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Forum Post: To Define the 1% and the 99%

Posted 2 years ago on Oct. 27, 2011, 5:56 p.m. EST by stevilism (130)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I guess if I scour the website I would get a clear definition, but I am not in the mood to peruse...I just want throw it out there. I keep hearing and reading about working types declaring themselves the 1% and scared shitless that #OWS is somehow going to take their Lay-Z-Boy chair and pick up truck (yeah, that's a swipe at the those southern folk who preach the virtues of capitalism).

I do not think it's fair to label anyone a 1% based on how much money they make. I mean, the one person I admire is Warren Buffet. He makes a ton of money...but I would not lump him in with the rest of the Wall Street scum. So, how to better define the 1%? It has something to do with in the manner they have made their money AND what they do with it. It is strange, but it's not that easy to define a capitalist...but I will try.

A capitalist is someone who does not engage in any kind of productive labor. They usually have money working for them. They do research, gather information, and based on what knowledge they acquire, they invest their money into that company, idea, person, etc. They take a risk and they hope that it pays off. This in some ways describes Warren Buffet (and any other honest capitalist). However, within the 1% of the wealthiest Americans there are unscrupulous, greedy, dishonest criminals who will engage in "crony-capitalism" and prey on unwitting investors (think Enron employees et al).

So, I guess what I am saying...is that just because someone makes a ton of money...it does not immediately make them "evil", greedy, or corrupt.

Now, the 99% ( I consider myself one by the way). We are not all decent and honorable either. A quick story...someone whom I know was looking to get fired...on purpose. Why? They knew that unemployment benefits would run for 18-24 months (I forgot how long it lasts now...by the way, I'm a Gen X'er...and I have never been on unemployment...so I don't know anything about it) and they wanted to sit back, collect the check and have a 2 year vacation basically. So, within our own 99%...we have some "bad apples".

But back to defining the 99%. We can begin by saying, this is anyone who has to sell their labor in order to earn a living. Now this lumps in a lot people, both good and bad (those who take advantage of the system).

I am not even sure if we have to define either group. But it just seems like there is some confusion about who is what. My biggest complaint about what I see around me is that the rich get better treatment in almost every aspect of life. Now, I am not talking about getting a better table at a restaurant or flying first class or any other "luxury" that they are afforded because of their wealth.

I am speaking more closely to those things that matter. Take for example...healthcare: Clearly, the wealthy receive better healthcare than the poor...I do not think that anyone can argue with that. Another example: Justice...we all know that anyone who can afford the best lawyers will almost always get a better result in their case...there is no way around that. A third example is government access. Again, no one can argue that the wealthy can plead their interests to the "powers that be" at anytime and about anything. We are left with writing letters (that rarely get answered), making phone calls that rarely get returned, the voting booth (that affords us the ability to speak to our representatives every 2 and 4 years), and last but not least, we have protests, in which we sacrifice our time, our bodies, and our liberty. When was the last time a wealthy person had to protest something in order for their government to listen to them?

So, my point is...I am not so concerned with the 1% wealth. I am concerned with how they earned their wealth - hopefully through hard work and ethical behavior - and what they do with that wealth.

OK, I apologize for the long rant...but thus is my opinion and I am sticking with it.



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[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 2 years ago

"someone whom I know was looking to get fired...on purpose. Why? They knew that unemployment benefits would run for 18-24 months" Well, if he's sure that he is going to find another job later on, then it's not such a bad thing as he creates a job for someone else. :)

[-] 1 points by stevilism (130) 2 years ago

Sure...they will eventually have to go back to work when the benefits run out. But, my point was, that even we - the 99% have some work to do on ourselves. I was not judging anyone...I was just stating a reality. I don't think labeling ourselves the 99% without clearly defining who we actually are. But like I said...the definition may be on here...somewhere...I was just lazy to peruse.