Wall Street protesters joined progressive and community groups Tuesday on a march to the homes of several New York City billionaires to demand that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers extend a surcharge tax on the state’s wealthiest residents, and New York City physician Bertha Bauer stands with them.
While protesters aired their grievances outside the entrance of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s Park Avenue home, Dr. Bauer ran toward them from around a nearby corner. Reporters immediately stopped her for questioning. While taking a moment to compose herself, she quipped that speaking to the press would probably get her fired—a common response from professionals asked to comment on the Wall Street protests and a telling one in her case, given that she is self-employed. Even relatively secure people are afraid of the consequences of showing support for demonstrators.
Bauer said the actions of Wall Street and corporations are hurting doctors and patients. Here is a transcript of the conversation:
Bauer: “I’m probably going to get fired!” [laughs]
Reporter: “So you don’t look like a typical protester.”
Bauer: “I’m not a typical protester. I’m actually a physician who works in this building at 1185 Park Ave. I’ve been a solo practitioner for 30 years.”
Reporter: “You work in the building that they’re protesting?”
Bauer: “Well, my office is there.”
Reporter: “Your office is here.”
Bauer: “Yeah, I rent an office in there.”
Reporter: “And how do you feel about this?”
Bauer: “I am completely sympathetic to what’s going on here. My profession is being ruined and decimated by the greed of Wall Street, by Big Pharma, by insurance companies. I’m practically forced out of practice after 30 years because I’m honest, because people looking at ways of hurting me and patients while CEOs are making millions and billions of dollars in the industries that control us now. So I am—I came running out of my office to say ‘Yes! Yes! I agree with you.’ ”
For detailed descriptions of the “Millionaire’s March,” which also visited the homes of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, billionaire David Koch, Emigrant Savings Bank executive Howard Milstein and hedge fund manager John Paulson, read reports by Justin Elliott of Salon and Lynn Parramore at AlterNet here and here. —ARK
Alexander Reed Kelly
Bertha Bauer is a board-certified rheumatologist who has been practicing medicine for 30 years.