Should “Occupy Wall Street” Be Fearing “Occupy America?”

I’ll admit it. After watching NBA and NFL millionaires fight over a few “extra” million dollars, the whole Occupy Wall Street push became much more tantalizing. It was sickening to see the arguments over more money from those grossing more in one year than most of us will see in a lifetime. Each time a new report would come across the television about another failure to reach a compromise, I was tempted to stampede straight into the meeting room – my empty wallet spread with my thumbs – and give them a new location to consider putting the money (I also had a few other creative places I thought they could put it, but probably not appropriate for a public article).

Suffice to say that all the greedy shenanigans between millionaires put me in the perfect mood to get excited about Occupy Wall Street. Being in grad school with a seemingly insurmountable pile of debt between myself and my wife, it was unbelievable to think that millionaires would hold out on each other over even more money. After all, I figured I “need” more and they just “want” more (didn’t their parents ever tell them about wants and needs?). I read on the Occupy Wall Street website the unifying factor of the movement and was pleased to find, The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.” That sounded just about right with what I was feeling.

Unfortunately my burning flame of passion was quickly dowsed when I stumbled upon the Global Rich List. Global Rich List is a website that allows a person to see where their annual salary matches up with the rest of the world. I was stunned by the fact that if the average American was honest about their yearly income (go ahead, try it for yourself), they would easily fall within the top 5% of the world. Shocked by this new information, I eagerly searched for some more facts. I found out that over half the world lives on less that $2.50 per day (according to In fact, this same website pointed out that Americans spend more each year on their pets ($17 billion) than the amount of money that is estimated to provide basic health and nutrition for those globally who do not currently have any ($13 billion). What’s worse, by the Associated Press’ latest numbers, Americans spent almost this much ($11.4 billion) in a single day of shopping this past Black Friday.

I began to wonder whether or not I was really on the “want” or “need” side of the scale. After seeing the controversies in the NFL/NBA, and being reminded about scandals among the richest in the past (Enron, Tyco), it seems that at any point financially we can make a case that we “need” more. It is unclear that gaining any more money from the “one percent” will really solve our problems. The question for me has become whether or not it is the rest of the world that ought to take up “Occupy America.” By their own statement the Occupy Wall Street movement believes “the only solution is world revolution.” If this is truly the case, it doesn’t appear that Americans should get too excited about it. Perhaps if we are instituting a global revolution we ought to take a closer stock of how we compare to the others who may have more reason to revolt.

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