- New York 03/23/2015 by Linda Perry Barr (WBAI)
Hedge Clipper protest outside the penthouse of hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb, New York City, March 21, 2015
Shame the hedge fund billionaires, go where they live and demonstrate. This is a technique used in Latin America called escrache
, but it’s also being used in New York City.
“Hedge Clippers, I guess you can kind of consider everything we do as part of Occupy Wall Street.” Activist Nick McMurray says Hedge Clippers keep the movement going.
“You can call us radicals, but at the end of the day we’re just people putting our foot down and we’re trying to stand up for what’s right and for what we really need in the world and in New York State.”
Zachary Lerner with NY Communities for Change @nychange led Hedge Clippers in a mic check: “Dan Loeb's politics demonize the immigrants. Dan Loeb’s politics are hostile. Dan Loebn’s politics are powerful. Dan Loeb’s money is massive, so We the People are fighting back.”
Over the weekend, the Hedge Clippers chose the Central Park West residence of hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb as their target. The hedge fund mogul gave over a million dollars to a super pac, New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany. According to a Nation Magazine expose, it poured $4.3 million into six senate races. This helped tip the balance in favor of Senate Republicans here in New York State, where we have six times as many registered Democrats as Republicans. And Dan Loeb sits on the board of Success Academy, Eva Moskowitz’s charter schools
“There’s a paper trail for everything.” says Nilsa Toledo, a hedge clipper with New York Communities for Change. “He has given mega money to Success Academy and all these pacs for charter schools, on top of giving mega millions to our Senate and our Governor who is supposed to be representing the people, not just the people with a lot of zeros in their bank accounts. That’s really unfair. That’s why we’re standing together against it.”
Toledo has children in public schools in Flatbush, Brooklyn. She says billionaire hedge funders like Dan Loeb, behind charter school funding and lobbying efforts, hurt public schools forced to co-locate, to share their space. “I think that they should pay their own way. They shouldn’t co-locate in public schools. It happened to my son’s school and the quality is so different. In the charter side they have flat screen tvs. Every kid has a laptop and meanwhile I’m paying for that, but in my son’s school, they are lacking. Textbooks are still from 1998. lt’s really disgusting. The teacher’s have to pay out of their own pocket, just to make sure the kid’s have basic education and it’s not right. Our public schools are already owed billions of dollars. Public schools in the city have been underfunded and our government is ignoring that, but meanwhile they are passing policies that benefit the few. All these tax breaks and all these loopholes that are being exploited by these guys are not being closed, but meanwhile our kids are suffering, our communities are suffering and we need to stand up together to make a change.
Mindy Rosier teaches Special Education at a Special Needs School in Harlem. She came out to protest the hedge fund billionaire: “For Daniel Loeb to pay his fair share, to pay his taxes. He’s a contributor to Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy which has been stealing from my school for eight years and tried to kick us out, so I’m here to stand up for my community, for my students, for public schools. If you’re not helping the public schools out, you’re not a friend to the City as far as I’m concerned.”
Protesters chant, “Pay your taxes, Dan Loeb. Pay your taxes, Dan Loeb.”
According to Hedge Papers which follows the money, hedge fund managers don’t pay their fair share of taxes. They influenced a tax structure in New York which lets them pay lower tax rates than working people and avoid some taxes altogether. A recent report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says, “Hedge fund managers and billionaires in the richest one percent pay a smaller share of their income in combined state and local taxes than do lower- and middle-income families. The richest 1% of households in New York (those earning more than $600,000 per year) pays a tax rate of just 8.1 percent in state and local taxes. The working poor pay a higher rate than the wealthy: New York households with incomes under $18,000 pay 10.4% of their income in state and local taxes.
And the middle class also pays a higher rate than the wealthy: "New York households earning between $35,000 and $58,000 pay 12 percent of their income in state and local taxes."
The report says, "some of the wealthiest hedge fund managers in New York are actually paying a smaller share of their income in taxes than their limousine drivers, dry cleaners, servants, helicopter pilots and doormen." That’s why protests in New York at the residences of hedge fund billionaires will continue.
Linda Perry WBAI News, NY