Though many of the wealthy lean toward the Republican Party, in interviews, 1 percenters expressed a broad range of views on how to fix the economy. They think that President Obama is ruining it, or that Republicans in Congress have gone off the deep end. They favor a flat tax, or they believe the rich should pay a higher marginal rate. Some cheered on Occupy Wall Street, saying it was about time, while others wished the protesters would just get a job or take a bath. Still others were philosophical — perhaps because they could afford to be — viewing the recession as something that would pass, like so many previous ups and downs.
Of the 1 percenters interviewed for this article, almost all — conservatives and liberals alike — said the wealthy could and should shoulder more of the country’s financial burden, and almost all said they viewed the current system as unfair. But they may prefer facing cuts to their own benefits like Social Security than paying more taxes. In one survey of wealthy Chicago families, almost twice as many respondents said they would cut government spending as those who said they would cut spending and raise revenue…
By e-mail or telephone, via friends or via silence, dozens of 1 percenters declined to be interviewed for this article.
Some envisioned waking up to protesters on the lawn; others feared audits by the I.R.S. or other punitive government action. A managing director at a financial firm said he did not want to dignify the rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street by participating in an article on the 1 percent. An investor who had already been the target of protesters said he feared for his family’s safety.