Howard Buffett, Warren Buffett's Son, On Occupy Wall St.: 'We Saw Large Corporations Really Screw People'
Count Warren Buffett's son among those sympathetic of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Howard Buffett, son of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, told Bloomberg on Thursday that he understands the frustration that many middle-class Americans currently feel. He, for one, places blame on both corporate abuse and the growing wealth gap.
"I think it takes that to make things happen sometimes," Buffett, himself a farmer and philanthropist, said. "We saw large corporations really screw people."
Anger toward Americans remains especially pointed toward the financial sector. Indeed, confidence in the U.S. banking system has dropped to a new low, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, at a time when major banks face allegations of widespread mortgage abuse while continuing to impose new fees on customers.
Middle-class frustrations have had time to ferment. Of those currently unemployed, 6.2 million have now been out of work for over half a year, and incomes have only started dropping faster since the official end of the recession.
Not only did Howard Buffett says he understands the basis of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, however. He also expressed frustration with the slew of austerity measures that show no sign of slowing down. Just this month, Wisconsin officials revealed a plan that would cause thousands to lose access to the state's Medicaid program, according to ThinkProgress.
"There has never been a time in my lifetime when the government is going to cut an incredible amount of programs that support poor people and feed them," he told Bloomberg.
Indeed, the recession continues to cut into recession relief funds, with all but one state experiencing reductions in fiscal year 2011, and the public sector continuing to shed jobs despite widespread unemployment.
As Bloomberg notes, the younger Buffett is far from the only wealthy member of society to sympathize with Occupy Wall Street. Many other notable financial players, including Mohamed El-Erian and George Soros, have expressed comparable sentiments.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke himself recently said he understood the frustration of those that have watched middle-class incomes stagnate over the last decade as the rich continued to get richer.
"They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess, and they’re dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington," Bernanke said. "And at some level, I can’t blame them."