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MurphTheSurf3 On October - 16 - 2011

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:









Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

20 Responses so far.

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  1. Nirek says:

    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.

  2. AdLib says:

    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 elite, the majority collapses in upon those elite.

    I am optimistic, the fact that this is growing globally in the western world gives me a lot of encouragement that big changes could indeed be on the horizon. The wealthy may have remote control over society through their wealth and the politicians they own but concretely, 3 million people simply can’t prevent 300 million people from accomplishing something they mutually demand.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I agree with your point of view re. how long folks will endure oppression without responding…but the issue always comes down to how effective the response.

      Social media have changed the nature of the response. But even this can be blunted.

      On Friday evening I looked forward to being with you and others hwho were at Occupy events at least in spirit via the news coverage. I was at home most of the day.

      But without the live feeds from OWS and several of those at events, I would have thought that not much was happening.

      I knew that was not so. CNN had minimum coverage (a slot every hour). MSNBC was doing its Prison Weekend stuff, it’s how they pay their bills. NBC had a 10 minute slot on its nightly news at 5:30. HP, Salon, Daily Beast, all ran small stories during the day. Alternet and Raw Story did quite a bit. But the live media mass media was missing.

      I called a friend who is a producer for local and regional news in NYC on Saturday evening. Here is what he said.

      1) The novelty is wearing off.
      2) There are no central events (speakers, symbolic actions) around which media can gather.
      3) The lack of a clear agenda haunts the movement.
      4) The crowd is not providing the “stories” they are looking for; and there is an element of real antagonism which seems geared at provoking the police.
      5) Lacking identifiable leadership there is no one to speak for the group or to its members. All of this is dissipating coverage. Does this sound plausible to you? I am very angry at the lack of coverage but I am trying to figure out what is going on? Or is this corporate buddies hanging together?

      I have posted this in several places and gotten some very interesting responses.

      • AdLib says:

        With all due respect, I think that list reflects the groupthink of the MSM.

        “All donuts are round and have holes in the middle so that long extruded thing you call a ‘churro’ that’s supposed to be like a donut can never succeed.”

        It’s hard for many who are trained to recognize something based on a pre-established, generally familiar structure to recognize something that is new and different and could be a new paradigm.

        It happened with the horseless carriage, writing on computers and even Twitter (remember, just a couple years ago the MSM was deriding it and saying it was just silly, had no real value above superficiality and would disappear…now journalists heavily rely on it!). Even four years ago, Obama’s presidency was patronized by many in the MSM as interesting but impossible in the face of Hillary Clinton’s 20 point lead in the polls and the cache her being a Clinton.

        Conventional Wisdom is generally high on convention and low on wisdom…not to mention often just plain wrong.

        To recognize new things, one must fight the urge to reject something for not conforming to the past. I feel that is the difficulty many in the media and the GOP are now dealing with…some caught on the wrong side of the fence as the legitimacy of the movement continues to build.

        I don’t think OWS “needs” the MSM now. It did need the MSM originally to gain a mantle of legitimacy and to get the word out, those two things have been accomplished. The power behind the movment is not coming from the MSM though, it is coming from a nexus of social networking and activism.

        So, even if the MSM tries to sell that line to the public, that because this movement isn’t conforming to their needs and expectations, it is no longer relevant (“Now, for more on who was just voted off Dancing With The Stars…”), the movement will continue to grow just the same.

        And the MSM risks what the GOP has and is already regretting. Getting on the wrong side of the movement has consequences which can be detrimental. Cantor and Romney who attacked OWS as “mobs” and “dangerous” are now recanting and running scared.

        If the MSM proves worthless to a majority of Americans by not covering the most energetic and rapidly growing movement in America, people will simply go elsewhere for the news and view the MSM as irrelevant in return.

        As has been said here, the genie is out of the bottle and whether or not the MSM agrees with its shape and color, that won’t make it go back in its bottle.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Ad Lib

          Left you a note over at Help! re. your long answer last night Much appreciated.

          Now to this comment….

          I found your response intriguing. I think I generally agree with your perspective. The OWS movement does not fit the narrow (and getting narrower) paradigms in which the MSM works…therefore it is not real….when it becomes real they work to get it to fit…when it doesn’t they ignore it…and it gets more and more real. The problem is they may not be able to change their paradigm.

          Today, several of the big MSM voices seem to be in hyperdrive trying to make up for lost time this weekend past.

          Is it possible that their problem is one of weekend staffing?

          Your response was so intriguing I asked my friend, the producer to look at it, and here is his response.

          “I ask your patience. I would like to pass this around to several other ‘decision makers’ seeking their reaction. I find it strikingly honest and generally true. I wonder if my colleagues will agree. We need the OWS movement to hit us as hard as it seems to be hitting the political structure.”

