An ‘I Am the 53%’ Open Thread

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Alex Knapp

Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

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220 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    He was probably mugged on sidewalks that my taxes paid for!Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    It does read sort of odd to see people who can’t see that the slight financial disruption that occurred for a couple days a couple years ago might have some slight bearing on economic conditions now. But signaling they are not whiners seems to be of high value.Report

  3. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    “Making your own way” when the deck is stacked against you instead of calling on the government to get rid of the game-rigging seems illogical to me.

    Being hard-working is illogical.Report

  4. Avatar Pyre says:

    There was a short story that I read in high school for English class.

    In the story, there was a young black man who was in his late teens or early twenties and was fairly well educated for the time. In the story, he had to participate in an exhibition where he and several other black men scramble about on a mildly electrified mat grabbing up the change that the white men in the crowd were throwing onto the mat.

    Afterward of his own volition, he read an essay that he wrote to the crowd of how fortunate the black man was that he had the white man to look out for his interests. The crowd applauds and he is given a brand new suitcase for his reading of the essay.

    The “We are the 53%” remind me a lot of that story.Report

  5. Avatar A Teacher says:

    Here’s my concern:

    I’m starting to doubt the sincerity of some of the stories. Some are almost unbelievable and I’m worried that as the more and more extreme stories take hold that only one or two false stories posted, on either site 99% or 53% will ruin the thousands of very honest and legitemate ones.

    I mean, I don’t own an iPad. I work full time. Raise a family. Have debt I didn’t need because I “bought in” to the consumer frenzy of the last decade. My wife and I have never been on a honeymoon. We may never take one. We pay taxes. Lots of them it feels like. We pay our bills, on time, regularly. If we get behind somewhere we cut something out. We don’t have iPhones or even Smart Phones because we can’t afford that ~and~ diapers. Is this worth a picture for the 53%?

    I dunno…. it’s starting to feel like more rage at the rage to have rage. Which rage for rage’s sake rarely does much more than cause property damage to uninvolved 3d parties.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      That’s kind of my question, too. Which “percent” do I and my wife belong in? I have a full-time job and she has a few part-time ones, both of us doing work that we enjoy and have aptitude for. We can make the payments on our house. We carry some credit-card debt, but only on one card of the several we each carry (and we could pay it off if we wanted to zero out our cash reserves, which we don’t.) Both of us own our own cars.

      …but. Given the way housing values have gone, this is the only house we’ll ever own, and it’s too small to have children. We’re hugely underwater, so refinancing is out. We can’t afford to rent this house out and rent somewhere else, because the going rate for places like ours is well below the mortgage payments. We own the cars, but they’re both approaching ten years old. We both have iPhones–two models behind the latest, and both refurbished ones.

      So I’m left wondering which percentage we fall into. Because we’re in a situation where we can stay where we are, but we’ll never get to be anywhere else.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        DD. Housing is typically the single largest investment Americans make. Another way to look at it is if you’d purchased a stock (on credit – margin in stockbroker parlance) and it tanked. How long would you hold onto it? Would you hope the stock recovered (paying interest the entire time) or would you cut your losses and sell at the market? There are pros and cons to both approaches, but I suspect you’re smart enough to think up imaginative solutions.

        If it is a buyer’s market where you live, I’d look into buying before selling your house. Can’t get a loan? Perhaps someone in a similar situation to yours (think older person) strongly wishes to get out of /their/ house. They probably have enough equity they could carry the paper, so you wouldn’t need to finance through a bank (they’re not crazy about loaning money anyway). I know that get rich quick real estate scammers ruined the market for owner-financed homes, but it is still possible if you’re an honest individual and find the right seller (the house might not even be for sale, might be owned by an overwhelmed widow who can’t keep it up anymore). They’d rather have the income stream (at something like 5-6% interest) than the cash (at something like 1% interest). You could probably trade up houses for equal or lower payment to what you’re spending now and dump your existing house.

        I bought my first house (actually a duplex) on an owner finance deal when I was 24 yrs old. Never missed a payment and paid him off early after 5 yrs (he was bummed, loved the 10% interest I had been paying him). Lived there 7 yrs and sold it for a loss, but got into a better place that was bigger, more comfortable and appreciated substantially vs the one I’d sold. Studying the market had made me realize that the duplex was in the wrong price bracket and just wouldn’t appreciate. Keeping it as a rental would have been too much of a pain in the arse so took my lumps and moved on. The economy was pretty horrible then too.

        Good luck and God Bless.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          I know you don’t mean it this way, but reading your comment I can’t help recalling that Onion article “An Open Letter To A Starving Somali Child”.

          I will say that thinking of residential property the way we think of financial investments is what got us into this mess in the first place.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            … not really. people who can’t be businessmen shouldn’t own houses in the first place.
            It was thinking of residential property as a GOOD financial investment (grow grow grow!), and not an INFLATION HEDGE, that got people into this mess.

            If you don’t understand that most of your wealth is probably going to reside in your house the moment you retire, you should probably reconsider owning a house.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith says:

            Just landed, on a biz trip now so will only drop in occasionally. Shouldn’t give too much advice in a forum like this, but the important thing to remember is we’ve had bad times as a country before. I’ve lived through some of them and so have others here. When I said I studied the market, I mean I /studied/ the market. Glancing at the occasional newspaper ads won’t cut it. Wherever you live there are markets within markets, you need to look at the price categories the way the real estate companies and mortgage companies do. They have location codes and pricing brackets. There is a large overhang in many localities of foreclosed properties, which act as a contrary wind to sales. However not everyone is capable or interested in a foreclosed house, so while it effects prices it is not strongly correlative to inventory.

            You may not need to declare bankruptcy, most states have non-recourse mortgage loans, meaning the bank can only get the keys to your house back, no more. Not the same as full-on bankruptcy (chapter 13) but it will effect your loan score. On the other hand, being upside down in a mortgage already is effecting your score. Your mileage may vary.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        You’re in the 75% of greedy sods who are in need of jinglemail. Next please!

        Financial Wisdom: reduce your necessary costs down to the smaller of yours and your wife’s income. That way, if one of you loses your job, you don’t lose the house et alia. (it’s fine to spend the rest on beer and cable, just be able to ditch it if necessary).

        America has perfected the dual income trap, where families with two incomes are LESS SECURE and LESS FINANCIALLY STABLE than ones with one income (because, at least then, you can move to find a new job).Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          Yes, except we’ve already done that. We carpool, we cook our own meals, we re-use media that we already own instead of buying new stuff.

