“South Park” and Millionaires: The Top 0.17%

November 3, 2011

Comedy Central’s controversial series “South Park” aired an episode last night appropriately titled “1%.” As one expected from the press release, it was about class warfare and the various 99%/Occupy [insert place name here] movements around the world.

Via a circuitous (yet not unrealistic) route, the episode illustrates how the 99% movement could theoretically fail and embeds-knowingly or unknowingly-an absolute gem of a tax statistic on the way.

All of South Park Elementary (less Eric Cartman, who is the 1%) forms a 99% movement to change policy. But eventually the fifth graders decide to break from the 99% and form their own 83% movement. This leaves the fourth graders (the main class of “South Park”) as the 17%. But one character points out that since this 17% must still be mad at its top 1%, it now must focus its outrage on the top 0.17%.

According to the IRS, this is the exact percentage of 2009 taxpayers who made over $1 million.

Only the writers know whether mentioning the percentage of millionaires was pure coincidence, but it’s worth noting that the father of Matt Stone-one of the show’s creators-is an economist.

WARNING: The episode described above contains adult language and extremely politically incorrect content. It is intended for mature audiences only.

Follow David S. Logan on Twitter @Loganomix


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