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      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

      Inside the funny accounting that lets the money-losing fracking industry claim to be profitable

      Fracking is grossly unprofitable: the fracking industry is losing hundreds of millions of dollars, but it claims to be profitable and august publications like the Wall Street Journal and Reuters repeat these claims as though they were true. How can this be? Read the rest

      Kansas judge tells government debt collectors they can't hound a broke 58-year-old woman until her 84th birthday

      In 1991, Vicky Jo Metz borrowed $16,613 to pay for tuition; now she's 59, and has paid back 90% of that money -- and she still owes $67,277. Read the rest

      New York hospitals illegally billed rape survivors for their rape kits, then sent debt-collectors after them

      New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood has concluded that seven New York hospitals illegally billed rape survivors for their rape kits, at least 200 times, for sums ranging from $46 to $3,000, and then sent collections agents after survivors who could not pay. Read the rest

      New York City's municipal debt collectors have forged an unholy alliance with sleazy subprime lenders

      New York City's "marshal" service is a throwback to the Dutch colonial days; the 35 marshals are appointed by the mayor, draw no salary, and earn their livings by skimming a percentage off of the debts they collect, operating with impunity and reaching around the world. Read the rest

      Ford CEO frankly admits that the car of the future is a surveillance device that you pay to spy on you

      The era of finance capitalism is marked by a curious shift in the desire of the business world: to get out of the business of making things people use, and into the business of getting money for owning, extracting and/or liquidating things. Read the rest

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