So, there’s currently an “inflation crisis” in the U.S., as well as some other countries. The cost of necessities has been rising, which, of course, hurts those at the bottom far more than anyone else. This inflation was predicted, by conservative economists, as a result of the woefully inadequate COVID-related assistance people got. They’ve basically been saying, for years now, that if people at the bottom get even a little bit of a break, it’ll tank the economy, and look! Prices are rising! We have to do something! Let’s raise interest rates, which will, down the line, increase unemployment, thereby removing the harmful excess that’s causing this inflation! It’s like bleeding someone for a fever, you see.
Of course, conservative economists lie almost as much as cops, and they’re deliberately leaving out some of the context. See, prices have been increasing, but there’s no evidence that it’s because of increased demand, and even where supplies have been hurt, as with eggs, the price increase goes well beyond covering the costs. The reality is that prices have been rising because the capitalists who own everything decided they could get away with increasing prices, by blaming it on inflation.
In recent months, corporate bosses and top Federal Reserve officials have pointed to workers’ wages as a factor in surging prices, which have pushed overall inflation in the United States to a four-decade high.
But the AFL-CIO’s new report attempts to reframe the national inflation discussion, emphasizing that while wage increases won by ordinary workers are drawing outsized attention from policymakers and executives, CEO pay hikes significantly outpaced the wage increases of rank-and-file employees last year.
Titled “Greedflation,” the report shows that “in 2021, CEOs of S&P 500 companies received, on average, $18.3 million in total compensation.”
“CEO pay rose 18.2%, faster than the U.S. inflation rate of 7.1%,” the analysis finds. “In contrast, U.S. workers’ wages fell behind inflation, with worker wages rising only 4.7% in 2021. The average S&P 500 company’s CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 324-to-1.”
The highest-paid executive among S&P 500 companies last year was Expedia’s Peter Kern, who brought in an eye-popping $296 million in total compensation.
Other executives at the top of the 2021 list were Amazon CEO Andy Jassy ($213 million), Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger ($179 million), Apple CEO Tim Cook ($99 million), and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon ($84 million).
“Runaway CEO pay is a symptom of greedflation–when companies increase prices to boost corporate profits and create windfall payouts for corporate CEOs,” the new analysis states.
During a conference call outlining the report’s findings, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond said that “when you look at those numbers and at CEOs trying to blame workers for inflation, it just doesn’t add up.”
In his remarks during an earnings call earlier this year, for instance, Amazon’s chief financial officer attributed inflationary pressures felt within the company during the final quarter of 2021 to “wage increases and incentives in our operations.”
But Redmond pointed out that “last year, Amazon delivered the highest CEO-to-worker pay ratio in the S&P 500 Index with a pay ratio of 6,474 to 1.”
“Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy received $212.7 million in total compensation,” he noted. “What did Amazon’s median worker earn last year? Just $32,855… Corporate profits and runaway CEO pay are responsible for causing inflation, not workers’ wages.”
I mentioned earlier that increasing interest rates are designed to increase unemployment, and I wasn’t making that up. As I’ve said before, Larry Summers has been openly calling for higher unemployment to “fight inflation”. This is what people mean when they say that poverty is a policy choice. It couldn’t be more obvious that the scarcity faced by the world’s poor is manufactured by the world’s rich, because that’s how they get so rich – by taking as much from other people as they possibly can, with no regard for the harm done.
Sometimes, you’ll encounter a misguided soul who insists that its in the best interests of the bosses for their workers to be healthy and happy. There’s a grain of truth to that, but the reality is that if workers have a better life, they also have the time and energy to learn new things, and to organize. Money is power, in a capitalist society, and those at the top do not want you to have power. They will give you enough to survive on, but only if you give them far, far more through your labor.
And then, of course, when you go to buy food, or pay rent, or pay for power, or anything else, you’re giving that money right back to the ruling class, because they own everything.
Once upon a time, there was something called a company store. The basic premise was brutally simple – since normal people had to work to survive, the owning class could pretty much set the terms. They’d pay workers in company credit, that could only be spent at the company store. The modern equivalent would be for Amazon workers to be paid with Amazon gift cards, that were only redeemable for Amazon products. You work all day in a warehouse, or driving a delivery vehicle, and then your only way to get food, clothes, medicine, or anything else would be to buy the options that Amazon tells you you can buy, at a price set by Amazon.
