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POLL: Occupy Wall Street Hits Connecticut

Protestors gathered before Bushnell Park in Hartford Wednesday morning to express their dissatisfaction with economic inequality.

Scroll down to weigh in on "Occupy Wall Street." Do you support it? Are you against it? Does it even matter?

The populist-themed and increasingly popular "Occupy Wall Street" movement hit Connecticut’s capital city on Wednesday, as dozens of protestors gathered before the entrance to Bushnell Park in Hartford to express their dissatisfaction with what they termed income inequality and corporate greed.

What started as a small gathering of a handful of protestors shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday morning had swelled to a large and vocal group that numbered close to a hundred less than an hour later — and the movement showed no signs of losing steam as the morning wore on and more and more people seemed to be drawn to the crowd.

“I haven’t been to a protest in years, but this brings me out because I am concerned,” said David Morse, a middle-aged Storrs resident who described himself as a freelance journalist who also owns and operates several rental properties. Morse wore a blue suit and tie and carried a sign that read, “Tax the Rich.” He said he was concerned that the income gap between the upper class and the middle class in America was causing irreparable harm not just to the economy but the welfare of the country.

“We’re losing our safety net for the poor, and rich people are getting a lot richer,” he said. “…I think people who are making millions of dollars need to be taxed. We need to restore the more equitable system we had 30 years ago.”

Craig Breitsprecher, a recent college graduate who said he works in the finance industry in Hartford, came to the rally dressed in slacks and a shirt and tie, holding a sign that read “We Can’t Afford A Lobbyist – The 99%.”

“What we hope to accomplish is really to draw awareness. Our standard of living, our monetary value, our power as a country has dropped significantly over the past three or four years, really ever said the fiscal collapse of 2008,” he said. “We really never fixed the problem, we just threw a bunch of money at it. We’ve been really living in a dreamland that this was all going to fix itself.”

Jule Michel, a social worker from Hartford who emigrated from Germany five years ago, said she was drawn to the group because of the economic disparity between rich and poor in this country.

“I came here to show my support for a moment that, hopefully, creates an understanding that giving to the rich with tax breaks and bank bailouts and anything that removes money from the middle class to the upper class needs to end,” she said. “Everybody needs to start paying their fair share.”

Michel said she was alerted to Wednesday’s protest via a website, occupywallst.org.

The movement, which began in September in New York City with a series of protest in downtown Manhattan, has been gaining steam across the nation of late thanks to social media groups and the Internet. Wednesday’s protest in Hartford is just one of dozens of similar protest already held or planned throughout the nation.

Breitsprecher said he was at some of the rallies in New York City that originated the movement, and he said he was not surprised that the movement was catching on across the country.  

“The unemployment rate for people ages 18 to 25 is just around 50 percent,” he said. “The rest of us, one in 10 of us don’t have a job. I think the problem is we’re over-educated and underemployed.”

Joe Prue, a Scotland, CT, resident who was one of the first protestors on the scene Wednesday morning, said a Facebook group to promote Wednesday’s event, Occupy Hartford, started with seven likes last week. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had almost 1,200 likes.

“We have no centralized leadership and we have to determine our demands,” Prue said. “But you can’t deny that this movement is catching on with people.”

Protestors in Hartford Wednesday morning took the opportunity to organize into a more cohesive unit, establishing ground rules and planning future rallies, including a second rally planned for 5 p.m. Wednesday in front of Bushnell Park for people just getting out of work.

As the amount of protestors increased in the downtown area Wednesday morning, so did the police presence. Police asked protestors not to obstruct pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic, but otherwise left them alone; some of the protestors stayed in the park until noon.

Whether or not the Occupy Wall Street movement has traction or transformative staying power remains to be seen, but it was clearly striking a chord with many in Hartford on Wednesday.

A motorist idling in traffic in front of the park at about 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, likely on his way to work, honked at the protestors, rolled down his window and called out in solidarity,” I lost my retirement. Can you help me find it?”