          And, to be honest, even if were dinner-and-a-movie every night, it wouldn’t be a significant part of the overall picture. That’s the crazy thing, is that it doesn’t matter whether we’re frugal or not. I mean, sure, there’s ways we could spend ourselves poor, but saving money isn’t going to let us pay off the loans tomorrow.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            *nods* good. I give advice, sometimes people don’t need it. That makes me happier than giving advice that isn’t taken, believe it or not.

            Look into bankruptcy. I’m totally dead serious. It’s not for everyone, but it is a way out. Does generally require losing your house, but what’s renting for a few years compared to being in forever-debt?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            it doesn’t matter whether we’re frugal or not.

            Exactly. This is why “Look, they’ve got iPhones!” is such crap.Report

            • Avatar A Teacher says:

              You know… I call bullocks.

              $500/ year for a new phone.
              $90/ month for data = $1080 /yr
              $15/ month for some apps/ subscription services on that phone = $180 /yr

              Total annual cost of an iPhone = $1760.

              At $10/hour that’s 176 hours of work, or using a 40 work week 4.4 weeks of solid work ~JUST~ to pay for the phone.

              According to the USDA (http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2011/CostofFoodAug2011.pdf), a single male “modest meal plan” is $286/ month.

              That iPhone cost him 6 months of food.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

              Um, the basic iPhone is $99. But hey, I’ll say $199 for the basic 4S,
              Your monthly bill is $90 to $100, but that’s not different than a basic $50 bare bones cell phone plan.

              Of course, the larger point is that only about 35-40% of cell phone customers have smartphones and a large portion of those smartphones come free with a new contract.

              So yeah, your whole analogy is worthless. The average cell phone plan is no more expensive than the average landline voice plan was in 1983 and not even far right wingers thought poor people shouldn’t get a landline.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                barebones contract is $8 a month. What world do you live in? In mine, people give away cell phones because they’re cheap.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                That’s why I said average. Yes, it is possible to have a phone with an ubercheap plan, but the average monthly plan is around $50 and I’d guess the median is closer to $40.

                http://techblog.dallasnews.com/assets_c/2011/04/ctiabill-thumb-600×459-110570.jpgReport

              • Avatar A Teacher says:

                OKay, according to the Verizon website, a new iPhone is $400, not $500.

                An iPhone 4S data plan ranges from $20 to $80, with limited data. SO assuming you get a top of the line iPhone 4 and a year’s data, top of the line again, the high end is… $1360. That’s still… 4-5 months of food according to the FDA.

                So let’s low ball it… bottom of the line iPhone 4 with the most limited data package. $560. That’s still two months of meals for a 20 something.

                Sorry I don’t buy that a kid who’s Tweeting on his new iPhone is really that bad off….Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I probably should never have brought up the iPhone thing to begin with on the other thread.

                But it is somewhat relevant, in the sense that most people are overly in debt, and they didn’t have to be.

                Now, some of that is their fault, to a degree. Some of it is their responsibility, but the fault is shared out with everyone who encouraged them to buy something that they probably ought not to have bought. And finally, some of it is their fault, but it’s the responsibility of the bank that raised their revolving credit card debt rate from 13% to 24%.

                There’s a lot of factors involved here, and neither “they shouldn’t have put themselves in this position to begin with” or “they were screwed by The Man” is a particularly productive way of approaching the actual problem.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                … except when cases of deliberate fraud are in the works. which they were, most everywhere.

                … do I need to cite some lawsuits? 😉Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It’s worth noting that

                (a) Verizon is particularly expensive

                (b) a lot of iPhone users – particularly younger ones, are on family plans. My 30-something brothers are all on a family plan (and I was until last year), which means that our usage only incurs the cost of the data plan itself plus another $10.

                (c) Not all iPhones are bought new, from the retailer. And they start at $200 with a new contract.

                So a smartphone isn’t remotely indicative of somebody that has it good. You have to start making assumptions (though bought it new, they bought it themselves, they’re on their own plan, etc.) for that to be the case.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                There’s also a difference between someone who uses their smartphone as their primary internet access and someone who has a smartphone and DSL and satellite TV and…

                Like I said, it’s a bad proxy. I should have restricted my commentary on the makeup of the American public to hard numbers.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                And not everyone buys a new phone every year, so including its cost in the yearly budget exaggerates the cost.Report

              • Avatar A Teacher says:

                You know it does. The “person” I’m talking about here is the one who:
                a) Believes that he has to have a new iPhone each year
                b) Has to have the best iPhone
                c) Has to have unlimited data
                d) Does it on his own because he’s too cool to count on his parents.

                Is he typical of someone participating in OWS? Probably not. Actually I hope to Jos Whedon not. But I’m a numbers ~guy~ and so when I can break out my calculator, I like to.

                What gets me down on the OWS folk a bit is that it feels very much like the most vocal people there are the ones who don’t seem to get that you can’t have all the cool stuff you see on TV, yet they want it. I think about how our grandparents grew up where only 1 or 2 houses on the street had a TV and the community came together to share it. We take computers so for granted today, but in the grand scheme of things they ~are~ a form of luxury. I don’t relish the idea of mailing out checks for my bills every few nights (seems they all have to come on different days) but I could if I had to turn off the internet to the house.

                Cell phones are luxuries. We did business without them, we had relationships, hooked up, propagated new generations, all by doing things like calling each other on a land line or (gasp) walking up top someone and making plans in person.

                I dunno. I’m no fan of Corporate Greed. I’m all about closing loop holes. I’m MORE than all about ending the corporate buying and selling of votes. (Wanna talk about Michigan’s changes to no-fault insurance?)

                I just feel, though, like we’ve gotten to where luxuries are too often labeled nessecities, and that misnomer is getting us into more and more trouble.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                A phone is a phone is a phone. A large number of people have twenty-five have a cell phone and nothing else because it’s useless to have a landline if you have a cell phone.

                Saying that having a cell phone is luxury in 2011 is as insane as saying as having long distance on your landline is a luxury in 1981.

                As for how the people in OWS look, I simply don’t see it. Go read the Tumblr. These people aren’t talking about wanting it all for free. They’re talking about being insanely in debt and not being able to find a job.Report

              • Avatar A Teacher says:

                Jesse there is an equally insane idea in saying that having a cell phone is the same as having an iPhone.

