What started as a simple Tax Day fan page to highlight the striking fact that 95% (actually 98%!) of working Americans got a tax cut from Obama -- has generated a massive outpouring of support from people across the country and the world. Our facebook fans shot up from 2K to 30K and we've received thank you letters from senior citizens, high school students, and even Americans serving in Afghanistan.
This response shows that Americans are hungry for a positive, truthful and grassroots effort to address the challenges facing our nation. Washington and Wall St. need to hear from the rest of us!
The rest of us, it turns out, includes a few more of us than we even knew, and to reflect that, we had to change our name from The Other 95% to The Other 98%. Think of it as an upgrade. :-)
As we state on our website:
It's just a few percentage points, but that 3% makes a big difference.
First off, as some of you pointed out to us, we actually got our own numbers wrong: 98%, not 95%, of working Americans received a tax cut from President Obama. Admit your mistakes and correct them, that's what our mommas taught us, and that's what we're doing (It doesn't often happen in politics, but hey, this is politics for the rest of us.)
Also, while we're talking taxes and numbers, us 98%ers are facing another important decision: whether Congress will let former President Bush's tax cuts (which went overwhelmingly to the top 2%) expire.
So, there's two good reasons to shift to 98%.
Most importantly, as we began planning our next steps after Tax Day, we quickly realized that we are trying to win a rigged game. The noisy, fringe of the far right wing is mostly a distraction from America's real problems. In truth, both our economy and our democracy have been corrupted by an Elite 2% that are selling out the American dream. Every day Wall St. still flaunts the same financial weapons of mass destruction that brought down our economy and continue to wreak havoc on the middle class. It's not that the Tea Party isn't dangerous -- it's that we need to focus on making our economy and government work for us. That said, we're more than happy to take on the Tea Party along the way -- with, um, the facts and basic American values.
In sum, we want this group to be more than just an "anti-Tea Party" project, but to serve as a way many Americans can come together to address the bigger picture issues, such as how the very few are gaming our democracy at the expense of the very many. We want to continue to serve as a fact-base counterbalance to the Tea Party, but we know that our country's problems are bigger than their belly-aching.
We are planning next steps and tackling the bigger fish -- like Wall Street titans gaming our system. Financial regulation is the big fight in Congress right now and it behooves us to be a part of that conversation. We need strong, sensible, practical oversight so Wall Street can't crash our entire economy again.
With luck it will be our positive, problem-solving message that helps further de-legitimize the fear, paranoia and name-calling of the Tea Party.
The forums on our Facebook page and website is evolving as a place where those Americans feeling left out of fringe politics (in either direction) can engage in thoughtful dialogue, target real problems and (but for a few loud trolls) explore and debate practical solutions.
If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans fed up with fringe politics, please be sure to sign up for updates, so you can stay in the loop for upcoming events and participatory actions.
Follow Marco Ceglie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@mkoshark