Tag: inequality

Hell Yes

San Francisco is looking at instituting a payroll tax on stock awards.

They are calling it an “IPO Tax”, and I wholeheartedly approve.


San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar is circulating a motion that, if approved by a majority of the county board, would place a payroll tax covering stock-based compensation on the November ballot. The proposal, a draft of which was obtained by Bloomberg, would impose a new cost, “for the privilege of engaging in business in the city,” on companies that dole out equity to employees.

Mar told local labor and community activists at a meeting Monday night that he plans to announce the proposal on Wednesday during a subcommittee hearing and to introduce it in the next couple weeks, said Kung Feng, executive director of Jobs With Justice San Francisco, a coalition of labor and community groups that’s among the organizations advocating for the tax. Uber declined to comment because it hasn’t seen the legislation.


“We know corporate IPOs alone did not cause income inequality and our social crises,” Mar plans to say at the Wednesday meeting, according to prepared remarks shared by his office. “But they have, and will, exacerbate it. So today I’m announcing a proposal to tax the wealth generated by IPOs to fund programs to address income inequality.”

The potential law, which some are calling an “IPO tax,” reflects uneasiness in a city with constant reminders of the income gap, from Google buses to Uber drivers sleeping in their cars. A new analysis from San Francisco’s budget office indicates that IPO riches under the current tax system will provide little benefit to the city while driving up housing prices. But there’s a long road to making a new law. For it to take effect, the motion would need to secure majority support from the board of supervisors, win approval from voters in November and survive any potential legal challenges from affected companies.


The money from the tax would support affordable housing, lower-income workers, education and other benefits, according to Feng, one of several people briefed on the plans who spoke to Bloomberg. This year’s IPOs are “going to create vast inequality and displacement, and we as a city need corporations to pay their fair share and be good neighbors,” said Feng. “The IPO tax is one step toward that.”

I don’t expect it to pass, and if it does, I expect it to be tied up in court for years, but I can dream.

Tweet of the Day

I’m reading @JosephEStiglitz‘s new book, “People, Power, & Profits”.

Really appreciate this point about globalisation & wages:

It’s not just that wages are cheaper overseas, but our trade agreements give companies stronger rights if they invest overseas than at home. #ISDS pic.twitter.com/2vLq83cMBR

— Alice Evans (@_alice_evans) April 23, 2019

It’s not just market forces: We have been subsiding offshoring and labor arbitrage for years.

Welcome to the 3rd World

The newest career path in the Bay Area is picking through billionaire’s trash:

San Francisco trash pickers rummage through their billionaire neighbours’ garbage and sell the discarded treasures they find, The New York Times revealed in a story published Sunday.

One man The Times profiled – Jake Orta, a 56-year-old military veteran – lives in government subsidized housing near Mark Zuckerberg’s roughly $US10 million home. Orta has uncovered a hair dryer, a vacuum cleaner, and a coffee machine (all still in working condition) in the Facebook CEO’s trash, and an iPad in someone else’s.

Orta sells what he finds, with a goal of earning about $US30 to $US40 a day, according to The Times.

Yeah, the whole “Welcome to the 3rd World seems to be approaching meme status, but this sounds like something out of a Delhi slum.

Not Enough Bullets

Steve Cox runs the numbers on just how little it would mean to Jeff Bezos to fix the Flint water system:

$1 Billion is 1000 million. It will cost about $65 million to fix Flint’s water supply.

Jeff Bezos is worth 140,000 million dollars. He has a million dollars 140,000 times. He does nothing but hoard it.

Imagine having $140,000 and it’s only $65 to fix Flint’s water…

— Steve Cox (@RealSteveCox) March 12, 2019

It’s true, every billionaire is a policy failure.

Understanding the Yellow Vest Movement

We can talk about what is, and is not, causing this phenomenon, but at its core, it boils down to this statement, “France’s Gas Tax Disaster Shows We Can’t Save Earth by Screwing Over Poor People.”

French President Emanuel Macron has been cutting taxes on the rich, and raising taxes on everyone else, ever since entering office.

This is a well deserved smack-down of an investment banker who has seen his role as making life easier for other investment bankers.

Patriotism in a Nutshell

Betsy Devos has a $140 million dollar yacht moored in the shores of Lake Erie, and it flies the flag of the Cayman Islands to dodge taxes.

