Right-wing blogger Erick Erickson has started a “We Are The 53 Percent” Tumblr as a conservative alternative to Occupy Wall Street, referencing the 53% of Americans who pay federal income tax, ostensibly in contrast to the protesters who do not.
Erickson reportedly worked with Josh Trevino, of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, and conservative filmmaker Mike Wilson to launch the site.
53% refers to a statistic that 47% of Americans don’t pay income tax, which has become a popular conservative talking point. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt wrote about this number back in April 2010:
The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.
But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.
The idea of the “We Are The 53 Percent” Tumblr is that Occupy Wall Street protesters — who call themselves “the 99%” and have their own Tumblr featuring written testimonials from people who have fallen on tough economic times — are those who don’t pay their taxes, and who won’t take personal responsibility for their troubles.
“I would like to point out to these people that I work three jobs, can’t sell my house in this economy, still am paying massive student loans, and somehow or another do not blame Wall Street for my situation,” Erickson wrote in a post on Red State. “In fact, I’m one of the 53% — the 53% of Americans subsidizing these people so they can go hang out on Wall Street to complain.”
“Get a job hippies!” he added.
One of those three jobs Erickson mentions is CNN contributor.
“Suck it up you whiners. I am the 53 percent subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain,” Erickson wrote on the site’s Tumblr.
The rest of the posts have a similar message:
“I am NOT the 99%, and whether or not you are is your decision,” one poster writes.
“I take risks so my kids can have a better life,” a small business owner writes. “Not so you can sit on your ass at my expense.”
“No jobs? Or an unwillingness to look for them?” another post asks.