Thursday, October 13, 2011

53% Bull

It sure doesn't take the right wing long to manufacture a new meme, does it? Like they were just waiting to roll that out. Their target audience are people like me - folks who work jobs and pay taxes and who might be lured into a state of cultural and economic panic if I thought there were a bunch of poor folks out there getting away with stuff.

It doesn't matter that plenty of the other 47%, those lucky enough to have poverty-wage jobs, still pay income taxes, and end up eligible for a tax return. It doesn't matter that everyone has "skin in the game" because everyone pays taxes on almost any service they recieve, or depend on those services and infrastructure to support the dynamic economy necessary for them to rise out of poverty. What matters is how easily it is to demonize the most at-risk populations in this country, who have the least political agency. What matters is selling a lie that there is some 53% of hard-working Americans "supporting" the other 47% of lazy Americans.

It is an easy lie to sell to folks, given enough economic insecurity. But it doesn't take a lot to get past it. When I pay taxes, I don't get angry that people who don't make as much money as I do pay less income taxes. That wouldn't make sense. I do get angry that people who make more than me - sometimes much, much, much, much more - pay less income taxes. Or when those folks get special government rules and tax-breaks for projects that would make them even more money. Guess where that money comes from?

But right-wingers don't want me to think about things like that. They want me to resent the less fortunate as if folks living in poverty are getting away with something. But you know what? That they would so shamelessly lie to me about the way of the world really pisses me off. They can't just advance a different political vision of the country (like Ron Paul does), they have to try and scare me into a panic with easily repeatable lies. And I know they are lies, living as I do in a city where you can find both crushing poverty and immense wealth. Some of us might call that "the real world."

That doesn't matter to the right-winger, despite all their talk-talk about accountability and Real America (TM). That's because existing in the land of make believe has its advantages when it comes to building political narratives to try and win elections. You can get away with so much more than if you have to consider reality, reason, and accountabilty.

Luckily, Jon Stewart already destroyed this meme some weeks back. Or, at least, the previous incarnation of it. I'm sure once this 53% nonsense fades away, they'll roll out a different way to tell the same lie.


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