It appears that patriotism only counts if you are poor, or if it does not cost the rich anything:

When someone untied a yacht owned by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s family, Fox News portrayed the episode as an illustration of uncouth anti-Trump sentiment. The yacht’s foreign flag, though, was an illustration of how an allegedly “America First” administration is chock-full of moguls who have eagerly stashed their wealth offshore — as long as doing so means avoiding taxes, regulations, transparency requirements and domestic employment laws.


Now there’s Betsy DeVos, one of the heirs of Amway’s multi-level marketing empire. When her family’s 164-foot yacht was untied from a Huron, Ohio dock, it was flying a flag of the Cayman Islands, where VesselTracker says the yacht is registered. According to federal records, the yacht is owned by RDV International Marine, which is an affiliate of the company that controls the DeVos family’s fortune.

Why would an American billionaire’s floating mansion moored at a northern Ohio dock be registered in an exotic Caribbean archipelago?

Co-published by Newsweek

When someone untied a yacht owned by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s family, Fox News portrayed the episode as an illustration of uncouth anti-Trump sentiment. The yacht’s foreign flag, though, was an illustration of how an allegedly “America First” administration is chock-full of moguls who have eagerly stashed their wealth offshore — as long as doing so means avoiding taxes, regulations, transparency requirements and domestic employment laws.

We already know that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family shipping consortium routes its business through the Marshall Islands — a notoriously secretive tax haven. Federal records also detail how Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton and Federal Reserve board appointee Randal Quarles held parts of their personal fortunes in investments based in the Cayman Islands, which are not necessarily required to adhere to America’s domestic financial regulations.

Now there’s Betsy DeVos, one of the heirs of Amway’s multi-level marketing empire. When her family’s 164-foot yacht was untied from a Huron, Ohio dock, it was flying a flag of the Cayman Islands, where VesselTracker says the yacht is registered. According to federal records, the yacht is owned by RDV International Marine, which is an affiliate of the company that controls the DeVos family’s fortune.

Betsy DeVos did not respond to Capital & Main’s questions about her family’s Cayman-registered yacht — and the larger question about foreign yachts was never deeply explored during the 2012 kerfuffle over the foreign flags on Mitt Romney’s boat. Interviews with maritime attorneys suggest it is a scheme that allows wealthy Americans to feign foreign status — and glean the lucrative benefits offered by offshore tax havens.


When buying a vessel or cruising in U.S. waters, American yacht owners like the DeVoses could face state sales or use taxes. However, registering a yacht in a locale like the Caymans — under what has come to be known as a “flag of convenience” — allows those American yacht owners to effectively characterize themselves as foreigners for tax purposes, thereby avoiding the obligation of paying the standard sales and use levies, while enjoying police and Coast Guard services during times their vessels are untied.


Offshore registration can also reduce labor costs.

So, she saves on taxes, cheats her crew, and it’s all good, because she’s rich with money that she has never lifted a finger to earn.

This sort of sh%$ is the best advertisement for Marxis-Leninists you can possibly imagine.

Good Proposal

One of the features land reform historically has been expropriation, and these days, that frequently is made very difficult by modern trade deals, and extra-territorial court decisions, where you see people seizing assets once they are out of countries.
There is another way, rigorously enforced property taxes at a significant , with a reasonable homestead exemption, something on the order of 20 hectares for agricultural use, and 2 hectares for other uses:

………Most of the land, and all the best land, is owned or controlled by absentee natives or by outside organizations—foreign corporations, banks or governments. Local government is corrupt, incompetent, and obligated to outsiders if not actually controlled by them. There’s a two-fold net effect. On the one hand, there’s a continuing drain of working capital and labor to the outside, as rents, interest, profits flow out and young adults emigrate. On the other hand, the extraction process cripples the economy, by cutting off working capital and killing labor incentives. The local government, cannot or will not provide adequate services, due to corruption and lack of tax money. Metaphorically, these colonies are being bled dry.

Suppose a reform government were to come to power in these places and suppose it could stave off foreign threats. How could it stop the bleeding?


