Billionaire philanthropist George Soros on Monday said he sympathizes with the anti-Wall Street protesters because of the way the government handled the bank bailouts.
Soros, speaking at the U.N. where he was announcing a $47 million gift to development projects in Africa, was asked for his view of the protesters who have entered Day 15 of their Occupy Wall Street campaign.
“Actually I can understand their sentiments, frankly, because there are a lot of people, for instance, running small businesses that saw their credit card charges being raised from 8 percent to 28 percent,” he said. “They were relying on that credit to run their businesses—a lot of them actually were put out of business.”
“At the same time, the decision not to inject capital into the banks, but to effectively relieve them of their bad assets and then allow them to earn their way out of a hole, gave the banks bumber profits and that allowed them to pay bumper bonuses,” Soros added.
The decision not to inject capital into the banks also caused a credit crunch depriving small business owners of credit lines and loans to pay salaries and expand their businesses. And while there’s been an uptick in lending recently, according to the FDIC’s latest report, there’s actually been a decrease in loans to small businesses, according to the report.
There are some 140,000 small business owners in New York City, according to Crain’s New York Business, almost half of them foreign born.