A Message to the 53 Percent
Congratulations on successfully mastering a condescending tone. I have some news for you, though: you are part of the 99 percent. I am part of the 99 percent. My neighbor in his brand new Prius is part of the 99 percent. Our grievances are wide-reaching. Our stories and backgrounds are vastly different. [more]
A great take on this.
from PP’s post below the fold:
“The richest 5 percent of households obtained roughly 82 percent of all the nation’s gains in wealth between 1983 and 2009. The bottom 60 percent of households actually had less wealth in 2009 than in 1983, meaning they did not participate at all in the growth of wealth over this period.”
This is the problem with the “53%” tagline: they don’t realize just how badly they are being fucked. If the distribution of wealth in this country were more equitable, you wouldn’t have to work as hard. How is it rational to simply be complacent when we know from historical data that it doesn’t have to be this way?
This is my main issue with Conservatives who seem to believe that greater effort in one’s affairs, much like tax cuts, will always solve your problems. The answer always seems to be “work harder.” Really? What intolerable ignorance. There is currently 1 job open for every 5 job-seeking individuals. Everyone who is newly unemployed since 2008 had a job before the recession hit. These individuals are not unemployed because they choose to be.
And 100 hour work-weeks? Great for you. I’m sure every American would be proud to work 100 hours a week without complaining, right? That’s entirely reasonable. I mean that’s medically healthy, right? I mean, this country didn’t literally have extended periods of labor-related violence over work conditions of that nature, right? And when it comes to starting a small business, surely anyone can start a business when banks aren’t willing to loan you capital, right? But of course, to start a small business, you should probably learn how, meaning going to school, and taking on student loan debt, which will count against you when you go to take out a business loan, making banks even LESS likely to loan you capital to start a small business, right?
People living in hunterer-gatherer societies don’t even have to work this hard to survive. If you have to work 100-hour work weeks to make ends meet, you’d literally be better off stripping naked and running into the woods to live among the wolves. To be complacent in that sort of situation, and expect others to be as well, is self-defeating and absurd.
None of these protesters are complaining about a 60-hour work week; I’m sure many of them would view such a commitment as onerous, but I haven’t seen a single sign that says this is one of their central issues. I haven’t met anyone that supports these protests who feels you shouldn’t be willing to work more than 40 hours/week to be successful. They’d probably be happy to just find a job that paid them enough to make ends meet. And that’s why the sort of hyperbolic nonsense on display here completely misses the point. These so-called “99%” aren’t complaining because they’re not willing to work hard. They’re not complaining because they’re just “sitting on their ass.” They’re complaining because they played by the rules, and now they can’t make ends meet. They’re complaining because the same system under which they have tried to make a life for themselves seems to benefit some people much more than others. If you’re working 60-100 hours a week at a middle-class salary, do you honestly feel that a Corporate Executive who makes $10’s of millions of dollars a year is working harder than you? The attitude which says “there’s nothing wrong with this, suck it up,” is not only patronizing to people who want to work hard but can’t find work; it’s outright irrational and self-destructive.