two other conservatives have created a "We Are the 53 Percent" Tumblr to highlight stories from the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income tax. (Many Americans receive enough tax credits that their federal income taxes are wiped out.) Whereas contributors to the 99 Percent site relate tales of economic hardships stemming from a financial crisis that's barely touched the top 1 percent of earners, the 53 Percenters' retort is, in Erickson's words: "Suck it up you whiners. I am the 53 percent subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain." Is this an effective counter-punch?
Grow up, haters: The 99 Percenters' stories are "poignant," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. Meanwhile, Team Erickson's "juvenile collection of 'suck it, losers' posts" is an "embarrassingly shallow and heartless" response. They're more than welcome to start a discussion about why nearly half of us don't pay federal income tax (thanks, Bush tax cuts!). But mocking people hit by the worst economy in decades isn't the way to start it.
"We are the 53 percent"
Somebody has to fight the protesters: The 99 Percenters aren't really angry over the bank bailouts, they're using any excuse to stoke hatred "for those who have more than you do," says Karen Beseth at The Lonely Conservative. That's straight-up class warfare, "and it’s no better than the way Hitler blamed everything on the Jews." Conservatives had to do something. The 53 Percent meme isn't perfect — when I go earn my money, "I don’t think about what percentile I happen to fall in" — but it's effective.
"Who cares what percentile you fall in?"
But these 53 Percenters are fighting the wrong battle: The "We Are the 53 Percent" site is "heartbreaking," says Max Read at Gawker. But not because "its contributors are enormous jerks." It's sad because "so many of them could just as easily be writing in to We Are the 99 Percent." Instead of seeing their lack of insurance and 70-hour workweeks as systemic problems, they wear their indentured servitude like "a badge of pride," and attack the protesters trying to fix our "broken system."
"The right-wing version of 'We Are the 99 Percent': Heartbreaking"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- The Daily Show has some fun mocking the CPAC power players
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- 10 things you need to know today: March 11, 2014
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
Subscribe to the Week