NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof devotes his Sunday op-ed to Occupy Wall Street, starting, "It’s fascinating that many Americans intuitively understood the outrage and frustration that drove Egyptians to protest at Tahrir Square, but don’t comprehend similar resentments that drive disgruntled fellow citizens to 'Occupy Wall Street.'" Of course, he made this point two weeks ago, too, but with the protests growing in the country (and around the world), Kristof reminds everyone of three points:
The frustration in America isn’t so much with inequality in the political and legal worlds, as it was in Arab countries, although those are concerns too. Here the critical issue is economic inequity. According to the C.I.A.’s own ranking of countries by income inequality, the United States is more unequal a society than either Tunisia or Egypt.
- The 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans.
- The top 1 percent of Americans possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent.
- In the Bush expansion from 2002 to 2007, 65 percent of economic gains (PDF) went to the richest 1 percent.
He adds, "The banks have gotten away with privatizing profits and socializing risks, and that’s just another form of bank robbery."
Remember, bankers are at least five times richer than you.