If there was any doubt in the message being sounded from the streets these days -- that the richest 1 percent has been taking a disproportionate and growing share of the nation’s wealth -- a long-awaited new study issued yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office makes it crystal clear.
Not only has their share of the nation’s income doubled in the last 30 years, but the report found that concentration was accelerated by a tax structure that has become steadily less progressive, allowing the very rich to keep more of the wealth that the rest of the country so desperately needs.
And the reason the tax code has become far less redistributive is because wealthy special interests have been rewriting it in their favor, and being allowed to do so by politicians in both major parties whose elections and post-service employment the wealthy sponsor.
These same politicians and the mainstream media have been trying to cast the Occupy movement as dirty, disorganized, and incoherent, but it central message -- which is now being chanted in cities across the country -- couldn’t be more clear and compelling.
“We are the 99 percent!” they’re shouting, a simple truth that highlights the biggest problem that our country is facing: an unfair and unsustainable consolidation of wealth, the central problem that spawns the myriad other problems we face, from underfunded schools and public infrastructure to corruption in our financial and political systems to the economic hardships that most of us face.
Politicians like Mayor Ed Lee, the clear choice of the 1 percent in this mayor’s race, can talk all he wants about “jobs” and the imperative of enforcing minor municipal codes against OccupySF, which is expecting its third raid by the police as soon as tonight. But those are meaningless abstractions compared to the simple truth that is being so clearly articulated by young people in streets.
We’re not the problem, they are. We are many, they are few. We know the truth and we aren’t giving up. Power to the people!