First off- I really don’t like the term “the 1%”. I think it is unrepresentative of the issues, and is far too broad and allows too many games to be played with the numbers.
The truth is- to qualify for “the 1%” the cutoff rate is somewhere around $350,00 a year. A lot of money maybe. But in reality, we now live in a world where millionaires are not rich, we live in the age of billionaires. In my industry I have worked for people who made 20, 30, even 50 million that year in bonuses– not including their standard pay and benefits. We live in a world where the top ten super yachts range from ~25-70 million dollars, private jets can easily cost between 10 million and 300 million, and vacation estates can cost 10-50 million.
The truth is the wealth and income, as well as the power, the ability to influence markets, governments, and all of our lives, is concentrated in the top 0.1%.. These are people who (through 2008) had average incomes a little over 6 million. The top 400 among these, with an average income of 270 million a year, paid the lowest tax rate among the 1% (just over 18%- lower then someone making 90,000 a year, as opposed to 24% for the rest of the 1%. These top 400 made 1.3 cents out of every dollar of our nations income.
While many of the numbers on the 1% are indeed alarming, they tell a diluted and misleading story. And conversely they allow a dishonest story to be told when it comes to discussions of taxes and overall wealth.
Unfortunately “the 1%” has become a catchphrase and a bumper sticker slogan, and much like “global warming” as opposed to anthropomorphic climate change allows for a neasy twisting of facts and dilution of otherwise valid arguements.
We all need to be more aware of the facts, and just what it is we are oppsing…