The One-Percenters: Maligned or Misunderstood?

Posted on October 24, 2011 by

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By now you’re probably aware of the public’s discontent with the Wall Street Executives as indicated by the ongoing media coverage of the”Occupy Wall Street” protests. With each passing day the movement seems to be gaining in momentum. Its core message, which initially was loosely defined, seems to be evolving, ever so slowly.  Of course I remain skeptical about the overall objective of this protest, especially since it seems to cater to that “jump on the band wagon” mentality. After all, it seems  whenever’s there’s an abundance of cameras and reporters people will generally “show up” just to be able to Facebook or Tweet about the event later. Either way, the fact remains that people are angry and for good reason.  The movement’s rallying cry is: “We are the 99%!” The remaining one-percenter would be all those greedy bankers and Wall Street executives. However, when it comes to dealing with complex issues such as Economics and Corporate Finance,  attempting to assign a scapegoat is not a simple task.  Nevertheless, what began as a loosely defined maelstrom has managed to spread throughout the world. With the help of Social Media and old-school protesting, this movement which began in New York City has managed to galvanize strangers around the globe.  Nevertheless, I remain curious about the maligned one-percenters.

Who are these evil one percenters? How did they get to be so rich? Which occupation can launch you on that one-percent track? Is it true that some conspiracy theorists believe that a well-known billionaire one-percenter is behind the protests?  In my opinion anything is possible. The mysterious billionaire is believed to be  George Soros.  Supposedly his reasons for initiating this movement is to indirectly  destabilize the government. Whether this is true or not, the fact remains that during this recession nearly 2,200 Americans made over $10 million dollars, last year.  And if this is the “one percent” the protesters are angry at then maybe their anger has been misdirected. Harry Bradford, from Huffington Post,  compiled top 10 ranking of occupations held by one-percenters. What’s ironic is how this ranking doesn’t include a single investment banker or hedge fund manager.

10.  Business Operations (Non Finance)

Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 3 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 2.4 percent
9.   Real Estate
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 3.2 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 1.9 percent

8.   Blue Collar Or Miscellaneous Service

Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 3.8 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 4.2 percent
7.   Skilled Sales (Except Finance Or Real Estate
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 4.2 percent
 Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 4.6 percent
6.   Not working or deceased
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 4.3 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 5.2 percent
5.    Computer, Math, Engineering, Technical (Nonfinance)
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 4.6 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 3.8 percent
4.    Lawyers
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 8.4 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 7 percent
3.    Financial Professions, Including Management
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 13.9 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 7.7 percent
2.    Medical
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 15.7 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 16.8 percent
1.    Executives, Managers, Supervisors (Non-Finance)

Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 2005: 31 percent
Percentage of top 1 percent with occupation in 1979: 36 percent

The gap between the haves and haves-not will continue to widen. As a result, I don’t believe that the solution is to abolish capitalism or to envy those who make up the elite one-percent. Capitalism is good. On the other hand, capitalism without regulations, in which unbridled greed is allowed to run amok is something that should never be tolerated.  If the 99% protesters really want to send a message to big business, and the banking system, then they should begin by paying attention to where they spend, save, and invest their dollars, no matter how few they may be. Angry about the lack of jobs? Then begin organizing grass root efforts to create local  businesses and opportunities which place the needs of people before the need to make gobs of dollars.  Let’s try to avoid playing the blame game whenever  life throws us a curve ball. Granted,  unchecked greed is never a virtue, however, protesting amongst the “unwashed” masses without a clearly defined enemy or message isn’t too virtuous as well.
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