                You can get a cell phone cheap. Things like Smart Phones and the data plans to run them are a lot harder to get cheap. To insist that it’s not a luxury to be able to play Angry Birds where ever you want just doesn’t fly.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                A Teacher,
                A television is a luxury.

                a computer is a necessity, if one that can be provided by a public library, should you live within walking distance.

                A Car is a luxury.

                Why is a computer a necessity? News, weather reporting, applying for jobs, distillation of new information, job re-training. All available online.Report

  6. Avatar b-psycho says:

    The “all taxes are income taxes” dodge yet again. No matter how many times it’s explained that the poor in fact do pay taxes, and tacking income taxation on top of that would amount to trying to juice a stone, this pops up like whack-a-mole.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      So, what, you’re saying that it’s not about “paying your fair share” and more about “gimme your money you rich bastard”?Report

      • Avatar b-psycho says:

        My view is more that the 99ers have corporate/state collusion to thank for the economy we have & that expecting the state to “work for US” is like expecting to be able to touch the sun. So, nope, just pointing out that the “47% don’t pay anything!” charge is a blur.

        As for the “rich bastards”, I could care less that they’re rich, what I care about is why.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Can I say that if they’d spend their money, I’d let ’em keep it? (does that seem strange? If so, read some more Adam Smith)Report

    • Avatar DarrenG says:

      I also liked the observation that the 47% don’t pay income taxes largely because of Republican-favored tax policies, so why aren’t they celebrating this as a victory rather than…ahem…whining about it?Report

  7. Avatar Creon Critic says:

    As b-psycho says the poor do pay taxes, what’s more the tax system in many US states is strikingly regressive. I’d point the 53% to ITEP’s 2009 report Who Pays?:A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States (pdf), “The study’s main finding is that nearly every state and local tax system takes a much greater share of income from middle- and low-income families than from the wealthy”

    While this paragraph is part of a much more complicated picture the full report paints, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s report (pdf) opens a discussion of their conclusions with a striking paragraph (emphasis in original):

    We conclude this financial crisis was avoidable. The crisis was the result of human action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone haywire. The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand, and manage evolving risks within a system essential to the well-being of the American public. Theirs was a big miss, not a stumble. While the business cycle cannot be repealed, a crisis of this magnitude need not have occurred. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault lies not in the stars, but in us.

    Reading the repot further, that final “us” becomes pretty narrow – in addressing their complaints about the current economic circumstances, the Occupy Wall Street protesters aren’t in error when placing a great deal of blame on major Wall Street institutions and a metaphorical 1%.Report

  8. Avatar Koz says:

    ““Making your own way” when the deck is stacked against you instead of calling on the government to get rid of the game-rigging seems illogical to me.”

    This is life. The game is sometimes rigged, but that’s never an excuse not to play.Report

  9. A brief skim of the “we are the 53%” site suggests that a lot of the posters there have a lot of pride about making their own way through life without any handouts.

    Two observations: Apparently, they’re not too keen on noting the irony when they say, for example, that they worked at their father’s business or that their parents put them through private school or that they took out government subsidized loans.

    But one would think that they would dislike the idea of special privileges that the “1%” are alleged to have. I don’t see them as disputing that the 1% really do have a lot of special privileges, which seems to be the key charge of the 99 percenters. I’m skeptical of the claim that a huge chunk of the 99 percenters have no special privileges or bailouts, and I’m comparably skeptical of the 53 percenters comparable claim.Report

    • Avatar Pyre says:

      I noticed that but what I thought was more telling was the picture where the guy said:

      “I work 60 hours a week and my company only pays me for 45.”

      One would think that he would perceive the inequity in that. Even if he is happy with being taken advantage of, one would think that he could perceive that, by making 3 people do the work of 4, the company has effectively cut available jobs at the company by 25%. If, as a country, we went back to “honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work”, even with the number of companies that would just ship the extra jobs to Mexico, you would probably still have a 5-10% increase in the number of jobs available.Report

  10. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    If this is the exact point that these folks want to highlight in responding to the 99% gambit, then I’m all for it. It’s clarifying; it’s in the ballpark of portraying a reality that actually exists; and it’s revealing of fundamental differences in viewpoint. This is a perfectly reasonable response to those who want to talk about the need for the top 1 to 3 percent to pay their fair share, or the changing economic opportunities for the other 97.

    I would just make a couple points. First: I recall the early criticism of the 99% movement being that they were too affluent to be protesting over the issues they were protesting over. How bad off are they if they have iPhones? They must be in the top 50%! Well, what we have here is a competition of people’s decisions over whom to identify with? Why is that? Because clearly, if a large part of the 99% gang are actually affluent young college grads in the top 50% (but making less than 500K or so), then they are in both the 99% and the 53%! So the only question is, which group’s emphases resonate more with people in that category? Everyone else is just authentically representing their material interests, something I always heartily endorse so long as it’s not dressed up in a false case about public interest.

    Second, there was a discussion about whether this movement would take hold and gain traction in the view of the public generally, or whether it would be seen as just the whining of self-indulgent young people who are disappointed with how life has turned out for them. I would suggest that the perception by Erik Erickson and Josh Trevino of a need to create and float a counter-meme suggests that at least they have come to a conclusion about the movement’s potential to gain momentum and credibility among neutral observers (specifically those in the 99-and-also-53-percent segment of the population).Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      “Because clearly, if a large part of the 99% gang are actually affluent young college grads in the top 50% (but making less than 500K or so), then they are in both the 99% and the 53%!”

      From what I’ve seen from the tumblr, it’s more that their parents are in the 53% and now they are trying to join the 53% but are instead merely members of the 99%.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      Hard work vs. hopelessness, that the deck is unconquerably stacked. Trevino:

      “Even if you’ve had a difficult time, that this is America, and there is still value in hard work, and individual self-reliance…times are hard, we are in the worst economic crisis since Great Depression, but nonetheless, the same American values are really the way out of it.”

      He adds: “On a more visceral level, there’s always the reaction against the hippies.”

      Heh heh.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/conservatives-launch-we-are-the-53-percent-to-criticize-99-percenters/2011/10/10/gIQA70omaL_blog.htmlReport

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Presumably you’re endorsing whatever Ezra has to say in that link, right? Or not? I have no idea what your net-net in this comment is, Tom. But that’s okay.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          Sorry, Mr. Drew, my eyes glazed over at the Ezra Klein part. I went for the direct Trevino quote. [That’s how I tend to read mainstream news blather—quotes from the principals only, the only part that can’t be jimmied, hijacked or spun.]

