Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr

Forum Post: I am the 1% and I'm proud

Posted 11 years ago on Oct. 16, 2011, 6:02 p.m. EST by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I was born in Orlando, Florida in July 1964. We weren't a rich family, in fact we were fairly poor. We didn't own a television, we didn't own a microwave, and I slept in a bedroom with 3 other siblings. Living on military bases my entire life up to to that point, I moved almost 10 times by the age of 15. My father was a veteran of World War 2 stationed in the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. As for my mother, she used to beat me with a wooden spoon with a frown on it.

In 1979, when I was 15, my father left the military and we settled down in a small town outside Houston, Texas. At age 16 I took a job as a grocery bagger at a small local grocery store called Gerland's. The work was easy, but the pay wasn't much. Nevertheless, I saved nearly my entire paycheck in the hopes of buying my first car (My parents refused to help me pay for one). I continued to work at the grocery store, and by the summer of 1981 because of my hard work and near perfect attendance record, I was promoted to general manager. The work was slightly more difficult, but the pay was excellent for the time, over $50,000. By graduation, I was by far the wealthiest person in my high school. I knew my parents would never help me pay for college, so once again, I saved nearly my entire paycheck.

Shortly after graduation, I attended the University of Houston for a bachelor's degree in finance. The money I saved up simply wasn't enough, and I worked as a pizza deliverer at Pizza Hut for over 3 years.

Within a year after graduating, I took a job as a life insurance salesman at American International Group (AIG). The work was hard, and pay wasn't that good. My boss was ruthless and mean. After 6 years of working at AIG, I quit my job and moved to Galveston, Texas.

I soon took a job offering for a junior financial adviser at VALIC (Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company) for Galveston County, Texas. As junior financial adviser, I handled over 1,000 citizens retirement accounts. My job mostly involved getting in contact with these citizens and moving their money when they wished me to. These were no ordinary people, these 1,000 had over 100 million in their bank accounts. I routinely cashed and deposited checks worth over $500,000. Of course, I'm no fool. I never have stolen someone else's money.

After 4 years on the job, the senior financial adviser died and I was automatically promoted to the position. I went from 1,000 clients to 10,000 clients. These 10,000 customers had over $1 billion in their accounts. I have handled checks worth over $1,000,000. The pay I got also doubled. I still work here today.

Despite my annual salary of over $200,000, I do not live a lavish life. I live in a middle class home with my wife and 5 children. They are more important than anything to me. More important than money, more important than my job.

Now I see these protesters protesting exactly who I am and what I have achieved. I think "Have they tried?", "Have they even attempted to succeed?". If those protesting stand for the 99%, and the 99% mean those unwilling to try, than I am proud to be a part of the 1%. Why is it the most successful at life are the ones always punished, always blamed? I have not crashed the economy, nor does anyone receive bad pay because of me. I do not have class envy nor am I greedy (In fact, I volunteer regularly for Good Will and The Salvation Army). I am a human being who just happened to succeed because of hard work. What's so wrong about that?



Read the Rules
[-] 7 points by JohnB (138) 11 years ago

Dude, I am proud of you too! You made your way fair and square through hard work and perseverance. You deserve to reap the rewards. However you do not get to control the political process more than anyone else. You do not get to pay less taxes or get any other legal or political privilege than anyone else. You can have more money, but you cannot have any more political power than anyone else. Period! Equal rules and opportunity for all.

[-] 2 points by jpbarbieux (137) from Palmetto Bay, FL 11 years ago

Great reply.

[-] 2 points by ccillinois2000 (20) 11 years ago


[-] 5 points by IndenturedNation (118) 11 years ago

$200,000 doesn't qualify you for the 1%, does it? Oh man, what's the cut-off? (worried here...lol).

OK, just looked it up. You need to make $380k/year to be in the top 1%. I am not there yet and neither are you, bro.. we're ok.

[-] 4 points by Truth (50) 11 years ago

Wow, you went from grocery bagger to general manager? Hell of a bagger.

[-] 2 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Yes, I know, it surprised me too. The general manager passed away and they needed a new one. The employees elected me to the job.

[-] 1 points by Leeta (20) 11 years ago

The employees elected you? How'd that happen???

[-] 1 points by JohnB (138) 11 years ago

Probably because he is well liked and very competent. His original post from above has a lot of heart - I like this guy!

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Thank you for your support! I didn't expect this many replies, or hate. I am not an evil person. I do not outsource jobs or hoard money. I hate how much I am stereotyped because I'm part of the "2%" is it?

[-] 2 points by Sid81 (30) 11 years ago

You did a great job and I'm 100% serious when I say congratulations on your success! You aren't the type of person people are mad at though. We are mad at those taking advantage of their employees. The ones who layoff, give out paycuts or take bailouts and still give themselves raises and bonuses even though their businesses aren't doing well.

The 1% against the 99% is just a way to say that the majority are in bad shape in this country while the upper echelon makes the countries decisions, usually to better their own positions instead of the majority of the nation. It isn't meant to say the wealthy and successful are bad, just that business and the government are no longer serving the people but themselves.

I'm honestly very glad you were able to get to where you are today! Congrats!

[-] 1 points by Leeta (20) 11 years ago

No I mean, was there an actual election? A binding one? Did employees choose all management? It's an interesting point.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Gerland's was TINY at the time. I was only one of 20 workers. The general manager was in his 70's and had been working there for decades when he died. However, Gerland's was not an individual store. It was a small chain of stores that was based in the Houston area. The regional manager, who oversaw probably around 10 stores, allowed the employees to choose the manager because our employee base was so small. I remember that day. I won the vote 13-5. I remember one of the workers was absent that day so there were only 18 votes. My opponent was a shoo in as he had been working there for over 10 years, but rumors started flying (I didn't start them) that he was a homosexual. Being from a small Texan town at the time, this greatly hurt his reputation. I guess I just got lucky. It's kind of sad though because Gerland's is gone. It couldn't compete when Walmart moved in.

