Whatever the long-term effects of the Occupy movement, protesters have succeeded in implanting “We are the 99 percent,” referring to the vast majority of Americans (and its implied opposite, “You are the one percent” referring to the tiny proportion of Americans with a vastly disproportionate share of wealth), into the cultural and political lexicon.

Perhaps most important for the movement, there was a sevenfold increase in Google searches for the term “99 percent” between September and October and a spike in news stories about income inequality throughout the fall, heaping attention on the issues raised by activists.

The idea behind the 99 percent catchphrase has its roots in a decade’s worth of reporting about the income gap between the richest Americans and the rest, and more directly in May in a Vanity Fair column by the liberal economist Joseph E. Stiglitz titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.”

From the NYTimes article, We are the 99 Percent Joins the Cultural and Political Lexicon

 

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