Who Are The Top One Percent ?

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dshields's picture
dshields
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Who Are The Top One Percent ?

Who are the top one percent of people who folks are so upset about ?

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/who-are-1

 

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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Unfortunately that article

Unfortunately that article is somewhat misleading... it refers to top 1% ranked by income, which is different from the top 1% ranked by total wealth which is I think what most people think of when referring to the "1%".  Plus since this study used a sample of tax returns as its data, I'm even more skeptical (taxes paid can vary widely depending on where the money's coming from)

This comment on the zerohedge article by the poster TheFourthStooge-ing , if correct (haven't verified beyond the 'capital gains' part yet), reveals even more 'gotchas!'.

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/who-are-1#comment-1777957

 

The chart in the article lists occupations of those in the top 1% of income, but neither the article above nor the referenced Mother Jones article indicates how income was defined in the construction of the chart. I actually downloaded and read the study on which the chart was based, and can tell you the following.

First of all the study itself uses information from a sample of tax returns from 1987-2005, and looks at comparisons of gross income. Gross income is defined in a variety of ways and, depending on what is being focused upon, may or may not include capital gains and interest/dividend income. The chart above is based on gross income excluding capital gains.

Secondly, from its sample of tax returns, the study dropped returns for which the sum of salary income and business income was less than $10,000. Anyone who didn't need to work because they made enough money from interest income, dividend income, and/or capital gains was dropped from the sample.

Lastly, the study just addressed percentages, based on occupation, of who made up the top of the heap. It didn't look at which occupations within the top one percent made the most money. Even among the top one percent, there is a huge variation in income. For 2005 (the most recent year included in the study), the minimum income required to be a one-percenter was $295,000 (measured in constant year 2007 dollars). Of these one-percenters, the mean income is $834,490 ($1.5 million if you include capital gains). Consequently, a sample containing 31% non-financial executives making between $500,000 and $1,000,000, 15% doctors making between $300,000 and $400,000, and 14% "financial professionals" making between $2.5 million and $5 million could result in the very same chart as above

 

I'm not into promoting class warfare either; I only want to point out that the study doesn't tell the whole story by a long shot.  I think the "We Are the 99%" movement should be more about asking questions why the 99% is being ground down and wealth inequality is increasing, and not obsessed with making scapegoats of the entire top 1%.  We know there are those in the 1% crowd that are in various ways responsible for the mess, but we can't automatically assume this of the whole percentile group.

Just on a side note, I can't help but wonder how most of the politicians included in the 1% income chart are profiled... the government category seems suspiciously small, even when ranking by income.  Would Obama have been counted as a 'lawyer' or 'government/senator'? 

- Nickbert

frobn's picture
frobn
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dshields wrote:Who are the
dshields wrote:

Who are the top one percent of people who folks are so upset about ?

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/who-are-1

Many of the comments throw light on the authors "twisted statistics." I particularly like this comment.

Unfortunately, thus far all of my efforts to educate and inform those supporting OWS have largely fallen on deaf ears

Oh boo hoo! Perhaps those ears are only deaf to drama queens with a penchant for twisting statistics.

 

dshields's picture
dshields
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 24 2009
Posts: 599
nickbert
nickbert wrote:

Unfortunately that article is somewhat misleading... it refers to top 1% ranked by income, which is different from the top 1% ranked by total wealth which is I think what most people think of when referring to the "1%".  Plus since this study used a sample of tax returns as its data, I'm even more skeptical (taxes paid can vary widely depending on where the money's coming from)

This comment on the zerohedge article by the poster TheFourthStooge-ing , if correct (haven't verified beyond the 'capital gains' part yet), reveals even more 'gotchas!'.

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/who-are-1#comment-1777957

 

The chart in the article lists occupations of those in the top 1% of income, but neither the article above nor the referenced Mother Jones article indicates how income was defined in the construction of the chart. I actually downloaded and read the study on which the chart was based, and can tell you the following.

First of all the study itself uses information from a sample of tax returns from 1987-2005, and looks at comparisons of gross income. Gross income is defined in a variety of ways and, depending on what is being focused upon, may or may not include capital gains and interest/dividend income. The chart above is based on gross income excluding capital gains.

Secondly, from its sample of tax returns, the study dropped returns for which the sum of salary income and business income was less than $10,000. Anyone who didn't need to work because they made enough money from interest income, dividend income, and/or capital gains was dropped from the sample.

