Via Good magazine, I came across the website "We Are the 1 Percent We Stand with the 99 Percent." I suppose I should have put a spoiler alert in that previous sentence, but the title of the site pretty much gives the plot away. The site consists of photos of affluent young folks who are literally begging to be taxed more than they are.
Aping the style of "We Are the 99 Percent" sites, the contributors obscure their faces not with Zapatista-style ski masks but signs touting their good fortune to be born lucky and rich, but their ardent desire for forcible redistribution of income.
Some of the sayings are almost like fiscal koans:
In my home town, everyone had enough. Growing up, I thought it was like that everywhere.
Why can’t it be?
Some are more straightforward in what might be called trust-fund masochism. Rather than getting on with giving away their gains, they need to be forced to do so.
I am a beneficiary of my family’s wealth, but I did nothing to earn it. I happened to be born into a family that has made lots and lots of money, invested it wisely, and established trusts for future generations. Because of that wealth, I have led a very privileged life.
Because of that wealth, I have a responsibility to give back, and to call for social and economic justice. I am the 1% and I stand with the 99%.
Kudos to the guilt-ridden 1 percenter scions who are doing their best to get rid of all the money burning holes in their pockets and their souls:
My dad has spent his life accumulating wealth, because to him, money is love.
My parents both grew up with the fear of not having enough. Their parents grew up poor.
When I was 25, my parents gave me a $100k check. There’s lots more where that came from.
The money sent me into a spiral of shame and denial.
Now at age 30, I’ve started giving it away to organizations working for ECONOMIC & RACIAL JUSTICE.
That’s something I can do, and it makes me feel better, but I know it’s not enough.
I don’t want to live in a world where money represents love.
I don’t want to live in a world where some people accumulate way too much - because they’re scared of not having enough.
We ALL should have enough.
I am the 1%
I stand with the 99%
I don't mean to sound glib when I say to the person above: All child-parent relationships involve shame, denial, recriminations, positive and negative feelings, ambivalence, you name it. None of that is made worse by getting money from the people responsible for your being born. I am quite confident that my generally very good relationship with my folks would have been better still if they had been able to hand me a $100k check when I turned 25. Or when I turned 35, or 45, or even when they passed away.
Look, even the Beatles knew way back when that money can't buy you love. But you know what? It can buy a lot of other things. And if you think you felt shame and denial when your 'rents were tossing $100,000 in your lap, think about what you'd be feeling if they were asking to bum some money off you instead.
If these latter-day Veronica Lodges and Reggie Mantles are interested in doing something right now to help relatively poor people out, I would recommend that they create a nonprofit designed to pay taxes for whatever subset of the 99 Percenters they want to support. Due to FICA taxes, everybody (even most illegal immigrants who, far from being "undocumented," have fake Social Security cards and hence kick in payroll taxes they will never recoup in any way, shape, or form) gets taxed every pay period from dollar one until about dollar $108,000. That would be one way to help the less-fortunate out and it wouldn't involve forcing all of us to drop more tax money into the already-leaky bucket that is government spending. And if that doesn't float your boat, then just send your money directly to the U.S. Treasury, who will doubtlessly put it to good use retiring the public debt.
Incidentally, if anyone is wondering what it takes to crack the 1 Percent of households in these United States, here you go: $343,927 in 2009.
Earlier this year, horror novelist and rich guy Stephen King, along with Hillary Clinton and Warren Buffett, asked why he wasn't paying 50 percent in taxes.
The short answer is that people in his wealth class were too busy paying 40 percent of all income taxes: