Ever since the economy receded and the aftereffects came into fruition, every common man and woman in the United States has been fixated on the 1%. This obsession is not because the 1% caused the turmoil but because it did not feel it, or at least the majority of the 1%. The 1% stands out because they were unaffected by a series of events that hurt the rest of the country.
Now that some time has passed and cultural colloquialisms have been introduced into the political vernacular, the definition, at least according to context, of the term “1%” has broadened. 1% is now a socio-political term to mean extremely rich.
Rather than taking into account the trouble and financial disorder that came as a result of economic recession, the meaning of 1% has been greatly simplified and generalized.
But other than looking rich and seeming smug (to the average American), what really defines the 1% and makes them stand out from the other 99%?
In statistics released by the IRS, in 2009 it takes only just below an annual income of 350,000 dollars to be richer than 99% of the population. And according to CNN “there were just under 1.4 million households that qualified for entry. They earned nearly 17% of the nation’s income and paid roughly 37% of its income tax. Collectively, their adjusted gross income was $1.3 trillion.”
The 17% of the national income that they earn is a debatable statistic as this number changes annually, as does the minimum income for entry into this esoteric community, but the fact that they make more money that anyone else remains the same.
A possible defense for the 1% is that they pay higher taxes than anyone else, but the “Occupy” movement has debunked this myth by constantly reminding the public that they receive massive tax breaks in order to use this extra money to fuel the economy, based on the questionable economic principles of “Reganomics.”
But other than making copious amounts of money and paying fewer taxes than some consider that they should, why has this elite group been so demonized?
It is undisputed that some of the 1% includes heads of major industry who create their own outrageously large salaries, but they only account for a small percentage of the 1%. And yes, money does bring power. In this case the indiscretions of the few have been spread to the rest of the 1%.
The 1% is a scapegoat for the 0.1%, as made possible by corrupt and self-interested politicians. Although this group is enviably rich and privileged, they have been unfairly targeted.