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The Wealth Hiding in Your Neighborhood

The Wealth Hiding in Your Neighborhood

Chuck Collins

The rich are hiding trillions in wealth.

You’ve probably heard about their offshore bank accounts, shell corporations, and fancy trusts. But this wealth isn't all sitting in the Cayman Islands or Panama. Much of it's hiding in plain view: maybe even in your town.

America's big cities are increasingly dotted with luxury skyscrapers and mansions. These multi-million dollar condos are wealth storage lockers, with the ownership often obscured by shell companies.

Its obvious enough that we can’t tax our way out of a system rigged by the oligarchy, of the oligarchy and for the oligarchy.

How rich is rich enough? If money is power, how much power over us will we accept in a democracy?

How would an introduced bill to cap personal net worth fare? To cap it to an amount established by yearly(?) referendum that distributes any cap excesses equally among all citizens?

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Criminals around the world set up their shell companies in Delaware, the premiere secrecy jurisdiction in the United States — where you don’t have to disclose who the real owners are.

2020 Biden 2020

(Let’s take that as 20/20 vision foresight and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”*)

*Oh no, my synapses did it to me again:

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Hawaii is the only state that I know of that has tiered property tax rates, the lowest rate for Hawaii residents’ primary residence, a second tier for residents’ non-primary real estate, and the highest tier for out of state owners.

California has Prop. 13 rates that can be transferred to subsequent real estate purchases by inheritors of Prop. 13 protected real estate, a scheme that is a different story entirely. Warren Buffett frequently reminds us that he pays exponentially more property tax on his Omaha house (worth less $700k) than he does on his multi-million dollar Prop. 13 protected California house.

Do any other states have tiered property tax rates like Hawaii does ?

Chuck C. forgot to mention that the most common owners of these luxury money-laundering properties in the gentrifying urban areas are wealthy gangster Russians.

As the government becomes less representative, the efficacy of routing money through it becomes less useful and less easy to do: the rich have bought the government.

It’s still a good idea, just looking for a context.

It would be far better to have this done by local, county, and state governments (in that order) so as to reduce the risk of feeding the military engine.

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As a former US Census enumerator I took a lifetime oath of confidentiality so I cannot get into particulars. But your statement is not correct in the least. In the large city where I was working, empty luxury units (and there were many of them) were owned by individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Urban US real estate has risen to a high place on the recommended investment list of hot money all over the world; it isn’t just the Russians who are getting in on the action. It’s investors from everywhere.

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Everything is a question of degree. A few empty units may bring in some extra tax dollars, but when it starts to be exaggerated to the point that all new development is luxury development, this creates a real estate bubble that seeps inflation throughout every system of a city. Rents and food costs skyrocket and other consumption decreases because people do not have expendable income after paying rent. With time the empty apartments produce empty storefronts, even in luxury neighborhoods. Likewise, saving is eliminated and many middle class wage earners become unable to withstand adverse life events. More people need social services and homelessness increases. Social agencies must cut back other programs to deal with the large numbers of homeless families and many working, educated individuals decide to look for better life opportunities elsewhere.

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The author gave this issue quite a bit of thought, I believe – enough thought to understand that the person who does not use city services also BUYS ZERO. For many years America was the world’s shining example of a consumer driven economy that worked. But ever since Wall Street decided to leverage its operations 55 times above its assets, it has been ordinary Americans who have been deleveraging the results of the 2007-2008 mortgage derivative debacle, bank insolvencies and stock market crash for the past 10 years. Add to this problem a zero gain in wages over the same period of time and it should be easier to understand why inflationary real estate development will be a key contributor to the next financial bust of the boom-bust cycle. What goes up too high must come down too hard.

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What democracy? The rich plutocrats are calling the shots. The poor, as usual, are still being screwed by the wealthy.

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Voting in the U.S. becomes ever more like prayer: utterly useless but still comforting for many.

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it’s almost too bad that the US wouldn’t put a cap on how much money you can actually have and that these other countries agreed huh?

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I knew Delaware for chemical companies amd credit card companies. Now they are famous for more.

Tax luxury real estate purchases and non owner occupied is the wrong place to start. It should be illegal for foreigners to purchased real estate until they are citizens and live in this country. Why are we allowing foreigners to buy up America in fraudulent transactions.

The policy should be for the people of America and keeping the American Dream of owning a home affordable and the dream alive. That isn’t possible any longer for what percent of the people?

I don’t find this article to provide a suitable solution. Who know what our politicians would do with this extra tax revenue as our policies over the last 3 decades encourage corruption.

How can we know voting is useless when half the people don’t vote?

Excellent question! I was being flippant, as usual, although it’s based on a thought that has been stewing for a while. For conventional prayer to be worthwhile, the supplicant must believe there is a god to hear her, understand her, and deign to help her (or not, depending on “mysterious ways”). For a vote to be worthwhile, the citizen must believe there is a representative to hear her, understand her, and deign to help (or not, depending on who actually owns and operates the “representative”). So, for a couple of decades or more now, I’ve been feeling like my vote is as useless as prayer. No one’s there…

True wealth lies in land, labor and resources. Land is limited as it cannot be printed. Labor is less necessary and resources are limited. Money is not limited since it is created from the Cloud. T. Piketty’s study of the last 200 years showed that the average return on investment was 5%. The average growth of world economy was 2%. That means that the investing class over 200 years accumulated a larger share of wealth than the 99%. At 5% wealth doubles every 14 years. No family doubles every 14 years therefore individuals in wealthy families accumulate more yet every billionaire on Forbes’ list is nouveau riche. There are no old family names on that list. The old family wealth is hidden. Do you know where the estates of the Fords, Wallenbergs, Rockefellers, Nobels, Royalty et al are? The Bush family, not the sharpest tacks in the box, recently purchased 250,000 acres, a circle 24 miles across, over the Guarani Aquifer. Similar estates are situated where there is secure water. Similar to feudal estates this amount of land can sustain a lord and his serfs and in the coming disaster there will be plenty of people willing to indenture themselves just to survive. These estates will be and are protected by private armies.
The goal of the .0000001% is not money but control. They are pathological and like kings of yore do not look upon the 99% beneficently. They are afraid of us thus operate as secretly as they can. The guillotine has not faded from their memory. No more conspicuous consumption for the truly wealthy. They will engineer the next collapse as they have the previous. That will impoverish more people and countries and make more land and resources available. Think of Greece on a world wide scale. Governments own huge amounts of property and infrastructure. Once it all belongs to the .0000001% (7,000 billionaires / 7 billion people) we are all serfs.