Investment guru and radio host Peter Schiff, for one, went down to Zuccotti Park in New York to talk with the protesters. Schiff can understand protester complaints — he has been outspoken about the housing crash, bank and auto bailouts, and larger financial crisis. But he also thinks protesters don’t have it quite right.
“Schiff believes that capitalism offers ... the only hope for young, frustrated people to have a vibrant and prosperous future,” Reason Magazine reports. “So he went to Occupy Wall Street to engage and debate the protesters.”
At some moments in his three-hour-long debate, Schiff was instructive, explaining to a shouting protester why Steve Jobs manufactured iPhones in China, and at other times, a bit combative. He told one woman: “I employ 150 people, how many do you employ?”
Schiff says he is “sympathetic” to Occupy protesters but thinks they should direct their anger at the government, and capitalists who have been bailed out, not at legitimate business interests.
“The regulation we want is the market. That’s what works,” Schiff said on his visit. Watch the video:
Billionaire tech investor Sean Parker, another member of the so-called “1 percent,” has also tried to set Occupy protesters straight, though mostly through Twitter.
Although Parker joked on Twitter about the new set of problems he has now that he is rich, including paying for security, extortion attempts, kidnapping threats and death threats, (“Life better b4?” he asked), the former Facebook president also got a bit defensive, writing: “You guys are really attacking me for being the 1%? I was broke and couch surfing just a few years ago.”
Parker also spoke out about where he thought the problem was, though he differed with Schiff’s diagnosis that it was the government. “The problem is not the wealthy or even super wealthy, the problem is too much finance. We need less Wall St. and more Main St.,” Parker wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
As Newser points out, however, Parker does think a billionaire like him should be paying more taxes, echoing a sentiment voiced by Warren Buffett in a New York Times op-ed in August.
“I believe strongly in higher taxes, in particular for the wealthy and super wealthy,” Parker told the San Francisco Bay Guardian recently. “I am paying far too little in taxes at the moment.”