Members of the Occupy movement are marching to the New York City financial district today to commemorate the two-month anniversary of their protest against Wall Street and the so-called One Percent. But yesterday, a very different group marched on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. - actual representatives of the One Percent. They're called 'Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength', and they're demanding higher taxes on themselves and other, similarly wealthy Americans.
Yesterday, the group sent two dozen people to visit the offices of 13 members of Congress to express their concerns about the country's fiscal health. Seven of those 13 are part of the so-called "supercommittee", a panel formed this summer in an attempt to create dialogue between Democrats and Republicans and reach an agreement on cutting the country's deficit. So far, the committee has made no progress, and they are facing a deadline of next week to agree on a plan of action.
The 'Patriotic Millionaires' group was formed last November. Their first act was to send a letter to President Obama urging him to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2010, which they claim would help pay down the national debt by $700 billion over the next 10 years. That letter was signed by 45 U.S. citizens who had earned one million dollars or more in a single year, including Moby and Jerry Cohen of Ben-and-Jerry's Ice Cream - you can read it here.
The Millionaires' message, as expressed by Robert Johnson, former chief economist of the U.S. Senate banking committee, is that the 99 percent are footing the bill when the one percent makes mistakes: "America is no longer based on markets and capitalism, instead our economy is designed as 'socialism for the rich' - it is designed to ensure that the wealthiest people take all of the gains, while regular Americans cover any losses." In this case, it seems like Occupiers and Millionaires are speaking the same language.