Jeff Burgess October 07, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Its about time. The extremely wealthy have run all over the 99% of us whether we are progressive or tea party. We are still the 99%.
Eileen October 07, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Here, here. I think what is important to point out is that supporters of this movement come from all kinds of backgrounds. That it crosses party lines. I am the 99%!!! And Patch...thank you for covering this.
david kingsley October 07, 2011 at 01:25 PM
The only thing in America that is too big to fail is the American Dream. Wall Street needs to return the favor & bail out America. Don't allow the American Dream to become the American Nightmare.
Peyton LaBorde October 07, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Do you realize that they are demanding $42,000/yr for those NOT working? A minimum wage of $20/hour? Free college for anyone, for any lenght of time? That college is a right? That all debt be erased? (so much for any saving you had in bonds) They are NUTS. Why doesn't the media let people know what they stand for??
sebastian dangerfield October 07, 2011 at 02:40 PM
The 99%. Why dont you become one of the 1%? I dont get it. A guy who makes 1 million dollars pays about 375,000 towards the military that defends both him and you. The guy who makes 40,000 pays about 4,000. When the millionaire goes to a movie and you pay 10 dollars, are you suggesting he pays 150 dollars? Because he worked hard to get into a good school. Worked hard in school. Puts in 80 hour weeks, and eventually manages to earn a lot of money? He should pay your way? Why? Just because he has more money? Why dont you all make more money? Steve JObs just died. He didnt come from money. He was smart, ambitious and risked not working for a company , but started his own. He invented things. He paid 38.3% of his income to government. The 99% pays about 15%. I know you all are jealous. And you feel that millionaires dont deserve it--but go on and get one of those millionaire jobs. If 5,000 millionaires move to Ridgefield tomorrow, I dont think i will be worse off. Im certain I will be better. Obama and his class warfare, and his demagoguery (hitler blamed jews, and obama blames wall streeters) is frightening. People who make a lot of money are not bad people. They just make a lot of money. The bank bailout is now well in the black. The government made lots of money on bailing out banks. Not so for bailing out GM. Check out reality instead of getting angry at the jews or the wall streeters. Its scary out there.
Girshick October 07, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Actually $20 an hour sounds about right to me. Take into account all the things we have to pay for on a daily basis, with the fact that inflation drives up prices every year along with speculation of certain markets, then minus your 34% in taxes as well and of course all the other local and state taxes. $20 bucks is enought to afford an apartment, pay your bills, food, and you might be left with a couple of bucks for your 401K, but you will not have much of a life, and that is for an 1 person. Take that wage and turn it into a family of 4 and you will definetly be struggling. Some people are looking at it all wrong. It's not how much more they (the protesters) want or someone gets paid, it's how LITTLE we (the majority) actually get. We reward the people who make money from money, not hard work and paying your dues like it used to be during the baby boomers and before. And yes education is a right, along with healthcare they should not be "for profit". By makuing things for profit you are just neglecting those that need it the most and who can not afford it, as well as forcing those people to use the ER (the most expensive form of healthcare) as there primary. This only causes more of a drain on the tax payers of local municipalities. And as for education,the best society is an educated one something sorley needed in this country.
Jeff Burgess October 07, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Not many people object to somebody getting rich. They should pay their fair share, avoid polluting the environment and heaping their risk on others along the way. For a fix I'm suggesting is that we move to Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax or the fair tax. No deductions and no exceptions. Then we eliminate subsidies to anything other than actual people, thus eliminating all corporate welfare, farm aid etc. The goal is a fair tax system where everybody pays and limits the federal government to only helping individuals.
MBA October 07, 2011 at 05:33 PM
As a member of the 1%, even I think the rich should be taxed more. They are not necessarily using their money to invest in industry and create jobs. Pshaw! Many of the people I work with use their money to stuff coke up their nose. Hardly helps our overall economy. Tell you an image that sticks with me. I went to a company Christmas party at the boss's New York City townhouse. The house must have been worth tens of millions. I peeked around a bit. I stumbled upon his children sitting in a bedroom. You know how kids play cat's cradle by looping their fingers over a string? That's what these girls were doing. Only instead of a string they were using a 3 foot long string of pearls. I checked. They were real pearls. Rich people use pearls for kiddie games. I think it's foul. Time to smack this arrogance in the head.
sebastian dangerfield October 07, 2011 at 06:10 PM
