I think it's interesting that these people are giving "testimonials" about their empathy for the "99%."
They're priviliged people that at least acknowledge how fortunate they've been. Most seem/claim to have worked for what they have, some have simply lucked into it, ie inheritance.
But why now? Did these protests suddenly make them feel guilty about what they have, and what others don't? When they bought a latte at Starbucks, did they always leave a decent tip, if any? And are they now dropping a dollar in the tip cup, instead of the leftover 11 cents as so many well-off patrons do all the time?
I'm not railing against these "empathetic 1 percenters." But here is my issue with them, other than the epiphanic nature of what they're saying. Wealth is redistributed all the time. It's done purely voluntarily (charitable donations, gratuities, purchases of goods) semi-voluntarily ("My business is growing, and I can staff up to accomodate the growth, or not hire and risk flat revenue growth) or involuntarily (the taxman cometh).
The proportions of these types of redistribution are really out of whack, and some sort of consensus needs to be reached about where to set them.
What bothers me is how many of these "empathetic 1 percenters" are saying "tax me more." Wrong medicine for a serious problem.
The more governments collect, the more they spend. It's not as if tax hikes or new taxes are "lockboxed" away and allocated specifically toward deficit or debt reduction.
This is a common liberal confusion: mixing up "the economy" with "the national budget."
Look, I'm going to break with a lot of fellow conservatives here and just say it: the private sector went a little too far with downsizing and overall job elimination. They fired people even when their balance sheets were strong, and rewarded the c-suite with ever-higher bonuses and salaries. They have every legal right to do that, but it does long term damage to the economy in the aggregate.
That said, if these "empathetic 1 percenters" really want to be part of the solution I suggest the following: If you play golf with someone who's in a position to hire people, try to nudge them into calling back some laid off workers. If you own a business, and are on the fence about hiring someone, just go ahead and do it. If you are simply well-off, give that barista a dollar or more. Tip that deliveryman 5.00 intead of 1.00 or 3.00.
And if you really don't think you're taxed enough, then by all means, write a check to the general fund of your state, town or city,or even a "gift to reduce the public debt." But remember that doing so will do very, very little to ameliorate the economic or fiscal mess we're in, and in fact may even "encourage the bastards."
You don't have to sleep in a tent in Zucotti Park to make a difference... just write a check... to someone.