Text   Why the “1 percent”

This blog grew out of a partnership between Resource Generation and Wealth for the Common Good, and the organizing that we are doing to amplify the voices of young wealthy people for tax justice.

Over the past year, we have been working to develop a joint campaign to promote progressive tax policies. During the same weekend in September when our organizing team came together to shape strategies, the Occupy Wall Street protest was gathering steam. The team realized that this could be a powerful moment to identify publicly as people with wealth who stood for a more just distribution of resources and fairer taxes.

To test out this theory, RG staff members Elspeth Gilmore, Jessie Spector and other New York RG members made signs, similar to those being carried by OWS protestors, identifying themselves as members of the 1% who stand with the 99%, and took to the streets.  The signs provoked lots of reaction and discussion on the street, and a picture of Elspeth holding her sign went viral on facebook.

To keep in line with the messaging the Occupy movement was using, the team came up with the slogan: I am the 1 percent, I stand with the 99 percent. And so we decided to make the blog to mirror the site We are the 99 percent, and create a place where people with wealth and privilege people could voice their solidarity with the Occupy Movement.

There are over 1000 young people in Resource Generation who share these sentiments—as well as many other wealthy people across the country who stand in solidarity with the protesters. We believe that have more than we need, while the 99 percent struggles to survive. This has to change. We believe in an equitable distribution of wealth.

Who is in the 1 percent, the 5 percent, and the 10 percent?

Here are the statistics:

INCOME: The latest Tax Policy Center data show that Americans who have $506,553 in income are in the top 1%. The top 2% starts at $360,435; the top 5% starts at $200,026; and the top 10% starts at $154,131.

When it comes to Adjusted Gross Income (what income taxes are based on), the latest numbers from the IRS show that the top 1 percent has at least $343,927 (based on 2009 tax returns).

ASSETS: Based on Federal Reserve Board’s Surveys of Consumer Finance data, the top 1 percent of Americans had a net worth of at least $6 million in 2007.

Do you really represent the 1 percent?

Together, our networks include thousands of high-income and wealthy people. Many are part of the 1 percent of wealth holders or income earners, and many others are part of the 10 percent.  Just about all of us are in the global 1 percent. All of us recognize we have more than we need, and that we also have potential to influence the rest of the 1 percent community.

The question really is: what does the 1 percent represent?

Just as the 99 percent has been a powerful rallying cry, the 1 percent has come to represent those who hold the majority of this country’s resources and have created—and benefited from—this financial crisis. For those of us with more than we need who believe in a more just distribution of resources, it’s important that we stand up and tell the truth about how the deck has been stacked in our favor, and that 100 percent of us need a different world.

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