President Obama and the Democrats have been denigrating, disparaging belittling the 1%ers. But, who are the 1%ers? How many are there? Are you one?
In 2011 the US Census Bureau reported that there were 115 million households in the US and a total population of 312 million, which would identify just over 1 million households as 1%ers, more than one might think. A recent CNBC study reported that the income cut-off to qualify as a 1%er was $343,000. (Obviously, this is a national average. If you make that much and live in New York City you might not feel rich, but if you live in Dallas with no state income tax it would be a different story.) Most 1%ers did not identify themselves as such. They, like most Americans, had an inflated impression of how much Americans earn.
1%ers are not a monolith as Mr. Obama and the Dems would have us believe. Membership in the 1% group is not constant; new members are continually being added and subtracted as households become more or less successful from year to year. To be sure, there are some who fit the old cliche – WASP, born wealthy, belong to country clubs, were educated at prep schools and Ivy League Universities and inherited substantial wealth. But, a recent study published in the NY Times denotes that the group also includes entrpreneurs, self-made businessmen, doctors, business executives, entertainers, professional athletes, and others and includes all racial, religious and ethnic groups. Moreover, a majority advised they did not inherit any money. Furthermore, virtually all of the 1%ers achieved their status through some or all of the following: talent, hard work, a strong family unit, and education, including post-graduate degrees.
Additionally, the NY Times study found that, politically, 1%ers ran the gamut from conservative Republican to liberal Democrat. Many were not opposed to paying more taxes, even though they currently pay about 25% of all federal taxes, but they are dismayed at how the government wastes the tax money it does collect. Also, many of them are sensitive to some of the criticisms leveled at them and feel that the 99% don’t understand what they went through to achieve their success.
For example, doctors typically don’t begin to earn any money at their profession until their early 30’s, and, even then, they may spend most of their professional life paying off their mid-six figure college and medical school debt. Entrepreneurs and small business owners must be creative and endure sometimes years of 24/7 work schedules, disrupted family life, substantial risk and long odds before succeeding, (only to be told by the President and the Dems that “You Didn’t Build it).” Professional atheletes face long odds, damaged bodies and short careers Everyone focuses on the rare $100 million contract, but for every one of those there are thousands of fringe players or players who never make it. The list goes on.
In other words, there is more than one side of the 1%er story. Alarmingly, in a recent study the Pew Research Center concluded that Americans were more concerned about conflicts between the rich and poor than conflicts among races or any other group. Instead of denigrating, deriding and belittling their success, President Obama, the Dems and the other 99% should applaud it and seek to emulate it. That’s the American Way and the way it’s been since the founding of the Republic.