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

Tiffany sold out of a ton of those laughable sterling silver "everyday objects"

Remember Tiffany's runup to Xmas with the $1000 tin can and the $9000 ball of yarn? It was a pretty shrewd bit of marketing. Read the rest

Wells Fargo CEO promises to spend not one cent of the GOP tax gift on investment or wages

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan -- who inherited the most scandal-haunted bank of them all this year -- reassured his investors in a CNN Money interview that not one dime of the tax savings the GOP will deliver to his company will be reinvested or used to increase wages: instead, it will all go to buy-backs and dividends. Read the rest

A rogue's gallery of 17 of Eastern Europe's richest, most politically connected oligarchs

Albania's Shkëlqim Fusha likes to hide in the shadows, but his cousin, Tirana chief prosecutor Petrit Fusha, is implicated in a massive corruption scandal whose cover-up involved assassinating a 17-year-old boy -- in what is surely an unrelated coincidence, Tirana is where Fusha has made billions in no-bid city contracts. Read the rest

Simklept: Kleptocrat is a mobile game that uses real-world financial crimes to simulate being a tax-dodging one percenter

Kleptocrat is an Ios-only mobile game that challenges players to play as billionaire tax-dodgers, who construct ruses to hide their money from the tax authorities in the countries where the state guards their wealth, educates the workforce, and keeps everyone from dropping dead of infectious diseases. Read the rest

Share of national wealth held by America's 1% hits 50-year high

In Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962 to 2016: Has Middle Class Wealth Recovered?, an NBER working paper by NYU economics professor Edward N. Wolff, we get an analysis of the annual US governmental Survey of Consumer Finances, revealing that the share of national wealth owned by the richest one percent of Americans has risen by three points since 2013, to more than 90%, the highest level in half a century. Read the rest

Treasure Islands: EU publishes a blacklist of 17 tax-havens and a long-list of runner-up tax avoidance jurisdictions

The EU's new blacklist of 17 money-laundering financial secrecy states includes South Korea, Mongolia, Namibia, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and also includes a long-list of places like Guam, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Read the rest

Behold! The astonishing mental gymnastics of TSA apologists explaining why rich people don't need to be screened

The project of making planes secure from terrorist attacks is an inescapable nonsense: nonsense because there's no way to screen millions of people to prevent a few dedicated ones from bringing down a plane (no, really); inescapable because no lawmaker or policymaker will ever have the courage to remove a measure that has previously been described as "essential for fighting terrorism" even if it was only ever security theater intended to assuage low-information voters. Read the rest

Congressional Republican candor: everyone hates our tax plan except the CEOs we depend on for campaign millions

The Republican Party has done the impossible: they've produced an unpopular suite of tax cuts, by designing a system that lards more than a trillion dollars onto America's debt while raising taxes on disabled people, students, middle class households, people who hire veterans, and pharma companies that do basic research on horrific rare diseases. Read the rest

Excellent, plain-language explainer on corporate and 1 percenter tax evasion, with a simple solution

The New York Times has collaborated with Berkeley economics prof Gabriel Zucman to produce an interactive explainer that walks through the baroque tax-evasion strategies deployed by multinationals like Google and Apple, as well as the super-rich, using plain language and explanatory graphics to get past the deliberately eye-glazing tedium of these arrangements, a shield of boringness that has allowed the super-rich to hide $8.7 trillion from tax authorities while taking advantage of national courts, education, roads, police, and health care. Read the rest

Rich people in Northern California got better firefighting services, thanks to private insurers

Wealthy people whose homes were threatened by last month's Napa wildfires got better fire-suppression services than their poorer neighbors, thanks to private firefighters paid for through their insurance plans. Read the rest

The Paradise Papers: another tax-shelter leak implicates Apple, Trump, Putin, Hollywood, Twitter, Facebook, the Queen and more

1.4TB/13.4 million documents have leaked from Appleby, the offshore law-firm that is part of the "magic circle" of firms employed by the super-rich to manipulate their finances; the documents are supplemented with another "offshore provider"'s files, and the company registries of 19 tax havens. Read the rest

The Tories replaced benefits with "universal credit" and left a town to starve

In 2013, the Scottish city of Inverness had the unfortunate fate of being picked as the trial site for a pilot of "universal credit," one of the UK Conservative government's big ideas, in which the various benefits paid to low-income people were replaced with a single payment, centrally administered. Read the rest

Panama Papers journalist assassinated by car bomb in Malta

Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of the lead journalists on the Panama Papers story, has been assassinated by a car-bomb in the town of Bidnija in northern Malta. Read the rest

China's 1 percenters are now worth as much as the GDP of the United Kingdom

China's latest rich-list of 2,030 people controlling fortunes of $300M or more now totals $2.6 trillion, as much as the UK GDP. Read the rest

The "mom and pop" business owner who loves Trump's tax plan is a lobbyist for Oracle who will save billions

"Tax Reform for America" is a US Chamber of Commerce-backed astroturf group that features testimonials from "mom and pop" business owners who back Trump's tax plan, which will overwhelmingly benefit the top 1% wealthiest in America at the expense of working people and the middle class. Read the rest

Trump's chief Goldman-Sachs goblin tells America they can buy a new car for $1000

Gary Cohn is Trump's chief economic advisor. He's a former Goldman-Sachs banker with a net worth of more than $250,000,000. In his latest appearance, the quarter-billionaire explained to the press that Trump's tax-plan (which will transfer billions to the wealthiest 1%, e.g., Gary Cohn) will save two-child families earning $100,000/year about $1,000 and that they can use this money to buy "a new car." Read the rest

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