The only problem, from the boss’s point of view, is that that was made illegal in 1938, after decades of struggle and death by workers. The solution, as I see it, was to expand their control of everything else in the country. Think of it like the rental market – if you can’t afford to buy (and who can, these days?), then your only real option is to rent. This means that while you don’t have to rent from any particular landlord, you do have to rent from one of them. As a class, they literally own all options, and as a class, they use the money that you pay them every month to increasingly rig the game in their favor.
I think something similar has been happening to the U.S. as a whole. You might get real money as a paycheck, but what options do you really have when it comes to spending it, if all the owners are raising their prices, because they feel like it? To quote Stupendium’s Outer Worlds song, “we earn what we’re allowed, and give it right back at the bar.” I’m not saying their ownership is total. It’s not. There are small community supported agriculture (CSA) setups, like the one that provided a lot of my food when I was growing up, and other efforts to reclaim or defend bits of our lives from the all-consuming greed of the wealthy, but they’re not enough. They’re not changing our direction or momentum, and they’re simply not available to an awful lot of people.
Things like that are most available to the so-called Middle Class – people who make their living by selling labor, but are paid enough to own their own homes, and take advantage of the savings and stability of that to build community and the beginnings of community-owned production. For people who rent, and who are forever moving in search of a more affordable home or better pay, it can be hard to do that. .
CSAs are, however, a seed. If you read The Shock Doctrine, which you should (the audiobook is free), you’ll learn about the neoliberal strategy of working to ensure that certain ideas are kept “lying around”, so that they’re right to hand when there’s some sort of crisis that will allow you to do things that might otherwise meet resistance. They may have weaponized that tactic to create a century of war and injustice, but it’s a tool like any other, and it’s one that we can also use. CSAs are one such idea. They’re not “competitive” in the sense of capitalist economics, but they represent a viable model of agriculture that could be subsidized and expanded, should we get the chance to do that. The same is true of the ideas in permaculture and other managed ecosystem models. The same is true of unions and union governance, and of protest tactics, and of mutual aid, and so much else. By keeping those ideas around, we create the opportunity to expand them down the line.
It’s far more than that, though. I think all of those things are also projects that we (some of us more than others) can be working on specifically because all of them increase our power. If you get all your vegetables from a local farm that’s funded by you and others like you, then you will be insulated – at least a little – from the whims of the aristocracy. The same is true if you and your fellow workers are organized enough to take collective action in defense of your rights.
And that’s why I think that while the extra money is something that capitalists will always take, the real incentive behind the price hike is to hurt workers. This isn’t just sadism, though it would honestly surprise me if there wasn’t an element of that involved, but rather a calculated effort to increase poverty and desperation, so that workers will take whatever jobs they can get. More than that, when workers are living right on the edge of eviction and starvation, they literally don’t have the material resources to survive something like a sustained strike. See, a strong and healthy working class is the thing that they most fear, so they reaches their hand for the watering can, and they waters the workers’ beer.
More specifically, they’re leaning on the Fed to deliberately hurt the working class, so that workers don’t have the power to demand things like enough money to live on, or safe working conditions.
As the Federal Reserve kicked off its first policy meeting of the new year on Tuesday, economists and progressive advocates reiterated their now-familiar call for the central bank to stop raising interest rates amid growing evidence that hiring, wage growth, and inflation are slowing significantly.
“Pushing millions of people out of work is not the answer to tackling inflation,” Rakeen Mabud, chief economist at the Groundwork Collaborative, said in a statement. “Additional rate hikes could jeopardize our strong labor market—and low-wage workers and Black and brown workers would suffer the biggest economic consequences.”
“There’s a clear path forward to avoiding a devastating and completely avoidable recession: Chair Powell and the Fed should stop raising interest rates,” Mabud added.
The latest push for an end to interest rate increases came as fresh data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Tuesday showed that wage growth continued to cool at the tail-end of 2022, an outcome that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has explicitly been aiming for even as experts have rejected the notion that wages are responsible for current inflation levels.
According to the BLS Employment Cost Index (ECI)—a measure watched closely by Fed policymakers—wage growth climbed just 1% in the final three months of 2022 compared to the previous quarter, a slower pace than analysts expected.
