As the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class is being snuffed out of existence, outrage is pouring onto message boards, town halls and streets. The Occupy Wall Street movement which is nearly completed its 3rd week in progress, has literally spread across the nation, attracting more and more working class factions who all share one common goal: To stop the greedy and super-rich from disenfranchising the vast majority of this country.
Facts outlined in AlterNet‘s piece titled “5 Facts You Should Know About the Wealthiest Once Percent of Americans” directly relates to growing collective disgust for the super rich (and their advocates) as the 99 percent’s loss becomes the 1 percent’s gain:
1. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Owns 40 Percent of the Nation’s Wealth
As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out, the richest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Sociologist William Domhoff illustrates this wealth disparity using 2007 figures where the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the country’s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home). How much does the bottom 80 percent own? Only 7 percent. As Stiglitz notes, this disparity is much worse than it was in the past, as just 25 years ago the top 1 percent owned 33 percent of national wealth.
2. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Take Home 24 Percent of National Income
While the richest 1 percent of Americans take home almost a quarter of national income today, in 1976 they took home just 9 percent — meaning their share of the national income pool has nearly tripled in roughly three decades.
3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half of the Country’s Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds
The Institute for Policy Studies shows this massive disparity in financial investment ownership, noting that the bottom 50 percent of Americans own only .5 percent of these investments.
4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent of the Nation’s Personal Debt
Sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top 1 percent have 5 percent of the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt:
5. The Top 1 Percent are Taking In More of the Nation’s Income Than at Any Other Time Since the 1920s
Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression.
All signs point to the resources funneling “upward” and away from the 99% of Americans as we face a future with a huge question mark concerning basic justice and quality of life. As countless Americans seek the solution through efforts like Occupy Wall Street and the Contract for the American Dream one thing remains clear: A scale this imbalanced cannot stand upright forever.