Saturday, April 23, 2016

THE 1% OF THE 1%

“We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan, but is it distracting our attention from a sinister reality? There’s strong evidence that it’s not the one percent you should worry about — it’s the 0.1 percent. That decimal point makes a big difference.

Over the last decade, a gigantic share of America’s income and wealth gains has flowed to this group, the wealthiest one out of 1,000 households. These are the wildly exotic and rapidly growing plants in our economic hothouse. Their habits and approaches to life are far divorced from the rest of us, and if we let them, they will soon cut off all our air and light.

The 99 percent would do well to find common ground with the bulk of the one percent if we can, because we are going to need each other to tackle this mounting threat from above.

To make it into the one percent, you need to have, according to some estimates, at least about $350,000 a year in income, or around $8 million accumulated in wealth. At the lower end of the one percent spectrum, the “lower-uppers,” as they have been called, you’ll find people like successful doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers, vice-presidents of companies and well-paid media figures.

Plenty of these affluent people have enjoyed blessings from Lady Luck, but a lot of them work hard at their jobs and want to contribute to their communities in positive ways. In times past, these kinds of citizens served on the boards of museums and cultural institutions and were active and prominent figures in their towns and cities. But now they are getting shoved aside unceremoniously by the vastly richer Wall Street financiers and Silicon Valley tycoons above them.




Is the 1% Really the Problem? | Alternet