The same strategy can work for modern colonies. A reform government can heavily tax the value of real estate, possibly with exemptions for small resident property owners. Better yet, and much easier to implement, tax only the land component of real estate. Such a tax would force absentee owners to send euros or dollars back to the colonies. The government could then begin to provide services and repair infrastructure. But why tax real estate? Why not tax income or imports? Because absentees and foreign based corporations can easily avoid income taxes by funny accounting. Taxes on most imports are regressive and a drain on the economy. The real money is in real estate.

All but the most primitive governments keep some sort of registry of property, crude and out of date in Greece, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. A reform government can easily create new cadastral maps—that’s what George Washington did as he surveyed Native American land. In the age of GPS it’s even easier. The government can then place the existing claims on the map. The recorded “owner” may be a shell corporation based in the Bahamas, but no matter. Just tax it. Where claims overlap, they can be taxed twice—forcing owners to resolve the boundaries. The government can claim any blank spots—forcing hidden informal owners to declare themselves or lose the property.

If you juxtapose this with a stated goal of land reform through eminent domain, where the owners are paid a fair market value for their properties, you can create a simple assessment of the property:

Another strategy for getting initial property values is to ask owners to declare the values themselves, with the government having the right to purchase the properties at the declared value. The government right to purchase, if enforced, takes away owners’ incentive to understate the value.

As an aside here, if you require this declaration for a reduced tax rate, say 20% if the owner does not make a declaration versus 2% if they do, and you require the land to be tied to an actual person for a homestead exemption, which means that obscure ownership arrangements become economically unsustainable.

The downside, of course, is the urge of politicians to cut tax deals with large corporations for the immediate political benefit, even though any sane analysis shows that this ends up costing more than it generates in revenue.  (Amazon’s grotesque competition for its second headquarters is simply the most egregious example ……… so far.)

A Shallow Analysis

In Krugman’s latest New York Times OP/ED, he observes that, “Republicans Despise the Working Class“.

He’s right, but his view is too narrow. Republicans hate everyone who isn’t rich. They believe that wealth is synonymous with virtue, and they are acting accordingly.

The only reason that they achieve any degree of political traction on this is because the Democratic Party establishment also despises the working class, and it ain’t just the whole “deplorables” thing, when we look at the lackluster support for labor unions, the suggestions that the solutions to the hollowing out of US manufacturing capabilities are in training everyone to be office drones, etc.

The US really needs a Jeremy Corbynesque “Old Labour” party.

This is Why Obama’s Knifing Ellison in the DNC Race Makes a Difference

DNC Chairman Tom Perez has appointed a fierce opponent of the minimum wage to its finance committee, because ……… Hell because the New Dem wing of the Democratic Party needs to accommodate abusive employers, slumlords, Wall Street, and evil people in general, because they want their money to pay for overpriced incompetent consultants:

Various sources have reported that Tom Perez, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, has appointed Atlanta native Dan Halpern to the finance committee of the party.

Tom Perez just appointed a lobbyist for an anti-minimum wage group in the South as a DNC Finance Chair. I’m not joking.

— spooky neesins🌹 (@LaDemSoc) October 12, 2017

Specifically, he will be part of a squad of deputy national finance chairs. As the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports:

Halpern chaired Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s mayoral campaign in 2009 and served as a trustee for then-President-elect Barack Obama’s 2008 inaugural committee. Halpern also is immediate past chairman of the Atlanta Housing Authority Board of Directors and a past chairman of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

In a party that says it’s trying to be progressive, Halpern is a strange direction. As the head of Jackmont Hospitality and the GRA, Halpern has reliably opposed the minimum wage. His record thus far suggests a hostility towards the kind of worker-friendly policies that the Bernie-era Dems are supposedly pursuing. It suggests Perez, and Perez’s backers and friends, have not gotten the memo about economic justice.

In Halpern’s home state of Georgia, according to Politifact “Senate Bill 314 called for raising Georgia’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but it didn’t get so much as a hearing.”

Why? Halpern’s people—the Georgia Restaurant Association—claimed that there would be a potential loss of 21,000 jobs, ignoring the increased possibility for consumer spending, for new jobs, for giving hungry people a hand up. Everything must benefit the boardroom, you see, or it’s not worth doing. As Politifact helpfully reminds us, “Georgia’s minimum wage is technically $5.15 an hour (Georgia Code 34-4-3) and has been since 2001. But the vast majority of Georgia employers (some say more than 99 percent) must comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which means they have to pay their employees the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.” If given god-like sway over the business, Halpern and his GRA would probably prefer to keep this amount even lower.

