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Stop beating up the rich

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Last fall, the Occupy Wall Street movement spawned an unprecedented backlash agains the top 1% of Americans — those making upwards of $300,000 a year. As the name indicates, the movement’s rage centered on Wall Street, though the high earners belonging to the 1% club are more diverse than you might think: Finance constitutes only 13% of the 1%; nonfinancial executives (30%), doctors (14%) and lawyers (8%) are key players in this group, too. A year after Occupy Wall Street grabbed the public’s attention and imagination seems like a good time to reflect: Are the rich really destroying the American dream? A Harvard economist asked that question and came up with an interesting answer: Even if Occupy Wall Street’s wish came true and all the gains of the top 1% since 1979 were confiscated and redistributed to the 99%, household incomes would go up by less than half of what they would if everyone had a college degree.