          Klein has a small point that Dubya cut taxes on some of the 47%, not that he gets any credit for it. And I realize that the 47% pay taxes on gas and smokes and booze and such. [Sin taxes were a major factor in a recent Kevin Drum chart proffered here awhile back.]

          However, Trevino’s 53% “countermeme” is about more than such niggles around the edges—I find it far more effective and inspiring than #Occupy, which I think will repulse more than it attracts, net-net-wise.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew says:

            Gotcha. I’m shocked that you find Erickson’s project more inspiring than the hippies’, Tom.;) But in any case, like I said, I think this is all just great. I’m happy to have these two memes put side by side to each other for everyone to react to as they will. They’re both very clear and revealing.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              MichaelD: Admittedly jealous of the hippies: I was too young. Sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, all of the finest kind.

              This bunch, not so much, young or old. [Doesn’t seem like there’s too much in between, judging by the photos—wannabe sellouts, wizened earth mothers, filled in by members of the teachers’ unions. All of the squalor and banality, none of the perks.]Report

              • Avatar wardsmith says:

                I seem to recall seeing some video of TVD sporting some rather longish hair while picking on lesser lights on a game show I never heard of before following the link from his sub blog. Whether that qualifies him for hippy-dom is an open question.

                I caught the tail end of the hippy era, had even longer hair (and a beard) but missed out on the free love because I had a foolish habit of trying to engage the women folk in conversation (and they didn’t seem to like what I had to say about things). The rock’n’roll was great but the mind expanding capabilities of the drugs was oversold methinks. I occasionally miss the mushrooms. They well may have been expanding my mind but to this day I can’t really decipher the brilliant things I wrote in my notebook while under their influence. They seem to have worked for Stamets and I make sure to eat the non-psilo kind every chance I get. Whether they’re doing me any good remains to be seen, probably not.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                A post-punk, Mr. Smith, for the record. One from the vaults:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-n9_jrfDTc&feature=player_embedded

                The rock’n’roll was OK; the drugs fair; the sex? We all ended up marrying our girlfriends. The drummer teaches school, the guitarist is a lawyer, and your correspondent is, well…Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                That’s one for the Friday Jukebox anyway.

                Someday I’ll post some recordings of my old band from 1995. We were post-music. My new band is looking for a bass player, Tom. Just so you know.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I dunno. What are the hours?Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew says:

              I’m sorry I used the hippie referent. i wasn’t meaning to suggest that as the cause of your opinion, only to tweak Trevino’s admission by way of just identifying them. My point is just that it’s hardly surprising to me that you find the 53% idea more attractive than the 99%; but it does intrigue me that you seem(!) to reference mainly your own personal reaction to the two things in arriving at an estimate of what the public reaction will be. At least, your reaction and your estimation correspond.

              But then, so do mine. I happen to have a bit of evidence on which I base my estimation beyond gut feeling, though I concede it’s very thin. But as I say, I’m happy with this juxtaposition too, no matter the outcome.Report

  11. Avatar BSK says:

    The first guy there mentions being USAF. He does know who picked up the tap on that, right?Report

  12. Avatar BSK says:

    I’m curious what percentage of the 53% are…
    …white.
    …children of American citizens.
    …children of college-educated parents.
    …straight.
    …Christian.
    …grew up middle-class or wealthier.
    …went to a school with minimal violence and crime.
    …were never the victim of crime.
    …male.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      If you knew the answers, what would it change?Report

      • Avatar BSK says:

        People who fit the criteria I listed are generally beneficiaries of a variety of privileges. Much of their stories spoke about how everything they have they earned for themselves. However, that is not likely the case.

        In much the same way someone being born American has done little to deserve the benefits of being American as compared to being born, say, Somalian (on average, of course; there are always exceptions), being born white or Christian or male in this country means certain undeserved advantages. That is not an attack on these people by any means. But it is the reality. And their ignorance or refusal to accept/acknowledge this reality undermines there point, at least as far as I am concerned.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          #Occupy fits yr demographic bill too, BSK. Immigrants from Ghana, meanwhile, are too busy going 53 for this shit.

          Meme away…Report

          • Avatar BSK says:

            TVD-

            The point is not the demographics of the groups perse. It is the legitimacy of their claims.

            I’m leaving aside the 99%/OWS folks because, honestly, I’m still not really sure what their claims are.

            The 53% seem a bit more clear. Their point is that they have worked hard for all that they have and, good or bad, are not going to complain about their lot in life. My point is that examining their demographics might expose that much of their hard work and “lot in life” is predicated on the back of unearned privilege. Which makes their initial claim fall a bit flat.

            And I’m not talking about the ACTUAL 53% of people referred to by the name, which most certainly includes many people who suffer from more oppression than they do benefit from privilege. I’m talking about the people holding up their little signs. I doubt most of them are aware of the ways they’ve been benefited from the very political, social, legal, and economic systems they claim the other 47% or 99% or whatever are taking advantage of.Report

            • So at what point does someone actually get to claim responsibility for their own success? You make it sound like, well, never. And if everyone is a product of the system then I guess that does a good job of re-enforcing a victim mentality when somone falters.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                Your first question is a very salient one. Personally, I don’t know the answer, but I certainly would not say, “Never”.

                As far as I see it, the issue is less about figuring out exactly how responsible one is for their success and more about acknowledging that some people have an easier path to success and to pretend otherwise is generally ignorant.

                How does the saying go? Born on third base and thinks he hit a triple? Being born on third base isn’t the issue; the world is an unequal place. But being completely ignorant as to how you got there? Whole ‘nother problem.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Except that, according to you, the important part is that they were born on third base. That they ran to home plate on their own is immaterial; you’d say it’s all about where they started. You don’t even think it matters whether or not they recognize it.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                I don’t know that this is an inaccurate way of describing the situation.

                I mean, it’s completely clear to me that some people are born on third base, and some are born on first base, and a much larger number have to actually bat to even get in the game, and most people don’t even have tickets to the stadium.

