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      High art subprime: borrowing on private art collections surges into billions

      The international art market is a looter's go-to gambit for grifting their money out of their national borders and getting it into a no-man's land out of reach of every tax authority in the world, but it is also stubbornly illiquid, because selling your Picasso takes a ridiculously long time. Read the rest

      How Memphis's Methodist University Hospital, a "nonprofit," sued the shit out of its Black, poor patients while raking in millions and paying execs more than a million each

      Methodist University Hospital in Memphis is a nonprofit: it pays virtually no local, state or federal tax; but unlike other Methodist hospitals, Methodist University Hospital is relentless in pursuing medical debts from indigent patients. The hospital owns its own collection agency, and is one of the leading litigants in Tennessee's debt courts. Read the rest

      Bernie Sanders will use a tax on Wall Street speculators to wipe out $1.6 trillion in US student debt

      Bernie Sanders's latest campaign promise is a proposal to forgive all outstanding US student debt, and raising the $2.2 trillion needed over a decade to make lenders whole by taxing Wall Street speculators with a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. Read the rest

      Americans are too poor to survive whether or not they're working

      A new study from the United Way claims that 43% of American households are in a status called "asset limited, income constrained, employed" (ALICE), which denotes employed people who can't afford housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cellphone -- the basics of modern living. Read the rest

      Profiles of young Americans who entered voluntary exile rather than paying their student loans

      CNBC profiles a small handful of young Americans who have moved abroad and ceased payments on their student debt, relying on international borders to protect them from their edu-creditors. Read the rest

      That billionaire who paid off a graduating class's student loans also supports the hedge-fundie's favorite tax loophole

      Billionaire Goldman Sachs alum Robert F Smith made headlines when he donated enough cash to pay off the student loan debt of the entire Class of 2019 at Morehouse College; but Smith is also an ardent supporter of the carried interest tax loophole, which allows the richest people in America to pay little to no tax on the bulk of their earnings, while working Americans (like the Morehouse Class of 2019 will be, shortly) pay their fair share. Read the rest

      A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line

      Thanks to the college admissions scandal the issue of inequality and access to postsecondary education is now in our national conversation, but despite the glitz of the bribery scandal, the real issue is a much more mundane form of reverse affirmative action that allows wealthy Americans to dominate college admissions, muscling out better candidates from poorer backgrounds, especially Black students. Read the rest

      Sanders and AOC team up for an anti-loansharking bill that will replace payday lenders with post-office banking

      Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jointly introduced The Loan Shark Prevention Act, which will cap credit card interest rates at 15% (and closes the loopholes that lets credit card issuers exceed their stated APRs with the use of hidden fees) and which re-establishes American post-office banking. Read the rest

      Elizabeth Warren proposes debt relief for Puerto Rico

      Puerto Rico has endured decades of looting and austerity from the finance sector who then used the pretense of Hurricane Maria to impose radical financial policies on the island, dismantling the statistics agency that would track how those reforms punished the people of Puerto Rico, while filling the streets with armed, anonymous mercenaries. Read the rest

      Elizabeth Warren's latest proposal: cancel student debt, make college free

      Elizabeth Warren has proposed a $1.25 trillion plan to forgive student debts and make all public college and university undergraduate education free, as well as earmarking $50B for historically Black colleges, and expanding federal grants to help pay for all students' non-tuition expenses. Read the rest

      Dentistry's evidentiary vacuum allows profiteering butchers to raid our mouths for millions

      Dentistry has always been medicine's poor cousin, lower in prestige and funding, with much less definitive research; this means that it's harder for someone to point at a procedure and definitively say, "That was unnecessary." Read the rest

      The two hidden intellectual moves behind the "progressive" argument against free college

      Pete Buttigieg is one of the prominent members of the progressive wing of the Democratic party who opposes free college tuition, on the ground that the "benefits" of college accrue to those who attain a degree and that it's unfair to ask the majority, who don't attend college, to subsidize the minority who do. Read the rest

      Apple launches credit card, gaming service

      Made from laser-etched titanium, Apple's new credit card appears to use the company's San Francisco typeface, not Silian Rail. Read the rest

      What's wrong with blaming "information" for political chaos

      David Perell's 13,000 word essay, "What the Hell is Going On?" presents a reassuring -- and contrarian -- view on how our current dysfunction in politics, media, and business has come to pass, drawing on orthodox economic theories about "information asymmetry" in a way that makes the whole thing seem like a kind of adjustment period between a middling old world and a fine new one. Read the rest

      China's "pawn shops" have loaned $43B, mostly secured by real-estate

      In reports of China's looming debt crisis, it's common to see references to the "shadow finance" or "shadow banking" system, but it's not always clear what these terms mean. Read the rest

      Financialization is wearing out its welcome

      On the eve of Apple issuing a credit card (and following Carl Icahn's 2013 advice that "Apple should be a bank"), we seem to be reaching the end of financialization's dominance over the economy, a trend that started in the 1970s and has risen ever since -- but the tricks are wearing thin. See for example, the notorious Brazilian corporate raiders 3G bought out Kraft-Heinz and tried its usual MO of goosing profits by squeezing suppliers, paying its bills late, and cutting costs at the expense of growth -- only to have Kraft-Heinz's value drop by more than 50% in less than three years. Read the rest

      Canada's housing market is slowly but surely imploding, and Canadians are more exposed than the US was in 2008

      After 20 years of unprecedented lows, Canada's central bank is gradually raising rates; this, combined with strict rules on new loans, empty house taxes in overheated cities like Vancouver, and mandatory ownership disclosures (which keep money launderers out of the market) are depressing the Canadian housing market, and the prognosis is not good. Read the rest

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