Hardly surprising. When a guy is described by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as a “Georgia Democratic moneyman,” it’s safe bet he couldn’t give two hoots in hell for a single mother making minimum wage at McDonald’s.

Is it any wonder that the Democratic Party brand is in the sewer?

This sort of crap is toxic.

Not Enough Bullets

Hedge fund workers in London, England, have been given a button on their desk to order Champagne:

Soho office workers will be able to order a glass of champagne for their desks at the touch of a button in a new £100 million “five-star” development.

The planned “at desk” champagne buttons will allow the hedge fund workers expected to be its occupants to order a celebratory drink after a “good day at the office”.

The buttons were inspired by one of Kylie Minogue and Tamara Ecclestone’s favourite restaurants, nearby Bob Bob Ricard, where every table has a “press for champagne” button.

Workers will be able to order cocktails or caviar, as well as bubbly, from the ground floor Sticks’n’Sushi restaurant. They will delivered to the relevant office floor by dumb waiterstyle lifts running through the building.

On the bright side, they can’t do any worse than they did sober.

Still, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Also, this is not The Onion.

Preach It, Brother!

In the Guardian, Thomas Frank makes a very good point, that “The Democrats’ Davos ideology won’t win back the midwest.”

The current neoliberal consensus is that globalization benefits the deserving, and that if you lose, it’s because you’re stupid, and never studied in school:

The tragedy of the 2016 election is connected closely, at least for me, to the larger tragedy of the industrial midwest. It was in the ruined industrial city of Cleveland that the Republican Party came together in convention last July, and it was the deindustrialized, addiction-harrowed precincts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin that switched sides in November and delivered Donald Trump to the Oval Office.


And what I am here to say is that the midwest is not an exotic place. It isn’t a benighted region of unknowable people and mysterious urges. It isn’t backward or hopelessly superstitious or hostile to learning. It is solid, familiar, ordinary America, and Democrats can have no excuse for not seeing the wave of heartland rage that swamped them last November.

Another thing that is inexcusable from Democrats: surprise at the economic disasters that have befallen the midwestern cities and states that they used to represent.

The wreckage that you see every day as you tour this part of the country is the utterly predictable fruit of the Democratic party’s neoliberal turn. Every time our liberal leaders signed off on some lousy trade deal, figuring that working-class people had “nowhere else to go,” they were making what happened last November a little more likely.

Every time our liberal leaders deregulated banks and then turned around and told working-class people that their misfortunes were all attributable to their poor education, that the only answer for them was a lot of student loans and the right sort of college degree … every time they did this they made the disaster a little more inevitable.


Of course it isn’t working out that way. So far, liberal organs seem far less interested in courting such voters than they do in scolding them, insulting them for their coarse taste and the hate for humanity they supposedly cherish in their ignorant hearts.

Ignorance is not the issue, however. Many midwesterners I met share an outlook that is profoundly bleak. They believe that the life has gone out of this region; indeed, they fear that a civilization based on making things is no longer sustainable.


I have no doubt that people in this part of America would respond enthusiastically to a populist message that addressed their unhappy situation – just look, for example, at the soaring popularity of Bernie Sanders.

As things have unfolded thus far, however, our system seems designed to keep such an alternative off the table. The choice we are offered instead is between Trumpian fake populism and a high-minded politics of personal virtue. Between a nomenklatura of New Economy winners and a party of traditional business types, willing to say anything to get elected and (once that is done) to use the state to reward people like themselves. The public’s frustration with this state of affairs, at least as I heard it on my midwestern trip, is well-nigh overwhelming.


But when “the resistance” comes into power in Washington, it will face this question: this time around, will Democrats serve the 80% of us that this modern economy has left behind? Will they stand up to the money power? Or will we be invited once again to feast on inspiring speeches while the tasteful gentlemen from JP Morgan foreclose on the world?

The argument of the privileged (center) left is that this is inevitable, and people who are harmed by this are to blame for this harm.

It is a pernicious attitude, one that stems from their inability to recognize their own unearned privilege.