                Do you disagree with the premise? You can disagree with BSK’s conclusions or not, but your opening line is very noncommittal to the whole idea.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                So do we not reward people for their work and success because of their background? That’s a rather surprising notion. “Hey rich guy. Stop working. Stop contributing. Stop doing anything useful. Your role in society is to be a veal calf.”Report

              • If you’re correct, that people start at a variety of points or ‘bases’ then yes, there is struggle. But what you are suggesting is a sort of eternal pessimism where no one seems to be able to point to their success without adding a caveat. Perhaps that mentality is just realism however, it doesn’t fill one with much hope.Report

              • But everything we do and become is like already decided and stuff, so if I kill someone I can use that as my defense in court. Just physical processes happening…Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              BSK: I got you the first time. White privilege, the usual script, oy. The #Occupiers were born on 3rd base too as much or more than the 53 crowd. The question is where you go from there.

              And that’s letting you ignore the rebuttal re Ghana, so pls.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                Tom-

                I’m not talking about the 99%/OWS. If you want to, that is your prerogative.

                If you are going to act as if white privilege doesn’t exist, which seems to be your tact, fine. But that doesn’t leave us much room to talk; I see little room for discussion with someone who willingly sticks his head in the sand.

                And I did respond to the Ghanaian. I stated that I’m not referring to the reality of the 53% of our nation who pays federal income taxes. I noted that that segment of our population most assuredly contains individuals who suffered more oppression than they enjoyed privilege, such as your hypothetical Ghanaian. But does that Ghanaian identify with the 53% movement? If so, I would consider his experience likely markedly different from many of the others.

                When will you respond to the merits of the disconnect between folks who claim they have achieved everything entirely through hard work and all the research that demonstrates that simply isn’t the case (for ANYONE, but moreso for folks who are white or male or straight or American or Christian or etc…)?Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke says:

                Oh, the “research,” BSK. Can’t argue with that!

                The point you keep missing is #Occupy has “white privilege,” too. Clearly there is more at work here than melanin and all one has to do is read the 53s to see what.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                yarly. When black men show up to protest, they get cuffed and nobody hears about it except as a riot. Ergo Flash Mobs.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            Immigrants from Ghana are middle class or higher, generally.
            We got lost boys (Sudan) around here, and they live with white uppercrust families.

            You should see “Lost boy found in Whole Foods” Might be illuminating.Report

        • @BSK,

          If anyone who fits your criteria (and the benefits of those things is debateable) is privelaged then isn’t the point that the 53% are trying to make still relevant when bounced off of the 99% crowd?Report

          • Avatar BSK says:

            Mike-

            Not sure I understand what you mean by the point being bounced off the other group. Can you elaborate?

            As I just alluded to in my comment to TVD, I have no doubt that many, many members of the 99% are great beneficiaries of privilege. How this relates to their message, which I’m not really clear on in the first place, is a bit more nebulous.

            I will say that there is a lot of legitimate criticism of the OWS leaders/followers from women, POCs, and other traditionally marginalized groups. Their complaints include:
            – frustration that economic inequality has only become an issue when large swaths of privileged white people are suddenly feeling its sting
            – a certain degree of exclusivity among the leaders that excludes women, POCs, etc.
            – a general ignorance to how economic inequality in general and this recession in particular has impacted different communities in different ways
            – whiny college kids with iPods crying “oppressed”

            There are more and I am doing a pretty shitty job of really giving them credence, but it is worth noting that criticisms of the privilege of the 99% crew are certainly out there.Report

            • What I am saying is that many of the items you describe as granting privelage to the 53% crowd would also apply to the 99% so it seems that caveats are moot. Both sides played under the same conditions and one group seems to have done a better job of it.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Is it okay, compadre, if I stand for someone else? If I, as a person, can stand, can march, can take to the streets, or build barricades — for people less fortunate than me?

                Is it possible to not judge someone based on who they are, but who they want to be?

                “We could wish you homeless
                Under a ledge
                With a mind that burns
                Through the skull’s thin edge–
                Better so,
                In the sleety rain,
                Than plump and cozy
                In belly and brain.”Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “Is it okay, compadre, if I stand for someone else?”

                According to most of the people who posted back in the Racefail debate, no. “standing for someone else” is cultural appropriation, or it’s cultural tone-deafness, or it’s something that’s bad even if nobody can say exactly what.

                The only way a white person can atone for the sin of having been born white is to feel really guilty about it.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                COUNT ME OUT of your base calumny.
                COUNT ME OUT.
                I can march in a Million Immigrant March. And mean it too, because without immigrants, I wouldn’t exist.
                But I’d be marching for the people enslaved, for the people too busy to take a day off, for the people working two jobs to make ends meet.

                Don’t judge the movement by those who march. People are more connected than you think.

                And no, dangnabit, guilt ain’t the only way. Fact is, guilt is a hell of a lot less impressive than DEEDS.

                That’s my faith, and I stick to it. Do as you Should, and I don’t give a flying fuck what you believe. (and if you’re running the next free-loan society, more power to you! I ain’t gonna put ideology before the horse that is helping people.)Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                DD-

                If you look at most legitimate anti-racist advocates, they are pretty clear on the uselessness of white guilt. Solidarity and alliances are predicated first upon listening. Most resistance by marginalized groups to privileged groups speaking on their behalf is that the latter never took the time to listen to the former.

                There are absolutely ways in which privileged groups/individuals can use their privilege to bring attention to and speak or work on behalf of others. But this must be done in conjunction with the people they are trying to help. Otherwise, it is a fail.

                As I tell my 4-year-olds, it isn’t help if the people don’t want it and it doesn’t make their job easier.Report

        • Avatar Koz says:

          “People who fit the criteria I listed are generally beneficiaries of a variety of privileges. Much of their stories spoke about how everything they have they earned for themselves. However, that is not likely the case.”

          It’s very fundamental for you to understand that’s not an answer. This is life. Just because the game is rigged isn’t an excuse for not playing.

          It’s been attributed to Archimedes that he could move the earth if he could find a place far enough away from it to stand. That may be true as far as it goes, but in reality he can’t move the earth because there is no such place.Report

          • Avatar BSK says:

            I’m not offering an answer. I’m asking a question.

            Do these people, who claim to be entirely self-made, realize that they are not? If they did, would that chance their position? Does the fact that they are not impact the legitimacy of their opinion?

            As far as I’m concerned, it does greatly.

            There position seems to be:

            “Quit whining! I’m dealing with things and making my way. You should do the same!”

