We are the 99% is a political slogan widely used by the Occupy movement. The phrase indirectly refers to the concentration of income and wealth among the top earning 1%, and reflects a belief that the "99%" are paying the price for the mistakes of a tiny minority. According to the Wall Street Journal, as of October 2011, the lower 99% of income distribution in the United States is made up of those earning less than $506,000 annually.
Since the first use of this slogan, the discussion about the 1% and the 99% and wealth inequality in our world has gone mainstream. Everyone can discuss this now. It is not just about the Occupy Movement any more.
"We are the 99%" is a political slogan and an implicit economic claim of "Occupy" protesters. It refers to the increased concentration of income and wealth since the 1970s among the top 1% of income earners in the United States.
Studies by the Congressional Budget Office and others show that income inequality has grown significantly since the late 1970s, after several decades of stability. Since 1979 the average pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of households has decreased by $900, while that of the top 1% increased by over $700,000. This imbalance became further exacerbated by changes making federal income taxes less progressive.
During the economic expansion between 2002 and 2007, the income of the top 1% grew 10 times faster than the income of the bottom 90%. In this period 66% of total income gains went to the 1%, who in 2007 had a larger share of total income than at any time since 1928. This is in stark contrast with surveys of US populations that indicate an "ideal" distribution that is much more equal, and a widespread ignorance of the true income inequality and wealth inequality.
"Whatever the long-term effects of the Occupy Movement, protesters succeeded in implanting “we are the 99 percent” into the cultural and political lexicon."