DC, The Imperial City, The Crony Capital

The crony capital shines on the Potomac these days. Freshly minted Tesla Ss ferry well heeled lobbyists across the 14th Street Bridge and through the canyons of K Street. Great restaurants abound. Suited politicos stroll down the sidewalks at lunch. Above, cranes build new shiny office buildings. One can feel the wealth. And the wealth is bigger than it was even 5 years ago.

Of course, for the most part it is wealth aggregated from the rest of the country.

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Wealth Isn’t Just Measured in Money — It’s Measured in Choices

My dad used to make the point that the color TV we had growing up, a pretty basic model as I remember, was a miracle. He explained that 20 years before the technology we had sitting in our den couldn’t be had at any price. 100 years before I was watching Scooby Doo the idea of a color TV was the stuff of wild science fiction. 100 years before that it probably was inconceivable.

And my childhood was before the Internet and iPhones,

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The Transition Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it.

As a longtime resident of government employee country I say this plan couldn’t come soon enough. The bureaucracy in DC is massive, expensive, and entitled. Given the degree to which technology could easily reduce the bloat in the city and beyond wins should come early and relatively easily.

Wins for taxpayers anyway. Washington, the “imperial city” won’t like it and will scream bloody murder. On the other hand recent reports said that up to 35% of federal workers said they’d consider quitting their jobs if Trump became president.

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How Clinton may be avoiding the death tax (Which she publicly supports)

According to financial disclosures, Clinton shifted the ownership of their New York house to residence trusts in 2011, which could save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes.

When you take the total amount of money the Clintons have made, allow for taxes and spending, her reported investment assets are still quite a bit too low to make sense. The likely explanation is that she and Bill diverted money to what are called Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts or GRATS.

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Middle ‘CRASH’: Pew says middle class ‘losing ground, falling behind financially’

 

This is not news to many of our readers. Of course some will blame Reagan. Some will blame NAFTA. Some will blame Obama. But fundamentally the 2 things which are driving the erosion of the middle class, as I see it, are the financialization of the economy and over regulation. (Taxation is an important factor too.)

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Global wealth shrinks for the first time since Lehman

This speaks to the “financialization” of the modern economy we referenced in a post yesterday. In a fiat currency world the banks truly, and almost totally run the show. The central banks particularly. And the American Federal Reserve most of all. If one is riding the financial asset train one is likely better off than one was in 2000. If however one is not on that train, if one lives in the real economy as most middle class Americans do,

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Maybe Pope Francis Doesn’t Understand Capitalism Because He Confuses It with Argentine Corporatism

I listened to the Holy Father’s speech today and I thought it was quite good. He didn’t drop any bombs in the House chamber. (Perhaps he’s saving them for the UN General Assembly.) He seemed generally respectful and the kind of priest I wouldn’t have minded listening to on Sunday morning. He struck me as warm. As we’ve said before, we quite like Pope Francis on many levels, but his economics could use some work.

We are not the only ones who feel this way.

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