The 1% is a piece of political poetry. It is not a scientific measurement, to be taken literally. It conveys succinctly and powerfully the extent to which the few rule the many.
Class is not about income. Class is not about whether you have an income, a profession, a job or a benefit. Class is not about culture. Class is not about wealth. A "Class" is a historically formed group of people who have a particular relationship to economic order.
There is a group of people whose relationship to the economic order is that they operate and control the capital markets. They own the large investment banks, the stock brokerages, the trading companies. Every other person and business and institution in the country is dependent on their economic activity: for credit, for capital investment, to hold their money. Through the Federal Reserve Board, they make the rules that determine whether that spunky little credit union you moved your money to will prosper or fail. They cannot be boycotted.
They have enormous power, and because they have enormous power, they are accumulating enormous wealth. They are not powerful because they are wealthy. They are wealthy because they have power.
The power that they have is such that virtually no investment can take place that they do not see as profitable to them, including the fiscal budget of the government itself. Lower taxes on the wealthy means more money for them to control. Money paid in taxes is money whose use is controlled by others.
In order to have the world we want, the financial and political power of this small class of people has to be sharply reduced. We need to be able to invest in things that they not see as worthy of investment: education, environment, public works, health for citizens, mass transit and so much more.