          So Ad Lib……you may have struck a very major chord.

          More later?

          • AdLib says:

            Very interesting and appreciated Murph, please do share any more that you hear!

            The movie studios and tv networks spend a fortune on market research to help them create “product” that they invest millions in…that sometimes surprisingly fails or surprisingly become big hits.

            If there was a formula for calculating everything that could be successful, the billions corporations spend on marketing research would have already provided it.

            The biggest successes or events often come from outside of convention and are successful for that very reason, because they defy or exceed expectations. So the methods of assessing things that’s based upon what has already succeeded is a limitation.

            It can be very effective in a majority of cases but it would necessarily encourage one to discount anything outside of those metrics.

            In some cases, that would rule out things that should be ruled out but in other it could rule out game changers that will happen.

            There’s a “norm” sensibility in the MSM, a “This is how things work”…until they don’t, then the MSM will say, “Things have changed, now THIS is how things work,” which again sets them up in the same situation, limiting them from recognizing the scope of the next big thing.

            What this reminds me of are those pictures that are made up of a collage of smaller pictures:


            The MSM is focused on and judging each individual picture on its own merit, based on the criteria it has come to depend on. Telling people what’s going on today is what they do…a much broader perspective on how something of limited import today may be a piece in a bigger overall picture that doesn’t conform to past or current criteria, is challenging to recognize.

            I think that there is a big story and scope here, there have been more and more frequent protests in the US over the last few years, including Baggers, as Americans have been becoming more activist. We see the same thing in many countries around the world. It’s full scope, all of it’s specific causes and the power of its momentum may not be fully recognizable right now but something is happening in people around the world and whether the MSM sees it for what it is or not, it still IS.

            No question that injustice and oppression enforced on the many by the wealthy few is a universal theme nationally and globally and is at the heart of what’s happening. In the future, the conventional wisdom of what occurred and why may appear so obvious and crystal clear.

            As you know, I was down at the Occupy LA protest. The Planet (via our activist group GROW) did co-organize the big anti-Koch Brothers rally in Palm Springs earlier in the year and I saw the same unity, empowerment and sentiment at both.

            The extremism and progress-killing of the Baggers in The House and the ongoing malaise is simply and powerfully convincing many Americans that government can’t help us at this point in time, it’s just not capable of solving our urgent problems.

            So people get up out of their homes and go into the streets to come together with other Americans to say, “It’s up to us.”

            It may not be an ideal fit for the MSM in the way that the Bagger hatred and conflict made and makes for sexy segments but whether it can serve to entertain MSM viewers or not, it’s import and power exist and continue to grow.

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              Ad Lib…left a long comment for you re. MSM and 99/OWS movement. Forgot to put your name in the header. It’s right above this comment.

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              An interesting thread at Democratic Underground:

              It captures a good bit of your sentiment.

              I think that three things drive MSM coverage:

              a) Economy. Both how to save and how to make money.
              b) Ideology. Orientation to a party, policy set or political philosophy.
              c) Technology. Mass production vs. micro production.

              These factors determine how MSM interact with events, persons and movements.

              I continue to note that while the 99 Percenter/Occupy Movement seems to have a lot of energy of its own welling up from anger, and it is fueled by social media, BUT my concern remains that without central leadership, then the MSM gets to choose who they designate as the spokespersons for the movement. Their choices reflect their own prejudices. I saw an organizer on Morning Joe on MSNBC today and was struck with how bright she was and how completely unaware/unrealistic re. the political process.

              The TP, which I believe was initially a authentic response to the wide and wild swinging of the right wing (in media and organizations) against Health Care Reform. The participants were wrong from Day One about almost everything.

              They broke into public attention because of their raids on Town Halls. It was at that point that Freedom Works and Fox took on sponsorship and virtual control of the movement.

              From then it was all packaged neatly, promoted carefully and used time limited high-profile events with eye-catching photo-video ops….including those folks dressed in 1776 regalia, and sporting holstered guns.

              Once they were implanted, the GOP began to mouth “their” truths as those of the American People. Of course, the truths were actually from the corporate sponsors of both the GOP and the Right Wings various movements and public voices (Fox, Washington Times, World Net Daily, Rush etc.)

              I am 61 and was part of both the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movement.

              Unity of message, inspired leadership, alliance with the decision makers was very effective in one and lacking in the other.

              And the results demonstrated this.

  3. javaz says:

    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.


