The 99 Percent Movement was born out of the fact that the country has grown incredibly unequal and millions of Americans are struggling to get by. The richest 1 percent of the country now owns more than 40 percent of the wealth and takes home nearly a quarter of national income.
The American economy wasn’t always structured in a way that so generously rewarded the one percent while giving the 99 percent less and less. Following the Second World War, widespread unionization, higher and fairer tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, and New Deal policies helped craft an economy with widespread prosperity. In fact, if you look at income growth in period between 1947 and 1949, it was approximately equal across the board. Meanwhile, income gains between 1980 and 2007 went overwhelmingly to the richest
Not only should Americans be concerned that only 1 percent of the country owns majority of wealth, but that there was once a time when everyone was semi equal and there was not such a large gap between classes. The author, Jilani, explains that since there was a time wealth among people were similar, it’s optimistic to assume that one day it can be possible for people in America to be equal once again.
Title: It Wasn’t Always This Way: America’s 99 Percent Used to Have a Much Greater Share of The Nation’s Riches
Source: ThinkProgress.org, October 25, 2011
Author: Zaid Jilani
Student Researcher: Brianna Santo, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Marco Calavita, Sonoma state University