Occupy Wall Street became part of the political discussion at the end of 2011. They railed against what they saw as corporate greed and capitalism. However, what they really had a problem with was corporatism, not capitalism, as Daniel Hannan has so eloquently explained.
And while they complained about government being part of the problem, Occupy Wall Street’s answer was, ironically, more government. But Occupy was conundrum, not just because of the answers they offered, but all because they, despite their “we are the 99%” chant, are part of the 1% of the world’s income earners. They not only live in a country where they have a right to protest their grievances, but also happens to be one of the most prosperous countries in the world with a high standard of living.
But with their protests and complaints about income inequality and, at times, racism, a recently released study from the City University of New York found that Occupy Wall Street was not only disproportionately white, but also rich:
According to a new study from sociologists at the City University of New York, more than a third of activists in the Occupy movement in New York City had household incomes above $100,000, placing them at the cusp of the top quintile of income distribution in America. Researchers surveyed 729 people who participated in a May 1 rally last year and were involved in the “occupation” of Zuccotti Park in the fall of 2011, and found that they were more affluent, whiter, younger, much more highly educated, and more likely to be male than the average New Yorker.
Non-Hispanic whites constituted 62 percent of all respondents, though they make up only 33 percent of New York City residents. While only about a third of Americans hold bachelors’ degrees, 76 percent of respondents who had completed their education had a four-year college degree and 39 percent had graduate degrees. Among college graduates, more than a quarter went to top-ranked schools, which might help explain why the majority of graduates under 30 had some student debt. While 10 percent of participants were unemployed, 71 percent were employed in professional occupations. Eight percent were “blue collar.”
As has been explained here before, the bailouts for both Wall Street and automakers were a travesty and an assault on the taxpayer. With those votes, Congress ingrained the idea of bailouts in public policy. Every American has a right to be upset with that, including Occupy and the Tea Party. However, those bailouts were not capitalism, and it’s flat absurd to conclude otherwise.
Katherine Connell, who covered the study at National Review, also notes that the organizers of Occupy Wall Street were “disproportionately white and male.” Connell quoted one of the researchers who put together the study, who explained, “Many [OWS protesters] were the children of the elite, if you will.”
While this may not be true of the Occupy in every city where protests popped up, the group in Zuccotti Park, where the movement was birthed, wasn’t representative of the 99%, they were representative of the America about which they were complaining.
Don’t tell me or anyone else that Occupy, the creepers that camped out in the middle of downtown areas for weeks at a time, are representative of hardworking Americans. You can cut the irony in this study with a knife.