    • MurphTheSurf3 says:


      “What is required is the restoration of a sense of patriotism among the leaders of our great businesses and industry. This patriotism takes the form of considering the good of the nation in the making of decisions that affect employment, investment, the health of the national economy, the life of our cities and the countryside, and the happiness of our people. In doing this, the leaders of our nation’s great manufacturing and commercial centers must be willing to put their own interests second to those of their less well off neighbors.”


Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Address to the Chamber of Commerce National Congress, March 1937.

      • Sabreen60 says:

        One problem as I see it is these are multi-national corporations. I’m not so sure they have any “patriotism”. They make so much of their money in other countries. After all, Americans are buying cheap goods, but overall demand is down.

        The CEO’s and leaders of these corporations have more in common with their jet set buddies than they do with the man/woman on the street here in America. I’m a pretty cynical when comes to expecting them to want to “help” their “country”.

        • Nirek says:

          You are spot on. Those corporations “people” are NOT patriotic American citizens.
          The supreme court made a terrible decision!

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Quite so….the globalist culture certainly works against patriotism.

          But, I would point out this is not new. Even in the 1930’s and 40’s, the very rich were part of an international culture (largely focused on the U.S. and Europe). Even more to the point, they belonged to a very elite nation within the nation in the U.S.

          What FDR did, in their own den at the Chamber, was to call them on this. And they flinched.

          However, they also fought back and created a tidal wave of GOP Congressman that threatened to destroy the new deal. WWII stopped that but at what price?

    • Emerald1943 says:

      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 and that they are willing to spend ungodly amounts of money to lobby Congress to get their way. I have tried to break it down to the bare essentials. Why do they hate him so much? He has shown time after time that he is very reasonable, thoughtful and intelligent, willing to negotiate and compromise. What more could they want besides another puppet Village Idiot? The ONLY reason that I can come up with is the fact that our President is a black man.

      On the day that President Obama was inaugurated, he hit a brick wall that I wonder if anyone could breach. He faced and still is facing all the power, money and influence that the republicans and the corporate world can muster. Their resistance to him is like nothing I’ve ever seen. If there was ever a leader who is willing to work with them for the good of us all, Barack Obama is the one. But they seem to be unable to get past their hatred of him. I can only think that the problem is racial. It is truly a shame!

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Obama represents a change in the world order and the GOP will do whatever it must to restore that order- lie, steal

        Why…their base. They have narrowed their appeal across the last 20 years to a group for whom the idea of a bright, capable, affable, family man who is black is a nightmare.

        The TP is simply the shock troops for an entire segment of the population who want Obama out no matter what. For them O is the world turned upside down.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:


        You left this comment for me from a post which I can no longer find. It reads:

        “Hi Murph! This is good and explains some of the reasons why the MSM gives the movement short shrift. But he didn’t mention the lack of violence. Yesterday, when a few bad apples caused all the damage in Rome, it was the lead on CNN. There were pictures of smashed windows and burning cars with black smoke rising and people running for most of the day…just the kind of “news” that the American audience likes! Dumb it down and rev up the carnage! Get your popcorn ready! I watched the coverage of the MLK memorial dedication this morning and thought back to the days of the civil rights marches. Many were not given much TV coverage until the police turned on the fire hoses and loosed the dogs on the protesters. Then the people got interested. What a sad state of affairs! While I fault the MSM for their corporate agenda, we must not forget the appetites of the American people…sex, violence and bubblegum for the mind! Do we really think that the average person is going to watch endless loops of people calmly walking down the streets with their signs and chants? Not when they can change the channel and see brainless millionaire women spending vast amounts of money for designer purses, the violence of the wrestling ring, and the humiliation of contestants on talent shows. This is one of my pet peeves! Grrrrr!”

        My Response: Hearst captured all that you are saying here 100 years ago…IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS…that’s what sells papers.”

      • 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 has to offer, such as roads and bridges and police and firefighters, teachers, food and drug safety, ivy league universities for their children……etc, but they fail to understand, or seem to see that without the American workers who provide these securities for them they wouldn’t have it so good. They don’t understand that the top of the pyramid can not exist without a wide and strong

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          You left a comment for me last night…I can’t find it at OT so…answer here.

          “This one really gets me; “4) The crowd is not providing the “stories” they are looking for…………..” What is wrong with media when they expect events and people to conform to the “stories,” they are looking for? WTF? The people ARE the story. What a bunch douche bags!

          The media today is so driven by economics that news must be neat, orderly, entertaining and easily packaged. Shrinking news room staffs tell the tale. If not for the internet so much would be missed which is why it must remain free.

          • Thanks for the reply Murph. I hear ya. There are those out there that would like nothing better than to control the internet like the FCC controls broadcasting. That just can’t be allowed. If it weren’t for the net, we would never get any real news and OWS would not be a global movement like it is turning out to be.

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