‘99 percenters’ is not a new concept

Any reasonable person who sees the graphs that express income inequality since 1980 should need no more convincing as to the effect of supply-side economics; a rising tide raises all yachts. Congress, presently a dysfunctional group of purchased power brokers, can rail endlessly with distracting and manipulative rhetoric, but pictures don’t lie. Both the president of ExxonMobil and the busboy at Denny’s should be able to view the same graph and agree that there exists a confusing and uncomfortable imbalance. The privileged few cry that “redistribution of wealth” waxes of communism and consider the common man as a vindictive freeloader. But the “1 percenters” weren’t just children of the 1980 Reagan policies.

Huey Long, the controversial governor and senator from Louisiana, believed that the maldistribution of wealth was the cause of all social and economic distress. Saint to many, sinner to some, the “Kingfish,” as Long was nicknamed, once said, “When one man decides he must have more goods to wear for himself and his family than any other 99 people, then the condition results that instead of 100 people sharing the things that are on earth for 100 people, that one man, through his gluttonous greed, takes over 99 for himself and leaves one part for the 99.”

You can love or hate the Kingfish, but the concept of the “99 percenters” is not new. The scalar division of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent becomes a vector quantity when using the future as its direction. As we know, vectors measure displacement; and we have become the displaced. We know it, we tolerate it and, thus, we deserve it.

Robert J. Wegrzynowski