Occupy Wall Street is a movement, whose purpose is to fight against the excess of the Wall Street. The followers of the movement decried the apparent rate of income inequality; pushing for economic rights of the 99%. The bottom 90% of Americans earns yearly an average of $31,244 while the top 1% is making an average of $1,137,684.
Further, compare that the top 1% have 34.6% of American GDP while the bottom 90% contribute 26.9% of GDP. Without considering, top 1% in the apparent American income inequality equation, it falls from the current 11% to 6%.
Though 50% of the top 1% has a distribution among various professions, Wall Street contributes close to 50% of the top 1% richest Americans. First, directly through top executives and financial professions who make each 31.0% and 13.9% respectively of this group, combined they are over 40%.
Secondly, addition of some lawyers (8.4%), especially considering the substantial number of layers in business law and the total sum of the group, who derive wealth from the Wall Street, is close or just above 50%. Looking into the income distribution within corporate America validates this point: the average employee makes close to 185 times less than average top Executive.
The changing fortunes of American economy indicate a growing income inequality in America and blaming income inequality to the top 20% instead of top 1% Americans is hypocritical: it is just a means to pacify the common person to get less people to join the movement. Over the years, income of the bottom 90% Americans has been constant; meanwhile, the top 1% has grown from just above $400,000 to $1,137,6849 (1980- 2008).
Even after the recent world financial crisis, while the American and European have had economic recovery job creation has been low in comparison to growth. More and more Americans are working at multiple jobs since 1990; increasingly less are under unions, more jobs move to other countries than job creation within USA.
The results are drastic. The minimum wage has grown 21% since 1990 while the cost of living by 67%. Wall Street profits grew by 720% between 2007 and 2009; also growing over this period, is the rate of employment at 102% while home equity fell by 55%.
The top 10 richest congress members are worth a combined $2.8 billion. The rest are not considerably rich as this group but have an average wealth of $912,000. The first group all voted for Bush tax cuts; these among other tax breaks favoring rich are quite significant. Especially considering that while the average income of top 400 richest grew by 392% (1992-2007), their taxation rates fell on average by 37%.
In conclusion, ideal and current class stratification of American society is unfavorable: in comparison to top 1% average yearly income of $1,019,089, top 0.01% – 0.1% make $2,802,020; top 0.01% earn $23,846,950 on average over the same period while bottom 90% earn $31,244.
Certainly, Occupy Wall Street movement with its chant, claiming they are the 99%, has a valid argument for rebelling against the existing income inequality in USA.