Connecticut, home to the richest hedge-fund managers in America, is going broke, cutting services and gutting pension plans to try and fill its $1.8B budget hole — a hole it plans on filling by taking away $1.5B from the state's workers.
It's one of the most unequal states in America; at the bottom is the opiod-plagued town of Bridgeport, where one in five residents lives below the poverty line; at the top is nearby Greenwich, where the super-wealthy hedge-fund managers have seen their incomes rise by more than 17% since the financial crisis.
Last Saturday, protesters went from mansion to mansion in Greenwich, leaving outsized novelty tax-bills on the doorsteps of the outsized novelty homes occupied by financiers who pay a lower income-tax rate than the state's teachers, janitors and road-workers.
The protesters are pinning their hopes on a state bill that would close the notorious carried interest tax loophole (decried by Trump during the 2016 campaign); parallel initiatives in other NYC commuter states would throw a net over the entire region. Anywhere within a helicopter commute of Wall Street would be ensnared in it.
In the meantime, Farrell and co have taken to the (least) mean streets of Connecticut, to take action at the local level. Greenwich police, who are facing cuts too, let them leave a $446m bill outside the 35,000 sq ft mansion of Steve Cohen, founder of Point72 Asset Management and SAC Capital Advisors. Cohen's net worth is an estimated $13bn; his $1bn art collection could almost plug Connecticut's budget hole on its own.
At Hill Road, close to Alpha Drive (a dead end, the sign informs us), protesters left a $1bn bill for William Macaulay, boss of energy investor First Reserve Corporation, and another $837m-plus bill at the guardhouse of Ray Dalio's mansion. Dalio, boss of Bridgewater Associates – which owns bits of many of the US's low-wage employers, including Walmart and Yum Brands, which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell – lives in a gated community. His guard seemed less amused with the protest than the local police.
Protesters target Connecticut's uber wealthy with 'tax bills' in bid to end loophole
[Dominic Rushe/The Guardian]
(Image: Dominic Rushe for the Guardian)
(via Naked Capitalism)