            Now, a number of 99% folks likely are just as privileged as many of the 53% and should probably heed their advice. But many are not. And to ignore that difference is to ignore reality.Report

            • Avatar BSK says:

              Just to be clear, I am in no way defending, sympathizing with, or identifying with the 99%/OWS movement. Honestly, I’m still not clear on their positions and goals, which is a major “FAIL” considering they have been protesting for 3+ weeks. My gut reaction is that many of the folks involved only care about the issues at hand because they are directly being impacted by them, as opposed to having a consistent, principled position regardless of their personal stake in the matter. If/when things go back to how they were, where income/economic disparity, police abuse, etc. still exist but are concentrated in already-marginalized groups, many of these folks will probably go home thinking, “Mission accomplished!”

              So, my criticism/questioning of the 53% movement has nothing to do with the 99%/OWS movement. I realized that the movements themselves are linked, but questioning one does not mean aligning oneself with the other. If the only way to respond to my position is to press me on the 99% you are either A) engaging a strawman or B) setting up a false dilemma. I’m not interested in engaging either of those approaches.Report

            • “Do these people, who claim to be entirely self-made, realize that they are not?”

              They aren’t claiming that. They are saying they played in the same system and never asked Uncle Sam to level the playing field for them due to lack of success.Report

              • Avatar BSK says:

                Well, not all of them played in the same system. Many, yes. But not all. Whites played in a different system than blacks. Women in a different system than men. On and on. The white men in the 53% and the white men in the 99% movement certainly played in the same, or very similar, systems. No argument there.

                I’m still unclear why the conversation keeps turning back to the 99%. I am speaking specifically about the 53%.Report

              • Um, because the 53% was a direct response to the 99% so their statements of personal success are meant to be directly contrasted with the 99% crowd.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      BSK, the meme as I understand it is the 53% lines up with the Tea Party as a response to the “99%” crowd who are Left rather than the TP Right. Here are some stats on the demographics of the Tea PartyReport

  13. Avatar E.C. Gach says:

    The 53 %rhetoric is a distraction and nothing else. Yes, hard work is important. So is not feeling too entitled. But the problem with the median household is definitely not one of entitlement.

    If .001% of the country controlled 99.9% of the wealth, would that be fine? If not, it’s question of what parameters we want to stay in. How much is too much, either for the lower classes to expect, or the upper classes to hold onto.

    The problem is some people here classwarfare and make it about culturalwarfare, i.e. from discussing haves/have-nots to discussing hardworking/lazy.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      Yes, and it’s not a question of whether these people believe in hard work or not. If you read the tumblr, you see that the majority of the do. It’s a matter of having lost faith that hard work can pay off in the political-economic environment that has come to characterize today’s America. It’s not even a question of whether hard work in fact no longer has the potential to pay off in the way that the American Dream has, in effect, long promised it can. It’s about these people’s belief about whether it can or not. Their spirits are broken. It’s not that they don’t value hard work; it’s that they need to be given confidence they’re not being swindled by applying their hard work in a place that offers them no prospects for a good life. Because if they don’t believe that, then why not apply a good part of it to an effort like this to make that concern a concern of the rich and powerful? Anyway, a lot of these people, and certainly their moral supporters out in the country who stand with them while doing their jobs, are in fact hard-working people.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke says:

        Their spirits are broken. It’s not that they don’t value hard work; it’s that they need to be given confidence they’re not being swindled by applying their hard work in a place that offers them no prospects for a good life.

        They can take their “confidence” from the 53ers. That’s the point.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew says:

          Somehow I have a feeling they’ll take a different message from the 53ers – giving encouragement does not seem to be the aim of these peoples’ testimonials judging by their tone and language. People need to feel that people in high places are focused on restoring the promise that hard work pays off in this country. I would submit that the surliness of the 53ers comes from exactly the same need, sublimated though it is in them by a need never to let their feelings of vulnerability or lack of self-sufficiency show through. But the testimonials of the 53ers illustrate that we have a problem here, Houston, no less than do the 99ers’. Attitude does not trump objective reality, being told to suck it up is not in fact a form of encouragement. It’s just a dismissal of someone’s problems.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew says:

          I mean, what are they to take from the 53ers’ example? What are they even claiming? I thought they were just saying, I pay taxes, you don’t, so STFU. How does that in any way address the perceptions I describe? For that matter how does the example of someone saying they wake up charged up to go to their jobs with a smile on their face, ignoring declining prospects for getting ahead by doing so relative to previous decades, not feeling any need to advocate on their own behalf, address the concerns of people who actually are able to see what is happening to them? Why shouldn’t the response be, hey man, wake up and smell the rotting coffee grounds: you’re getting pissed on and told it’s raining! Let’s work our shifts and then meet down at the park and let these people know we can see what is happening to us. Let’s do something to improve our situation: we’re in the same boat! So you’re satisfied? Does that mean you don’t want to be doing better; that you have no interest in making your voice be heard?

          And maybe they’ll say, no, I don’t. But I don’t see how someone being able to avert his eyes enough to be able carry on and not look at what is going on around him should suggest to someone else that they should just quietly accept it. Nothing about some people being willing to passively accept diminished expectations addresses the concerns of those who don’t. It’s just two responses to the same shite sandwich. Why should the active take a lesson from the quiescent rather than vice versa?Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          … because the boomers haven’t slaughtered what they grew up on. Because buy america still exists. You talk lies that masquerade as truth. 10% drop in income for Americans over the past decade, ya? Do you really think these 53% can afford to retire? Because my DATA says they can’t, and that they’ll be mooching off their children.

          Self-entitled, spoiled fools.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        not a question of whether these people believe in hard work or not

        Working a mere 8 hours a day does not necessarily count as hard enough. Doing 12 hrs a day can give one an edge over others who just do 8. Doing 12 hrs a day in an intelligent and enthusiastic way makes one stand out and massivel increases you chance of being promoted.

        I dont know, its almost like some people do not understand the concept of a competitive economy.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

          Yes, we’re all aware it’s a competitive economy. But to be blunt, the bar shouldn’t be set that high just to have a quality life. Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week? Is that your idea of the Dream? Really?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Nice, Jesse. This is pretty much the sum of it. We’re supposed to believe that the economy is a ‘state of nature’ who’s ideal social utility is manifested in the absence of human intervention and direction. As if market weren’t constructed and directed by humans to serve specific goals. As if markets were something sacred in and of themselves.

