The poorest half of Americans have nothing left, so now the 1%'s growth comes from the upper middle class

The Fed's latest figures on American household wealth paint a rosy picture -- in the aggregate. US households now own a record-breaking $107T worth of assets! Read the rest

Dynasties: in-depth reporting on the wealthy, influential political and corporate families that not-so-secretly rule Canada

The latest podcast from the Canadaland network (previously) is Dynasties, wherein host Arshy Mann delves into the scandals, backroom deals, and secret string-pulling employed by the "great families" of Canada, where wealth and political power have been gathered into just a few hands, all clinging tight to that power. Read the rest

Trump's trade war cost the world $2t, wiping 6% off the global one percent's books

Trump's trade war has reduced the world's net worth by $2 trillion ($1.5 trillion of which came off the balance sheets of the 1%), with losses most deeply felt in China and Europe; North and South Americans took smaller losses, while the Middle East actually made gains: the richest Saudis have grown 7% richer during the trade war, while the richest Kuwaitis are 8% richer. Read the rest

America's super-rich write to Democratic presidential hopefuls, demanding a wealth tax

18 of the richest people in America have sent a letter to all the candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, demanding that their election platform include a annual wealth tax on the largest American fortunes, something advocated by economist Thomas Piketty in his blockbuster book Capital in the 21st Century and subsequently integrated into Elizabeth Warren's campaign platform (with Piketty's endorsement). Read the rest

Majority of American millionaires support a wealth tax on American millionaires

When Elizabeth Warren proposed a Thomas Piketty-style wealth tax (2% annually on family fortunes over $50m, 1% more on fortunes over $1b), she ballparked the returns at $1.9-2.75t over the first ten years. Read the rest

CEO-to-worker wage gap yawns ever wider, hitting 312:1 in 2017, up by 17.6%

The CEO:worker wage ratio was stable in 2015/6, but some unnameable policy or policies, which we can only guess at, were at work in 2017, boosting the gap by 17.6% to 312:1. Read the rest

How the "global super-rich" have honeycombed London's posh neighbourhoods with sub-basements, sub-sub-basements, and sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-basements

London -- ground zero for financial shenanigans, money-laundering, and the conversion of housing from a human necessity to an asset-class -- has spent decades converting itself to an inert, open-air vault full of status-displaying safe-deposit boxes owned by offshore criminals and oligarchs who "improve" their empty properties with absurd fripperies to make them more flippable come the day that their local warlord purges them and they need the ready cash. Read the rest

Designer garden hoses, and other 'luxurious alternative garden appliances'

Riffraff, step aside. A line of garden hoses for the more discerning yard worker has arrived.

With models like the Gold Digger ("certainly a statement piece is for those who love a bit of show off"), the "graceful and refined" Rusty Rose, and the Caribbean Kiss (which "will make you dream of a tropical beach edged with palm trees"), it's clear that Garden Glory's hoses are no ordinary lawn wetting devices.

The prices are not ordinary either. Hoses are $119 each (plus an additional $49 to $119 for the matchy-matchy nozzle) and come with an "elegant designer bag." Don't forget to kickdown for that complementary Reindeer Wall Mount ($299) to wrap your hose around. Add a pair of golden gloves for $59 and then snap some selfies of yourself "gardening." Your Instagram feed is sure to explode.

All of your "luxurious alternative garden appliances" dreams have come true. **pinch**

Thanks, Polly!

images via Garden Glory Read the rest

The other class war: technocrats vs plutocrats

After World War Two, the balance of wealth shifted dramatically: the super-rich lost so much capital during the two wars and the interwar period that their grip on power slipped, creating the space for a welfare state and other reforms. Read the rest

The Wall Street Journal on the decade since the crash: inequality, giant banks, regulatory failures, looming catastrophe

It's been ten years since the financial crisis, when barely regulated banks destroyed the world's economy, kicked off wars, and directly and indirectly killed millions. Read the rest

Rail barons and the new gilded age: one-percenters travel in style by hitching private "super-luxe" railcars to Amtrak trains

The Wall Street Journal profiles rich "train buffs" who buy vintage Gilded Age railcars and refurbish them, then pay to have them hitched to Amtrak trains and pulled between their city houses and their country places. Read the rest

Billionaire Cartier boss returns from fishing holiday gripped with terror that the poors are going to start building guillotines

Tobacco heir Johann Rupert is worth $7.5B; he's head of Cartier, Montblanc, Chloe and other luxury goods labels, having returned to the helm of his Richemont holding company after a year-long fly-fishing sabbatical; in a speech to the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in Monaco he revealed that he no longer sleeps at night because he is worried that "envy, hatred and social warfare" will destabilize the world. Read the rest

For Goldman Sachs execs, momentarily working for the government means hundreds of millions in tax savings

When Gary Cohn left Goldman Sachs to to work for Donald Trump, he was required to sell off his Goldman Sachs stock, but he didn't have to pay capital gains tax on that sale, saving him a cool $150,000,000; a year later, he was out of the Trump administration, and he still gets to hang onto those tax-free hectabucks. Read the rest

How 401(k)s created a class of suckers to be fleeced by the investor class

America's 1% have waged a long war on defined-benefits pensions, insisting that America could prepare for retirement by putting their money into 401(k)s, despite the stark evidence to the contrary. Read the rest

Stock market gains to the richest 2% of Americans in 2017 could pay for the entire nation's social programs

The wealthiest 2% of Americans got $1.15 trillion richer in 2017, nearly all of it in stock market gains -- more than enough to pay for state and federal Medicaid, and all mandatory and discretionary social welfare programs nationwide. Read the rest

Koch brothers publish letter crowing about all the ways Trump spent the year carrying water for them

In a letter to the Koch network -- a group of evil billionaires who chip in to buy politicians -- the Koch brothers crowed about how Donald Trump (whom they considered replacing with Paul Ryan in a backroom deal at the 2016 RNC) has been a pliable servant to them and their political goals during his year in office. Read the rest

California ballot initiative to make state university free again by reinstating inheritance tax for millionaires

From their inception, California's state colleges and universities were free or nearly free for in-state students, but since the 1970s, the state systems have been ratcheting up tuition and originating loans that impose crippling debt on students, leading to delayed fertility, late home-ownership, reduced retirement savings, and dampening entrepreneurial risk-taking. Read the rest

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