The Occupy movement has done more than anything in decades to highlight the corrosive effects of concentrated wealth on our economy and democracy. Indeed, seeing the 99% rise up in such inspirational fashion raises a question: Who exactly are the 1%? Or more specifically, who among them are abusing their power and making life more difficult for everyone else?
That's what Brave New Foundation will be exposing with our new campaign, Who Are the 1%? We will highlight the villains in America's economic story, drawing a straight line between their actions and the broken economy we're now stuck with.
And here's the twist: We want you to tell us which people to profile.
Here's how it works. We've launched a new website where you can add your suggestions on the worst of the 1%. Once we have pored through all of the names and arguments you've provided, we'll narrow the field down and have you vote on the worst of the worst. Then we'll make videos about those special one percenters that you've chosen to expose.
As Fox News might put it: We film. You decide.
Whom to choose? There is no shortage of villains. The deceptive, backhanded practices of the financial industry played a major part in the recent financial meltdown, and numerous defense contractors have made a killing (literally) by lobbying for more and more weapons spending. In all, the top 1% have seen their incomes rise 275% in the last three decades -- a period in which the tax burden has shifted from wealth to work and financiers have exploited increasingly weak regulations and even weaker enforcement.
These problems are not natural disasters. They are man-made. And with your help, our new campaign will call out those responsible.
When you make your suggestions, our only rules are that the individuals profiled must be in the top 1%, which means a net worth of at least $9 million, and use their wealth to keep down the other 99%. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill rich people here, and we're not talking about those who spend their money promoting the common good. We're talking about those who take advantage of their position to create more injustice, inequality, and corruption. The rest is up to you.
Will you participate in this effort to show Americans who's destroying their economy and democracy? Join us and the organizations supporting this campaign: AlterNet, Care2, The Center for Media and Democracy, FreeSpeechTV, The Nation, PoliticusUSA, Thom Hartmann, Truthout, Campaign for America's Future, and The Young Turks.
We are excited to hear your thoughts.
Follow Robert Greenwald on Twitter: www.twitter.com/robertgreenwald