This is the graph Ezra used last night to explain why the Occupy Wall Street/99% protests aren’t simply a case of sour grapes and bitterness.
You have to ask yourself – how is it that the one percent is doing so great? They haven’t been playing more by the rules. Or getting more educated. And – here’s the really important part if you want to understand why the other 99 percent are out protesting and why they’re calling their movement Occupy Wall Street – how come they haven’t brought anyone else along with them.
Look at the relationship between the one percent – they’re the red line here. And everyone else – they’re the blue line. If you look at what everyone was making in 1945, there was a while when we were all pretty near each other – there was a while when we rose and we fell together.
And then we didn’t. Starting in about the 80s that just stopped. That’s around the same time median wages for most of us just stopped moving – they just stopped rising. Look at what happens starting in the 80s – the top one percent goes WAY up. And everyone else stays flat. If the other 99 had kept rising, we wouldn’t be talking about Occupy Wall Street right now.
Americans don’t resent people’s success – the 99 percent don’t resent the fact that there is a top one percent, they resent the fact that the system stopped working for them.
They resent that the top one percent now inhabits a different economy than the rest of us – an economy with different rules – rules that they get to make up.
When you look at these numbers, at this trend – when you see how this looks and feels to people you can’t imagine that this is sustainable in the long-run, that this is the way the country can keep going.