After the ads during last night's Super Bowl, we’re still getting up to speed on all things crypto, but our own Sam Pizzigati has a great introductory piece below on how crypto is not the savior for democracy that some billionaires believe it to be. Also in this issue: extravagant Valentine’s Day gifts for the ultra-rich. And much more.
Watching last night’s Super Bowl, we couldn’t help be hit with an overwhelming sense of “haven’t I seen this before?”

Almost every ad break last night featured a commercial for some cryptocurrency venture. Companies like Coinbase,, and FTX Trading pumped tens of millions of dollars into coveted 30-second ad spots hoping to lure in more customers. 

This crypto frenzy bears much more than a passing resemblance to the infamous “Dot-Com” SuperBowl of 2000. Back then, trendy and hot tech companies bought up 20 percent of the big game’s advertising real estate. In just a few years, many of those same companies had either gone belly-up or been swallowed up by other firms.

Here at, we’re still getting up to speed on all things crypto, but our own Sam Pizzigati has a great intro piece below on how crypto hardly rates as the savior for democracy some billionaires tout it to be. Also this week, Valentine’s Day the ultra-rich way and a great deal more!

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
Facebook Twitter Download
New York Home Care Workers Fight for Fair Pay
Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, New York has an opportunity to significantly transform its care economy — by investing in care workers! The Fair Pay for Home Care Act would mandate that home care workers earn at least 150 percent of the regional minimum wage, raising their wage floor to between $19.80 and $22.50. In many counties, aides currently earn just $13.20 an hour, less than they would make at McDonald’s. Both the New York Assembly and Senate want to include the Fair Pay Act raise in the 2023 state budget, but Governor Kathy Hochul has yet to lend support. Why would the Act’s adoption be so transformative? Explains the New York Caring Majority Coalition’s Bobbie Sackman: “We have home care workers — women of color and immigrant women — working for poverty-level wages,” a “feminization of poverty” that “has to end now.” Next Leader Bella DeVaan has more.
Read More
Facebook Twitter Download
To Forgive May Be Divine, But Let’s Get Real, Guys
What kind of higher ed institution would name its business school after the late 20th century’s most ruthless corporate CEO? Strategic Education, the for-profit corporate parent of Capella and Strayer universities, did just that, naming its business school the Jack Welch School of Management after the notorious GE CEO whose brutal layoffs “greatly enriched owners of capital,” as one of his obits noted, CEOs “most definitely included.” Last February,  Strategic Ed CEO Karl McDonnell declared that Welch would be “beyond proud” for how his company operates — and indeed Welch would. Strategic Ed and the rest of higher ed’s for-profits last week celebrated a greed grab for the ages. They’ve helped kill off any congressional move this year to forgive a serious share of America’s $1.5 trillion in student debt. Students at for-profits — just 10 percent of college enrollment — account for half of all student loan defaults. How could so few students be piling up so much debt? One reason: the rewards for for-profit college execs like McDonnell. He’s taken home $12 million over his company’s last two reported years.
Shine a Bright Spotlight on Tax Dodging by the Rich
Biden officials could be using their executive authority to shine a brighter spotlight on wealthy Americans’ rampant tax avoidance. One easy step: Biden’s team could bring back an annual report the IRS used to publish on the 400 richest Americans’ sources of income and tax payments.

President Trump put the kibosh on this publication in 2017 in one of his first official acts, hardly a surprise given his determination to lower taxes on wealthy people like himself. The tax law Trump pushed through Congress later that year proved to be a bonanza for America’s rich.

By bringing back the IRS top-400 report, the Biden administration could reveal just how much the nation’s super wealthy have benefited from GOP tax cuts — and how little these cuts contribute to the common good. Scott Klinger of Jobs With Justice has more.
Read More
Facebook Twitter Download
Are Pro Sports More Than a Billionaire Bacchanalia?
The billionaire owners of the NFL might like to think they have — in their annual Super Bowl extravaganza — the world’s biggest sports event. But the driving passion of more fans globally than any other sport remains what the world calls football and what Americans see as soccer. Global football, of course, also has its billionaire owners, and one of them — or, to be more exact, one of their sons — has just done something that he claims will “democratize” his sport. That claim has raised eyebrows — and interest. Heaven knows, pro sports certainly need democratizing. But a closer look at the fine print quickly reveals that the “democratizing” this deep pocket and his partners are pitching bears little resemblance to what sports fans might consider real democracy. What would democracy in pro sports look like? co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
Read More
This week on 

Brian Wakamo, NFL Owners Want Politics out of Their Sport — Unless It Comes from Them. With news that the NFL wanted the Super Bowl halftime show to be less "political," a reminder that the NFL strives to keep politics out of football, except from their billionaire owners.

Elsewhere on the Web

Thomas Blanchet, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, Who Benefits from Income and Wealth Growth in the United States? Realtime Inequality. New interactive stats from economists at the University of California-Berkeley.

Scott Klinger, Trump Axed an IRS Report on the Richest 400 Americans. Time to Bring It Back, CounterPunch. Biden administration officials should use every tool in their executive toolbox to shine a brighter light on the rampant tax avoidance of the wealthiest Americans.

Alan Davis, Charitable Tax Reform: Why Half Measures Won’t Curb Plutocracy, Nonprofit Quarterly. Philanthropy has become a tax-subsidized extension of our plutocracy.

Helena Horton, ‘Carbon footprint gap’ between rich and poor expanding, study finds, Guardian. Researchers say cutting carbon footprint of world’s wealthiest may be fastest way to reach net zero.

Jan Weir, With Today’s Housing Crisis, Are We Approaching the Taxes or Pitchforks Moment? LA Progressive. Wealthy investors are buying up average priced single-family homes through equity/hedge funds and trusts.

Keri Sweetman, Income inequality in secondary schools contributes to higher rates of adolescent depression, Medical Press. Teens in areas with high income inequality turn out to be more likely to suffer from depression than those in areas with low income inequality, finds new Canadian study.

Melody Schreiber, Vastly unequal US has world’s highest Covid death toll – it’s no coincidence, Guardian. America has the highest death rate of any wealthy country, with half of the deaths occurring after vaccines became available.
Facebook Twitter Download

Our goal for 2022: that 1% of our subscribers become monthly sustainers and help grow our newsletter and research efforts. Be the 1%, for as little as $3 a month!