The phrase “work three jobs” appears frequently in stories about economic malaise. It generally refers to people whom are underemployed and working many labor-intensive, low-benefit, low-paying jobs in order to pay their bills and get by. Of course, part of the reason it comes up so much is that the economy is so bad that there really are a large number of people working multiple jobs to pay their bills and still struggling.
Conservatives, seeking to dampen the message of the “We are the 99 Percent” message put forth by the Occupy Wall Street protesters, started a tumblr of their own titled “We are the 53 percent.” While the 99 percent refers to the overwhelming majority of Americans who have watched government prop up financial institutions while taking half-measures to help ordinary citizens through a punishing recession, the “53 percent” refers to the percentage of Americans who pay federal income taxes, the implication being that those Americans who don’t make enough money to pay income taxes are scofflaws living lives of lavish comfort. People who don’t pay federal income taxes nevertheless pay other kinds of taxes, state taxes, payroll taxes, and the like, but why get bogged down in the details when you’re trying to portray half the country as a bunch of shiftless freeloaders?
Conservative blogger Erick Erickson, in the tumblr’s first post interprets the “work three jobs” thing somewhat differently than we’ve seen it used before:
Erickson’s three jobs? I emailed him to ask but he didn’t respond. Based on his various online biographies, however, he’s managing editor of a blog, he hosts a radio show, and he’s a CNN contributor. He’s the hardest working man in America since all the other media personalities you see on cable television every day, giving their opinion on stuff.
“Get a job hippies!” Erickson advises. No seriously.