[-] 2 points by dlanham (2) 11 years ago

You benefited from having an actually democratic workplace. How much better off do you think people in the U.S. would be right now if ALL workers had as much say in their working conditions?

[-] 1 points by Leeta (20) 11 years ago

I was in a union, the money taken out of my paycheck was negligible.It was worth it for my job security. It usually hovers around 1.5%-3% of a paycheck, so it is income dependent. And the union membership wasn't mandatory, but the union benefits applied to all the workers. So my dues subsidized the bargaining rights of even the employees who didn't pay into it. We didn't mind. :)

As for Wal-Mart...well, that's another argument. They destroy businesses everywhere, not only because they use cheap labor, they actually put suppliers out of business here in the US, because they're so large and destroy so many competitors, they can "set the price" by underbidding their suppliers, putting a lot of the competition out of business. They hurt the economy vertically and horizontally. Wouldn't it be nice to have financial regulations in place to stop that from happening? Join the movement. :)

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

We didn't necessarily have a democratic workplace. This was the only time I remember having an actual vote for something. I agree that workers should have a say, but I don't like the concept on a union because they take money out of their workers' paychecks.

[-] 1 points by Thinkdeer (250) 11 years ago

why not a workers collective? Every one has say, everyone bennifets from the business and so everyone has a personal investment in the success of the business, rather than seeing it as a stepping stone to something else?

[-] 3 points by stratoliner (11) from Santa Fe, NM 11 years ago

Man, some day you will realize you ARE one of us. We don't want what you have and worked so hard for. We want what has been taken from us and our children and their children. You must have had your money protected offshore, in gold, or something. That is none of my business. But, what has happened to me, my family, community, country, and world is my business and ALL our business.

[-] 3 points by dktechguy112 (16) 11 years ago

You are part of the 1%, and I think you will find that most of the 1% have similar stories.HARD WORK.

HARD WORK = Success

If people are not willing to work hard, then no I do not feel sorry for them.

This movement is not for 1%, it for .001%, as the other part of the 1% are hard working and deserve the success they have achieved.

[-] 2 points by ddiggs690 (277) 11 years ago

The part that you have wrong is that most of the 1% didn't work their way up like this guy did but work given an advantage by having wealth when they were born. Not to say they do not work hard, but nobody works hard enough to make billions of dollars. An engineer coming out of undergraduate school might make somewhere between 60k -100k per year depending on where they live. Some of these investment bankers might make 10million per year and that's a conservative income. Do you think that banker works 100-200 times more than that engineer? Is that banker's job 100-200 times more important? Absolutely not and this is the type of crap that this movement is trying to address. And BTW, 200k/year still doesn't qualify as the top 1%.

[-] 2 points by Leeta (20) 11 years ago

The hardest working people are the class which hold down 2-3 jobs just to make it. Does anyone check statistics? Americans work harder and longer than any other Western country and we have the lowest standard of living with the least benefits. Stop telling us to work harder. Tell the Bosses to PAY US BETTER.

Or better yet, we'll just MAKE THEM PAY US BETTER.

[-] 3 points by MichaelMoosman (48) from Murray, UT 11 years ago

We are opposed to coorporations that have purchased our political system. We are opposed to unfair taxes. We are opposed to the wealthy elitists that siphon money from the middle class ... If you fit into that category, or if you support people that do, then you should prepare for change. If you don't fit into that catagory, then either support us or get out of the way.

If everything you say is true. I have a few things to say. There are people that worked harded than you and get paid less, and why aren't you in support of our movement. Don't you think that other people that work hard should be rewarded for it, instead of what's for more typically happening now?

[-] 2 points by Liberty4ALL (33) 11 years ago

I am proud that you succeed honestly. I don't find anything wrong with that. I believe hard work should be rewarded. But you are not the 1%, to be more accurate the 1/100%. There are some that are so greedy, corrupt and evil, that the policies they have in place are ruining the world for the 99%. We could have low pollution renewable resource vehicles and houses. We could have access to natural cures, preventions and affordable alternative health care options. We can produce enough food so that nobody starves, or at least help poor countries get set up to produce food for themselves. We could stop bombing other nations, and take a stand for peace. But instead we will probably just stand around, bicker and call each other names. Still being divided and easily conquered.

[-] 2 points by littleg (452) 11 years ago

I would say good people and bad people are everywhere, irrespective of whether they are poor or rich. The difference is a rich bad guy can cause a lot of destruction compared to a poor bad guy (I mean economic destruction, not physical). This is because of the power of money.

For ex., Some bad guys in US/Europe made a lot of money and became rich by being friends of people like Mubarak of Egypt and other dictatorial countries. Money attracts bad people much more than good people and so I don't like concentration of too much money in a single person or a government. It is against the spirit of democracy.

I don't support equal distribution of money also. Hard work and talent should be paid more. Mostly hardworking and talented people are good people. It's the people who make easy money by nexus with government, drugs, casinos etc etc should be kept in check. The easier way to keep human greed under control is to have high progressive tax rates like 1960s so everybody is focused on their jobs and not on making more money than others by hook or crook !

[-] 2 points by jacigirl23 (3) from Guilford, CT 11 years ago

I enjoyed reading your post and I am happy that you have achieved so much, yet still live humbly. However, I too worked hard since I was 16 and was bussing tables in a restaurant to pay for my car. I also worked through college just to pay for gas, food, and living expenses. I was lucky enough to get and hold onto a music teaching position for the past 6 years. And I make 1/4 of what you make. Now I pay more in taxes because I took more student loans to pay for a graduate education to bump my salary up $2,000 a year (which was a state requirement that I do so,) and I am in a new "tax bracket." But now, I am paying an extra $3500 a year in student loans for graduate loan payments! When I look at my paycheck every two weeks, it is LESS than my salary as a first year teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, while we can agree that in the 1960's-1980's hard work paid off, today's hard work is giving back nothing and instead, taking it all away!

