Peter Schiff, CEO of Westport, Connecticut-based broker- dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., is delivering the message directly. He went in October to Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where Occupy Wall Street protesters had camped out, with a sign that said “I Am the 1%” and a video camera.
“Somebody needs to do it,” Schiff said in an interview.
Schiff, 48, disclosed assets of at least $64.7 million before losing the 2010 Republican primary for a Connecticut U.S. Senate seat, according to filings. He’s wealthier now, even though his taxes are “more than a medieval lord would have taken from a serf,” he said.
A clip from Schiff’s video was used in a Nov. 1 segment of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” in which comedian John Hodgman, wearing a cravat, called the wealthy a “persecuted minority.” He asked that the phrase “moneyed Americans” replace “the 1 percent.”
Neither term appeared in a Nov. 28 open letter to President Barack Obama from hedge-fund manager Leon Cooperman, the Omega Advisors Inc. chairman and former CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s money-management unit. Capitalists “are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be” and the wealthy aren’t “a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot,” Cooperman wrote. They make products that “fill store shelves at Christmas” and provide health care to millions.
Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.
“You’ll get more out of me,” the billionaire said, “if you treat me with respect.”