Anti rich sentiment growing globally

GIH: The sentiment against the so called 1% is growing, as the gap between the ‘rich’ and ‘superrich’ has gone parabolic.  The majority of the world’s wealth is now concentrated in the hands of a few thousand people.  Questions are now being raised about how they are helping the economy, as the velocity of money is an all time low, and the Fed’s QE program seems to have little effect on the real economy (but it has helped the 1% inflate their portfolios one more time.)


The co-founder of one the nation’s oldest venture capital firms fears a possible genocide against the wealthy. Residents of Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side say the progressive mayor didn’t plow their streets as a form of frosty revenge. And the co-founder of Home Depot recently warned the Pope to pipe down about economic inequality.

The nation’s wealthiest, denizens of the loftiest slice of the 1 percent, appear to be having a collective meltdown.

Economists, advisers to the wealthy and the wealthy themselves describe a deep-seated anxiety that the national – and even global – mood is turning against the super-rich in ways that ultimately could prove dangerous and hard to control.

President Barack Obama and the Democrats have pivoted to income inequality ahead of the midterm elections. Pope Francis has strongly warned against the dangers of wealth concentration. And all of this follows the rise of the Occupy movement in 2011 and a bout of bank-bashing populism in the tea party.

The collective result, according to one member of the 1 percent, is a fear that the rich are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe not today but soon.

“You have a bunch of people who see conspiracies everywhere and believe that this inequality issue will quickly turn into serious class warfare,” said this person, who asked not to be identified by name so as not to anger any wealthy friends. “They don’t believe inequality is bad and believe the only way to deal with it is to allow entrepreneurs to have even fewer shackles.”

And so the rich are lashing out.

In the latest example, Thomas Perkins, co-founder of legendary Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, wrote a letter to The Wall Street Journal over the weekend comparing Nazi Germany’s persecution and mass murder of Jews to “the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.'”

He went on to say he feared a progressive “Kristallnacht,” referring to the 1938 German pogrom in which nearly 100 Jews were killed and more than 30,000 arrested, a dark omen of the murder of 6 million that would follow.

People, to put it mildly, went nuts.

Even Perkins’s old firm disavowed him and his comments and said he no longer has anything to do with the company. Perkins then went on Bloomberg television, ostensibly to apologize for the remark. But instead he doubled down on the analogy, saying “when you start to use hatred against a minority, it can get out of control.”

Perkins was not the first wealthy investor to invoke Nazi Germany as a warning over current attitudes toward the wealthy. In 2010, when Obama suggested raising the tax on “carried interest” earned by private equity executives, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman said, “It’s a war. It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

Obama still hasn’t managed to persuade Congress to hike the 20 percent rate on carried interest even though most on Wall Street expect to lose the perk at some point. Schwarzman eventually apologized for his Hitler remark.

More recently, the New York Post dedicated considerable ink to complaints from residents of the Upper East Side that newly elected progressive mayor Bill de Blasio directed plows to avoid the neighborhood as some kind of revenge for their wealth and support of de Blasio’s opponent.

“He is trying to get us back. He is very divisive and political,” Upper East Side resident Molly Jong Fast told the Post. “By not plowing the Upper East Side, he is saying, ‘I’m not one of them.'”

The mayor dutifully trundled up to the neighborhood to admit mistakes in plowing but strongly denied any ulterior motive.

It doesn’t end there.

Ken Langone, a wealthy investor and co-founder of Home Depot, recently told CNBC that the Catholic Church in New York might see a decline in donations if Pope Francis did not tone down his comments about the dangers of economic inequality. “You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,” Langone said.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman this week wrote that even plutocrats who manage not to invoke Nazi Germany “nonetheless hold, and loudly express, political and economic views that combine paranoia and megalomania in equal measure.”

The phenomenon is not limited to the U.S. Bankers across the globe who gathered for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week complained publicly and privately that in their view vilification of the rich, particularly in the financial industry, has gone far enough.

“Life is hard enough, and I think this constant lecturing on ethics and on integrity by many stakeholders is probably the most frustrating part of the equation. Because I don’t think there are many people who are perfect,” Sergio Ermotti, chief executive of UBS AG, told The Wall Street Journal. “We are far from being perfect … but it’s not going to be very helpful to be constantly bashing banks.”