[-] 2 points by fixwallstreetnow (42) from San Francisco, CA 11 years ago

Its really not even the 1%. Its the .1% where the blanket robbery is happening. Its not as catchy, but it should be called the 99.9% movement. Anyone making over $5Million a year.

[-] 2 points by since1982 (25) 11 years ago

Making $200,000 a year does NOT make you part of the 1%. This movement supports you as much as it does someone who lives off government checks. The top 1% represents those corporate entities who own more wealth than the bottom 90% of Americans by means of political manipulation. We only seek to repeal the corporate induced government policies that have led to this dire situation.

[-] 2 points by dadgader (47) from Vancouver, WA 11 years ago

People are not protesting your success. They are protesting those that use their wealth to buy lobbyists and tax favors to become wealthier. If you don't do that and don't support organizations and think tanks that do that, good on you. The 400 wealthiest families in the Country, those with generational wealth are the worst offenders. Those like you (and me by the way) that ended up well still can't afford to buy a Senator or Representative... we're not the problem. Also, in your story, besides hard work, are many examples of good fortune and a strong country with good infrastructure to facilitate your success. You didn't do this all by yourself you know.

[-] 2 points by Leeta (20) 11 years ago

That's awesome. There's NOTHING wrong with that. You should be proud. You know, Veterans organized as well, just like these Wall Street folks. They protested, and fought hard to win and create what is now called the Department of Veterans Affairs because they felt their work should be rewarded.

In your time, work was rewarded. Now, wealth is rewarded, and work is outsourced and underpaid. That's what they're angry about. And you should be too. We just want what you had the opportunity to have: an era where a family could even live on just 1 income. Not barely survive on 3 or more.

[-] 2 points by enough (587) 11 years ago

You don't realize it yet but you part of the 99%. Wealth itself is not evil. The attainment of wealth through hard work is not evil. However, using wealth to buy off politicians and influence legislation at the expense of honest Americans is evil. One is capitalism; the other is crony capitalism. I wish you the best.

[-] 1 points by tongshen (2) 11 years ago

Majority of people working in the finance industry are suffering the same ills as the majority of the world. The Occupy Movement should welcome them as we try to put pressure on the system to correct course and find a balance to corrupt political system and the un-checked corporate greed which mostly went to the C-class.

[-] 1 points by 5thelement (27) 11 years ago

To me the 1% refers to those who own and control the world's resources.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 11 years ago

Hi IminTexas, I don't see you as target. Last CEO Of HP, one year service, HP drops 40% in value, gets $13,000,000. Not an isolated occurrence. Big business could hire someone for minimum wage to wreck a company, but there is this "Old Boy Network". Best Regards, Nevada

[-] 1 points by grant21 (8) 11 years ago

For all of you who are attacking iminTexas over the $200K AGI, he is refering to Obama's plans to increase taxes on those making over $200K, and yes, I mean $200K, not $250 (that is his stepping stone). Read up on your current events.

[-] 1 points by grant21 (8) 11 years ago

Umm, JohnB, I hate to inform you, but he pays most of the tax already. He also only gets one vote & can only give the same amount you can give to political campaigns. Unless he is also a teacher on the side & is part of a teachers union, he does not get more of a say in government than you do. You are actually mad at the NEA!!!

[-] 1 points by Ihatehippies (17) 11 years ago

You're The Man Bro

[-] 1 points by Space (79) 11 years ago

Variable annuities.....

[-] 1 points by HapteMikael (162) 11 years ago


[-] 1 points by opensociety4us (914) from Norwalk, CT 11 years ago

our great society afforded you opportunity and luck, which combined with your hard work resulted in success. don't underestimate the value of opportunity and luck in our great society.

[-] 1 points by Lamork (9) 11 years ago

First off, $200,000 does not make you the 1% You are only at about 3 to 4% But your group is getting smaller every year. So you got paid lots of money for shuffling money, basically being a bank teller. Sorry, not impressed. Ask yourself how much value you are really adding. I know public school school teachers and social workers who are working for a fraction of what you make. If you have been ethical in what you do, no problem, you sound like a good person. Don't feel these protests are attacking you. But realize there are significant problems in the system, and many in your industry that were abusing their positions of trust.

[-] 1 points by Elysium22 (95) 11 years ago

LMAO your still not in the one percent buddy keep on going good job .

[-] 1 points by shantira (5) 11 years ago

u are living in the last century mister, the system was made to be corrupt, so ingenius it blinded the whole world. Practice a little humanity and spiritualism. I am now being for forced apart from my spouse because of work and of course money. You doing well now does not mean your children or next few generations will. Wake Up!

[-] 1 points by LouisJamesNYC (1) 11 years ago

So having worked at AIG, what are you thoughts on its bailout with US tax dollars? Was failure rewarded?

[-] 1 points by Gary (1) 11 years ago

So your clients had an average of $100,000 in their investment accounts? 10,000 customers? My friend, you made your money on the backs of the 99%. Think about it.

[-] 1 points by radical22 (113) 11 years ago

Nothing is wrong with that. You did it legit. AIG, GS,etc did not

[-] 1 points by genanmer (822) 11 years ago

OWS is about raising the quality of life for everyone

It's not limited to job creation although that is a major concern

Corruption has run amok because of money and it's influence on politics. I commend you for being ethical within your own field.

But I must ask, how much should someone researching a cure for cancer be paid in comparison to stock traders? How about a firefighter? Or a veteran?

There are many hard workers out there that love performing these type of jobs which also contribute to society. But many of them are struggling in comparison to those whose occupation is to simply move money around.

