The Occupy Wall Street slogan is “we are the 99%.” It resonates with most of us (if you don’t know why, check this out). We want a society where everybody’s needs are met, not just the needs of the 1%.
So, who exactly are those 1%? The Institute for Policy Studies recently looked at Forbes 400 – they surely are in the 1% – all of them billionaires, reflecting the income redistribution to the rich since the early 1980s. And they pay much less in taxes than most of us do (about 18%). That’s at least in part because their income doesn’t come in the form of a paycheck. Yet, according to 2000 data, you would have to “earn” at least $500,000 to make it into the top 1% – most of that from capital gains and dividends. Globally, the richest 0.5% of the population – people with net worth over $1 million – own over one-third of the world’s wealth.
So what? Aside from the economic instability of these distributions, as the economic melt-down has shown., income inequality has other dramatic consequences. The higher the income inequality, the higher infant mortality and the lower life expectancy. The world could be different. And that’s one reason to be occupying together.