For the Americans whose income levels require them to pay income taxes - call them the “makers” - they have a discrete and clear interest in taxes remaining low and in government being made leaner and more efficient. This dynamic has been described in Patrick J. Buchanan’s new best-selling book, “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”
Today, the top 1 percent of all income earners account for 40 percent of the federal taxes. If you confiscated every penny earned by the top 1 percent, you would gain about $1 trillion, wiping out these productive Americans and still not balancing the budget.
Mr. Obama has proposed raising taxes on the wealthy as a “jobs program,” but Congress has summarily rejected it.
Class warfare may make for useful political rhetoric, but one inconvenient fact persists: As Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity has said, “I never got a job from a poor person.”
Over the past month, some of the most desperate Americans have been callously used as props in the Occupy movement, with their deepest fears used for the political benefit of the left. Many have received money for protesting. Many support radical left-wing policies.
What do they want? No one knows.
Mr. Schoen’s polling firm recently surveyed nearly 200 Occupy protesters in New York City and found that only 15 percent were unemployed. He argues that what motivates this group is a commitment to an extreme agenda and an opposition to the capitalist system.
The Tea Party, which was launched organically in April 2009 in response to the Wall Street bailout, had a clear policy agenda: End the bailouts, balance the budget, reduce taxes and adhere to the Constitution.
The Occupy movement has no official list of demands and no apparent interest in achieving a legislative objective. They are just mad as hell, and they don’t want to take it anymore.
However, they are takers.
Until America becomes a place where every citizen is personally invested in not just the benefits, but also the costs, of government, we will remain a divided nation of makers, takers and, for now, occupiers.