The system itself needs to change because of other reasons. (fraudulent derivative trading, fiat currency inflation tax, cyclical consumption, ecological destruction, global warming, etc.)

Here is a video explaining these issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

And a proposed solution: http://www.thevenusproject.com/

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

I have heard of such a thing and I like the idea but it worries me. What they suggest is a one world government based on sustainability. I simply can not support a one world government. I CAN however support sustainability.

[-] 1 points by genanmer (822) 11 years ago

Many mistake the idea as centralized power.

I'm personally in favor of self managed workers, communities, and local economies as are many supporting that group.

So the supporters would ensure such a system remained decentralized and democratic with a higher emphasis on technical issues/ technical solutions.

And yes, sustainability is a huge part of that.

[-] 1 points by weiss27md (1) 11 years ago

You are not even close to the top 1%, the top 1% is $350,000 and over.

[-] 1 points by whatrwefightin4 (4) 11 years ago

If you think our current twisted system is working just fine for you, wait a little while, you are not protected. You are one who must experience the pain before you believe it exists. When it touches you, you will understand. Meanwhile please have empathy that millions of your co-citizens have lost a great deal and are suffering. Many have lost great jobs, lost retirement plans, lost savings, lost homes, lost access to the health care system...and I could go on. They all got educated, worked hard, played by the rules and had hope too.

[-] 1 points by zer0 (43) 11 years ago

You're not part of the 1%. You make a decent amount of money, and I'd like to make 200,000 a year, but you're not part of the 1%. This isn't necessarily about your PAYCHECK. This is about how 1% of our country controls 33% of its overall wealth. 200,000 is a LOT LESS than 33% of our countries wealth. My friend, you are part of the 99%. You are the part that worked your ass off and still doesn't live a "lavish life". In fact, your clients are probably part of the 99% as well. However, they are closer to that 1% then you are.

Here is a good graph http://markpalermo.tripod.com/id39.html

[-] 1 points by Skyrider1776 (3) from Brooklyn, NY 11 years ago

In NYC, Middle Class is $75,000 to $200,000, per year for a family of 4. I see the top 1% as those who make more than $500,000, per year. The erosion of the Middle Class will create in America, a 3rd World State. The Middle Class is this country's vitality. When banks got bailed out and their managment continued to get bonuses, and CEO's still get MILLIONS in bonuses, from corporations that outsource jobs from this country to 3rd world countries, I see this as the 1%, taking all the profits, thereof, for themselves. Our Middle Class Foundations are crumbling, and that is such a shame. If you make under $500,000, per year, then you are one of the 99%.

[-] 1 points by Vooter (441) 11 years ago

Lovely story. Now, what exactly does it have to do with Wall Street executives not going to prison for the crimes they committed? Thanks in advance!

[-] 1 points by Steve15 (385) 11 years ago

Aaah, another one. You are not one of the people being protested. 99% vs 1% is just a catchy phrase. A sign saying we are the 99.83 percent would just look silly. You're one of us my friend. Believe me, your life is affected by them too. You my not realize it but it is. I'll let someone else explain it to you. I need to get some rest. Warmest regards your fellow 99.83%er.

[-] 1 points by chill613 (1) from Cambridge, ON 11 years ago

I think its obvious to most you do not fall into the category, and that the importance of this 99% vs 1% semantic argument is missing the point.

In either case I applaud your success and devotion to your family.

[-] 1 points by gagablogger (207) 11 years ago

You should be proud. What you don't understand is you are one of the fortunate few. Yes you worked hard. But it sounds like your intelligence and some luck was involved too. It doesn't work that way for most people. You are one of the lucky few, ie, 1%.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23736) 11 years ago

Here's the thing. Becoming successful is just fine, but there are not enough high level jobs to go around. How on earth could everyone work in a management level job? Who would they manage? Plenty of people work very hard, all their lives, and never make what you make. Should they be denigrated for that? Should they make wages that don't allow them basic things?

[-] 1 points by OkayAndYou (20) 11 years ago

I am not a 1 percenter and I believe you should have everything you have earned; without reservation or any qualifiers.

[-] 1 points by nomoobammy (10) 11 years ago

God Bless the 1 percenter's, they create jobs!!!!

[-] 1 points by Leeta (20) 11 years ago

Except 0 companies who have received bailouts and claimed record profits have. They've, in fact, laid off more people (see, lower labor costs = higher profits). Why hire people when you can force a now desperate workforce to obey an do they jobs of 3 people for fear of being laid off or fired? It's ideal for them. But you keep buying the narrative that they'll give you a job because they just can't wait to pay out another wage!

[-] 1 points by blipup (3) 11 years ago

Oh Jesuz you included production credits! Is this for future resume submission and hopeful offers from CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX! the OWS story is becoming perverted by marketing and you don't even see it!

[-] 1 points by blipup (3) 11 years ago

You are part of the 99 percent actually. the 1 percent are people that make over 385K adjusted gross income after deductions. since you only earn 200K gross yo aint' in the 1 percent.

[-] 1 points by blipup (3) 11 years ago

You are part of the 99 percent actually. the 1 percent are people that make over 385K adjusted gross income after deductions. since you only earn 200K gross yo aint' in the 1 percent.

[-] 1 points by yosteve (64) from Newbury, OH 11 years ago

We're talking the 1% that make theirs at the expense of bottom workers, not you.

[-] 1 points by kookla (79) 11 years ago

If this so called 1% sees these protests as "personal" he doesn't understand what the protest is about. Its not about the the fact that the !% exist, cause there will always be "super achievers" or just the plain "lucky" that are richer than most everyone else, Its about the system of legalized graft that many of the 1% are using to corrupt the process of representative democracy, and buy access to those representatives via campaign finance and lobbying there by breaking the link between the elected and the electorate making those representative unresponsive to that electorate and only to the perceived needs of the 1%. This in turn leads to dysfunctional Government that allows unregulated predatory capitalism to destroy the fabric of this society, culture and economy.... that is what is being protested... not the fact that you are rich and someone else is not.

