The more expensive a luxury condo in Seattle, our study finds, the more likely the listed owner will be an opaque corporate entity that masks the identity of the real owner.
Across the world, skyscrapers and mansions are rising in globalized super-cities, a form of “wealth storage” for elites looking to diversify their asset holdings. Our new Institute for Policy Studies report, Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom, examines one of these super-cities.

The more expensive a luxury condo in Seattle, our study finds, the more likely the listed owner will be an opaque corporate entity that masks the identity of the real owner. Average Seattle residents, meanwhile, are suffering through an intense affordable housing crisis while the ultra rich use their city’s luxury real estate to hide their wealth.

Building housing that caters to the needs of the 1 percent alone will only exacerbate inequality in Seattle. Seattleites — and people everywhere — deserve communities that work for everyone, not just the deep, deep pockets at the very top. More this week below on work toward that goal.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
Facebook Twitter
Chicago Teachers Strike for Dignity and Respect
Teachers at Chicago public schools went on strike last week, calling for “pay and benefits that give us dignity and respect.” Educators in the third-largest school district in the United States are demanding working conditions that will actually allow teachers to teach and students to learn — and meeting that goal, they stress, will require an end to the privatization and austerity policies that have dominated Chicago for far too long. More this week on the teachers’ fight.
Read More
Facebook Twitter
A Top Exec Gets His Kicks Kicking Passengers
Free-marketeers have been trying to strangle Amtrak, America’s quasi-public passenger railroad, for years now, and the Trump White House has tightened the chokehold, partly by pushing changes that make Amtrak’s food service ever less appealing. The latest victims? Passengers on long hauls who can’t afford Amtrak’s premium tickets. Among other changes, these ordinary passengers can no longer sit in the railroad’s dining cars and buy cooked-to-order meals. Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, meanwhile, is sugarcoating the railroad’s new economic segregation, describing the widely disliked squeezes as “enhanced services.” No one should be surprised. In his previous life, as the CEO at Delta, Anderson helped turn his airline into a high-profit Wall Street darling by putting the squeeze on frequent fliers. Delta’s SkyMiles program became, as one travel journalist put it, “offensively, aggressively awful,” with good seats for popular destinations more than doubling in mileage price. Anderson himself retired from Delta in 2016. On the way out the door, he collected $72 million in Delta stock awards.
Facebook Twitter
Can an Economic Stat Narrow Our Grand Divides?
Why do so many Americans deeply distrust government? One part of the reason, two top economists suggested to a key congressional committee last week, just might be the most basic — and familiar — of the economic statistics the federal government produces: GDP. This classic stat, progressive economists are arguing, has become “decoupled from the fortunes of most Americans.” They have a plan for recoupling — and helping Americans demand an economy that works for the many and not just the few. co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
Read More
This week on 

Chuck Collins, Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom. A snapshot of luxury condominiums offers a preliminary peek at the challenges posed by Seattle’s luxury boom.

Steve Quick, The Democrats’ Medicare Debate Overlooks the Elder Care Crisis. Public options and tax credits won't solve the problem of skyrocketing long-term care costs. Only a robust Medicare for All plan will do the job.

Sarah Anderson, Where is ‘Line Worker Barbie’? CEO-worker pay gaps are the clearest proof that corporations like Mattel and many others don't respect their employees.

Charlie Simmons, Our Tax System Rewards Polluters. Last year, the biggest fossil fuel companies paid zero dollars in taxes — and actually received billions in rebates.

Elsewhere on the Web

Lindsay Koshgarian, We Have the Money to Cover Medicare for All, New York Times. In 20 years, the U.S. has spent $4.9 trillion on catastrophic wars, far more than the $300 billion a year over the current system that could cover universal health care.

Frank Newport, Corporate Taxes Based on CEO Pay: The Public Opinion Context, Gallup. A new analysis by one of America’s top pollsters says hiking corporate taxes on firms with CEOs making over 50 times worker pay makes for an inequality-fighting approach that “fits well with existing public opinion.”

Luis de Guindos, Gabriel Zucman’s contribution to research on wealth inequality and the redistributive effects on globalization, EU News. Ever wonder how today’s cutting-edge economists have been able to tease out the data on the wealth of the super wealthy? These remarks introduce the best of the new research techniques.

Nicholas Kristof, Should We Soak the Rich? You Bet! New York Times. As a society, instead of playing Robin Hood, we’re playing Sheriff of Nottingham.

Michael Hobbes, The ‘Glass Floor’ Is Keeping America’s Richest Idiots At The Top, HuffPost. Elites are finding more ways to ensure that their children never run out of chances to fail.

Matt Stoller, The Rise and Fall of Andrew Mellon, American Prospect. In the 1920s U.S. Treasury Secretary Mellon didn't just work to cut taxes on the ultra rich like himself. He engineered refunds on the taxes they all had already paid!

Henry Aaron, Rich Kids Can Spare Some of Their Inheritance, New York Times. If you win a state lottery, you owe tax. But if you get lucky in the lottery of life and land a huge inheritance, you owe no federal tax.
Facebook Twitter