We Are the 99%? Try 99.9%

GOP policies really favor richest thousandth of population: Paul Krugman
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2011 9:30 AM CST
We Are the 99%? Try 99.9%
A 99% light projection is cast on a building as Occupy Wall Street protesters march in Lower Manhattan on Nov. 17.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Occupy Wall Street’s “We are the 99%” slogan is a pretty good one, but if anything it “aims too low,” writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. “A large fraction of the top 1%’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1%— the richest one-thousandth of the population.” From 1979 to 2005, middle-class Americans enjoyed a 21% after-tax income increase, which sounds nice enough—until you realize the top 0.1% got a 400% bump, thanks in part to large tax cuts.

Yet Republicans want to reward this class even more and protect them from tax hikes, arguing that they’re “job creators,” with special value to the economy. “This is bad economics,” Krugman argues. “For who are the 0.1%? Very few of them are Steve Jobs-type innovators.” Most are corporate big-wigs with pay determined by boards they appointed themselves, or lawyers or real estate investors. “These are not, to put it mildly, professions in which there is a clear relationship between someone’s income and his economic contribution.” (Read more executive pay stories.)

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