            Aren’t markets supposed to serve people, rather than the other way around?Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              On a formal level, Mr. Stillwater, this is almost coherent. But if the “market” were so cleverly constructed by the Powers That Be, it would never fail. But true, the gov’t backstopped them, letting Lehman Bros. fail but not Goldman Sachs.

              As you know, instead of facing prison, the Goldman Sachsians were given posts in the administration instead.

              Aren’t markets supposed to serve people, rather than the other way around?

              Not by intention, per the “invisible hand.” Despite themselves, actually, since their intent is self-interest.

              “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

              Y’all can high-five and backpat each other if you must on yr comments, but ASmith’s point would be that liberty and self-interest create more dinner than markets “constructed and directed by humans.”

              This is the libertarian argument, I believe.

              What did you have for dinner? I just had tacos from a genuine Mexican immigrant, and they were to die for. I mean really. I met him 20 yrs ago as a skinny l’il teenager behind the counter. Now he’s older and fatter, owns the store, and employs I dunno how many people.

              American Dream, baby. The rest of this is blahblah to me, respectfully submitted. You guys are just not accounting for reality. Figger out how to make a killer taco for a buck, and the world beats a path to your door.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Are you, TVD, really making an entire argument based on appeal to authority? AS invoked the invisible hand was a tool – a metaphor – to explain dynamic, complex economic systems.

                Tom, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but Adam Smith didn’t really think there was an ‘invisible hand’ in the aether guiding the actions of narrowly self-interested people. Sometimes people use words to present a picture rather than provide an analysis.

                You guys are just not accounting for reality.

                Like the reality of the ‘invisible hand’? Tom, you gotta do better than that.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Mr. Stillwater, the answer to your challenge to my position—and Adam Smith’s—is no, since you have not remotely restated it fairly. Do better or piss off.

                Peace.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I gotta add that this

                But if the “market” were so cleverly constructed by the Powers That Be, it would never fail.

                gotta laugh.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I gotta add this in reply, Mr. Stillwater: Make me a taco, see above. Let’s see who laughs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Still burning down that strawman, eh?

                What’s your theory Tom: that greed motivates people to act as they do, or that self interest does? Are those words synonymous to you? Does a person’s self interest encompass the needs and desires of their family, their loved ones? Does it encompass even the needs and desires of their neighbor? When does it become benevolence?

                I gotta be honest with ya Tom, I get tired of these five word answers to complex questions, as if human beings – let alone institutions that derive from a multiplicity of motives – can be reduced to sound bites.

                It reveals more about the person uttering them than anything about the institutions and people their supposed to be describing.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                deliberately not quoting ASmith on moneyed interests?
                or is it out of ignorance, or simply that you think you’re more coherent by sounding”up to date”?Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          Working 12 hour days is much more workable in knowledge/ white collar jobs. If you are a lawyer or financial type those extra few hours can have less of a physical toll and bring large rewards which can mitigate some of that toll. If you are in many blue collar and labor jobs its possible to do those long days for short periods but usually only when you are young and before you body breaks down.Report

  14. Avatar Scott says:

    Dem Rep. Ellison suggests that regulations create jobs. Now we really are in bizzaro world. He ought to be on Barry’s jobs creation committee.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/10/11/dem-rep-regulations-are-totally-awesome-for-job-creation-or-something/Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      The TSA certainly did. Gotta problem with that?
      Do you really believe that the English System is better than the American one?Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      He’s got a point. There are “compliance manager” jobs that exist now that didn’t exist before things like Sarbanes-Oxley or the CPSIA. Jobs have been created. (of course, we had to give up other jobs to pay for these created jobs.)Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Yeah. I’d rather we have productive jobs that make things. And americans to buy them. I’ll take stupid pencil pusher health care jobs, but taht don’t mean I need to like ’emReport

  15. Avatar Kimmi says:

    It saddens me that the most illuminating comment on this 53% crowd comes from a bot.Report

  16. Avatar Kimmi says:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1
    P0rn. Chart P0rn.

    What Agent Koz and people like him keep on saying is “la la there ain’t no problem!” (okay, to be a bit more charitable, it would be “we need to lower taxes on the rich” — despite the rather obvious counterpoint — “why wouldn’t they invest in places with maximal growth — AKA China not the US???”)

    Which is really really fucked in the head. Even Mises would say there’s a fucking problem.Report

  17. I’ve never paid income taxes for all legitimate reasons: Age 0 – 22: dependent; age 22 – 27: lived and worked in Japan. Does that mean I have no right to vote or otherwise voice my political opinions? I imagine some people would say yes.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I think it’s important to note the distinction between “you do not have a right to speak, or to hand out pamphlets, or to peacefully assemble, or to petition the government for redress of grievances” and “stop whining, jeez louise”.Report

  18. Avatar Joecitizen says:

    White, thats funny stuff. I fit the criteria! If you trace anyones genetics back 12 generations you start to understand the idiocy of racism.

    There is little favoritism, where i live, i AM the minority. No affirmative action for “whites”.

    The biggy that people are missing, the nuts and bolts that make a great country is the human capitol. You can fly whatever flag you want, label every grouping of people as you will, but the longevity of any government, or citizen base is built upon it.

    If you want to know an indicator of human capital just look at what the people in charge do when no one is looking. As time goes by the don’t even hide the obvious stuff. Over time the citizen base will become anomic, and the entire human capital in the citizen base will decline.Report

  19. Avatar Joecitizen says:

    Personally I’m no big fan of whining either. I think everyone should keep it bottled up. Purchase high caliber weapons and excessive amounts of ammunition as a hobby.

    No need to nip stuff in the bud early, eventually conditions will get intolerable.

    I always like the upside.Report

  20. Avatar Joecitizen says:

    Yeah thats a plan, send a pyromaniac to a petroleum rich country.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      … you’re calling yoruself a pyromaniac?
      No, Saudi Arabia has 90% of their population armed, many with assault rifles.
      And you wonder why the Arab Spring lit the markets afire?Report

  21. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Look at all those bums protesting that there are no jobs. Why don’t they get a job?Report

  22. Avatar Joecitizen says:

    Just 90%, I guess that leaves 10% gun squeamish. Texas is a whole different state of mind. Ever wake up to a neighbor squeezing off rounds on a semi auto 50 caliber?Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      no, but I have been to the Socialist Republic of Austin.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      … knew a guy what pulled a gun on some kids setting fireworks off in front of his house. Thought they were mortars, ya see…
      (in all fairness, they were on his property…)Report

      • Avatar Joecitizen says:

        One sunday a big black suburban was entering our driveway. Our pet indicated something was out of place. Glanced out the window and a really big glossy black suburban with black tinted windows was heading up the drive.