But perhaps nowhere is the collective freakout more pronounced than the financial capital of the world. Here in New York, even wealthy donors who tend to favor Democrats are deeply concerned about the current political discourse at the city level in which de Blasio wants to increase taxes on the rich, and the national level, in which Democrats have pledged to make the 2014 midterm elections about addressing economic inequality.

“I think this is going to be disastrous for the city,” one top executive at a large Wall Street bank said on the eve of de Blasio’s election. “The people who pay taxes could move out, the businesses could leave. What’s keeping us here?”

At one level, the reaction seems dramatically out of proportion to anything any politician is actually proposing. And recent comments from the super-wealthy can seem baffling – and infuriating – to the vast majority of Americans who occupy much less rarefied air and now have myriad social media forums to castigate what they view as deeply out-of-touch whining from the plutocrat class.

Nothing Obama proposed in his relatively mild State of the Union address would do much to impact the lives of the nation’s top earners. Raising the minimum wage wouldn’t do it. Nor would extending unemployment benefits or instituting universal pre-kindergarten.

Even the president’s toughest lines on the issue of inequality were hardly the kind of fire-and-brimstone condemnation that Franklin D. Roosevelt heaped on bankers’ heads in the 1930s.

“After four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better,” Obama said. “But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”

That was pretty much it.

Obama made no call to raise taxes further on the rich, who still enjoy rates dramatically lower than they were through most of the booming 1980s. He did not summon Occupy Wall Street protesters back to the barricades or threaten new actions to bust up big banks.

Meanwhile, de Blasio has no power to raise taxes unilaterally on the rich despite his fiery campaign rhetoric.

On a practical level, the wealthy are jumping at shadows.

“None of the issues currently on the table would have a large effect on the very rich,” said Justin Wolfers, economics professor at the University of Michigan. “If there is anything driving this rise in rhetoric, it’s that the president pivoted to talking about inequality, which some interpret as taking from the 1 percent and giving to the 99 percent.”

People who counsel the wealthy for a living say there is both an unease with growing income disparity and a fear of even greater persecution.

“I think that with Occupy Wall Street there was a sense of the heat getting turned up and a feeling of vilification and potential danger,” said Jamie Traeger-Muney, a psychologist whose Wealth Legacy Group focuses on counseling the affluent. “There is a worry among our clients that they are being judged and people are making assumptions about who they are based on their wealth.”

Much of the current anxiety is also driven by the precarious nature of the recovery from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The U.S. economy is showing signs of picking up speed with job creation and consumer confidence on the rise. But there is still an enormous sense of national pessimism about the future, as evidenced in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that showed 68 percent of Americans believe the country is stagnant or worse off since the president took office in 2009.

And the recent stock market swoon, the bad December jobs report and gyrations in emerging market currencies could convince some wealthy Americans that their pessimism is well-founded and that another economic downturn is not far off – and might carry even greater risks for the rich.

“People are very anxious about the decline in the stock market and feel that this may be just a hollow shell of a recovery, and we may see in the next few years that things really haven’t changed,” said Louis Hyman, a historian of capitalism at Cornell. “They are afraid the critics are right and that inequality really is a driver of all this, and are afraid of what that means for them.”

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We've been closely watching the Crypto Currency Market if you can call it that, with all the fake data, fraud, and related problems.  One thing stands out - it's not so different than FX, commodities, futures, or stocks.  Market dyn...

