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Facts About The 99 Percent

By Amanda Peterson Beadle on October 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

The promise of the American Dream is that if you work hard and play by the rules you can make a good life for you and your family. But right now, 99 percent of Americans only see the rich getting richer and everyone else getting crushed. And they’re right.

Conservatives really believe that we can fix this country’s economy without making most Americans better off. The truth is that to get America working for the other 99 percent, the promise of America’s economy must be for all Americans, not just the wealthy few.

America isn’t supposed to work for the top 1 percent alone.

• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent.
• The richest 1 percent earned $1 out of every $4 in 2007. Thirty years earlier the richest only made one out of every $11.
• The top 1 percent is taking in more of the nation’s income than at any time since the 1920s.
• Millionaires are making more money and paying fewer taxes – their taxes declined from about 31 percent in 1995 to about 22 percent in 2009.
One in four millionaires pays less in taxes than some in the middle class.
• Tax rates for the richest 400 Americans were sliced in half as their income quadrupled. Now they’re paying just 16.6 percent.
• Nearly 1,500 millionaires paid NO income taxes in 2009.

If America’s economy isn’t working for the 99 percent, it’s not working.

Fourteen million Americans are unemployed.
• Nearly one in two young adults are not employed. This is the lowest rate since the end of World War II.
• Corporations are sitting on $2 trillion in cash—more cash than at any time in nearly a half century—instead of hiring more employees.
• While the richest 1 percent saw their incomes triple between 1974 and 2007, most Americans’ incomes didn’t grow at all.
• The bottom 90 percent are responsible for paying 73 percent of all credit card and mortgage debt.
One in four homeowners are underwater, meaning they owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth.
College tuition and fees increased 274.7 percent from 1990 to 2009. That’s faster than any other goods or services besides cigarettes.
• Almost one in four American children are growing up in poverty.