The Logic Behind the “99%” Claim

I’ve heard some skepticism (and even outright dismissal) regarding the “99%” claim heard in the Occupy Wall Street. Some people just want an explanation. There are multiple interpretations which support the mantra. Let’s explore, share we?

  • #1- The Top 1% control 43% of all Financial Wealth. We represent the 99% of people splitting the remaining 57% of wealth among us. This report does a really good job of explaining how and where the financial crisis has exacerbated this split in wealth. This perspective is the one you’ll hear most protesters reference.
  • #2- Since the U.S. Supreme court declared in Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee that companies are granted the same Constitutional rights as individuals, the wealth distributions, under legal logic, are even more skewed than the numbers suggest. If the GDP of the U.S. is held to the estimate of $14.7 trillion, and the total market capitalization of the top 20 U.S. corporations is at $3.149 trillion, and assuming the conservative 2006 government data suggesting there are 6 million corporations in the U.S., and that there are 306,688,000 million Americans out there, that would mean that .00006% of the population controls a fifth of the nation’s GDP. We’re representing the other 99.99994%, I guess.
  • #3- The Top 1% controls the bulk of money flowing into politics- with 2011 expenditures on lobbyists already at $1.044 billion. We are the other 99%- unrepresented by a bankroll in D.C., and that’s the real point here. The government has failed to represent the people.
We are the 99%. We are demanding transparency, accountability and parity. We aren’t going anywhere.


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