MBA Oh really? You forgot that you said you were part of the 1%. Then you went on to talk about "them." Ha. No wonder you are not part of the 1%. You are not even smart enough to write a simple lie. Let me ask the 99%ers this. If I , as a fund manager (not me --but a real manager)---buys 200 shares of apple stock in 1998 and I make a tens of thousands on it, who have I hurt? What part of you , has been pushed down? Now if I bought 6,000 shares of Apple in 1998 and now Ive made millions, who have I hurt? How much SHOULD I pay? What is fair? Why isnt on that investment -paying the government on my 20 mio dollar gain--3 mio dollars unfairly low? (and if your answer is "because society makes it possible to earn that--then what about the guy who lives in Japan who bought it, and pays our govt zero?). If I put 500 into a slot machine and lose it--no one cares. If I hit a jackpot for 1300 dollars, I now owe the government 300 dollars. Why? What if I hit a jackpot for 1 mio? Right now, Id have to pay about 400,000 to state and federal govt. Why would this not be fair? Why do the 99% get to tell me that I need to pay 500,000? I ve had enough of all these people who blame everyone in society for the fact that the guy over there earns a lot of money and he shouldnt. In today's NY post it says that NYC firemen who retired in 2009 on average make 92k a year in pension. Thats about 3 mio for doing ntg. Talk about unfair.
MBA October 07, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I refer to my colleagues in the 1% as "them" because I don't identify with their ways. I don't belong to a country club. I spend my resources helping people instead of drinking gin on the 19th hole. It's people like you who make my volunteerism so rewarding. Not.
MBA October 07, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Let me ask you, how much should a fireman get paid to race into a burning building and save your a**? Not much? I see your point. How much should a soldier in Iraq get paid to take a bullet in the head so the 1% can continue gassing up their BMWs? Think it is too much? Then take a small part of your millions, buy yourself a ticket to the Mid East and diffuse the roadside bombs yourself. How much should a teacher get paid to raise our children for us because in today's world we are too busy getting our nails done and our hair coiffed? I'll share another memory. I went to a colleagues 40th birthday party on Nantucket. Many private jets flew in for the weekend. There was entertainment for the kids. An entire section of the lawn with ostriches and jugglers and wandering minstrels. One entertainment option, they had a midget covered in velcro. The kids could jump on this seesaw contraption and fling the midget against a velcro wall and make him stick. "Mommy mommy, I want to fling the midget again! Weeee!" I think Obama's proposed tax on the rich is too low, He should double it. Weeee!
Eileen October 07, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Can you provide links to that info, or where you found it? I've been following this closely and have not seen those specific demands. As a matter of fact, OWS has been criticized for NOT being specific.
Eileen October 07, 2011 at 09:06 PM
I truly believe every word you said. That lifestyle is really SO over the top. It's the excess that's nauseating. BTW...do yourself a favor and ignore Luca...they just like to stir up the pot.....
Tony Di Preta October 07, 2011 at 09:13 PM
socialism noooooo thank you?? thanks to Carter and Mr and Mrs Clinton and today 's government, look what they have done to you and to this wonderful country, i grew up under the socialistic system will never work here, we are a nation of thinkers and builders with new and open idea,we design and create new products that makes America superior then any country on earth, this was the reason my father and mother left our home land like many others have done, i thank them and the U.S for the opportunity. so wake up U.S citizens and save our country before is to late.
sebastian dangerfield October 07, 2011 at 10:10 PM
mba weee? You dont really expect people to beleive you do you? Your stories are such hogwash. You are rich. Right? Ill bet you my 5,000 dollars against your modest 2500 dollars (next to nothing for a 1% guy like you) if you can tell me the name of the company that offered up the midget that you claim to have witnessed being humilated. Of course if its real, you will take the bet in a second and ask your young filthy rich colleage (you have lots of them--and all seem to be jerks--yet you atend all their parties? strange, a wealthy guy like you has choices-yet you choose to spend a lot of time with jerks--or is that some movie you saw). Anyway the offer is on the table. I saw a rich guy --filty rich offer a homeless person 1 million dollars. Wow--rich people sure are nice. Now I await the name of the midget and the company that hires them. Simply put---there is NOOOOO way. Lies and crap --trying to portray people that make a lot of money as evil is just wrong. Im sure you support Hitler as well as he spread the BIG LIE about Jews . Its really scary and disgusting. The fact that Eileen needs to suspend reality to actully deride me, is amazing. Im all for helping the needy. That doesnt mean I need to villianize people who are successful. they are not mutually exclusive.
sebastian dangerfield October 07, 2011 at 10:39 PM
MBA I fought in Vietnam. I dont need to be told the value of a soldier. Firemen work a job that is no where near as dangerous. 20 years ago, I volunteered at Noroton F.D. So I can comment there as well. But I fail to see how you get to comment? What sort of volunteering do you do? I know a lot of 'rich' people. I know a lot of Middle class. I know firemen, soldiers and people who work at town hall. I dont know anyone who does the things you claim. I have no idea, why you think that lying about who you are, and what you have witnessed, helps the cause of increasing the progressive tax rates to go higher. I mention firemen's pension, because I dont think you have any idea who is rich and who isnt. If I had 3 mio coming to me in my retirement (and its state tax free)--I would think I was more rich than I am. I ll ask you again--if I bought 5 000 shares of Apple stock 13 years ago--how did I harm you MBA? You must be smart as you make a lot of money--so tell me. Dont describe your ridiculous stories that exist only in your imagination and point out how an investment manager has harmed you? (remember TARP has been paid back by banks Chrysler and GM and AIG are dragging it a bit--but its not the investment bankers that are the targets of Obama and this movement that is uninformed.)
