4 Signs Occupy Wall Street Is Right

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- The Occupy Wall Street protesters were first ignored by the media then maligned by certain outlets, but more recently a slew of reports and surveys have come out showing the movement may be on to something after all.

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As difficult as it may be to nail down exactly what the protesters stand for, much of their attention is devoted to the growing indebtedness of average households, along with the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor and ultimately the concern that the wealthy are exerting too much control over the political process. Several studies released this week alone have offered further evidence that these two problems are getting worse and, perhaps more importantly, that a large portion of the population is concerned about these issues.
The protesters on Occupy Wall Street may be on to something. Studies released this week show plenty of support for the cause.

Growing income inequality
Few reports in recent memory packed quite as much of a bang in so few words as the one earlier this week from the Congressional Budget Office.

The report shows that between 1979-2007, the super-rich - those in the top 1% of wage earners - saw their after-tax incomes nearly triple while those in the bottom 20% saw their wages remain relatively flat during that nearly 30-year period. If that wasn't infuriating enough, the CBO's report showed that the top 20% of wage earners saw their share of the nation's overall income increase by 10 percentage points during that period while the other 80% saw their share decline by two or three percentage points.

In just a few paragraphs, the CBO showed definitively that the rich are getting richer at the expense of everyone else.

Americans favor wealth redistribution
Given the increasing degree of income inequality in this country, it should come as little surprise that most Americans would echo those protesters who argue the current distribution of wealth is unfair.

One recent survey from CBS News and the New York Times found that two-thirds of Americans believe wealth distribution in this country is unfair, with a whopping 86% of Democrats saying so and a 67% of Independents. Republicans were less likely to agree with this statement, but nearly half still felt the distribution was not fair.

That may not mean two-thirds of the country would be willing to march in the cold weather to change this fact, but it does seem to put the burden of proof on those who claim the status quo is just fine.

Even the wealthy want to pay more taxes
One might assume that those with the most to lose would be the ones to fight hardest against evening out these income disparities, but a survey this week from the Spectrem Group suggests otherwise.

The survey found that the vast majority of those worth at least $1 million (68%) are in favor of raising taxes on Americans that make more than $1 million and 61% of those worth at least $5 million are in favor of doing so. In other words, even the wealthy are fine with raising taxes on the wealthy and previous surveys have shown that most average Americans certainly are in favor of it, so that really just leaves legislators inside the beltway as the real hurdle.

No one likes the government and few trust it
Perhaps for this reason, there seems to be a growing disconnect between the American people and the federal government that reflects the same sense of distrust heard among the protestors.

The same CBS News/New York Times poll found that just 9% of Americans approve of the current Congress and 89% say they don't trust government to do what's right. Likewise, some 70% of those surveyed say Republicans in Congress are pursuing policies that favor the wealthy.

Of course we recognize that for every survey out that there that says one thing, another says something completely different, but there is a growing wealth of evidence that the protesters have plenty of justification to be angry and, most importantly, that they are not alone.

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