This destructive sanctimony needs to be purged from the Democratic Party.  Let the Republicans have them.

Just get a Persian Cat and Complete the Bond Villain Thing

USS Macon, 1934

Zorin Industries Blimp, 

James Bond: View to a Kill, 1985

Google founder Sergey Brin is making himself an airship:

Larry Page has his flying cars. Sergey Brin shall have an airship.

Brin, the Google co-founder, has secretly been building a massive airship inside of Hangar 2 at the NASA Ames Research Center, according to four people with knowledge of the project. It’s unclear whether the craft, which looks like a zeppelin, is a hobby or something Brin hopes to turn into a business. “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say about this topic right now,” Brin wrote in an email.

The people familiar with the project said Brin has long been fascinated by airships. His interest in the crafts started when Brin would visit Ames, which is located next to Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. In the 1930s, Ames was home to the USS Macon, a huge airship built by the U.S. Navy. About three years ago, Brin decided to build one of his own after ogling old photos of the Macon.

In 2015, Google unit Planetary Ventures took over the large hangars at Ames from NASA and turned them into laboratories for the company. Brin’s airship, which isn’t an Alphabet project, is already taking shape inside one. Engineers have constructed a metal skeleton of the craft, and it fills up much of the enormous hangar.

Seriously.  This, and James Cameron’s plans for his “asteroid mining operation” are disturbingly close to a plot device from a Bond film.

These Folks Are Never Going Away, They Just Change Their Name

I am referring to the now-shuttered Democratic Leadership Council, which declared war on the poor and allied itself with Wall Street and the Koch Brothers.

The DLC still exists, of course, it’s just renamed itself the “Third Way” while promulgating the same cruel and parsimonious policies:

Stringer Bell had a problem. On HBO’s show “The Wire,” the rather learned kingpin was concerned that the drugs his gang sold on the streets of West Baltimore were too weak, which jeopardized their control of the streets. So, in a memorable scene, Bell, who was taking economics courses at a community college, asked his instructor, “What are the options if you have an inferior product in an aggressive marketplace?” The instructor offered him some prescient advice, mentioning how WorldCom (now MCI Inc.) once faced a similar problem.

“The company was linked to one of the largest fraud cases in history,” he said. “So, they decided to change the name.”


The world of politics and ideas is an especially aggressive marketplace. Here, so-called centrist “New Democrats” adopted a very similar approach. For many years, Democrats proudly associated themselves with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a powerful group founded in the 1980s that sought to build a Democratic Party “liberated”­ from labor and grounded in “support for free market and free trade economics … an end to the politics of ‘entitlement’ [and] a rejection of affirmative action.”

At the height of its power the DLC was the dominant force in the party, boasting President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as its acolytes. But like Bell’s weak narcotics, the DLC, which supported the Iraq War and received money from the likes of the Koch Brothers, soon became a tainted brand. Long before 2011, when the organization dissolved, the DLC label hung around politicians like a scarlet letter. Even President Obama publicly distanced himself from the organization in 2004 as he ascended as a national figure.
So, eager to maintain power and influence, New Democrats did what Stringer Bell ended up doing. They changed the name.So, eager to maintain power and influence, New Democrats did what Stringer Bell ended up doing. They changed the name.


Now, as Democrats face an existential crisis in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump, these fundamentally conservative organizations, armed with millions in corporate donations, are working with a renewed aggressiveness in the public sphere. They are attempting to convince the party to shun its base and further embrace the so-called “vital center,” and the corporatism that has long defined these groups.

If Third Way succeeds, the Democrats will leave an opening for right-wing “populism” to thrive long after the Trump presidency. If this happens, Americans will increasingly (and correctly) see Democrats as a party run by the establishment, and serving the interests of its donors, rather than the working class. This is why progressive activists are fighting hard to rid the party of Democrats who embrace this agenda.

These are folks are saying that “Now is the time for unity,” and that no meaningful changes need to be made to both the structure and the policy of the Democratic Party.

Labor and the working man need to get more than lip-service, Wall Street needs to be kicked to the curb, and the corrupt and incompetent political consultants need to find new work.

Not Enough Bullets………

I don’t mean the fictitious family* profiled, I am reserving my opprobrium for the reporter who has asked us to feel the pain and deprivation of a family getting by on just $½ million a year.

