“We are the 99 percent.”
As you may or may not know, for almost a month now there have been thousands of people occupying a park near Wall Street in New York City as part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. This is not a few hippies camping out in a park smoking dank and singing Kumbaya; this is thousands and thousands of people from all walks of life protesting on Wall Street every day against corporate greed, and around the rallying cry of “We are the 99 percent.” However, the mainstream media has paid little attention to the protests, and what coverage there has been typically revolves around the supposed “unclear aims” of the movement.
Take new CNN anchor Erin Burnett on her show OutFront, for example. In a segment she calls (be sure to use your best Valley-Girl accent) “Seriously?!” Burnett goes down to Wall Street in order to find out what, exactly, the protests are about since, according to her, “nobody seems to know.” After smugly characterizing the protesters as banjo-playing, bongo-drumming, designer-yoga-pant-sporting hypocrites, she tries to make a fool of a gullible, unemployed computer software developer named “Dan.” Dan is frustrated with the bank bailout, but instead of letting him explain why, Burnett condescendingly informs him that the banks paid back all their bail out money plus interest, so there isn’t any good reason for the continuing “unrest.”
Seriously, Burnett? Seriously? “OMG, Seriously can you dirty hippies puuuhleease just, like, go away, ‘cuz ur totally making my Citigroup Executive fiancé like, serially P-O’d…”
Hey, Burnett, I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why all these protestors chose to protest on Wall Street, the financial capitol of the world, and not Madison Square Garden. I’m also fairly confident that when you hear a crowd chant, “We are the 99 percent,” they are not claiming they are the 99 percent of people that like ice cream. Put two and two together and it’s really not difficult to decipher the motive behind “Occupy Wall Street.” It’s not about whether or not the banks have paid back the bailouts. It’s about the fact that the banks received bailouts while regular folks lost their homes. Wall Street’s always got Wall Street’s back. Main Street’s? Not so much.
So, just to be clear, when the protesters on Wall Street chant, “We are the 99 percent,” THIS is what they are referring to: [see artwork]
Wall Street and the small number of super-rich continue to grab more and more of the American pie while the rest of the country’s portions get smaller and smaller. Currently, the top 1 percent of Americans own 42 percent of the financial wealth of the nation, and the top 10 percent owns 93 percent of all financial wealth. Common sense can tell you that having so much power in the hands of so few is probably not the greatest idea.
While the majority of Americans are facing pay cuts or cuts to benefits, an Institute for Policy Studies report shows that corporate CEOs have seen their average pay rise in relation to the average worker’s by 81 percent over the past year. Bloomberg reports that, despite the recession and high unemployment, the number of millionaires in the U.S. increased by 8 percent last year to constitute 2.7 percent of the U.S. population.
This intense concentration of wealth among a few individuals more closely resembles a third world country than a developed, democratic society. According to the CIA, the United States ranks 39th worst in the world when it comes to economic inequality. The four countries immediately above us on that list are Uganda, Cambodia, Iran and Cameroon.
To address any Fox News viewers fuming over how I’m unfairly targeting the “job-creators” that pay more than their fair share in taxes, the facts is that the same richest one percent that owns 42 percent of all the wealth in America pay only 28 percent of the nation’s tax burden.
And before anyone asks the stereotypical, “But why would you punish those who work harder?” consider that in the United States, the average CEO of a corporation makes 325 times more than the average American worker. Are those corporate CEOs working 325 times harder every day than the average American? Are those corporate CEOs 325 times smarter than the average American?
“The Occupy Wall Street” movement is fueled by increasing economic inequality in the U.S., and whether or not the media decides to take them seriously, “Occupy Wall Street” and movements like it will continue to grow until this underlying problem in America is addressed.
Daily Nexus columnist Riley Schenck recommends giving those “hippies” the credit they deserve, because they have something vital to say. And it’s not about yoga. Or banjos.