I know, I know, it’s all about pie with me! It’s really about fairness though, as far as who gets apple pie and who gets blueberry pie. It would be great if we could all have an equal amount of each. But can we?
I think it’s possible. However, a long-term solution to the problems that fuel the Occupy protests will need support from both the government and public.
- As others before me have suggested, a higher tax rate to the elite - not a tax cut - would be beneficial to the nation. But there is something that protestors who rally for this direction must realize; higher taxes on the rich will not magically create jobs and raise the 99%’ers salary. Will the overall wealth be dispersed more? Of course. But this is not a quick fix. This is a step that weaves government and its citizens together. Maybe these hypothetical higher taxes on the upper-class could be used to lower the US debt ceiling… !
- Rallies and protests have raised an extraordinary amount of attention for America’s inequality. As of now, though, it has not lowered unemployment rates for any of the attendees. Like I stated in a previous post, I think that education past undergraduate four-year college may have to become a new norm if society desires not just higher pay, but greater job security. Statistics show that over the past four decades, college enrollment of full-time students has increased by about 2.5 times, from 8.5 thousand students to 20.5 thousand. This massive jump has made for a much more competitive playing field, proving that a four-year degree doesn’t guarantee anything in today’s market. Additionally, this only accounts for college students. Generally speaking, people with only a high school diploma or GED will continue to have increasing difficulty in finding steady, satisfactory work unless they are very specialized in certain field.
- One direction that corporations could attempt is towards an alternative form of disintermediation - in this case, cutting out the upper tier that takes much but delivers little. Innovators and leaders with true skill are the ones that should be leading big businesses, not greedy CEOs who have great power but put forth poor contributions to a greater good. The separation of power in the US government is a great model to work from. Instead of one person with overwhelming power and wealth (e.g. in government, a dictator), multiple partners with specialized tasks (the executive, legislative, and judicial branches) may be able to avoid unnecessary spending.
These are just a handful of ideas that could help America in the direction of equality. It will require hard work and cooperation from an array of people - people who may not get along, but are able to look past their differences in the effort of a common goal. That goal is a truly unified, democratic nation with opportunities for its citizens to find happiness - and a steady job.
The 99%’ers have a strong distaste for those in the 1% income bracket. OWS views the 1%’ers as greedy, arrogant, and selfish, to name a few words on quite a long list. But are they really that much different?
According to NPR, the 1% are:
- Similarly Republican - 33% to 28%
- Even more similarly conservative - 39% to 38%
- Racially close - 78% white to %72 white
Differences were found in education, though. 49% of the 1% (that’s a mouthtful…) have a post-graduate degree, compared to 16% of the 99% (tongue-twister city!). To me, this shows how society has evolved. “You have to go to graduate school” seems to be the new “You have to go to college” if you want to be successful, something that media seems to be inadvertently telling us.
Furthermore, this article from the NY Times explains some of the jobs that 1%’ers have. Top-tier, “super elite” CEOs and executives of multinational corporations that focus on consumerism are the ones that hold a large amount of the US wealth. The term “big businessmen” is inaccurate, and not every employee on Wall St. should be charged as guilty, contrary to what some protestors and the media may believe. This is something I find extremely important. People who may be researching OWS are made to believe it is Wall Street’s fault for inequality, but this is a problem that has been snowballing for over three decades. Tax cuts from the Bush administration have allowed these super elites to gain more and more each year. I stress that it is important to compile facts and arguments from different sources before scrutiny is placed on a single target.
James De La Vega, Hispanic-American artist photographed in October at the Financial District in NY.
There is always inequity in life… . Life is unfair.” - John F. Kennedy
As most know, inequality lies at the depths of the Occupy movement - It’s the oxygen in OWS’s blood, if you will. It’s the reason why everyone is rallying from NY to Oakland, England to Denmark. But are protestors actually aware of what they are fighting against? Or are they decoding the facts from the internet into an interpretation of “Excellent, I finally have a valid reason to stand in a public park with the wittiest sign I can think of?”
As a long-time HP fan, I can appreciate this sign, as well as the wizard-to-be’s spirit. Not much strikes home more than a kid that’s rallying for the greater good against Voldemort (aka: the 1%); but, does he know why he’s actually there?
This website has some great statistics about US inequality and separation of wealth. Some that I find most interesting are:
- ”The wealthiest Americans have collected the bulk of the past three decades’ income gains. The share of national income of the richest 1% more than doubled between 1980 and 2008: from 8% to 18”
- The first sentence is obvious to anyone who has followed OWS - the top 1% have obviously accumulated much of America’s wealth. But for 30 years? 30 years is a long time. Specifically, enough time for a 1-percent-er to DOUBLE their income.
- “The rising incomes of executives and finance professionals account for much of the rising share of top income recipients. Moreover, people who achieve such a high income status tend to stay there: only 25% drop-out of the richest 1% in the US, compared to some 40% in Australia and Norway, for instance.”
- It’s predictable that executives are likely to stay in their financial position for a long time; why wouldn’t they? Unless a big businessman is struck by bankruptcy, they are expected to remain in high esteem, both monetarily and in a sense of image. What I find interesting about this, though, is the difference between America and these other countries like Australia and Norway. This 15% separation, which may not seem very substantial, says a great deal. The gap shows just how much bigger the US big businesses are, and how differently they behave with their expenditures.
With the excessive inequality the United States is encountering, I believe that a new form of segregation has been not necessarily been born, but mutated. While this country has an extensive history of race and status prejudice, the Occupy movements have put the inequality on center stage. I blame the interent for this - with its speed and unfathomable outreach, people worldwide have been able to digest statistics regarding their social status, gain followers who also feel neglected, and do something active about it.
In brief, former Florida U.S. Representative Alan Grayson helps shed a little light (very accurately, if I may…) on the reasons people have camped out like hobos for the past two months. Get this guy a beer!
… One hero can not do it. Each one of us has to be heroes…” - Yoko Ono on Occupy Wall St., via Twitter.
Welcome to Wall St., located in the beautiful borough of Manhattan in New York City. If you’re looking for a decadent slice of pie, Manhattan specializes in two flavors: bureaucratic blueberry and activist apple. With an abundance in apple pie, it’s rare to find a piece of blueberry - approximately 1 in 100 pie shops carry it. Even if you do happen to stumble across this elusive treat, I doubt you can afford it. Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh; but who has over $500 grand to spend on dessert? I don’t. And neither do 99% of Americans.
Now, I know what you’re thinking - “Why don’t some of these blueberry pie enthusiasts take the money they would spend on the pie and distribute it throughout the apple pie lovers?” That would be excellent! The only problem with that is the entire global economy would begin calling Americans socialistic and hypocritical (well… more so than they already do). Here lies a difficult paradox of the early 21st century.
In Who Wants a Piece of (Occu)py?, I will attempt to give a clear understanding of differing views, opinions, and stands of the Occupy Wall St. protests of 2011. It’s a battle-for-the-ages between the upper-echelon 1%’ers and the other 99% of America.