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies flash-crashed Saturday night, one day after the US Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC) sent subpoenas four cryptocurrency exchanges in an ongoing probe into bitcoin manipulation that began in late July - following the launch of bitcoin futures on the CME, according to the Wall Street Journal
CME’s bitcoin futures derive their final value from prices at four bitcoin exchangesBitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and KrakenManipulative trading in those markets could skew the price of bitcoin futures that the government directly regulates.
In delay reaction, Bitcoin fell as much as $433 or 5.6% in Saturday night trading, with some noting that the flash crash happened shortly after a 90th ranked crypto exchange, Coinrail, had suffered a "cyber intrusion", and was likely the more relevant catalyst for the crypto price drop.
While major Cryptocurrencies were down from 4.5 - 5.5%, Bitcoin Cash dropped over 8.4%. 
The CTFC subpoenas were issued after several of the exchanges refused to voluntarily share trading data with the CME after being asked last December. Of note, the CFTC regulates the CTC. 
According to the WSJ, the CME, which launched bitcoin futures in December, asked the four exchanges to share reams of trading data after its first contract settled in January, people familiar with the matter said. But several of the exchanges declined to comply, arguing the request was intrusive. The exchanges ultimately provided some data, but only after CME limited its request to a few hours of activity, instead of a full day, and restricted to a few market participants, the people added.
What is curious, is that if there was indeed manipulation since the launch of bitcoin futures, it was to the downside, as the price of cryptos peaked around the time the crypto futures were launched, and are down well over 50% in the 6 months since.
Coinbase in particular has been under the watch government regulators. On February 23, Coinbase sent an official notice to around 13,000 customers to notify them they were legally required to turn over their information to the IRS
The IRS had initially asked Coinbase in July 2017 to hand over even more detailed information on every one of its then over 500,000 users in an attempt catch those cheating on their taxes. However, another court order in Nov. 2017 reduced this number to around 14,000 “high-transacting” users, which the platform now reports as 13,000, in what Coinbase calls a “partial, but still significant, victory for Coinbase and its customers.”
Coinbase told the around 13,000 affected customers that the company would be providing their taxpayer ID, name, birth date, address, and historical transaction records from 2013-2015 to the IRS within 21 days. Coinbase’s letter to these customers encourages them “to seek legal advice from an attorney promptly” if they have any questions. Their website also states that concerns may also be addressed on Coinbase’s Taxes FAQ. The ongoing legal battle between Coinbase and the US government dates back to November, 2016, when the IRS filed a “John Doe summons” in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
On Feb. 13, personal finance service Credit Karma released data showing that only 0.04 percent of their customers had reported cryptocurrencies on their federal tax returns. 
And in April, former New York Attorney General, Eric "we could rarely have sex without him beating me" Schneiderman, launched a probe of 13 major cryptocurrency exchanges according to the Wall Street Journal - claiming that investors dealing in the fast-growing markets often don’t have the basic facts needed to protect themselves.
Former AG Schneiderman’s office said the program, called Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative,  is part of its responsibility to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial markets, and its goal is to ensure that investors can have a better understanding of the risks and protections afforded them on these sites.
CFTC Commissioner: Crypto is a "modern miracle"
While the CFTC, IRS and New York Attorney General's office are all cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges, it seems to all be part of the government's embrace of virtual currencies.  Last week CFTC Commissioner Rostin Benham called cryptocurrencies a "modern miracleat the Blockchain For Impact Summit held at the UN in New York last week. 
But virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere.  Let me repeat that:  these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet.  Some places, small economies, may become dependent on virtual assets for survival.  And, these currencies will be outside traditional monetary intermediaries, like government, banks, investors, ministries, or international organizations.
We are witnessing a technological revolution.  Perhaps we are witnessing a modern miracle. -Rostin Benham
Rostin hinted at the upcoming legal action against the exchanges during his speech:
Under the CEA and Commission regulations and related guidance, exchanges have the responsibility to ensure that their Bitcoin futures products and their cash-settlement process are not readily susceptible to manipulation and the entity has sufficient capital to protect itself.  The CFTC has the authority to ensure compliance. In addition, the CFTC has legal authority over virtual currency derivatives in support of anti-fraud and manipulation including enforcement authority in the underlying markets.

Meanwhile, the official Bitcoin website removed references to Coinbase, Blockchain.com and Bitpay, according to Crypto News - only one of which, Coinbase, was subpoenaed. 
http://Bitcoin.org  just removed/censored the 2 largest US Bitcoin companies (@BitPay Payment processing and @coinbase Bitcoin Exchange). It’s a good move: Bitcoin Core is obviously no longer Bitcoin, and should ideally be removed from both @BitPay and @coinbase too.

The CFTC officially recognized bitcoin as a commodity in September of 2015 when it went after Coinflip for operating a platform for trading bitcoin options without the proper authorization. Since the agency effectively asserted its dominance over the bitcoin market with that decision, this is the first time it has given its blessing to an bitcoin options trading platform. Expect a burst of institutional trading activity to follow - especially since they approved institutional options trading in July
This post sponsored by Total Cryptos @ www.totalcryptos.com  

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