Text-mining journalists find that lawmakers introduced 10,000 bills that were copypasted from lobbyists' "model legislation"

For two years, researchers from USA Today, The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity have been ingesting the bills introduced in all 50 state legislatures, yielding a corpus of more than 1,000,000 bills, and then consumed months of computer time on a large cluster, comparing these bills to "model legislation" promoted by lobbyists, using a text-mining engine that could identify paraphrases, synonyms, and other techniques used to file the serial numbers off of these bills. Read the rest

Teen Vogue explains capitalism

Teen Vogue continues its run of excellent, progressive political reporting with Kim Kelly's potted explanation of capitalism, and not a minute too soon, as Kelly explains: "the reason many millennials haven’t been investing in mutual funds or building up their own financial nest eggs isn’t because they’re too broke, or that they lack personal responsibility — it’s because they think our current economic system, capitalism, will cease to exist by the time they are in their 60s." Read the rest

How the super-rich defeated the IRS's crack Global High Wealth unit

In 2009, the IRS created a Global High Wealth Industry Group to audit the super-wealthy, staffing it with skilled lawyers and accountants who could unravel the webs of "trusts, foundations, limited liability companies, complex partnerships and overseas operations" that were used to hide the income of the super-rich from the tax-collector. Read the rest

Thomas Piketty explains how Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax is American as apple pie

Last month, Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren proposed an annual tax on the largest fortunes in America, with some of the cash generated by the tax being funneled into the IRS to catch dodgers who move or hide their money to escape the tax. Read the rest

Fox News blames schools teaching "fairness" for support for a tax on the super-rich

Why are policies like a 70% tax on income over $10m and a 2% annual tax on personal wealth over $50m (with an additional 1% on wealth over $1b) so amazingly popular with Democrats and Republicans? Well, according to Fox News, it's because "the idea of fairness has been promoted in our schools for a long time, and we're starting to see kids who have grown up with this notion of 'fairness above all' and now they're becoming voting age and they're bringing this ideology with them." Read the rest

The plane(t) has been hijacked by billionaires, and we're all passengers

Anand Giridharadas is the Aspen Institute Fellow and former McKinsey consultant whose book Winners Take All is a must-read indictment of the way that charitable activities are used to launder the reputations of billionaires who have looted and boiled our planet, amassing titanic fortunes while starving the public coffers, and still retaining sterling reputations and massive influence thanks to the trickle of funds they release through "philanthropy." Read the rest

A 70% tax on income over $10m is designed to correct inequality, not raise revenue

Just as the purpose of a tobacco tax is not to pay for cancer treatment, the purpose of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's wildly popular proposal to tax income over $10m at 70% is to correct inequality and reduce the corrosive power of extreme wealth to distort political decisionmaking, not to fund programs. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren proposes Thomas Piketty-style annual wealth tax

Following recommendations set out in Thomas Piketty's landmark Capital in the 21st Century, would-be Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has proposed a 2% annual tax on household wealth over $50,000,000, with an additional 1% annual tax on household wealth over $1,000,000,000, which would bring in $1.9-$2.75 trillion over the first decade (about 1% of US GDP). Read the rest

Most Americans want a 70% tax rate on earnings over $10,000,000

During a 60 Minutes interview Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez casually mentioned that she thought that America's super-rich should pay a marginal tax-rate of 70% on annual earnings over $10,000,000 (which is a better deal than they got under Reagan); since then, the proposal has roiled the political classes and billionaire-backed news outlets, who coincidentally oppose taxing billionaires. Read the rest

Mass protests and parliamentary chaos in Hungary over "slave labour" law

Hungary's far-right, xenophobic government rose to power by exploiting racism and economic anxiety, just like Trump -- and just like Trump, they've pursued an agenda that uses performative racist cruelty to distract people while they enact policies that make the rich much richer, at everyone else's expense. Read the rest

84% of stocks owned by richest 10% of Americans

Every time Trump reminds you that the stock market has experienced a feverish, tubercular bloom under his presidency, just recall that 84% of stocks are held by 10% of Americans. Read the rest

A visual guide to America's concentrated, uncompetitive markets

Our New Gilded Age is defined by its oligarchic concentration of wealth and power: not just how much wealth is controlled by the 0.001%, but how many of our key markets are dominated by just a handful of players -- sometimes just a single company. Read the rest

Pope condemns the "wealthy few" who hoard the riches that "belongs to all"

Pope Francis continues his streak of fighting for economic justice (though he's an unrepentant monster on abortion, women's rights, and the rights of queer people). Read the rest

Winners Take All: Modern philanthropy means that giving some away is more important than how you got it

Anand Giridharadas was a former McKinsey consultant turned "thought leader," invited to the stages of the best "ideas festivals" and to TED (twice), the author of some very good and successful books, and as a kind of capstone to this career, he was named a fellow to the Aspen Institute, an elite corps of entrepreneurs who are given institutional support and advice as they formulate "win-win" solutions to the world's greatest problems, harnessing the power of markets to lift people out of poverty and oppression. Read the rest

London's new high-rises: speculators' luxury flats designed never to be occupied

London is the epicentre of the British affordable housing crisis, and while there are over 500 high-rises under construction in the capital, consuming nearly every available lot, virtually every one of these towers is designed to serve the high-end luxury market (despite plummeting prices in this category), whose anonymous offshore buyers often never occupy or rent out the flats they buy, merely holding them to flip them later. Read the rest

How "philanthropy" is a way for rich people to preserve the inequality that benefits them

Since its publication in August, Anand Giridharadas's Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World has been tearing through the world, changing the way we think about inequality, philanthropy and elites; Giridharadas is an Aspen Institute Fellow who's long traveled in elite circles, but who concluded that the philanthropy of the super-rich isn't just an inadequate substitute for a fairer world -- it's actually part of the system that perpetuates the gross unfairness of mass inequality. Read the rest

California tenants receive rent-hike threats that will only be rescinded if rent-control initiative fails

Tenants in California have received threatening letters from their landlords promising massive rent hikes if Proposition 10 (previously), which restores rent control, passes. Read the rest

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