sebastian dangerfield October 08, 2011 at 02:41 AM
The scary thing is the stuff that Mr Obama is telling the American People. Telling lies such as ' millionaire pay less than secretaries" to uninformed people creates anger. It creates class warfare. Mr. Obama promised in 2008 to be 'post partisan" and bring the nation together. Bravo. Unfortunately, he is resorting to demagoguery and lies . The average person making above 250,000 paid on average 31.8% in taxes. (this includes home interest deductions etc.) Taxpayers earning between 50-100k paid on average 14%. These are facts. Yes, there may be 15 millionaires who have successfully shielded income. But the fact is that the average rich guy not only pays taxes on a larger amount, he pays at a rate of over double the middle class. Dont be fooled by Mr Obama. We have in the history of the world, people like Joseph McCarthy who branded people as communists and blamed societies woes on them. we ve had hitler, depicting jews as the root of all evil and the cause for so much unhappiness in depresssion era germany. We dont need the lies and innuendo that mr obama wants to promulgate, in order to blame one sector of society for the nation's woes. If all the rich people left this country, we would be far worse off. rich people are steve jobs, bill gates, michael bloomberg, warren buffet. We have millionaires in ridgefield--i guarantee they are charitable people --who understand how lucky they are. We all know nice rich people. Dont be fooled. Its wrong.
Eileen October 08, 2011 at 11:42 AM
"..the rich have been paying more and more while the poor have been paying less and less." OK, so what's wrong with that? Should the "poor" have their taxes increased while the "rich" pay less?? That's not appropriate either. But taxes is only one facet of this protest. Jobs is another one. Are you going to try tell people there are plenty of jobs out there? That the 9.1% (real number 17% +) unemployment rate is a fabrication? That untold jobs have been, and continue to be, sent overseas is also a fabrication? I support OWS and am NOT looking for a handout...just a job and I'm not seeking to have that handed to me either. I'm more than happy to do the "work" to get employed. Also, as an FYI, OWS is NOT just dems. It contains ALL people from various backgrounds and political leanings. BTW, congrats on your killing in the market. Most people haven't been so fortunate. Many people have had their 401k's/IRA's wiped out. Maybe you could just maybe have some compassion for those not as fortunate as yourself. But, nah. It's clear you're teabag/repub with no compassion for anyone but yourself.
COSMO P October 09, 2011 at 02:34 AM
OK, so what's wrong with that? Should the "poor" have their taxes increased while the "rich" pay less?? That's not appropriate either. The rich pay through the nose. Read my post. You just dont get this do you!!! The DEMS TAX EVERYONE. How do you think they get the money for their GIVE AWAY PROGRAMS??? The problem with DEMS is they like their programs more than they like PEOPLE. They are not predigest They tax the hell out of all of us. Remember 50% of Americans dont pay any taxes at all. (Other than sales tax). So why should a guy like me pay MORE. I am tired of payinf and having the LIBERAL DEMS GIVE IT TO PEOPLE THAT CAN WORK AND DECIDE NOT TO!!!!
Eileen October 09, 2011 at 11:09 AM
Tea bagger, clear and simple. NO need ot argue more...
Eileen October 09, 2011 at 03:51 PM
OK, I'll bite. A 7year old Chrysler. Yep, living the high life. That's me. Unemployed 7 montha and over 50. AND I'm Independent. I think R's, D"s and Teas all suk. And I don't blame you, but you're blind loaylty to a party that has had a hand in throwing this country down the crapper is nauseating.
sebastian dangerfield October 10, 2011 at 06:30 AM
1) MBA you had a chance to make an easy 5k--yet --ummmm you chose not to? Wow. Its shocking! The little person (or as you call them midgets) being humiliated --is just a farce. 2) eileen , everyone agrees the rich should pay more. The fact is, they already do. Why is it that 50% of this country is asked to pay no income tax? Are they not using the same infrastructure, the same military, as the rich? Why cant they pay a little? If you want things to be 'fair' then everyone needs to pay. The movement to get the rich to pay more is a populist movement. Read the latest Vanity Fair -michael lewis points out the problem in this country. we have politicians that simply do not do the right thing. They pander to poltiical voting blocs. We now have lifeguards in California who earn pensions of 150,000 a year. Pensions. When I grew up, a life guard was the best job out there. Minimum wage, but you got to sit in the sun. Now not only are we paying lifeguards more than double what University of California professors made, we pay them that as a pension. I think the idea is , if politicians spent our money wisely, then no taxes would need to be hiked. But we , in connectucut pay road workers 75 dollars an hour, while in New hampshire, they pay for the same job 17 an hour. And the reason is, our politicians want the union vote. Cops and fireman are the real problem (according to Lewis). Something needs to stop there as well.
Sandra October 11, 2011 at 01:41 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_tossing

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