WASHINGTON -- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said in a YouTube video released on Saturday that Congress should "step up" and support the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"What we need to do as members of Congress is step up and do our job: create some jobs, put this economy in order, get some lending back to small businesses and make this economy really work," Ellison, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in the video.
Created for YouTube's Town Hall series, the video has since gathered more than 220,000 views. It shows Ellison highlighting the inequality between the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and the other 99 percent -- a common strife among occupations nationwide. Ellison describes how the bottom 99 percent of Americans has seen a flat pay rate since 1980 while the other 1 percent has enjoyed income growth during the same period. He said the 1 percent controls about the same amount of wealth as the combined total of the other 99 percent -- roughly $2.7 trillion.
"Americans all across this country, they're not mad because some people are rich. They're mad because they got ripped off," Ellison said. "And they have every right to be upset about this."
The Minnesota congressman is one of several Democrats who have recently stood up in support of the movement. Former Vice President Al Gore announced his support in an October blog entry on his website, and Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort was arrested in late October while participating in an Occupy Atlanta demonstration.
"People need a fair shake and a good job," Ellison concluded in the video. "And that's not too much to ask in the richest country in the history of the world."
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