Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who are the 1 percent?

I've been thinking a lot lately about this ongoing discussion of the 99 percent vs. the 1 percent.

Who exactly are the 1 percent? And I don't mean what do they represent. I mean WHO are they. I know damn well I'm in the 99 percent. Odds are pretty high - since you're reading this - that you are, too.

I was wondering how many of the 1 percent (the uber-rich) live in Western New York. A dozen? Less? I know some people with some money ... lots of money, in fact. Well, lots of money by *my* standards. But the 1 percent would probably laugh at them in the same manner than anyone from Los Angeles laughs at Buffalonians who complain about traffic problems. Or how Western New Yorkers laugh at the folks down South who cry when they get an inch of snow.

The only WNYers that I can think of who *may* fall into the 1 percent category are Tom Golisano (although he lives in Florida now, doesn't he?) and Terry Pegula (who, I think still lives in Pennsylvania).

And, honestly, would any of you care if their taxes were raised?

So why is it, then that more than 1 percent of the country is opposed to the tax increase on the super-wealthy? Not that I'm saying that the majority should gang up on the minority and take what's theirs. That's democracy gone ugly and I do not condone such behavior.

Why would any member of Congress oppose a tax increase on the 1 percent? I know that some Congresspeople are wealthy ... but are any "1 percent wealthy?" I really don't know the answer to that ... which gets back the title of today's blog post: "Who are the 1 percent?"

There's that great Tumblr showing photos and letters of us 99 percent-ers. It puts faces and stories with the movement. The faces of the downtrodden, if you will. It humanizes the story that the main stream media seems to so badly want not to be humanized. Maybe if we could see the faces and hear the stories of the 1 percent, it would further enrage the masses and make them call out for justice even greater.

I truly believe that the #OccupyWallStreet movement will continue to grow before it shrinks. I think every story told of someone in New York or Chicago or Atlanta being beaten and arrested for carrying signs and singing Kumbaya will only serve to recruit more to the cause.

In the end, it will take political action to right the economic wrongs of this country. And many people have said that the #OWS movement incorrectly attacks the 1 percent when they should be focusing their efforts on Congress. I disagree, however, because Congress doesn't listen to the 99 percent. They listen to dollars, so only the 1 percent can make Congress act. For this reason, I think the pressure is being put in the right place.

If only we knew who the 1 percent were ...