Understanding the 99%: A Lot of Greed Vs. A Lot of Need











When I looked at the website for the "We are the 99%" (http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/) I found it an easy way to look at several individuals in a few moments, looking at their pictures and reading their hand written messages. An understanding is what I left the site with, after reading enough sad and heartbreaking stories in few minutes that could make me angry for years. Because for me what it comes down to is hope, and that used to be something that came with living in America, a benefit of living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. But as more and more of the nation’s wealth is tied up in the bank accounts and mutual funds, of the elite 1%, and as its conceivable that it could even get much worse given enough time, their grip and strangle hold will only tighten. The only hope is that maybe we will die suddenly without getting sick, because we don't have enough to retire and because a hospital stay without insurance is sure to leave my loved ones with debt. I don't want to divorce my wife to protect her from my debt should my health fade but I think about it.


We are playing checkers against an opponent who never moves their back row. And in the bizarre chance when you happen to get them to move and bring them down, the government refills their ranks and their pockets with your money. King me. King me indeed.


So with this anger of reading about these people; jobless, homeless, sick, dying, I wondered, is there even enough money out there? Is it even possible for everyone to eat, see a doctor, and have a place to sleep inside? While the 1% live in sky palaces on Park Avenue, nearby people live on benches and in boxes in the park.


Today we live in a economic situation of extremes where the rich have so much more than the poor its hard to fathom. So to contrast I sought to propose an economic situation of extreme equality. (see infographic attached). Where by it would successfully eliminate homelessness, social security, and other such problems related to money. In this system the money could be divided equally in what is quite literally a socialist paradigm, meaning there is enough to go around, enough to live, eat and breathe again. I am not saying I am a Socialist or this is what should be done, but I think it is an interesting way to look at this situation from a different perspective.


When we look at money as a fixed thing, the nation has $12 trillion to distribute amongst all working Americans. Mathematically if we divide 12 trillion by the total US workforce of 150 million people that leaves $80,000 for each working person.

Now, if each worker thought about the reality that every single dollar paid to them in excess of their allotted $80,000.00 would be taken from someone else – would they still want it?

If your gain was a result of taking money from those worse off than you, would you take it? Because for you to have more it invariably means someone else will have less.

Lets look at it as if the $12 trillion is one big pizza. The pizza seems really big before it's cut up, and the rich get their slice first, it's the biggest slice of pie, and they just put it in the freezer because they still have leftovers from last year, but they take it all the same. And then the middle go through and they get their slice just big enough to get them close to what they need, but not enough to repay what they borrowed from the rich last year for a sliver of frozen pizza they wouldn't have known was gone if you didn't tell them, but now your paying them 8% on it, repaying a sliver with a slice, to go right back in the freezer.


And then the people who really need it come through, but there is no pizza anymore, just crust, melted cheese, a few spare pieces of pepperoni to the lucky ones and a box for those who get no pizza at all.


If you were at a party and took more than your fair share you are considered an asshole and inconsiderate, if you’re in America and you take more than your fair share, then you are a CEO and a capitalist. A lot of greed versus a lot of need.