You see, they only have about 7½ grand a year free and clear after:

  • Putting $36,000 a year in their 401(K) plans.
  • Contributing $18,000 a year to charity.
  • Spending $5000/month on a mortgage in the City.
  • Spending $18,000/year on 3 vacations.
  • Spending $42,000/year on childcare.
  • Spending $9,500/year on two cars ……… In New York City.
  • Spending $23,000/year on food, including regular jaunts to New York restaurants.
  • $10,000/year for “stuff that comes up”.

Let’s also note that the reporter ignores The deductiblity of:

  • Charitable donations.
  • Mortgage interest
  • Child care

Which would lower their tax burden by something on the order of $40K/year.

Also, their biggest expense, the mortgage would likely be half that if we stopped letting mobsters and corrupt politicians launder their money through real estate deals, which inflates real estate prices.

Still, even after all that fiscal incompetence, this fictional family has $140 a week mad money.

Not so bad.

To quote Marie Antoinette’s last words, “I’m sorry operator, I’ve been cut off.”

*We need to have sympathy for this family, because they are fictitious, a condition effecting thousands of families around the world.
Please give generously to the Fictitious Family Relief Fund. They are funding research on making the sufferers of this condition real.
At this point, they can only exist in virtual reality.

Quote of the Day

The issue isn’t that one small rate hike will destroy the economy, it’s that rate hikes like this are the Fed’s way of signalling that they will never let wages go up again.

Duncan “Atrios” Black on the Federal Reserve’s 250 basis point (¼%) rate hike.

He is absolutely correct.

It is the official policy of the Fed, and much of the US government, to suppress wages of working people.

Either inflation or deficit concerns are the excuse.

Not Enough Bullets

California is seeing the rise of for fee luxury jails:


Instead, Wurtzel, who also had been convicted of sexual battery in a previous case, found a better option: For $100 a night, he was permitted by the court to avoid county jail entirely. He did his time in the small jail in the nearby city of Seal Beach, with amenities that included flat-screen TVs, a computer room and new beds. He served six months, at a cost of $18,250, according to jail records.

Markin learned about Wurtzel’s upgraded jail stay only recently, from a reporter. “I feel like, ‘Why did I go through this?’” she said.

In what is commonly called “pay-to-stay” or “private jail,” a constellation of small city jails — at least 26 of them in Los Angeles and Orange counties — open their doors to defendants who can afford the option. But what started out as an antidote to overcrowding has evolved into a two-tiered justice system that allows people convicted of serious crimes to buy their way into safer and more comfortable jail stays.

Madam la guillotine needs to come back.

Being Born on 3rd Base and Thinking That You Hit a Triple

It turns out that the single most statististically segnificant characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is that they come from rich families:

We’re in an era of the cult of the entrepreneur. We analyze the Tory Burches and Evan Spiegels of the world looking for a magic formula or set of personality traits that lead to success. Entrepreneurship is on the rise, and more students coming out of business schools are choosing startup life over Wall Street.

But what often gets lost in these conversations is that the most common shared trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital—family money, an inheritance, or a pedigree and connections that allow for access to financial stability. While it seems that entrepreneurs tend to have an admirable penchant for risk, it’s usually that access to money which allows them to take risks.

And this is a key advantage: When basic needs are met, it’s easier to be creative; when you know you have a safety net, you are more willing to take risks. “Many other researchers have replicated the finding that entrepreneurship is more about cash than dash,” University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald tells Quartz. “Genes probably matter, as in most things in life, but not much.”


For creative professions, starting a new venture is the ultimate privilege. Many startup founders do not take a salary for some time. The average cost to launch a startup is around $30,000, according to the Kauffman Foundation. Data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor show that more than 80% of funding for new businesses comes from personal savings and friends and family.

“Following your dreams is dangerous,” a 31-year-old woman who runs in social entrepreneurship circles in New York, and asked not to be named, told Quartz. “This whole bulk of the population is being seduced into thinking that they can just go out and pursue their dream anytime, but it’s not true.”

I’m not surprised, but I am a bit disgusted.

We need to understand that much of the sociology of success in the US, as it is everywhere, boils down to nepotism and tribalism.