1 percent Archive

Billionaire tech investors back ballot initiative to purge homeless people from San Francisco

Sequoia Capital Chairman Michael Moritz and angel investor Ron Conway have donated to San Francisco’s Proposition Q: if passed, “the city would give residents of tent encampments 24 hours’ notice to relocate to a shelter or accept a bus ticket out of town.” Other San Francisco ballot initiatives propose to build houses for homeless people, which is literally the only proven way to …

Support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's action against predatory payday lenders

The predatory payday lending industry — “‘legalized loan sharks collect 75 percent of their fees from people stuck in more than 10 loans a year by charging 300 percent APR” — is lobbying hard to kill the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed “debt trap” rule, “that would require lenders to determine whether borrowers can afford to pay back their loans and cut off …

Scalpers drive Harry Potter play prices from £140 to £8,327

What do you get when you combine fantastic wealth-inequality with winner-take-all entertainment economics and high-speed trading algorithms? The Viagogo marketplace, where botmasters who’ve harvested every available ticket for the new Harry Potter play, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child are auctioning them off to the war-criminals and financiers who’ve colonized London since the Blair years — with Viagogo trousering a healthy £1,772.53 transaction fee …

Worst of McMansions: architectural criticism of inequality's most tangible evidence

Between the Reagan years and the crash of 2008, developers absorbed the skyrocketing wealth of the 1% with monuments to bad taste and ostentation: the McMansion. On “Worst of McMansions,” an anonymous architecture critic scrapes Zillow listings for these monster homes and ruthlessly marks them up, explaining exactly what makes them so ghastly. Perhaps more entertaining is the back-and-forth with readers, some of …

Monopoly power and the decline of small business: big business vs democracy, growth & equality

In the 15 years between 1997 and 2012: 72,000 small US manufacturers shut down; as did 108,000 local retailers and 13,000 community banks (fully half of America’s complement of small banks!). The number of US startups has dropped by 50% since 1970. These statistics are not the result of the changing times: they’re due to massive, monopolistic corporations stacking the deck against small competitors …

Foreign influence: how a Chinese businessman funneled $1.3M to Jeb Bush's campaign

Gordon Tang and Huaidan Chen — Chinese nationals who live in Singapore — own a global property speculation and development empire whose US branch is called American Pacific International Capital Inc. They followed a recipe set out in a memo by Charlie Spies, a top Republican lawyer, in order to funnel $1.3M to Jeb Bush’s PAC, then Tang offered a reporter for …