I saw a magazine cover reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests with the words, "We are the 99%." These words have been kicking around in my head for a few days, but probably not for the reason the protesters would like.
Is it really possible that 1% of Americans are wealthy? According to census data, the top 1% of earners make more than $390,000 a year. I would certainly consider that wealthy. I've also done a little googling and found a statistic that's likely out of date that says that 4% of all US households have assets greater that $1,000,000. This could be properties, businesses, etc. For instance, a farmer with a lot of land could easily have $1,000,000 in property, but be nowhere near that in annual income. Still, it ain't chump change.
If you stop and think about it, these numbers are pretty amazing. Has there ever been a society in human history were 1 person out of every 100 was wealthy? 100 people isn't a very large crowd. Can wealth really be that widespread?
If we do have a system that can allow 1 person in 100 to attain this level of wealth, I would argue that we should be very careful about messing it up. 1 in 100 are really pretty swell odds. A hell of a lot better than a lottery ticket.
What a great country!