PIERS MORGAN, HOST: I need you to admit the bleeding obvious. I need you to sit here and say, I'm in the 1 percent, because it's important.So 1% isn't a metric, as some of us might have supposed. What is it, then? Allahpundit has a good theory:
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I can't. Because I'm not.
MORGAN: Because the validity of your argument -- you are, though.
MOORE: No, I'm not. I'm not.
MORGAN: You're not in if 1 percent?
MOORE: Of course I'm not. How can I be in the 1 percent?
MORGAN: Because you're worth millions.
My sense is that the OWS crowd thinks the top one percent consists of the Forbes 400 plus anyone who works in finance in any capacity above the secretarial level. That is to say, “one percent” isn’t to be taken literally as a metric; it’s just a catch-all term for “rich people we don’t like.”
You could look at it this way. In baseball, the common practice is to say that anyone who is batting .200 or less is flirting with the "Mendoza Line." In the world of OWS, anyone who is perceived to be part of the 1% is flirting with the "Emmanuel Goldstein Line."
Allahpundit makes the larger point in his usually astringent way:
Seriously, though: Which criteria, precisely, does a rich person have to meet to be exempt from the dreaded “one percent” label for class-warfare purposes? Moore has a get-out-of-revolutionary-jail-free card because he’s been a left-wing demagogue par excellence for years. He’s spent his whole career fighting the system. (And the system’s made a nice profit from promoting him, which tells you how much corporate powerbrokers fear agitprop.) Oprah would be excluded because, well, she’s too darned nice. Steve Jobs would be exempt, I suspect, on sheer merit. Granted, he was an Obama-friendly liberal, but that’s not what gets him off the list. The thrust of the anti-one-percent rhetoric is that bankers are bloodsuckers, siphoning off the people’s wealth and contributing nothing of value in return. No one seriously believes that about the guy who came up with the iPod and the iPhone, no matter how many billions he had in the bank. A trickier case would be Warren Buffett, who votes the right way and says all the right things about the rich paying more but who’s so famously, fantastically wealthy that by any definition he simply has to qualify. That’d be a question worth posing to the stalwarts at Zuccotti Park. Are Buffett and, say, George Soros part of “the problem”? If not, why not? They can afford to pay a lot, lot, lot more than the rates they’ll be subject to if the Bush tax cuts lapse. Why don’t they?
Why indeed? Do you suppose the Koch brothers could get better pub if they just started writing checks to different people?