[-] 1 points by uslynx81 (203) 11 years ago

Was your father there when they shot down the Zero?

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

I am not sure. I wish I could ask him :-(

[-] 1 points by uslynx81 (203) 11 years ago

Its ok. That Zero was the fist one our test pilots were able to use and they developed the tactics to out maneuver them and give our pilots the upper hand in the air.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 11 years ago

You have been quite successful and I can tell you are proud of that. Rightly so!

My definition of the 1% are those that use their wealth to buy their representation in government. So unless you spend an extraordinary amount of money on political and campaign donations, you are not the 1%.

1% buys their representation in government, 99% are left with the scraps. It's about 1% having unfair influence in government. Money is their tool. It's a cruel game of corruption that only the 1% get to play.

Consider that you are the 99% and help us to achieve fair and equal representation in government.

[-] 1 points by Greentara (205) 11 years ago


[-] 1 points by bertsimpson (3) 11 years ago

It is not the resentment of money, or the Horatio Alger story. We've seen people like Edison., Ford, Tesla, or recentlySteve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates make great fortunes by giving something new or useful to the world. It is the nonproducers. The gamblers on Wall Street. Who are reckless with peoples lives and savings, makine money from nothing, buy our representatives, subvert the democratic process, loose a fortune and ask us to pay their gabling debts we are fighting. It is the purchase of democracy by undemocratic forces.The control of media by these same parasites. But income inequality in this country has reached a staggering level. Only 5 countries are more desparate than ours. And the top 400 billionaires have more money than the bottom 150 million people. But lets not talk about taxation and fairness. It is simply this. We have accumlated massive debt and the middle class is so close to breaking the only people who can pay them off are the ones who profited the past decade or so. The top 1 percent with 40% of the wealth. A millionaires tax or RobinHood banking tax could raise trillions. To pay off debt, to start the econpmy going again. It is simply a matter of survival. There is a war on the middle class, and the only way to fight it is with taxation on the top 1%.

[-] 1 points by bertsimpson (3) 11 years ago

It is not the resentment of money, or the Horatio Alger story. We've seen people like Edison., Ford, Tesla, or recentlySteve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates make great fortunes by giving something new or useful to the world. It is the nonproducers. The gamblers on Wall Street. Who are reckless with peoples lives and savings, makine money from nothing, buy our representatives, subvert the democratic process, loose a fortune and ask us to pay their gabling debts we are fighting. It is the purchase of democracy by undemocratic forces.The control of media by these same parasites. But income inequality in this country has reached a staggering level. Only 5 countries are more desparate than ours. And the top 400 billionaires have more money than the bottom 150 million people. But lets not talk about taxation and fairness. It is simply this. We have accumlated massive debt and the middle class is so close to breaking the only people who can pay them off are the ones who profited the past decade or so. The top 1 percent with 40% of the wealth. A millionaires tax or RobinHood banking tax could raise trillions. To pay off debt, to start the econpmy going again. It is simply a matter of survival. There is a war on the middle class, and the only way to fight it is with taxation on the top 1%.

[-] 1 points by atki4564 (1259) from Lake Placid, FL 11 years ago

While I admire your accomplishments, many more people will come to your side when you are proactive (for “new” Business & Government solutions), instead of reactive (against “old” Business & Government solutions), which is why what we most immediately need is a comprehensive “new” strategy that implements all our various socioeconomic demands at the same time, regardless of party, and although I'm all in favor of taking down today's ineffective and inefficient Top 10% Management System of Business & Government, there's only one way to do it – by fighting bankers as bankers ourselves; that is, using a Focused Direct Democracy organized according to our current Occupations & Generations. Consequently, I have posted a 1-page Summary of the Strategically Weighted Policies, Organizational Operating Structures, and Tactical Investment Procedures necessary to do this at:




because we need 100,000 “support clicks” at AmericansElect.org to support a Presidential Candidate -- such as any given political opportunist you'd like to draft -- in support of the above bank-focused platform.

Most importantly, remember, as cited in the first link, that as Bank Owner-Voters in your 1 of 48 "new" Business Investment Groups (or "new" Congressional Committees) you become the "new" Congress replacing the "old" Congress according to your current Occupation & Generation, called a Focused Direct Democracy.

Therefore, any Candidate (or Leader) therein, regardless of party, is a straw man, a puppet; it's the STRATEGY – the sequence of steps – that the people organize themselves under, in Military Internet Formation of their Individual Purchasing & Group Investment Power, that's important. In this, sequence is key.

Why? Because there are Natural Social Laws – in mathematical sequence – that are just like Natural Physical Laws, such as the Law of Gravity. You must follow those Natural Social Laws or the result will be Injustice, War, etc.

The FIRST step in Natural Social Law is to CONTROL the Banks as Bank Owner-Voters. If you do not, you will inevitably be UNJUSTLY EXPLOITED by the Top 10% Management Group of Business & Government who have a Legitimate Profit Motive, just like you, to do so.

Consequently, you have no choice but to become Candidates (or Leaders) yourselves as Bank Owner-Voters according to your current Occupation & Generation.

So please JOIN the 2nd link so we can make our support clicks at AmericansElect.org when called for, at exactly the right time, by an e-mail from that group, in support of the above the bank-focused platform. If so, then you will see and feel how your goals can be accomplished within the above strategy as a “new” Candidate (or Leader) of your current Occupation & Generation.

