Occupy Wall Street has said it’s the 99% of ‘us’ against the 1% of ‘them.’ But many of ‘them’ started out like ‘us’ and have brought us great innovations that we embrace.
In the rhetoric of this war, we are fighting the 1% because they possess most of the nation’s wealth, bankroll their handpicked political candidates, control the banks and get million-dollar paychecks and billion-dollar bailouts; yet they don’t pay enough taxes or invest their wealth in creating American jobs. They’re the “millionaires and billionaires” President Obama has called out as needing to pony up more for progressive reforms of our healthcare, banking, tax and political systems. They are the enemy of “us” — the 99% who toil at low-wage jobs, hold underwater mortgages, face foreclosures, suffer recurrent and protracted job layoffs and plant closings, and yet pay our fair share of taxes.
But there’s a flaw in this strategy. The Occupy Wall Street movement envisions the 1% as a monolithic cadre of entrenched billionaires who have a firm and self-serving grip on all the levers of the economy. But a closer look at that elite group reveals how untrue that perspective is.