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Forum Post: The 99% Myth Has Been Busted

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 10, 2012, 8:37 p.m. EST by Johnw (44)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I want to play myth buster if I may for the "We are the 99%" slogan of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

1) Either you are part of the 99% or you are not part of the 99%. You might be lying, maybe you are part of the 1% and you are trying to hide it by holding a 99% sign? I'll take your word for it that you are part of the 99%. Holding a sign that states "I am the 99%" is as descriptive as a sign stapled to a cat that says "I am a mammal". Thank you for the obvious description.

2) Don't go out on a limb with that 99% claim. You may want to pull back on that number and give yourself a percentage point of wiggle room. Call yourself the 98% just in case you are on the cusp of the 1%.

3) The 2% probably associate themselves more with the 1% than the bottom 98%. Also, the 3% are like the 2% who lean toward the 1%. And the 4%, those guys definitely hang out with the 3%. By induction, we can continue this process. The 99% cut off point is arbitrary.

4) By the way, what does the income distribution look like? No one has ever shown me a graph, is it similar to a normal distribution? And how has the income distribution changed over time? Has there been income mobility? Over the past 10 years, have people from the 99% joined the 1% and vice versa have previous 1%-ers dropped in rankings?

4a) An outlier is an observation that is numerically distant from the rest of the data. Can we remove Bill Gates ($60B) and Warren Buffet ($44B) and see what the distribution looks like then?

5) Older people tend to earn more money. If you are 20 something and just out of college, do you really expect to be in the 1% or even close to it? Is the 99% slogan a form of ageism, where people older than 40 years old are discriminated against for having higher incomes?

6) 99% of the world relies on the cheap goods and services that corporations provide: computers, cars, gasoline, phones, pants, shoes, ....the list goes on.

7) A corporation is a legal structure where shareholders own the company and have a chance to share in the profits. Their dealings are by law publicly reported. Corporations are mutually owned by members of society. Are the 99% upset with such a legal structure? Or are they talking about corporate conduct? Please get your terms straight so you don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

13 Comments

13 Comments


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[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

4# Here's the income distribution chart covering 40 years. The lower 90% received just 3% of the gain, even though productivity increased by 80%.

http://stateofworkingamerica.org/who-gains/#/?start=1968&end=2008

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

does not even pretend to be balanced

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Compare it to the previous 40 year period of 1928 to 1968 where the lower 90% received 70% of the gain.

http://stateofworkingamerica.org/who-gains/#/?start=1928&end=1968

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

6# A one Lb. box of cereal that contains 15 cents of grain that sells for $3.00 is a cheap good?

[-] 1 points by Johnw (44) 2 years ago

The notion of wealth inequality is based on jealousy. You can always divide people into the 99% vs 1%, no matter what form society takes. Wealth distribution is illogical and doesn't work. The solution is not for the government to redistribute wealth, let people that work hard keep the money they earn money. The solution is to limit the influence certain groups have over the decision making process.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

"The notion of wealth inequality is based on jealousy."

Extreme wealth inequality is based on selfishness.

Any corporation that makes a lot of money requires the hard work of all the thousands of employees including middle managers and top executives.

It's how the profit is divided among them that determines how wealthy they are. Wages are always negotiable. When the lower paid workers again realize that collective bargaining is the proper way to get their fair share of the wealth they help produce, they won't need help from the government.

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 2 years ago

The statistics and graphs "no one has ever shown you" are right here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

The “We are the 99%” is a marketing slogan’ and a rather tiresome one at that. Not even close to being true. How arrogant to say you represent 99% of the population. In reality I’d say the real 99% don’t know and don’t care about what you think. They’re too busy doing their jobs, taking care of the kids, washing clothes, etc …

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I agree. People are very busy. Busy working to pay their bills and wondering why they keep running faster on the hamster wheel and not getting anywhere. If they could take a break from the hamster wheel a sec, they might be able to discover some of the reasons why they have to keep running faster getting nowhere fast. Knowledge is power and all that.

[-] 1 points by Johnw (44) 2 years ago

http://thenewthirdparty.blogspot.com ... here is an idea for a new third party.

[-] 0 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

The 99% is a bit hyperbole. I think the point is about the extreme levels of wealth and income inequality which is damaging to society. Maybe the problem is 80/20. Like how 20% of the population owns roughly 80% of the wealth of the nation. However you want to characterize it, 99:1, 80/20 - it's not good and it's not normal. It's not healthy for the economy or society as a whole. 99% sounds a little catchier than 80%. So I suppose yes, the 99% is arbitrary.

The point being too, that there is alot more people who have more in common with eachother, economically speaking. Whose economic and financial interests are very much the same. And very different from the goals and interests of the top 1% or the top 20%.

Income mobility, on a relative basis, has been decreasing over time. According to Pew Research, going back to 1950's/60s, a child born into poverty had a 50% chance of moving out of poverty. Now it is only 30%. Additionally, socio-economic mobility is also lower in the US than many other OECD nations. You can find more information at Pew Charitable Trust Research as well as the Economic Policy Institute.

But here's a few simple chart/article.

http://www.angrybearblog.com/2007/05/economic-mobility-and-american-dream.html

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/02/18/comparing-socioeconomic-mobility-across-oecd-countries/

Another good chart shows the correlation of tax rates with rising wealth inequality.

http://visualizingeconomics.com/2008/07/13/income-gap-and-marginal-tax-rate-1917-2006/

'99% of the world relies on the cheap goods and services'. And many economists believe this a problem. Free trade isn't free. It is at the expense of living wage jobs in the US. Globalization and free trade has contributed to 30 years of middle class wage stagnation. The benefits of cheap goods from countries paying slave wages appears to have benefitted some far more than others. And is economically detrimental to many.

'A corporation is a legal structure'. And as such, many people do not believe that a legal structure should have the same citizenship rights that a natural person has. Especially when it relates to speech and money and it's impact on the democratic process.

[-] 0 points by yobstreet (-575) 2 years ago

The dividing line was set at 400K to achieve a 99% ratio. In reality, the 99 actually represents but 50% of the population; the 1 represents less than one tenth of the population.

[-] 0 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 2 years ago

I do know there was a report on CNN last week saying the middle class shrunk because those people moved up into the upper class. Now that is not to say that some of the middle class moved south towards the upper lower class but nothing was spoken about that.