[-] 1 points by RationallyYours (1) 11 years ago

You own the country that allowed you to become a top one percenter. This would not have happened in most of the world. But I have doubts that you are really part of the 1%. Those that I have met may not be contrite but they are not filled with hate either. A short video about 1% http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQxZTeTl0BM

[-] 1 points by atki4564 (1259) from Lake Placid, FL 11 years ago

I'm not in the 1%, so I think you replied to the wrong guy, right?

[-] 1 points by Benny14 (101) 11 years ago

There is nothing wrong with that. You are what I would call a good working American and you are not the reason why the OWS are protesting. The OWS is against greed,corruption,bailouts to the rich. they are against donations to our politicians aka bribes. The OWS is the 99% that don't get heard at all any more.

So unless you have committed fraud on wall street or bribed politicians to do you bidding you are part of the 99% that's getting screwed over more more

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

I wouldn't consider so. I don't think I'm getting screwed. I live a comfortable life. That's not being "screwed".

[-] 2 points by Benny14 (101) 11 years ago

You have a comfortable life but you right to influence you government don't exist? Unless you paying millions of dollars in bribes/donation to the politician you got nothing to say how you country should be.

What about you friends, Children, neighbours that cant afford a comfortable life?

You getting screwed you just don't know it

Do you think the forefathers that build this country wanted it to be ruled by the 1% that got the money to buy politicians? This is not democracy. so unless you are a supporter of a fascist state you getting screwed

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago


[-] 1 points by ProvidenceRhodeIsland (40) 11 years ago

You are commended for your honesty, integrity, thrift and hard work. All of us stand "On the shoulders of giants". AIG has its roots also in Asia, and is well known there as an American icon. Hank Greenberg, former head of AIG, let the derivatives desk of AiG run amok,-- even though he denies it to this very day. AIG was not the cause, but certainly a proximate cause of the GFC as it did a poor job of estimating counter-party risk. ("Know thy counter party." Now AIG is selling off its most profitable lines to make good on its obligations,--- again commendable,.. but it is only with the back stopping of the Fisc (the US Treasury). Please keep up your charitable work,-- in this balance sheet contraction, it will be sorely needed. We all keep in mind that we are successful Americans by virtue of our own ethic, but also because we live in a nation that respects the rule of law, nominally free markets and a nominally open, free Government. God Bless America and those prior generations who made our prosperity and affluence possible. Not every nation is so lucky.

[-] 1 points by marcxstar (167) from Los Angeles, CA 11 years ago

Awesome story. I'm pretty sure you're part of the 99%. And I'm also pretty sure you have misjudged who your brothers and sisters are and what they're trying to accomplish.

[-] 0 points by Scout (729) 11 years ago

" I never have stolen someone else's money. " so you are not really in the 1% are you?

[-] 0 points by zenone (3) from Cross Fork, PA 11 years ago

Sorry, but $200k is laughable to the 1%. Do you even know what the one percent refers to? you are not in that rank.

[-] 0 points by NotOccupying (94) 11 years ago

You are an inspiration and an example of the American Dream. I wish these protestors would open their eyes and see that this is what America is about, working hard to become a 1%, not punishing the 1% for having worked hard. I'm a young professional right now having just started out in the insurance field and I hope that someday I'll have a success story like yours.

[-] 0 points by beardy (282) 11 years ago

congratulations. hope you keep your money in an offshore account so that these greedy hippies won't steal it.

[-] 0 points by Nobody33 (5) 11 years ago

Congratulations ! This is our honest true American ! But those who wants everything for free without any efforts should go to China !

[-] 0 points by ccillinois2000 (20) 11 years ago

How can they try to succeed when there is no path for them to follow? In case you haven't heard, there are no jobs in this country. They've been outsourced by people like yourself so that you can make another billion for yourself. How much greed do you need to take before you feel better about yourself? How much can you ruin this country before you get it? There is no middle class anymore. We're a nation of Haves and Have Nots based on race and class. If you happen to be the wrong race, you're more than likely in the Have Not category with no path to success. If you're poor, you're more than likely going to stay that way because college is too expensive and no guarantee that you'll get a successful job after school. Get a clue!

[-] 3 points by JohnB (138) 11 years ago

Dude, chill out. You're over-reacting. That's not what he said, and he's not the kind of person who would ever do such a thing. He was confused thinking he was being demonized for being successful. This is not the case. We are not complaining about rich people who earned their way fairly, we are complaining about those rich people rigging the system to their benefit and the expense of everyone else. This man is not doing that. You're being angry at the wrong person. Give the guy a break.

[-] 2 points by gagablogger (207) 11 years ago

Yes I agree with johnb.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

I do not make decisions about outsourcing, thank you. Even if I had the opportunity, I would not outsource. And I'm not a billionaire either. YOU GET A CLUE!

[-] 0 points by German (82) 11 years ago

What you didn't understand is that you are still part of the 99% you should double your income (perhaps you would need a higher increase) to get part of the 1 %.

Do you really think that the work of anyone is worth to get this much ? Do you really think that this would be possible without 1000 others getting a bad pay ?

[-] 1 points by CuttheBS (143) 11 years ago

you're paid what you can get. we dont have slavery, no one is forced to work for a low wage. But if you don't have the skills necessary to get a better paying job, then you're either stuck with what you can get, or you should go out there and start your own business.

[-] 2 points by German (82) 11 years ago

Where is the world you are living in ? I would like to get there.

How does these people with 2 degrees (+ 10 years in leading position) and a salary of <2000 USD / month match with your world ? http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/ Important is that some of these people were paid very good for years, lost there jobs and have to work for nearly nothing - if they want to survive.

But you are right noone is forced to work for low wage - they could also don't work. // Don't you think that this is a really poor decision ?

