The One Percenters are not a monolithic entity, but rather a diverse crowd demographically, geographically and occupatonally. But what they have in common is the extraordinary amount of the nation’s wealth under their control.

Statistici­an Willford King in 1911 noted the richest 1% of Americans took home 15% of the nation’s income. In the midst of the Progressiv­­e Movement, this raised alarms. In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system to deal with this growing disparity. In the early 1930’s the nation was compelled to deal with an out of control investment culture that was one of the root causes of the Great Depression­.

Following, World War II income distributi­­on became profoundly more equal during what has been referred to as the “Great Compressio­­n” where wealth looked as if it was gathering in the middle of the distribution curve.

But today, the work of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s seems to have been for naught. Today the top 1% take home a record 24% of the nation’s income, almost triple the percentage in 1976. The top one tenth of that 1% take home 7.7%. More than 80% of the massive wealth increase between 1980 and 2005, and almost every penny of the 20% growth of the 2000s went to the One Percenters­.

Today the U.S. has income inequality more gaping than than that of third world nations of Guyana, Nicaragua and Venezuela to name a few.

In 2010, the top 1% are those who took home at least $516,633, and had a net worth of at least $9,523,000­­. It is projected that an average member of that 1% will earn $1,830,773 in income this year.

The 1 Percenters are not all on Wall Street or in the Banks. They are a diverse crowd with a little less than 45 percent making the lion’s share of their money as investors, financiers and bankers. Only 29 of the 100 richest people in America wealth primarily through finance.

Others are in land and mineral speculatio­­n, manufactur­­ing, farming and ranching, medicine, computer science and other technologies­­, marketing and entertainm­­ent. Some are even dead (Elvis, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson are among their numbers).

It is hard to nail them down since most, of course, draw their wealth from several sources.

But the Occupy Protestors are still right when they specially target corporate owners, executives­­, managers, and supervisor­­s in the financial profession­­s as the greatest beneficiar­­ies of America’s growing income inequality­­.It is the financial sector that drives American in all categories.

That group makes up the majority of the one tenth of one percent — the ultra-rich — and account for 70% of the increase in the share of national earnings that goes into the hands of that narrow elite in the last 10 years.

Finance saw its share of corporate profits rise from less than 10% in 1979 to over 40% in the past decade.

To find details on all of this, look at the sources:








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Americas democracy has become perverted. The supreme court ruling that corporations are people was the straw that broke the camels back. Now corporations and the 1%ers can and many of them do buy politicians and get laws made that are NOT for the better for 99% but sure do make the 1% richer.

We need to convince more of the 99% that we are correct. That the government is made up of professional politicians instead of the “citizen legislators” intended by our founding fathers.


You would think that the wealthy would get smarter and learn from history but their greed is insatiable and irresistible. Yes, right now the inequity is greater than ever but look at the whirlwind it is beginning to reap. It is inevitable, whether in Egypt or the US, once oppression becomes too great for too many, there is an uprising of some kind and a push back against the oppressors. Sometimes it’s at the ballot box, sometimes it’s in the streets but nature abhors a vacuum and as fairness, justice and democracy is sucked out of a society by the… Read more »


After the Great Depression and when FDR was elected president, the corporations actually worked with FDR in helping to restore the economy.

This time, the corporations are working against recovery.

Good article, MTS, and thank you for all the informative links.


Hi Javaz! You’re right about the corporations working with FDR for recovery. But now, things are different. I think it goes deeper than just simply working against recovery. I believe that they want recovery to happen…they just don’t want Barack Obama to have credit for it. They have hoarded vast amounts of money and can withstand another year until the next election when they hope to defeat the President. I have thought long and hard about the resistance to the President and his policies. I understand that the corporations and banks want to do what they do with no oversight… Read more »


Em, there’s no doubt in my mind that a large part of the resistance toward Obama is racial. There is also a predominant greed and selfishness at work. These uber rich and their political minions give us the impression that if a person is struggling, it is their own fault. Hell, Herman Cain has even said as much, publicly. Far too many of the wealthy share this opinion and strongly support the “bootstrap,” mentality. They absolutely hate the thought that even a dime of their money might go the poor and unfortunate. They want to reap the benefits that America… Read more »