        I chambered a round in my 45 auto and slid it carefully in my front jeans pocket. Untucked my shirt so it covered the handle. You never know how a meet and greet is going to go, and this one had an official flare to it.

        It felt an eternity waiting for someone to exit the vehicle. Finally a well polished fellow exits the the side door and slowly walks my direction. No bulges in his clothes so my attention stayed on the vehicle to make sure this wasn’t a decoy. He introduces himself as a Jehovas witness. Gave me a pamplet about how people are recking the environment and hopes to see me at their conference.Report

  23. Avatar Joecitizen says:

    HA, yeah I guess if taxation was directly linked to representation we wouldn’t pay a dime.Report

  24. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    The 53 Strike Back: 1200 #OWS products on eBay! [via Drudge]

    God Bless America.Report

  25. Avatar JDubya says:

    Only complete weaklings would whimp out wanting the “government” to step in. We are the government. Perhaps if the “99%” would collectively pull their heads out of each others’ assholes, stop foolishly signing onto student loans studying anthropology or some other worthless circular field and start with physics and engineering, leave their trust funds and mom’s basement, pull up their drawstrings, get a clue and start a fucking business like many others have, then you would not be whining like a bunch of babies, demanding that the rest of us who have been paying through the nose to support your pot-fuckfest.

    Your time has come. The party is over.

    Get to work, asshole. And quit thinking you are some sort of genius writer of prose attempting to humiliate the rest of us.

    When we begin to boycott you: not hiring you worthless slackers, not selling goods and services regardless how desparate you become, and not giving you the time of day, then you will all fade away into the aether like a bad dream.Report

    • Avatar JDubya says:

      Wow. Loser hack drops the n-bomb.

      I guess for you, here are two phrases you realy should learn for your future…:

      “paper or plastic?”

      “welcome to Walmart!”

      Just a news alert for you, “k”. All of these worthless slobs do not possess a scientific or engineering degree from an accredited institution.

      Prove me wrong, crackhead…Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        I’m not real good with JDubya’s rhetorical assault here, but as long as mgmt permits such things, I see no reason why the leftish should have all the transgressive fun.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I always wince when people that might be mistaken for holding positions similar to mine say stuff of that caliber, myself.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. says:

          I don’t know about mgmt, but I was out at band practice for the last few hours and celebrating my birthday, incidentally. I think the fact that we lack a full-time lifeguard at this pool means we “permit” lots of things.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            Also, since we’re apparently discussing engineering majors now, does anyone have a theory about why so many of the terrorists in the last decade or so have been engineering majors? I’ve been wondering that for a while. Is there something about the work that attracts rigid thinkers or dogmatists?Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Rufus, I think we all take a guilty pleasure when such douchebaggery suits our druthers.

            I’m in between abjuring it and encouraging more of it for balance. Mgmt’s call, I reckon, but if we’re gonna have goose, we need a fishuvalot more gander.

            See also

            https://ordinary-times.com/timkowal/2011/10/14/uncivil-tongues-the-bad-manners-of-the-babykillers/

            down in the LoOG’s basement there. [ADV.]Report

            • Avatar Rufus F. says:

              Really? Maybe they just haven’t hit my sweet spot yet, but I usually just find the comments by really! fishing! angry! people who want to convey that anger here sort of depressing, whether they want to explain why Republicans are “retards”, Jason is a “fascist” (seriously-what?!?!), or we the good people are about to turn on the protesters and give them what’s coming to them. It’s the same when there’s some jerk yelling in the bar- I go there to hang out and chat, not be someone’s free therapist.

              As for our response, I’ve long thought we should very rarely ban people, but remove a lot more comments than we do.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          I’m not real good with JDubya’s rhetorical assault here, but as long as mgmt permits such things, I see no reason why the leftish should have all the transgressive fun.

          Don’t make the same mistake as the vulgar left: Not everything transgressive is fun.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

        I’ve deleted the comment. Not cool, I agree. But see Rufus, below, about working without a full-time lifeguard.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

          Well, maybe you should take the lead and tell him that we use ‘fish’ or some variant thereof for the ‘f’ word. Maybe he would agree not to be so vulgar.
          I think he’s a frustrated libertarian.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        … this would have been funnier if you had used advice dog.
        … just saying.Report

    • Physics is worthless. Forces don’t even exist.Report

  26. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Okay, so the 53% idea is that the government should be collecting income taxes from the other 47%? So they’re Republicans calling for higher taxes? No that doesn’t make sense. So they’re saying the 47% should shut the hell up? Or that we shouldn’t listen to 47% of the country because they’re parasites on the 53%? Well, so long as they’re opposed to “class warfare”.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      It’s a variant of the “ROADS!” argument.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      My take on the tumblr is that they’re just proud of their accomplishments, and more power to ’em. (Some display the pride with more grace than others, but that’s perfectly normal…)

      No, the people explicitly proposing raising taxes on the 47% (as well as a chunk of the lower part of the 53%), while being unwilling to talk about raising them on the upper end of the 53% are incumbent Republican office holders and frontrunning presidential candidates:

      http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/gop-demands-middle-class-tax-hikes.php?ref=fpblgReport

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Is there anyone talking about just fixing America’s ridiculously labyrinthine and jiggered tax code so that everyone pays their fair share from the top to the bottom? Because, you know, I had an economist once say to me that the US has two problems that need to be fixed soon: the structural deficit and the tax code, both of which he felt could be pretty easily fixed by someone with a red pen willing to be unpopular.Report

  27. Avatar Redraike says:

    Yeah, and those people who work three jobs just to keep a bank account open…clearly the American Dream is dead when big companies make it near impossible for the hard working man to ENTER the global or even local marketplace without the 1%’s venture capital, let alone be competetive in it. Face it, the 1890s idea of Lassaiz-Faire capitalism died in the 1890s.Report

  28. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Oh, I *hate* it when a comment gets deleted. It snarfs the threading for the entire rest of the post.Report

  29. Avatar SAM says:

    And I thought I will hear the OWS write ‘we don’t have jobs what should we do lets smoke weed and harrass cops.’ Get a job. Ive seen more legalize weed sings than anything else. Yall suck get out of the way.Report