4 signs Occupy Wall Street is right
Recent studies show plenty of mainstream support for some of the issues that define the protest movement.
By Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet
The Occupy Wall Street protesters were first ignored by the media and then maligned by certain outlets, but more recently a slew of reports and surveys have come out showing the movement may be on to something after all.
As difficult as it may be to nail down exactly what the protesters stand for, much of their attention is devoted to the growing indebtedness of average households, along with the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor, and ultimately the concern that the wealthy are exerting too much control over the political process.
Post continues below.Several new studies have offered further evidence that these two problems are getting worse and, perhaps more importantly, that a large portion of the population is concerned about these issues.
Growing income inequality. Few reports in recent memory packed quite as much of a bang in so few words as one from the Congressional Budget Office.
The report shows that between 1979 and 2007, the superrich -- people in the top 1% of wage earners -- saw their after-tax incomes nearly triple, while those in the bottom 20% saw their wages remain relatively flat during that nearly 30-year period. As if that weren't infuriating enough, the CBO's report showed that the top 20% of wage earners saw their share of the nation's overall income increase by 10 percentage points during that period, while the other 80% saw their share decline by 2 or 3 percentage points.
In just a few paragraphs, the CBO showed definitively that the rich are getting richer at the expense of everyone else.
Americans favor wealth redistribution. Given the increasing degree of income inequality, it should come as little surprise that most Americans would echo those protesters who argue the current distribution of wealth is unfair.
One recent survey from The New York Times found that two-thirds of Americans believe U.S. wealth distribution is unfair, with a whopping 86% of Democrats saying so and 67% of independents. Republicans were less likely to agree with this statement, but nearly half still feel the distribution is not fair.
That may not mean two-thirds of the country would be willing to march in the cold weather to change this fact, but it does seem to put the burden of proof on those who claim the status quo is just fine.
Even the wealthy want to pay more taxes. One might assume that those with the most to lose would be the ones to fight hardest against evening out the income disparities, but a survey from Spectrem Group suggests otherwise.
The survey found that the vast majority (68%) of people worth at least $1 million favor raising taxes on Americans who make more than $1 million. And 61% of those worth at least $5 million are in favor of doing so. In other words, even the wealthy are fine with raising taxes on the wealthy, and previous surveys have shown that most average Americans certainly are in favor of it. So that really just leaves legislators inside the Beltway as the real hurdle.
No one likes the government, and few trust it. Perhaps for this reason, there seems to be a growing disconnect between the American people and the federal government that reflects the same sense of distrust heard among the protesters.
The same CBS News/New York Times poll found that just 9% of Americans approve of the current Congress and that 89% say they don't trust government to do what's right. Likewise, 70% say Republicans in Congress are pursuing policies that favor the wealthy.
Of course, we recognize that for every survey out that there that says one thing, another says something completely different, but there is a growing wealth of evidence that the protesters have plenty of justification to be angry and, most importantly, that they are not alone.
More on MainStreet:
I'm so sick of hearing how the rich create jobs. Jobs are created by consumers. No one hires someone because they have extra money in their bank account, they hire based on meeting the needs of their customers.
Give a rich man a thousand dollars and he puts in the bank, give a poor man a thousand dollars and he goes shopping.
Pretty simple to me. Eliminate ALL political campaign contributions. Now that would level the playing field and get our congressmen to vote in the interest of the citizenry, not big corporations. How do they possibly not consider contribution dollars just legalized bribery? That has always blown me away.
While we're at it, how about blowing up the IRS tax code and replacing it with a flat tax and a VAT? Of course it wouldn't apply to the lowest earners.
Lastly, how about we spend our money on OUR citizens, not those that have come to our country recently for the grab bag of giveaways. Just a thought.
I keep hearing about wealth redistribution. Wealth redistribution not only comes in the form of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but also comes in the form of PAY WORKERS A BETTER WAGE AND NOT CHARGE EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS FOR YOUR PRODUCTS. If workers are paid a better wage, they might be able to achieve their dreams.
