Thursday, October 27, 2011

So . . . Are You Part Of The 99%?

by Dick Mac

Pretty much everyone I know supports the #Occupy movement that started with Occupy Wall Street over a month ago. The phrase "I Am The 99%" is seen and heard in many places, at many different times, for many different reasons.

If we discuss this literally, we are referring to those people beneath the 99th percentile of income. It is believed that these are the people who have least benefited from the re-engineering of our society.

I don't dispute that. It's not rocket science, nor even liberalism, that let's me see that the rich are much richer and the poor are much poorer than thirty years ago, before the implementation of Reaganomics.

What annual income does it take to be in that top 1%?

$US 205,000

It is suggested by the slogan that people earning $205,000 or more are those who have most benefited from the re-engineering of our society.

Those who earn more than $205,000 are the 1%, and there are about 2,150,000 earners who fall into that category.

I am surprised that the number is so low. I do not consider those who earn a quarter-million dollars to be particularly wealthy. Yes, they are comfortable, but I don't think of them as rich.

I wonder if they think of themselves as rich? I'll bet not.

What is that invisible line in each of our minds between rich and not rich?

Is it half-a-million? A million? Two million?

If I had an annual income of $500,000 a year, I think I would start to feel rich.

This got me thinking: where do my friends and I fit in that list?

I don't know how much my friends earn, but I have a rough idea of who makes about the same as me, who makes more (or a lot more) and who makes less (or a lot less). I know roughly what certain positions in certain industries pay. So, by knowing my ranking in the income list, I have a sense of where my friends, family, colleagues and neighbors rank.

The picture above is a screen shot that shows I rank in the 97.97 percentile. We'll just call it the 98th percentile. This translates to there being 4.3 million Americans earning more than me.

Those people living in the 98th percentile are not rich (but wish we were). I also find it hard to imagine the people at the bottom end of the 99th percentile being rich.

A woman earning a half-million dollars a year fall into the 99.5 percentile, which represents the position where 1.1 million people earn more that her.

Do we call that rich?

What is rich? Who is wealthy?

Would the #Occupy slogan be more accurate if it said: "I am the 99.5%"?

My point isn't really to split that hair, but rather ask you to consider where you are in the list of American salaries and how the notions of economic disparity affect you.

You can start by finding your rank with the What's Your U.S. Income Ranking? tool.

I know many people that are pretty far down the list:

Those earning $US 75,000 are in the 89th percentile.
Those earning $US 50,000 are in the 76th percentile.
Those earning $US 40,000 are in the 68th percentile.

Most of the people I know in the 90-something percentile support the #Occupy movement, and believe that our re-engineered society is detrimental to America's future; that we must examine how the money is moving up, up, up while so many are earning less, less, less.

The people I know who oppose the #Occupy movement and support Reaganomics are generally people below the 89th percentile.

From my perspective, it's the people with some privilege that are most concerned about those with the least privilege.

Where do you fall in the rankings?

Do you support the notions behind the #Occupy movement?

If the numbers make you unhappy, then perhaps you'd rather see where you fall in the Global rankings. Use the tool at Global Rich List - How Rich Are You?.

I am in the top .27 percent. Whatever your salary in America, chances are you are rated high in the global rankings.

But this isn't Somalia or even Portugal or Greece, and Americans have worked hard to be so high on the global rankings.

Dead Enz
Kyle G. Brixton

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