Been traveling and not-blogging as much as I'd like, but that doesn't mean I haven't been writing. This morning, I have a piece up at the Guardian CIF about the conflict between Occupy Wall St. and the pathetic right wing response We Are the 53 Percent. I'm particularly proud of this piece because I address something I think has been under-addressed in liberal responses to the 53% nonsense: the fundamental incoherence of it. Most liberals have taken on their claims directly, which I think is important. We point out that there isn't a welfare state upholding the people who don't pay federal income tax. We point out that federal income tax is only a portion of federal income. We point out that a lot of people who don't pay federal income tax did so in the past or will so in the future. We point out that people who don't pay federal income tax still pay payroll taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes. These are all good points and interesting. But they also play into the bizarro right wing assumption that Occupy Wall St. has anything to do with federal income tax, or at least the majority of people who pay it.
It doesn't. Thus the "99%" language. From my piece:
The whole point of Occupy Wall Street is that we should increases taxes on the wealthy to pay for programmes that would benefit the other 99% of us, including the half of us who aren't rich but do pay federal income taxes. Erickson and his supporters clearly realise that they can't argue against the points actually being made at Occupy Wall Street, so instead they're inventing phantoms demanding middle-class tax hikes and fighting imaginary battles with them.
One thing I found interesting when a bunch of right wingers ganged up on me on Twitter, screeching incoherent nonsense at me in response to this bit of satire, was how most of them assumed that I don't pay federal income taxes. They coughed up the same crap about how those of us who support Occupy Wall St. are lazy parasites who don't want to work, and are playing victim. And that we hate people who do work and pay taxes.
But of course I pay federal income taxes. I'm a 34-year-old woman who makes a middle class living. That I don't throw a fit about it and act like it's the greatest injustice in the world doesn't mean I don't pay federal income taxes. That's because I'm a fucking grown-up. The ready assumption that everyone who pays federal income taxes is a big, screaming toddler about it is what probably galls me more than anything about the "53%" nonsense. Screeching about your taxes just makes me assume you are in a constant tantrum because of other things in life that are less than pleasant: that you have to work for a living, that food has calories, that not everyone you want will have sex with you. Of course, you see a lot of Americans, especially right wing Americans, whine about that crap, too. So maybe that's the problem here.
But it is interesting how much they project onto the left. Liberals are protesting real problems: unemployment, the foreclosure crisis, the war. And conservatives respond by saying, "Quit whining about real problems and listen to me whine about having to be a fucking grown-up. Wah!" And then say that liberals are "playing the victim". It's just one of the worst cases of projection I've seen in all the years I've spent observing right wing projection.