Lastly, the study just addressed percentages, based on occupation, of who made up the top of the heap. It didn't look at which occupations within the top one percent made the most money. Even among the top one percent, there is a huge variation in income. For 2005 (the most recent year included in the study), the minimum income required to be a one-percenter was $295,000 (measured in constant year 2007 dollars). Of these one-percenters, the mean income is $834,490 ($1.5 million if you include capital gains). Consequently, a sample containing 31% non-financial executives making between $500,000 and $1,000,000, 15% doctors making between $300,000 and $400,000, and 14% "financial professionals" making between $2.5 million and $5 million could result in the very same chart as above

 

I'm not into promoting class warfare either; I only want to point out that the study doesn't tell the whole story by a long shot.  I think the "We Are the 99%" movement should be more about asking questions why the 99% is being ground down and wealth inequality is increasing, and not obsessed with making scapegoats of the entire top 1%.  We know there are those in the 1% crowd that are in various ways responsible for the mess, but we can't automatically assume this of the whole percentile group.

Just on a side note, I can't help but wonder how most of the politicians included in the 1% income chart are profiled... the government category seems suspiciously small, even when ranking by income.  Would Obama have been counted as a 'lawyer' or 'government/senator'? 

- Nickbert

I was not too worried about their "wealth" - I was more interested in their income. 

 

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xraymike79
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Posts: 2040
 The Super-Rich

If you've been paying attention to the news lately, you're probably already aware of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests. Groups of protesters have "occupied" cities all over the country to say their piece against corporate greed and economic inequalities, referring to themselves as "the 99%" in reference to their stance against the 1% of Americans who control the vast majority of wealth. Regardless of your stance on whether their feelings are justified, it's a complex issue that doesn't have an easy solution.

Unless of course you look at it through the lens of super-hero comics! Sure, the richest 1% of real Americans might not be doing much to help out their countrymen, but if comics have taught us anything, it's that fictional plutocrats are all about action. That's why today, ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims and Matt Wilson have checked in with the richest 1% of comic book characters to find out what their reactions might be to the Occupy Wall Street protests!

Wayne Industries Chairman Bruce Wayne, A.K.A. Batman:

West-Coast Fantasticatrillionaire Scrooge McDuck:

Stark Industries heir Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man:

LexCorp CEO Lex Luthor:

OSCORP chairman Norman Osborn, The Green Goblin:

Rand Corporation CEO and Kung Fu Master Danny Rand, aka The Immortal Iron Fist:

Legitimate Businessman Wilson Fisk, known (despite various injunctions) as The Kingpin:

Everyone's Favorite Poor Little Capitalist Plutocrat, Richie Rich:

Latverian Monarch Dr. Victor von Doom:

Of course, there's one ridiculously wealthy super-hero known for sympathizing with the less privileged: Q-Core CEO Oliver Queen, better known as Green Arrow! And he has a solution I think we can all relate to:

Read More: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/10/13/superhero-occupy-wall-street/#ixzz1b0v5Vs59

dshields's picture
dshields
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Posts: 599
xraymike79

xraymike79 - love the post.  It is pretty crazy how far we have fallen.  I am a renegade repub but I can easily see the problems the current income distribution is and will create.  The problem is the entire damn system is just busted.  Everywhere you look there is something crazy and broken.  The income distribution situation is just one of many. 

primrose's picture
primrose
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Couldn't  agree more. 

Couldn't  agree more.  What's that old worn out saying..........."those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  Surely not. LOL

dshields's picture
dshields
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
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Posts: 599
debt verses gdp

Check out the following data.  This is what we are doing - it is basically out of control spending and there is no sign it is going to stop.  Our problem is not the top 1 percent.  It is all about out of control spending.  Nothing good is going to come from this.  The income distribution is messed up in the US - it looks like a third world country but the problem with fed gov spending is not because of the top 1 percent.  It is because of the politicians.  They are the ones spending us into a financial crisis.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/ironic-scariest-chart-ever-redux-america-w...

 

No_Fiat's picture
No_Fiat
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Joined: Oct 20 2011
Posts: 104
My Opinion

 I do not think that it is just the top 1%, I believe that the top 20% percent are happy with the present system for obvious reasons i.e they are making out from the current fiat monetary system.

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