Here’s to the 53% Who Pay Taxes and Want You to Occupy a Job

My BFF, who is a girl, who is in HR and who loves cats – yep – that Cynical Girl, Laurie Ruettimannwrote a post this week about an article I sent her yesterday from CNN Money titled The 53%: We Are NOT Occupy Wall Street.

The article is about this great group of American’s who pay taxes – no that’s not 99 percent of Americans – it’s about 53 percent of us. Us 53 percent allow for our non-paying 99 percenters to go sit in a park and attempt to speak for all of us not making as much as the richest 1 percent of Americans. From CNN Money:

They call themselves the 53% … as in the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes. And they are making their voices heard on Tumblr blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages devoted to stories of personal responsibility and work ethic.

The number originates in the estimate that roughly 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The 53 percenters stress the fact that they are paying the taxes that support the government assistance the protesters say they want.”

Attack the rich? Hey, I want to win Powerball!

I’ve already said in another post here at TLNT (Occupy Wall Street? You Probably Just Work Hard and Occupy Your Cube), that I don’t understand these 99 percent-ers. It’s not that I don’t support (or not support) their cause; I’m indifferent. Not indifferent to those out there looking for a job – I feel their plight — but I’m indifferent to how the 99 percenters are going about voicing their outrage and choosing to go after rich people as their target.

The problem with our economy is not rich people. We’ve always had rich people, and God willing, America will always have rich people. I mean seriously, the Lotto is the last great American Dream we have. Everybody wants to win the Powerball — $173 million this Saturday; I already bought my ticket, so this is probably my last post after Saturday. Sorry suckers – but I’ll be rich! Just ordered my “I’m in the 1 percent-er cube, get off my lawn!” hoodie.

Here’s what I know: Right after sending this article to Laurie, I drove home in my SUV. As I drove up various busy streets I counted seven (7) “Help Wanted” signs – seven! – in about a two-mile stretch. “Help Wanted” — in Michigan!

I just left my desk, where I have over 100 openings I’m trying to find talent for,  and I just got off the phone with companies planning to hire many more in the near future. I spoke to one company in my area who could hire as many people as I could find – these are good jobs – potentially making $40k a year. The guy I’m talking to can’t find people who are willing to do the work.

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“The vast majority .. want to be employed”

I then drove by a small park in downtown Lansing, Michigan, less than a mile from the State Capitol building, and I saw 25 or so 99 percenter protestors and their camp. Are the jobs available all white collar jobs paying $65k a year, sitting behind a desk?  No, they are not. I’m sure most of the “Help Wanted” signs have some manual labor involved, starting at the bottom, but all have some potential.

Here’s what HR has taught me over the last 20 years: Not everyone wants to be out of a job; the vast majority of people want to be employed. There is a percentage of the workforce that puts as little effort as they can to keep their job and still get paid. Under 5 percent unemployment is pretty much zero percent unemployment, because not many of us HR Pros want that bottom 4 percent. Of the 15 million Americans who are unemployed – out of 300 million Americans – 3 million of those don’t want to work to support themselves. That’s reality.

There are a lot of numbers out there, and everyone has their opinion, but I’m in HR so I’m not sharing mine. Being on the fence is where I’m most comfortable!

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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4 Comments on “Here’s to the 53% Who Pay Taxes and Want You to Occupy a Job

  1. I’m a girl in HR. This means I am not very good at math. Here’s what I know: four unemployed workers for every job in America. 

    GET A JOB. THEN SHARE IT WITH THREE OTHER PEOPLE.

    That’s the American way.

  2. Yes there are people who are lazy and want to live off the government —– that is what all my rich friends say.   I’m in HR too and there is more here than meets the eye.   People who have lost their jobs, for the most part are not laborers.   If they interviewed for the manual jobs mentioned above, they would not be hired because they are not “experienced” or are “over-qualified”.   Also let’s look at Company XYZ that complains they cannot find the talent they need.   Before layoffs they had employee A, employee B and employee C.   Each did their own job.   Then when layoffs hit — employees B and C were laid off.   Employee A was expected to pick up the work of employees B and C.    Then employee A got fed up and left the compay.   Now the company is trying the “perfect” person to do A, B, and C.    Oh — and they don’t want to pay anymore than they paid employee A.    Impossible.

    Companies don’t want to hire college grads because they have no experience and can’t “hit the ground running”.   (See latest Cappelli’s article on companies that don’t want to train.)   And companies don’t want to hire experienced people that could do more than the opening requires because they are over-qualified.  Doesn’t matter that they could bring much more to the table than the company ever had in that position.

    Catch 22.  And, not to be offensive, to top it all off recruiting is given to the most junior people in HR that go strictly by the written description without using their brain and figuring out to make the most of the person sitting in front of them.

    Read this link.  
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/10/23/how-i-learned-to-love-the-goddamned-hippies.html

  3. Ok, Ive been waiting all week to respond to this post but was working long hours to finish a project- so I guess I am in the 53% group or maybe I am in the 99 percentile. Either way, one thing I know is that many of us who do have businesses, jobs and assets are becoming increasingly concerned that the quality of life and opportunity for many in this nation is being eroded rapidly. I dont blame corporations. There sole mission is to maximize shareholder value. Period.  However, the same does not hold true for our government. To me, the OWS movement is a response to the inappropriate relationship that exists between the govt and corporations and the benefits that both reap at the expense of society. The fact that the rich have gotten richer and the poor poorer is just one byproduct of the situation. I was surprised to learn that many feel the ows movement is an anti-business movement. I dont see it as such. Many economists  have cited the presence and prominence of our middle class as being the single most important factor in our nation’s achieving and sustaining its status as a world power.  That segment of our society is disappearing before our eyes.  Hiring people, knowing people who are hiring or seeing help wanted signs doesn’t mean that there is, or will be in the future, the kind of economic growth to sustain our country and the quality of lives for the majority of people that live here.  So when it comes to whether you side with the “haves” or “have nots”, if you view this as some kind of class war,  the days of sitting on the fence are waning, if we dont speak up now,  there will not be no middle ground in the future.

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