Wall Street Traders Weigh In On Symbolic "Occupiers"
Nearly everyone has something to say about the "Occupy Wall Street" protests in Lower Manhattan, but in the New York Stock Exchange itself, traders mainly say that the demonstrators' anger should be redirected at Washington lawmakers. NY1's Diane King filed the following report.
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Jonathan Corpina has "occupied" Wall Street for 15 years, as he runs a trading firm at the New York Stock Exchange. Still, all the economic protests in Lower Manhattan have grabbed his attention.
Recently, he brought his young daughter to nearby Zuccotti Park so she could see for herself what's going on.
"The perspective of a 10-year-old was very interesting. She asked a lot of questions about why are they here, what do they want, why can't they get what they want," said Corpina. "It was very unique to hear it from her side."
Corpina also took in for himself what was going on at the Occupy Wall Street encampment.
"I listened to what they had to say. I listened to a lot of their chants, I read a lot of their signs," he said. "I understand what they're saying, I understand the frustrations that's there."
While he may sympathize with them, he thinks their protests are misguided.
"You really have to start where the root is. I personally think it comes out of Washington," said Corpina.
That is a common sentiment at the exchange -- that federal lawmakers are to blame.
"Their frustration over the economic environment, in my opinion, is really directed at economic policy. So the truth is they should probably be camping out in Washington," said Kenneth Polcari of ICAP Equities.
"I know how horrible it must be to be without a job. It's got to be really tough, especially when unemployment is at 9.1 percent. The odds of finding one gets smaller and smaller as time goes on. So I really do feel for these guys and I do understand their frustration," said Alan Valdes, a trader at DME Securities. "But I do think it's misguided. They should be in Washington. We don't make regulation, we just follow it here on Wall Street."
Valdes said another thing the protesters need to know is Wall Street also has felt the pain of the recession. Many of his friends have been thrown out of work.
"Not everyone on Wall Street makes super salaries," said Valdes. "Like I said, a lot of my friends lost jobs. We're lucky to be working down here, a lot of us to be honest with you."
As for how long they think it will last, traders at the exchange are not exactly bullish about the protests' future.