I think MOST OF YOU TRY TO HIDE THIS FACT!
The problem is that the assumption of "trickle down" is a lie. Now if all those richest 1% made their money by actually producing something here with American workers, then it would be possible, but most of the rich make their money by trading paper back and forth....stocks, bonds, loans, insurance, commodities, lawyers, titles, currencies .. with other rich. No jobs, just the rich getting richer on get rich quick schemes that are more illusion than production.
We HAVE to get back to making things again and buying American-made so everyone prospers and the tax base grows.
The relationship between American Corporations and the average working class American has changed from mutualistic to parasitic. This just my opinion and why I support OWS.
I don't think many of want socialism, but we would like to see a form of capitalism that has a little more common decency and fairness. Don't underestimate the impact the Occupy events are having. They are addressing financial and political issues that both conservatives and liberals can agree on. How often does that happen?
I think it is critical for the middle class to standup to the Washington politicians of all strips and tell them that they cannot solve the problems that they have created on the backs of the middle class. I would oppose anyone who tries to cut our social security or our Medicare. There is so much waste and corruption in government that every time we give in and let them solve problems by cutting needed social programs, we feed the beast in Washington and as a consequence, the economic welfare of the middle class continues to decline.
To those that would lump all business owners into same category or better that you would actually think that they do not pay their fair share of taxes for roads and infrastructure let me just give you a little education. I am a small business owner. I employee 8 people incl. myself.
I withhold Federal,state , ss ,medicare from my employess check each week.When I pay that in I make a match as an employer. The more I pay them the more thats with held the higher the match. (getting the picture) In addition I pay Local, State and Federal tax on the profit that the company makes. In addition I pay State Local and federal tax on what I take as a salary(still not getting it). When my truck rolls I have to buy gas. I believe currently the state and fed tax portion is around 39 cents a gallon. The more I drive the more taxes I pay. Every year I pay Business personal property tax, I pay Personal property tax. I pay real estate tax. The list goes on and on though I am sure by now you either agree or your just to stubborn to admit most business's pay their fair share of taxes. There are some that do not. There are politicians and movie stars who do no.There are some of you collecting unemployment and working for cash on the side who do not. Is the system perfect ? NO. Do we need reform? YES. The fact is if it were not for this recession which is all of Washingtons fault for the last 20 years we would not even be having this conversation. Me paying more taxes would not result in me hiring more,investing more and in the long run I would have to downsize or go under resulting in me and my employess paying less or none of the taxes I mentioned above. To sum up yes there is a better way.But Redistribution will only work until washington has spent it all and it will leave us all(as we are now) at each other throats. Pray for wisdom in the upcoming election.Pray for our leaders. Hey if you don't pray thats an individual choice ,so be it no judgement here. But at least make an informed decision,not an emotional decision because of your current circumstances.
I support the Occupy movement, and I do agree that people need to work hard to reach success. But what your point misses entirely, is that if the rich weren't manipulating the wealth gap, then my decent income woudl be 50% higher - or 100% higher. So yes, I work veyr hard keeping up with the lkatest programming trends, but I am not able to earn what I am worth, because the rich are stealing the profits in the form of "bonuses" instead of sharing the productivity gains with the working class.
So, GodalllMight, you might be content to be on the end of the leash, to let the rich steal your profits like ants to an aphid, but the sensible, patriotic Americans are not included to let aristocrats plunder us all into peasantry. That's the thing our Founding Fathers fought against, why are you so unpartirotic?
I know there are GOP tea party types out there who would say "let them go bankrupt" but Americans bank deposits are insured by the FDIC so the taxpayer would still have been on the hook for the losses. What we need is tough bank regulations to prevent another disaster or for the GOP to open uninsured banks where they can let the bankers do whatever they want with their money. I will be on the side of OWS until I see the GOP open those banks and put their money in them. I won't be putting my money there but I will give the tea party credit for putting their money where their mouth is for once.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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