Business owners surveyed by Millionaire Corner are split in their opinions about Occupy Wall Street, which will enter its second month this week. Are the protestors making valid points about economic inequality? Are they anti-capitalist? Will they be a force in the next election? When will they leave?
The protests are based in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district. “We are the 99 percent” demonstrations have also sprung up in cities across the country, including Denver, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, and Salt Lake City.
New York business owners in the impacted area have scheduled a counter-protest for later today. It is estimated that the protest has cost businesses nearly a half million dollars so far. Their complaints about the encamped protestors range from customer intimidation to noise, vandalism and unsanitary conditions.
At the heart of Occupy Wall Street is “solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice,” according to a statement from the group, which lists grievances against banks, corporations, and the wealthy who comprise America’s so-called “1 percent.”
Forty percent of business owners surveyed by Millionaire Corner think that the protestors are making valid points about the country’s broken economy, while 37.5 percent believe that the protestors are anti-capitalist and anti-free market.
Nearly a third might be off the mark in thinking that the protests will be short-lived and end soon, while 27.5 percent do not believe that the movement will translate into a potent political force in the next election.
Senior corporate executives we surveyed have a less charitable view of OWS. Just under 19 percent think the protestors are fighting the good fight, while almost half (45.8 percent) said the group is anti-capitalist. Under a quarter think the group will comprise an impactful voting bloc in the next election, while over a third (35.6 percent) think the protests will end soon (this may just be wishful thinking).
The virtual attitudinal split among business owners is mirrored by millionaire respondents to our survey. As we As we reported last week, just over a third sympathizes with the Occupiers, who support a tax on millionaires as originally proposed by investor Warren Buffet and which was adopted by President Obama for his jobs package. Just over two-thirds of millionaires we surveyed support this idea. That’s less of a percentage than respondents with less than a $1 million, but still high. Robert Frank of The Wall Street Journal suggests that some millionaires don’t regard themselves as the ultra-wealthy who have earned the protestors’ ire. “Or, perhaps the millionaires simply agree with the protesters and support taxing themselves, ala the Patriotic Millionaires,” he writes.
But they are slightly more likely (38 percent) to regard the protestors as socialist-leaning anti-capitalists.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.