I am thrilled by the movement called Occupy Wall Street that is rapidly spreading, not only in the United States, but across the developed world. Whatever the outcome (and it could be ugly) this needed to happen. “The One Percent”, whose name comes from a 2007 documentary by Johnson & Johnson heir Jamie Johnson, refers those who, collectively, own almost all of U.S. financial resources. This is, surprisingly, a very broad range indeed: “According to IRS tax data, anybody earning $380,354 or more qualifies for membership in the top 1 percent.” (Yahoo News)
So this isn’t just about the billionaires, although there are plenty of billionaires, but about many of you who are reading this blog post. The 1 % includes those whose wealth is earned (or accumulated by investing in Wall Street) and those whose wealth is inherited. Again, almost all of their wealth comes, whether directly or indirectly (and I include myself) from Wall Street.
This movement is about the widening wealth gap between the very rich and the very poor, the working class, and the shrinking middle class. It is about the way Wall Street, with the full support of the U.S. Government, supports the Wall Street banks and investment companies, at the expense of almost everyone else.
It is about the way the U.S. economy is steadily going down the tubes, thanks to Wall Street, the investment banks, and (lest we forget) federal government dysfunction on a colossal scale.
Those who first showed up in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, on September 25, are a diverse group, not just a bunch of scruffy kids, as Fox News would have the American public believe. They are of all ages, and they include many professionals—doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, nurses, and so on.
The movement also has its own newspaper. Even the mainstream New York Times supported the protest in an October 8 editorial: “As the Occupy Wall Street protests spread from Lower Manhattan to Washington and other cities, the chattering classes keep complaining that the marchers lack a clear message and specific policy prescriptions. The message — and the solutions — should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention since the economy went into a recession that continues to sock the middle class while the rich have recovered and prospered. The problem is that no one in Washington has been listening. At this point, protest is the message: income inequality is grinding down that middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people.”
If you, who are reading this, strongly agree or disagree, please write a comment. I am watching, listening, and reading daily; The Inheritance Project will have more to report on this astonishing phenomenon.