On April 15th, alongside the Tea Party's Tax Day protest in DC, members of "The Other 95%," a new group we recently formed on Facebook, were on the Mall holding two huge signs reading "The Other 95% Say Thanks For Our Tax Cuts, Obama!"
Our members were initially motivated by a CBS News report showing that 95 percent of working Americans received a tax cut from Obama, but only 12 percent knew it. "I didn't know it," said Andrew Boyd, a writer, small business owner and one of our group's founders. "Many of my friends didn't know it, and it's pretty obvious these tea party folks don't know it either." According to a recent Citizens for Tax Justice report, that number is actually as high as 98 percent.
"The Tea Party is the far right fringe of the Republican party and doesn't represent the American people," said Alex Lawson, a volunteer with The Other 95%. On Tax Day he and Boyd and other 95%ers were willing to face a hostile reception from Tea Party activists in order to get our very simple -- but very true -- message out.
Our message has clearly struck a nerve. Since the initial April 15 action on the Mall, The Other 95% Facebook group has grown to 21,000 members in four days. The people joining up are ready for action. "I have been looking for this kind of organization for a long time!" comments CheerfulGal. "When and where is the next rally?" PurpleHeartVet wants to know. The answer might be: Wall Street, and soon.
We also acknowledge that some of the Tea Party anger is justified. The middle class is overburdened. Democracy is broken. But most Americans agree that the answer is not smaller or bigger government, it's effective government. The real problem is Wall Street and their K street lobbyists that have corrupted Washington and rigged the system in their favor.
"I think this shows how sick Americans are of the paranoia and hate that has gripped the news coverage of the Tea Party for the last year," adds Lawson. "The public is ready to embrace a positive message. Average Americans are finding their voices and standing up to Wall Street."
Our group's tag line is "Politics for the Rest of Us." If we can live up to that, America will likely be better off for it.