[-] 1 points by CuttheBS (143) 11 years ago

Everyone has their own story. I sympathize with those who are truly down on their luck, but you have to understand that Americans, unlike you Germans, don't know anything about fiscal restraint. Many people don't have a rainy day fund, and they borrowed money to fund their consumption habits, or encouraged their children to follow their dream and get that liberal arts degree in an expensive private college. People lived beyond their means. Also, you can get unemployment benefits for 99 weeks, that's almost 2 years. At some point you have to stop feeling sorry for them, and asking well why can't they find a job. And just a personal anecdote, my girlfriend has been laid off twice over the last 3 years and she has been able to find a better paying job not too long after. So I don't buy that people can't find jobs.

[-] 2 points by German (82) 11 years ago

I do also have the opionion that more restraint would be necessary, but don't you see a problem when 1% of the people own and earn 70 % of the wealth ?

A lot of people in the US should ask themselve " Is this really the american way of life or is it what the marketing companys wants you to consider as the american way of life ? ".

We are having these "occupy protests" too - I think the reasons are nearly the same and one central point is this unfair relation. Another point is the power of the banks, especiall of the systemic ones - which are "to big to fail" - what means the shareholder of these banks get the profit, while the deficit has to paid by the taxpayer. A third point is the influence over politics, the big corportants having.

But still I think that a unemployment rate of (I think you have about 10 % in the states - in some states 15% or more) means that many people have the choice to take an underpaid job or having no job.

For example what should a family father do when he losses his job in a region with an unemployment rate of 15% and a house, which can't sell for relocation - as there is no market in this region. I think to say "No one is forced to work for low wage" is not really true - they are forced by the circumstances.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

I'm almost positive the top 1% don't make 70% of the wealth.

[-] 2 points by German (82) 11 years ago

They do, according to matching figures of the US gov, some NGO's and the UN. And definitely with 200 000 USD you are far, far away to be part of these 1 %.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

So I am the 2%? Close enough.

Yes, I truly do believe the work of anyone is worth this much. 1,000 others getting bad pay? I don't understand. The majority of VALIC's workers are white collar and make well over $75,000 a year. I have not hurt anyone else's paycheck because of my high one.

[-] 1 points by German (82) 11 years ago

When you are speaking about the 1 % you are speaking about people earning a lot more than you do - for example 500 K or 100 K. And sorry - but I don't think that the work of anyone can be worth this. I*m also payed really good - not that good as you are - but I have a bad conscience, when I think about the many people receiving a bad pay for making my pay possible.

For making these salaries possible to really few people a lot of people have to be underpaid. I believe you, that you haven't hurt anyone else's paycheck - but you get a gut benefit out of the circumstances that someone else does.

You should also remember that you are speaking about young peope with university degrees and student loans - without any chance to get a job making it possible to pay these student loans. These times are different to the 1970's.

You should also remember that these protests are against plutocracy. When a few persons or organisations can tell the government what to do they have more power than the people. E.g. the big banks are able to tell them what to do - or they sent the economy into a deep depression - that is plutocracy and extortion.

That is what the protest is about. Equal chances and democracy.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Student debt is just another bubble that will burst. It will grow and grow until it's impossible to pay off and the student will have to "foreclose" on it.

That's another thing I don't understand. The government is owned by the corporations, but we need more government to protect us from the government owned by the corporations? It's quite contradicting. Please explain if you can.

[-] 1 points by German (82) 11 years ago

I'm sure that this bubble will burst.

For using every potential of a society it is essential even persons from poor families have equal chances for every possible education. Without the risk of high student loans. Therefore you need more state and more government. It's not cheep - for sure - but at the end it would strengthen the economy and make it more competitive.

A weak government will never be able to protect people from the greed of the big ones. So the big corporations (as BoA, Citybank,...) are able to rule and make decisions, which a reserved to the sovereign of a country. If these decisions aren't followed they are able to send the economy into deep crisis,... As you can see the deregulations of the 80's and 90's made financial industry able to send the economy into 3 crisis, 2001 (dot-dom-bubble starting in the US), 2008 (house crisis starting in the US), 2011 (state deficit crisis starting in the EU), within only one decade. The "real" economy (industry, services,...) needed about 100 year for 3 that big crisis.

But the profit of these financial economy are paid out to the shareholders, while the loss is socialized (e.g the result is a US deficit of about 110% - 120% until the end of 2012,..

-> That has nothing to do with democracy and nothing to do with FREE economy. -> The result are deficit crisis which again ends in individual profit and socialized loss.

FREE economy would involve that the corporation and the shareholders have to take the risk.

Weak governments aren't able to prevent this, so the corporations, which are "to big to fail" are able to make decisions.

That's why you need strong - and sovereign - government as the foundation of a strong democracy. A weak government needs to end in plutocracy - since over 10 years, many international organizations are blaming the US as the biggest plutocracy. I think no one - except the upper 0,0...1% - is interested in a plutocracy.

[-] -1 points by Tujay (20) 11 years ago

Maybe you should think that you are just lucky instead of blaming everyone else? 99% of people can't all be wrong for the lack of trying. What if you happened to be born in Africa, to an HIV infected mother? There is such a thing as circumstance.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Blaming everyone else? When did I do that?

[-] 1 points by Tujay (20) 11 years ago

Maybe you didn't intend to do that, but pretty much that is how folks who aren't as lucky will read your post.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Well the response has been mostly positive? How is it my fault if they read the wrong impression?

[-] -1 points by RichardGates (1529) 11 years ago

i would like to point out the 50,000 you made as manager, the year 81, and the curve of inflation now. were you to attempt that series of career advances and education you had to save for, you would not be able to accomplish that scenario in today's economy. but this is also the part that show you are a troll who is probably a redneck living in a trailer and collcting disability. if you had the education you spoke of and the exp you spoke of, you would already be aware of what i pointed out.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Seriously? You honestly believe a redneck could make up such a story? Maybe you have a problem with the truth.

