The 99 Percenters – Why is New York the Center of their Protests?

There are a lot of good reasons for centering the protests in New York, the proximity of the video and print media, the enormous number of opinion leaders in the area, and certainly the ability to recruit and maintain large numbers of protestors.

This would have been very difficult in Washington. Most of that city is a ghetto with little of the private infrastructure available in a modern metropolitan area.

But the history of Wall Street has to be a factor. It’s been a center of corporate power in the United States for almost two full centuries, and only the excesses of the Gilded Age rival the current levels of self-contentedness and pride among the wealthy today.

But there is also this article below. It has some powerful observations about why New York is such a good venue for the 99 percenters. —

Christopher Ketcham writing in McClatchy’s has a new article entitled –

Occupy Wall Street: The new populists?

The focal point, however, is specific: Manhattan. The capital of the finance corporations whose speculation, chicanery and outright fraud have produced havoc and pain for so many Americans. It sets the model nationally for a metastasizing economic regression: the maldistribution of wealth into the hands of the few.

Out of the 25 largest cities in the United States, New York is the most unequal when it comes to income distribution. In New York, the top 1 percent of households claimed 44 percent of all income during 2007 (the last year for which data are available). That’s almost twice the record-high levels among the 1 Percenters nationwide, who claimed 23.5 percent of all national income in 2007. During the housing bubble that ended in our current calamity, the average income for the 1 Percenters in New York went up 119 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of homeless in the city rose to an all-time high last year, with 113,000 men, women and children retreating night after night to municipal shelters. The real hourly median wage in New York between 1990 and 2007 fell by almost 9 percent. Young men and women age 25 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree and a year-round job in New York saw their earnings drop 6 percent. Middle-income New Yorkers – defined broadly as those earning between $29,000 and $167,000 – saw a 19% decrease in earnings. Almost 11 percent of the population in New York, about 900,000 people, lives in what the federal government describes as “deep poverty,” which for a four-person family means an income of $10,500; the average 1 Percenter household in New York makes about that same amount every day.

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