The 99 Percent Disrupt Hedge Fund Banquet to Oppose

Gov. Cuomo’s Billion-Dollar Tax Break for Wealthy NYers
VOCAL-NY joins with NY Communities for Change and United NY to protest hedge fund billionaire outside the swanky Pierre Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Oct 20, 2011.
Protesters today disrupted a conference of millionaire and billionaire hedge fund managers at the swanky Pierre Hotel in midtown Manhattan to draw attention to the massive tax break New York’s richest one percent stands to receive at the end of this year. Today’s protest specifically targeted two billionaires at the event – hedge fund manager John Paulson and venture capitalist Paul Singer – for the impacts their destructive financial practices have had on the economy nationally and internationally.[UPDATE: Reuters reports: As Paulson and two other prominent fund managers, Eric Mindich and Paul Singer, addressed an audience at the Pierre Hotel in midtown Manhattan, a handful of anti-Wall Street protesters gathered outside on Fifth Avenue chanting slogans aimed at the executives.. Outside the hotel, the protesters handed out fliers with Paulson’s and Singer’s pictures and chanted “Hey, Paulson, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side. Paul Singer, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”]
Organized by a number of community organizations that have been coordinating with the Occupy Wall Street movement, the event follows last week’s Millionaire’s March on the Upper East Side and a protest against JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
”Instead of giving hedge fund managers and others on Wall Street billions in tax cuts so they can gamble with our money, Governor Cuomo should make them pay their fair share and invest in our communities,” said Wayne Starks, a VOCAL-NY Board member and leader from Brooklyn. “In Governor 1% Cuomo’s New York, I’ll pay a greater share of my disability income in state taxes due to regressive sales taxes than some of the wealthiest people in the world. How do these guys sleep at night knowing that they are destroying families while people lose their homes and jobs?”
”John Paulson and Paul Singer epitomize why the Occupy Wall Street movement and the extension of the millionaires tax are so important,” said Camille Rivera, Executive Director of UnitedNY. “The tax refunds that Paulson and Singer would stand to receive through the refusal to extend the millionaires tax would be pocket change to them, but they could provide the New York City school district with the money to rehire dozens of recently-fired teachers aides. Unemployed families can’t catch a break, and neither should Paulson and Singer.”
Mr. Paulson is a hedge fund manager who made his billions speculating against the subprime mortgage market. He worked with big banks like Goldman Sachs to create faulty mortgage securities, which he bet against. These investments have attracted federal investigations.
Mr. Paulson shot back last week that “The top 1 percent of New Yorkers pay over 40 percent of all income taxes,” but failed mention that these super wealthy actually control 45% of the income in New York.
Mr. Singer, meanwhile, is known as a “vulture capitalist” because he speculates on the debt of countries in the Global South by buying it for cheap and then extracting massive payments through political and legal coercion. Singer is a leading funder of right wing, anti-tax causes, and chairs the Manhattan Institute, the corporate-funded think tank leading the charge against the millionaire’s tax by peddling misinformation about the tax burden.
It is individuals like Mr Singer and Mr Paulson that will be receiving thousands of messages from the 99% through the Occupy the Boardroom website, which allows people to send messages to CEOs of some of the country’s largest and most destructive Wall Street entities.  A quick review of the website that was established by ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater NY and NY Communities for Change provides a good understanding of why the 99% are so upset right now.

Like you, I want to be successful and take care of my family. I did what I was told to do as an American. I went to school, got good grades, got a job. As times changed, so did the skill market, so I went back to school, got a degree and now, I can’t find a job. All I want is an opportunity to be employed and take care of my family. START HIRING. INVEST IN AMERICANS.  -Felicia Miller

We want you to know what we experience every day.  That’s why our friends are occupying Wall Street on our behalf.  You simply must hear us instead of overlooking us as undesirable “investment opportunities”.  You’re shipping our money and our jobs overseas.  How is that a good thing for us?  My hope is that (my 14 month old daughter) Sigourney becomes an adult in a world where you simply don’t exist, at least in the same form and scale you enjoy now.  In our hearts and minds, Sigourney is simply “too big to fail”.  Can you hear us?  Does our story of debt slavery make sense to you?  Or, do we need to occupy another 1000 cities before you stop your belligerent behavior?  -Matthew Hunter

My father was a successful business owner for over 50 years and I will never forget what he said was the foundation for his success.    He said, “If I expect my business to flourish, my customers have to win too and without customers, I don’t have a business.”   When it’s all about you winning, nothing else is possible. That’s not a business, it’s a disgrace!   -Holly Yee


The groups responsible for the disruption, including VOCAL-NY, New York Communities for Change, and United NY, voiced opposition to the Republican-led State Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s effort to issue a $4.5 billion dollar tax cut to New York’s wealthiest millionaires, a number of whom were in the room at the 5th Avenue hotel. Those tax cuts would be paid for by New Yorkers that rely on public safety and health services, youth and elderly programs, and K-12 education.
If Gov. Cuomo’s signature tax cut stands, a family making $40,000 this year will pay the same tax rate as Paulson or Singer, forcing more and more service cuts on top of those that have already been leveled over the last three years of austerity.
The groups argued that Cuomo’s choice to provide millionaires with this billion-dollar tax cut will only exacerbate inequality in New York State, which already stands as the inequality capitol of the United States.
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  1. Keep functioning ,remarkable job!

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