1 percent

Here are 5 outrageous pot-related gift ideas for your favorite marijuana smoker - if you have more cash than consciousness

It was probably inevitable. As marijuana emerges from the underground and people with dollar signs in their eyes glom onto this hot new capitalist commodity, offerings aimed at the upscale pot person are making their entry into the marketplace.

Keep reading... Show less

America's Richest 2% Made More Money in 2017 Than the Cost of the Entire Safety Net

How was their money made? Almost entirely by passively waiting for the stock market to go up. The data sources for this report are Forbes and Credit Suisse, both of which provide precise numbers for the worsening surge in America's wealth inequality. 

U.S. wealth increased by $8.5 trillion in 2017, with the richest 2% getting about $1.15 trillion (details here), which is more than the total cost of Medicaid (federal and state) and the complete safety net, both mandatory and discretionary, including the low-income programs that make up the social support package derisively referred to as 'welfare.' 

Surprisingly, the richest 1% did not increase their wealth by much in 2017 (although they took nearly $4 trillion in 2016). That means the second half of the richest 2%, Americans with an average net worth of approximately $10 million, outgained the safety net all by themselves in the past year. 

Another stunner: The richest 2-5%, those Americans with an average net worth of about $2.5 million, accumulated enough wealth in 2017 to pay for the safety net four times. 

Two Men Made More Money than the Total Cost of Food Stamps 

Food stamps provide about $1.50 per meal for 42 million Americans, mostly children, the elderly, and the disabled, at a cost in 2017 of $64 billion. In the past year Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg have together accumulated over $64 billion in new wealth. 

Jeff Bezos has used tax havens and high-priced lobbyists to avoid the taxes owed by his company. Mark Zuckerberg created a 'charitable' foundation, which in reality is a tax-exempt limited liability company, leaving him free to make political donations or sell his holdings, all without paying taxes. But in one year the two of them made enough from their investments to feed most of America's hungry. 

And Republicans Are Cutting Food Stamps? 

The Republicans think the food stamp program is too costly and ridden with fraud. Apparently, $1.50 per meal for children and seniors is too costly for them. As for fraud, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that only 1 penny of every food stamp dollar is used fraudulently. To complete the insult and the injury, Republicans want to drop care packages on millions of Americans, as if they were third-world aid recipients, unable to make their own decisions. 

American inequality is extreme, shameful, perverse, and growing. While over 100 million (2 out of 5) American adults are among the world's richest 10%, up to 50 million (1 out of 5) American adults are among the world's poorest 10%. 

Yet by some unfathomable measure of ignorance or malice, Republicans cheer on the millionaire-making stock market while telling the most vulnerable Americans that they're spending too much on food. 

Paul Krugman: Trump's Tax Plan Is Even More Plutocratic Than You Realize

A recent AP poll suggests a majority of Americans understand that Donald Trump's proposed tax cuts will overwhelmingly benefit major corporations and the rich. What few may realize, however, is that it's not just the country's 1 percent that stand to profit handsomely but the world's wealthiest plutocrats. So much for the president's pledge that our allies will pay their fair share.

Keep reading... Show less

1 Percenters Wash Their Money Through Arts Funding - and Artists Are Calling Them Out on It

At the most recent edition of the Whitney Biennial, the long-running survey of American art, visitors were greeted by a quote of the sort not usually seen in museums: “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today [are] contemporary art [. . . and] apartments in Manhattan.”

Keep reading... Show less

Top 2 Hedge Fund Managers Bankroll Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, After Making $1.7 Billion Each in 2015

James Simons and Kenneth Griffin were the world’s top two hedge fund managers in 2015. Each made $1.7 billion last year alone, and have used their massive wealth to bankroll the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, the Guardian reported.

Keep reading... Show less

Hedge Funds Lost Money, But Top Hedge Fund Managers Still Took Home Obscene $13 Billion in 2015

For the world’s top hedge fund managers, 2015 was a fantastic year, with an astounding amount of money made. Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine released its annual review of how the top managers fared last year, and the tally for the group of 25 came in at nearly $13 billion, up 10 percent over 2014. In any year, that figure would likely grab headlines, but considering that it was the worst year for funds since 2011—with Atlantic Investment Management founder Alexander Roepers telling the Wall Street Journal “Everything went wrong”—those totals seem particularly enormous.

Keep reading... Show less

Elizabeth Warren’s Big Win: The New, Much-Needed Rule that Could Rein in Wall Street Slime

Are you in the market for some good news? While everyone is being told to follow the excitement of the 2016 campaign to the exclusion of all else, out of the spotlight but not far away, the Obama administration is calmly trying to enact lasting progressive change. In the Labor Department earlier this month, consumer advocates won a big battle, as the vast middle class was “gifted” with a new requirement being placed on the financial services industry. As Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained, a glaring conflict of interest has been resolved in the favor of people saving for retirement. No longer can investment advisers recommend funds to their clients that reward them or their firms; instead, they must, without exception, direct customers into the best financial products, with lower or, sometimes, zero fees.

Keep reading... Show less

The 1 Percenters Are Stuffing Their Pumpkin Pie Holes on Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, in dining rooms across America, the turkey will be smaller, the stuffing more meager, the pumpkin pie sliced thinner. Gratitude will be given. But roiling just below the surface, for far too many families, will be economic anxiety.

Keep reading... Show less

The Richest 0.01 Percent of Americans Gave 42 Percent of Political Donations in 2012


Keep reading... Show less

Man Kills Himself Holding 'Tax The 1%' in Front of Capitol - and Nobody Hears About It

When 64-year-old Vietnam vet John Constantino burned himself to death on the DC Mall in October of 2013 I couldn’t stop thinking about this man and his act. Who was he? What compelled him? What was his life’s story? What were his political views, his life’s station, etc?  I wanted to write a blog then but didn’t.

Keep reading... Show less

Private Jets and Cushy Dorms: Colleges Indulge the 1% as Inequality Deepens

For [high school] seniors, spring brings college acceptance letters – and financial aid packages, full of forms to fill out. For [high school] juniors, it’s the season to visit those institutions they dream of attending 18 months from now, to talk to admissions officials and tour the campuses.

Keep reading... Show less