What do the Protesters Want?

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“Dear 1%, we fell asleep for a while. Just woke up. Sincerely, the 99%.”
Those were the words on a sign held by one of the demonstrators participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

But what do the protesters really want? That’s a question many analysts and pundits are debating.
“I’m not quite clear on what defines success for these protesters,” Huffington Post contributor Demetria Irwin writes. “What makes one decide to de-camp? A particular bill? A particular election? Is there anything that could be done right now-ish that would take the protests down a notch or in a different direction?”
CNN contributor DouglasRushkoff wrote a scathing piece on those in the media who are casting the protests as “random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos.”
“Whether we agree with them or not, we all know what they are upset about, and we all know that there are investment bankers working on Wall Street getting richer while things for most of the rest of us are getting tougher,” Rushkoff writes. “What upsets banking’s defenders and politicians alike is the refusal of this movement to state its terms or set its goals in the traditional language of campaigns.”
Here are two more opinions of the Occupy Wall Street protest pro and con:
— “The protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent,” wrote Paul Krugman in the New York Times. “The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.”
— “Tea Partiers distinguish capitalism from crony-capitalism,” writes Fred Smith in USA Today. “Occupiers confuse them. In fact, some Occupiers seek their own form of cronyism — an expanded government that will help the ‘right’ beneficiaries, such as students and homeowners, instead of bankers and automakers.”
What’s your opinion of the occupiers? Here’s this week’s Color of Money Question: Is the Occupy Wall Street movement overdue or overdone? Send your responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Be sure to include your full name, city and state.

Millionaire Myths
There’s been a lot of news of late about millionaires. In his jobs package President Obama wanted millionaires to pay more taxes. The bill has been blocked but the debates about millionaires and how much they pay in taxes continues.

John Steele Gordon, author of “An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power,” dispels some of the misconceptions about millionaires in the Post’s Five Myths feature.
Here are three of the presumptions Gordon wrote about:
Being rich is relative. A Fidelity Investment survey found that the rich don’t feel rich enough even with $7 million. “Today, a well-invested $1 million might generate $50,000 in a combination of investment returns and interest income,” Gordon writes. “That isn’t chump change, but it’s roughly equal to the 2010 median household income.”
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SOURCE: Washington Post – Michelle Singletary

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