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The Last Tour Guide to Leave Cuba

Mike in hand, our tour guide stands at the front of the bus. “This will be my last tour,” she announces. “I am not the same person I was six years ago. Then I was hopeful. There was so much work I didn’t have time for a break. Now it’s different. My generation, we feel betrayed. Ten years ago they promised reforms. But nothing changes.” . . . → Read More: The Last Tour Guide to Leave Cuba

Survival of the Richest Turfholders, Not the Fittest Individuals

In any species, occupants of superior habitats enjoy extra food, or better shelter, or better mating opportunities. This reduces survival pressure,allowing many varieties to thrive despite apparently “unfit” features. Only recently have ecologists recognized the impact of inherited wealth in animal societies. . . . → Read More: Survival of the Richest Turfholders, Not the Fittest Individuals

Henry George: Prophet of the Gilded Age

In 1873, Mark Twain published his satirical novel, The Gilded Age, an era magnificently recreated in all its greed, ruthlessness and ostentation in the new HBO series of the same name. Railroads were the hot investment of the day, fueling a frenzy of land speculation. In September of that year, a big New York City bank suddenly went bankrupt. Bank runs began across the country, railroads failed, businesses cut wages and laid off workers. The police beat up unemployed protesters. A young San Francisco journalist, Henry George, struggled to keep his newspaper going and his family fed. Appalled by the suffering he witnessed, he sat down to write a book that would change the world: Progress and Poverty (1879). . . . → Read More: Henry George: Prophet of the Gilded Age

Tom Haines Jay Walks Again

I have reluctantly placed Tom at 305 West End Assisted Living on the locked 6th floor. . . . → Read More: Tom Haines Jay Walks Again

Review of: These Walls Between Us: A Memoir of Friendship Across Race and Class, by Wendy Sanford

I picked up the new book of my college classmate, Wendy Sanford, and immediately found myself plunged into some of the contradictions of my own life. Like me, Wendy came from a wealthy family totally, obliviously, dependent on the “help.” Like me, she grew from taking that arrangement for granted, to a cringing awareness and a confused determination to break the pattern. . . . → Read More: Review of: These Walls Between Us: A Memoir of Friendship Across Race and Class, by Wendy Sanford

The Black-White Wage Gap: How Inequality and Monopoly Amplify Racial Discrimination

Black men’s wages as a percent of White increased rapidly after World War II, only to level off at a bit over 55% after the 1970s. That’s a paradox: If racism causes the Black-White wage gap, how come the gap closed dramatically while Jim Crow laws remained in effect, and then stagnated even as Black education improved and overt racism declined? . . . → Read More: The Black-White Wage Gap: How Inequality and Monopoly Amplify Racial Discrimination

Fighting the Wealth Hoarders with Transparency and Taxes

Over the last five years, from my 5th floor apartment window, I’ve watched a blue spire rise in the distance. Fifteen blocks south of me, 225 West 57th Street has just joined Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan. At 1550 feet it’s now the tallest. Apartments in these buildings have been selling for over fifty million dollars per floor. The windows grant a falcon’s eye panorama of New York, but visitors on a windy day report feeling seasick from the swaying. No matter. These apartments aren’t for living;they’re for hoarding wealth. . . . → Read More: Fighting the Wealth Hoarders with Transparency and Taxes

Taxing More from the Rich Is Difficult. This Is How to Do It.

In the March 1 UK Prospect, economist James Galbraith offers the Brits, and us, two proposals to repair a broken economy. The first, unsurprisingly, is a heavy tax on estates, with a high exemption. The second is a land tax. Yes! This was the preferred tax of the classical economists, the one Adam Smith called “the most equitable of all taxes.” This tax—at the extraordinary rate of 4 shillings to the pound or 20%—launched the British Empire in 1692, by funding the British fleet. A land tax is already part of the ordinary property tax. It could be applied to other publicly-created property rights, such as mineral rights, electromagnetic spectrum, corporate charters, and patents. The One Percent own the bulk of such valuable rights, directly or through corporate shares. . . . → Read More: Taxing More from the Rich Is Difficult. This Is How to Do It.

Interview About Monopoly with Paul Jay on The Analysis

To reduce inequality, monopolies in finance and other economic sectors should be broken up or made public . . . → Read More: Interview About Monopoly with Paul Jay on The Analysis

Review of “Liberty from All Masters,” by Barry C. Lynn

Fifty years ago, my husband and I volunteered to work for Ralph Nader. Unwittingly we helped enable the monopolists who rule America today. . . . → Read More: Review of “Liberty from All Masters,” by Barry C. Lynn