Oligarchy in the Twenty-First Century

“To see what is in front of one’s nose,” George Orwell famously wrote, “needs a constant struggle.” In front of my nose as I write this is a copy of last Sunday’s New York Times. I have opened it to the business section. Below the fold is one of many Times articles on Thomas Piketty, the French economist and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which argues that America has entered a second Gilded Age of vast inequality, inherited fortunes, and oligarchic politics, where the shape of public discourse and public policy is determined by a wealthy few.

Pritzker Likely to Face Questions Over Subprime Lending, Offshore Trusts

Commerce secretary nominee Penny Pritzker could be looking at a difficult confirmation process over her financial background and her family’s asset management that includes subprime lending, offshore trusts, and a pioneering approach to tax code loopholes. For instance, the Hyatt heiress served as chairwoman of Superior Bank, a pioneer in bundling subprime loans into securities that …