COMMENTARY | You have heard the slogan, “We are the 99%.” It is perhaps the one message that is pretty consistent coming from Occupy Wall Street and its copycats across the nation. What does this slogan mean? They claim that it means that the protestors represent 99 percent of the U.S. population in opposing the top 1 percent of wage-earners.
The 99 percent crowd claims that they represent everyone who is not in the top 1 percent of wage earners. If accurate, the goals of the Occupy Protesters would be backed by nearly everyone. However when I looked at recent Gallup poll results, I found that the Occupy Protests only garner 26 percent support. Most Americans polled by Gallup, at 52 percent, are uncertain or indifferent. That is hardly rousing support and not enough to claim representation of 99 percent of Americans.
What about the most popular goals of the Occupy Protesters? Do most Americans support the goals without necessarily supporting the protests themselves? One of the major gripe of the Occupy Wall Street Protest is blaming the banks and corporations for the poor economy. National polls however do not show support in this issue either with only 30 percent blaming financial institutions for the poor economy. In fact more Americans, 64 percent, blame the policies of federal government for the economy mess. This is in direct contradiction of the people who claim to represent 99 percent of Americans.
So what do the people who march to the slogan of “We are the 53%” claim? They claim to represent the hard-working taxpaying Americans whose taxes go to support this nation. That is simple fact. Tax data show that 53 percent of Americans pay into the tax system while 47 percent have zero tax liability. They are asked to give more and more to a system a get less and less out of it. They are a frustrated group of people who feel under appreciated by the government and by those who benefit from their tax dollars. Their slogans are ones of personal achievement and rising above your circumstances:
“Life’s hard, lower your shoulder and keep going.”
“From homeless to success”
When it comes down to the two sides, I identify more with the 53 percent. They actually represent something I can support, hard work and fiscal responsibility. It appears the 99 percent crowd only wish to complain and point fingers in a million different directions. Sometimes the best way to point a finger is into a mirror.