[-] -1 points by LazyJealousAnarchist (144) 11 years ago

You worked in the insurance industry, which is pure evil. You either had no principles or sold them all out to make money. I would never have taken a job with AIG because I am a better person than you. Shove your life story up your ass scumbag. I can only imagine the people you let die to make money for yourself and your companies. How many people did you screw out of their claims. Go to hell.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

Are you fucking stupid? I have never screwed anyone!

[-] 1 points by LazyJealousAnarchist (144) 11 years ago

All those years in the life insurance industry you just paid every claim, no "adjusting?"

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 11 years ago

Driving people away, like IminTexas is NOT helpful to the cause. This guy is not who we need to be fighting. We are not fighting against every person who ever may have worked at AIG. And we are not fighting against the insurance industry. No matter what you may think of them. Get with the program and remember the big picture.

[-] 0 points by LazyJealousAnarchist (144) 11 years ago

Look at his original post. He is the problem. He's so proud of the way he perpetuated evil and bought into the bullshit system.

[-] 3 points by April (3196) 11 years ago

Take a breath. There is nothing in his post to suggest he is corrupting government. Maybe he is part of a BS system, but so are we all to one degree or another. I purchase insurance, I have a bank account. So do most of us, so we're all part of the BS system on some level. He's just a guy, making a living for his family, doing his best. He's not corrupting the government.

You totally insulted him. So now he goes and tells 2 people about it. And they tell 2 people, etc. Not helpful.

You're angry. I understand. Direct the anger. In a positive way. To get people on board. Not drive them away.

Now, if Frankenstein Blankenfein or Hank Spleenberg posts up on this board. Blast away, my friend!

[-] -1 points by LazyJealousAnarchist (144) 11 years ago

I resent this tool praising himself as a noble hard worker when all he did was try to make money for an evil insurance conglomerate. My anger was a reaction to his self-importance and complete obliviousness to reality.

[-] 2 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

What an idiot and troll you are. I'm starting to think you are here to perpetually drive away support. Just look at your user name. I have done way more in life than make money for an evil insurance conglomerate. I have survived a hurricane, I have worked at a soup kitchen, and I have donated blood. Just because you have accomplished nothing at life doesn't mean you can criticize me for doing so. I agree with the others. Idiots like you who do not have a grip on reality and make outlandish claims with no proof is what is driving support away.

[-] 2 points by AmericanExpat (13) 11 years ago

IminTexas and LazyJealousAnarchist: you guys are escalating an argument which was started by LazyJA's hate mongering and insulting, and now IminTX responding with insult. It is unproductive. We have a shot at a real conversation here- i have read the post and comments all the way to here, and it has been for the most part informative and cooporative. LazyJA, the fight is not with (most) individuals, or even any one individual- it is a fight against, as you know, a system which has been corrupted for a very long time. IminTexas, you might want to understand that many people are only realizing for the first time since they or their families have lost their jobs, pensions, etc. the strong connection between the corrupted financial system and our government, and are very very outraged. I am not saying that thus you should take insult, but be aware of the pure rage that is arising in the people. And to both of you: we are going to have to work together to hold the top top top "earners" (although they did not earn in the true sense of the word) and the governmental officials they control accountable and demand change. Change enough that our children have a shot at the classical American dream, as IminTexas once did.

[-] 1 points by German (82) 11 years ago

Hi IminTexas,

in my opion the people - you too - is not only responsible for the things you are doing personal, but also for things you support and make possible with your work and your behavior. This can not be healed by doing some social engagement, but only by changing the behavior and getting aware of the personal responsibility. For example every investor - including myself - has bit of responsibility for the power of financial industry.

Now the question is - are you investing without taking care what this company does and how it is doing profit. In this case you are also responsible e.g. for child labor, pollution, underpay and economy crisis. Or do you take care and do ethic investment, what gets more and more popular in Europe - often with higher profit than traditional investment.

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

I don't invest at all.

[-] 1 points by mdimport (10) 11 years ago

If you or your company has a pension fund you're passively investing. So while you might not actively be taking positions on stock or bonds, you very likely are passively.

For what it's worth, you need to be earning over $700k annually to be in the top 1%. I don't even begrudge people earning that much. I do begrudge executives in publically traded companies taking excess salaries. That excess comes out of pension funds and local governments (in the form of higher funding costs). That disproportionate compensation is just legalized theft.

Henry Ford (Ford Motors) used to pay his CEO 10x average workers pay. Today it's 355x average workers pay. Most of that excess money needs to remain in companies so they can invest in infrastructure, assets and finally jobs.

[-] 1 points by German (82) 11 years ago

Forget it. I think the economical links and social and economical interactions are to high for him. He thinks he is living at his own island, without influence to everyone else.

Wonder how he is able to lead a company - but he didn't say that he's successful.

[-] 2 points by JohnB (138) 11 years ago

Dude, you are so over-reacting. I am a proud long-term OWS occupier on the streets (camped out since Sept 27th), and you sir are the problem. You're either for radical inclusiveness and radical democracy or your just another intolerant a*hole.

[-] 0 points by LazyJealousAnarchist (144) 11 years ago

I am intolerant of someone who worked his whole life for AIG and thinks that was noble. You have to realize that the everyday people who cannot comprehend what is wrong with the system are the problem.

[-] 2 points by JohnB (138) 11 years ago

I do comprehend that, but calling them "evil" and telling them to "go to hell" as you have done, is not making any converts. That is the real stupidity. We are the 100%, we include everyone. If we don't, then what does that say about the equalization (and hopefully fair) process of the General Assembly?

[-] 1 points by IminTexas (33) from La Marque, TX 11 years ago

I have not worked my whole life at AIG nor do I work for them now. I realize AIG's mistakes now, but I was not working for AIG during the collapse of 2008 so I don't think I should be criticized for it. The system has flaws, but I believe the "system" should be "bought into" if success is a result of doing so.