Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Who is in the Top 1%? Don’t ask the New York Times – Tom Rossi

I’ve now heard an obvious piece of propaganda used by several journalistic organizations, including the New York Times and ABC television News. It has to do with who it is that’s being asked by the rest of us to pay their fair share of taxes.

What is the propaganda? The phrase, “high wage-earners.” The news media has chosen, without any apparent logic, to use this phrase repeatedly.

This, to me, serves as even more evidence that the media is not biased toward the left, as is often claimed, but largely toward the rich and powerful.

The purpose, as near as I can tell, is to kill the fair tax movement (not the official name or anything) by making it appear that those who are being “picked on” are doctors, accountants, engineers, and so forth. Baloney. The “1%” DOES NOT refer to the top 1% of wage-earners at all. It refers to those in the top 1% of net worth. They earn money by owning things. Their earnings are from stock transactions, and real estate and other investments – mostly what are categorized as capital gains.

Think your doctor can afford this?

The same authors of the original NYTimes article that raised too many eyebrows made a weak attempt at reconciliation with their readers, but they spent a lot of print basically defending their position and feigning concession while diverting attention from their shortcomings that it didn’t accomplish much.

So let’s settle, once and for all, who is “rich” and who is not. Here’s a quick test:

Call your U.S. Senator’s office in Washington, D.C. Tell whoever answers your name and ask to speak to the senator right away.

If the senator picks up the phone, you are rich. If not, you are not rich.

OK, I’m exaggerating… a little. The point is that the people that should be paying their fair share are not “wage-earners.” They are powerful forces that can bend our actual government to their liking, if they are so inclined. It was the efforts of a very large subset of this group that brought about the policies that led to the current state of imbalance.

Pointing to the top 1% of salaries is willfully dishonest. It distracts and robs credibility from the real issue.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.



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