Where Does the Real Problem Reside? Two Charts Showing the 0.01% vs. the 1%

While I always supported the overall message and energy that encompassed the Occupy Wall Street movement, I never backed the slogan of the 1% vs. the 99%. From my own personal experience, it is entirely clear that the actual problem is a far smaller group within the 1%, the 0.1% or the 0.01% (although I recognize “We Are the 99.9%” isn’t catchy).

This is why you’ll never hear me demonize “the 1%”, rather I always try to use the term oligarch, which refers a small handful of people who benefit most disproportionately from Federal Reserve handouts, D.C. corruption, tax code loopholes and the destructive trend of financialization generally.

This is is also why I became so disgusted by Sam Zell’s ignorant and destructive comments on Bloomberg television earlier this year that decided to pen an open letter to him.

Thanks to The Atlantic, we now have two charts that show what I have been writing about for many years now. It is not the 1% that is the problem, it’s actually a much smaller slice within that group that is thieving and pillaging at will from the rest of American society.

From The Atlantic:

I’ve written, over and over, that the most important divide in our wealth disparity was between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. For example, when I compared the evolution in investment income since the late 1970s, I often imagined a graph like this from the Economic Policy Institute, showing the 1 percent flying away from the rest of the country.

It turns out that that graph is somewhat misleading. It makes it look like the 1 percent is a group of similar households accelerating from the rest of the economy, holding hands, in unison. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A few weeks ago, I shared this graph (from the World Top Incomes Database) showing how the top 0.01 percent—that’s the one percent of the 1 percent—was leaving the rest of the top percentile behind.

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 9.23.25 PM

It’s even more egregious than that. An amazing chart from economist Amir Sufi, based on the work of Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, shows that when you look inside the 1 percent, you see clearly that most of them aren’t growing their share of wealth at all. In fact, the gain in wealth share is all about the top 0.1 percent of the country. While nine-tenths of the top percentile hasn’t seen much change at all since 1960, the 0.01 percent has essentially quadrupled its share of the country’s wealth in half a century.


It turns out that wealth inequality isn’t about the 1 percent v. the 99 percent at all. It’s about the 0.1 percent v. the 99.9 percent (or, really, the 0.01 percent vs. the 99.99 percent, if you like). Long-story-short is that this group, comprised mostly of bankers and CEOs, is riding the stock market to pick up extraordinary investment income. And it’s this investment income, rather than ordinary earned income, that’s creating this extraordinary wealth gap.

The mainstream is finally starting to figure it out. From crony capitalistic corporate welfare (even the New York Times covered oligarch welfare last week) to the 0.01% problem. Now if the nine tenths of the 1% would stop complacently continue to tread water and challenge the oligarchs we might actually be able to change things.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

6 thoughts on “THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE 1%”

  1. We will never change anything in our country for the better (for mos) unless a majority of citizens are willing to demand (AND ACCEPT) many crucial reforms to grow enough good jobs for most to prosper while reducing our ever growing debt.

    I agree that it’s the .01 percent who are the problem. Regardless, too many citizens are willing to tolerate the corruption in government and the charade of economic “recovery” because they are financially dependent on government whether retired, unemployed, on welfare, disability, or work for industries receiving government subsidies or tax breaks.

    Real prosperity is ONLY about growing enough good paying jobs every month nationwide (we need 300,000 every month) and getting our enormous debt under control. Stock market gains only truly benefit a minority. Unfortunately, government subsidies (bribes) placate most citizens into remaining loyal to the political status quo and tolerating corruption and even ignoring the growing number of citizens who are struggling with little or no opportunity to succeed.

    Unless many can be made aware of high frequency trading, enormous Derivatives gambling, federal reserve quantitative easing problems, devaluation of our dollar, plus how their own apathy works against them, most will keep losing economic ground while a tiny minority become wealthier because of privatized gains and socialized losses.

    Continuing to re-elect democrats and republicans controlled by this .01 percent, will only make most citizen’s lives worse and push our country into economic collapse. This is what happens when most allow themselves to be sacrificial commodities.

