Thoughts on OWS’s “99%” constituency (thanks to Josh Barro from The National Review Online):
The 99th percentile of Americans, by income, starts with households earning incomes of $593,000. The “We Are the 99 percent” branding puts somebody making $500,000 per year on the oppressed-and-downtrodden side of the wage divide. Indeed, “99 percent” is so expansive a designation that it includes most of the bankers working on Wall Street.
Now, even the far left seems to be endorsing the idea that we can pay for government without touching the poor, the middle class, or even people who are, quite frankly, rich—just not super-rich. If government does valuable and important things, and can’t afford to pay for them with our current tax code, why has it become a consensus view that the vast majority of Americans should get a pass on paying more?
I don’t mean to encourage the Occupy Wall Street protesters to shift their class-warfare target and aim lower. But I do think further reinforcement of the idea that we can make everything better by taking more money from a small elite of super-rich people is unhealthy regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum.
So is there validity to OWS’s 99% constituency? Is it ethical to shift the tax burden from 99% to the top 1%? Is OWS calling for a piggy-back ride from the rich? Feedback welcomed.