Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Chapel Hill-The Occupation Begins

Couldn't resist. I hauled out the camera and went down to check out the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street protest in Chapel Hill on October 15th.

Not being in the mood to talk to the attendees right away, I sat on the wall of McCorkle Place across the street and just watched for a little while.  Others sitting on the wall were trying to figure out what one of the signs said. It said "Top 1% Y U no pay taxes??"  That sign was just a little ironic, and I said so. The top one percent pays very close to forty percent of the federal taxes. 

One of the young men sitting with me looking at the gathering crowd  was shocked by this idea and told me that I had it all wrong. He went on to explain that "the rich" get capital gains, and pay a very low rate on capital gains. And capital gains are not included in those figures, he said. But capital gains taxes are reported on the income tax return, and the IRS analyzes actual tax returns and tells us that the top one percent pay a full 38.02 percent of the federal income tax--including capital gains taxes. The same table shows that 69.94% of the federal income tax is attributable to the top ten percent of returns filed.  On the other hand, some 47 percent of people pay no federal income tax at all.

There is no denying that there is a "fair share" issue underlying the payment of  federal income tax. But to say the rich are not paying their fair share is disingenuous. 

The young man went on to speak of other "unfairness".  He works for National Geographic and is doing pretty well, but wants to go back to school and can't afford to do so. This, he explained is because our invasion of Iraq drove up the cost of college. Yes, I see your jaw dragging down. I could not figure that one out either.  People are making all kinds of very odd associations lately, as the left throws out ridiculous figures and tries to convince us that we need to be taken care of by their growing and lucrative government structure.

It was Game Day in Chapel Hill so the place was bustling so I got up and followed various groups who were talking about the protest. They all struggled to remember the name of the thing. One lady was telling her daughter that these are the same people who poop on the cop cars on Wall Street. Another man was disgusted with the entire thing.....said the protesters will only drive voters to the Republicans in November.

There were some pretty sophisticated posters plastered all over Franklin Street, on phone polls and on vacant store fronts. Some were in Spanish. When I finally got to the protest area and started to mingle, I saw a huge table of literature. All leftist stuff, would you believe? 

There was a general feeling that the people in the top one percent each got there through cheating, stealing, exploitation  and general unfairness. I listened to a self-described anarchist being interviewed. He said he doesn't guess that these people are going to willingly give up that money; therefore, the protesters are going to need to forcibly remove the assets from the top one percent. For some reason, the reporter did not ask the salient question: HOW?

It seemed like a nice bunch of people, but some of the signs were just incorrect and misleading, and the literature was pretty scary. Hearing the anarchist speak made me understand why they thought it necessary to post a phone number for legal help on their agenda.

I did not see any tents when I was there during the preliminaries. But the next day when I happened to drive by, I did spot about a dozen tents set up, and a group of people sitting in a circle. So this could go on for awhile. If so, I will try to post some more information about the OWS at the post office on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC. 

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