  2. There are roughly 2400 people getting 85-90%% of the money, and most of them are Jewish. The Federal Reserve is enriching these few people at the expense of the entire population, which is suffering under the yoke of inflation regardless if they have a job or are members of the free shit army. It’s little consolation to know that these ruthlessly greedy bastards are going to crash the system, and collapse our economy and the dollar. They will not be repaid the vengeance they deserve until they are swinging from lampposts.

  3. As long as the FED is given a free hand the raping and pillaging of America by the 2400 will continue unabated. And what is going to stop the FED? Certainly not the politicians because the 2400 have them in their back pocket. Not the voting public because the FSA outnumber the working stiffs and the FSA will never vote to cut off the FS. Hence, the corrupt politicians will be re-elected and the real power behind the curtain, the corrupt bankers and CEOs will continue to rape and pillage. They allow just enough goodies to trickle down to the great unwashed(us) to keep the ropes and lampposts at bay. At least for now. And if it looks like the S will really hit TF, the 2400 will jump on the G5s and unass this place faster than you can say “Where TF did they go”?

  4. One highly probable outcome of any real crisis in the Continental USA (which in this case might include adjoining Countries) would be to prevent outbound travel for the majority.

    Easy to do for those dependent on others for transport (road, rail, air, sea) but what about those slightly better prepared who will choose to sail? Easy – shut down all “Civilian” GPS access, and the majority of boat-owners will be unable to (safely) sail out of sight of land.

    Now, what’s the (extremely safe) bet that the “well-connected” have full unrestricted access to the Military GPS networks, and their “travel plans” will be completely unaffected by such a decision . . . . .

    (After all, many of this Elite have grown their fortunes via the MIC Taxpayer Transfer System, and they will ALL co-operate within this group, the ultimate “Big Boys’ Club!)

  5. AWD throws numbers out like they are fact, and they are almost always bullshit. He should stick to meicine and blasting Obama, because his math skills suck.

    I kicked his ass recently re taxes and tax take and his bullshit comments that “the 1% pay no taxes”, when in fact they pay 40% of the taxes. Then he comes back and says, well the top 0.1 percent pay no taxes, and then I kicked his ass some more, given that the 0.1 percent pay 16.4 percent of all Fed taxes.

    Now he claims, with no documentary evidence whatsoever that “roughly 2400 people getting 85-90%% of the money, and most of them are Jewish”.

    That is total bullshit. Be advised, if AWD ever quotes stats, they are bullshit. And that statement is total, absolute, unadulterated bullshit.

    First, the top 1% make around 17% of the money. That is not 85 or 90 percent. Not even close. Second, the top 1% hold about 35% of the wealth – and that is not 85 – 90 percent of the money.

    2400 people represents around the top .0001 percent. Yes, those bastards are rich as Midas, but they do not make nor do they get anywhere near the amount of money that he claims.

    Second, he claims that most of these folks are Jewish. Again that is bullshit, if not an outright fucking lie.

    Of the US billionaires, approx. 24% of them are Jewish. That is not most. Not even close.

    Jews make the second most money per capita. Not the first, as one might expect. The most money is made, by memory by Indians.

    All of the above are the FUCKING FACTS – not AWD made up bullshit.

    And why is that? Well, there is a direct correlation between education and income. And, guess who is the highest educated people? People from India. And second highest? Jews. The best educated compete better, and end up with more money. It is not that if you have 10% more education on average you get 10% more money. No siree. If you have more education, or the most – you get fucking LOTS more money. The best at anything make lots more money than those 10% down the list.

    And I suppose IQs come into play as well, and Jews are just a tad smarter on average than, say, your average ghetto dweller.

    Here is an idea – what say that the average American educate themselves as well as the average Jew. I wonder if that might skew things and erode the advantage Jews currently have. But that would be too fucking hard. No, it is easier to blame them for their success and imply that they are evil. Smart, hard-working, and committed to education do not make them evil. Dumb, lazy, and not valuing education just makes the rest uncompetitive.

    Damn, AWD, and your bullshit got all thumbs up. Some dumb sheeple hanging around here looking for someone to blame.


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