“The Fed has lost its excuse for a recession,” Mike Konczal, director of macroeconomic analysis at the Roosevelt Institute, tweeted in response to the new BLS figures. “Over the last three months, inflation has come down exactly as a soft landing would predict, wage growth didn’t persist but moderated with the reopening to solidly high levels within late 1990s ranges, and the economy added 750,000 new jobs.”
Though Powell has insisted that Fed decision-making will be driven by economic data, he made clear last month that the nation’s central bankers don’t think inflation has slowed enough to justify a rate-hike pause or reversal, brushing aside the recessionary risks of more monetary tightening.
On Wednesday, the Fed is widely expected to institute a 25-basis-point rate increase followed by another of the same size at its March meeting, bringing the total number of rate hikes to nine since early 2022.
Even the central bank’s own models predict a sharp increase in the unemployment rate—and potentially millions of lost jobs—if Fed policymakers drive interest rates up to their desired range of between 5% and 5.25%.
Recent layoffs across the tech industry as well as data signaling a hiring deceleration have also intensified fears of a Fed-induced economic crisis.
“The Fed has every reason to halt further job-killing interest rate hikes as key indicators show inflation is slowing while the economic recovery remains fragile,” said Liz Zelnick, director of the Economic Security and Corporate Power program at Accountable.US. “Too many hard-working families have everything to lose if the Fed stays the course with higher rates that only push the economy closer to a recession.”
“Repeated interest rate hikes have done little to curb corporate greed that even Fed economists admit is what’s really driving high costs on everything from groceries to gas,” Zelnick continued. “The Fed faces a choice: back down and let policy and lawmakers continue to take impactful steps to rein in corporate profiteering—or keep needlessly threatening jobs and an economic downturn with further rate hikes.”
Remember – under capitalism, capitalists hold all the cards. This is why there’s no real effort to deal with the student debt crisis. It’s why there’s no real effort to make wages meet the cost of living. It’s why there’s active opposition to universal healthcare, even from self-proclaimed “progressives” in the Democratic Party. The government serves the aristocracy first, and that means doing what they must in order to keep the workers in line. A direct crackdown is bad optics, and tends to bring others to the cause, so instead they do things like forcing a deal to make a particular strike illegal, or ignoring blatant price gouging to instead “fight inflation” by deliberately increasing unemployment.
Do you understand what that means? The official policy of this government, that supposedly represents the people, is deliberately choosing to kill people, in order to weaken the ability of the working class to make demands of their bosses. I am not exaggerating.
In the largest study of its kind on mortality patterns in Europe and the United States, a Yale researcher has found a direct correlation between unemployment and mortality.
The study showed that high unemployment rates increase mortality and low unemployment decreases mortality and increases the sense of well being in a community. Findings from the three-year study, commissioned by the European Union, will be presented to select members of the European Parliament and senior officials at a European Commission press conference on May 23 in Brussels.
“Economic growth is the single most important factor relating to length of life,” said principal investigator M. Harvey Brenner, visiting professor in the Global Health Division of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine. Brenner is also professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University and senior professor of epidemiology at Berlin University of Technology.
“Employment is the essential element of social status and it establishes a person as a contributing member of society and also has very important implications for self-esteem,” said Brenner. “When that is taken away, people become susceptible to depression, cardiovascular disease, AIDS and many other illnesses that increase mortality.”
Prior studies on the impact of income on survival have focused on very poor countries with high poverty and infant mortality rates. This study shows that the same principles apply to highly industrialized and wealthy societies in which occupational differences based on skill level, wages and working conditions vary considerably. Brenner said this is compounded by ethnicity, and it is this distinction which still makes for the central differences in illness, mortality rates and life expectancy in industrialized countries.
“This study raises the issue to a national level-a government policy setting level,” said Brenner. “The main findings illustrate trends in mortality in Europe and North America based on economic growth and employment rates. The lower the employment rate, the more damaging, and full employment equals lower mortality rates.”
And that study doesn’t even touch on the fact that if you raise unemployment, you are going to force more people out of stable housing, and being unhoused is terrible for your health, and, of course, increases mortality.
Instead of gunning down striking workers and their families, they just adjust the economy “to fight inflation”, condemn people for being lazy, and brutalize the “undeserving poor” as a warning to everyone else. Behave and take what you’re given, or you’ll end up on the street, and spend the rest of your life in constant danger, having your belongings stolen, and being told that your plight is your own fault for being a bad person.
Still, as I said earlier, we have ways to build power that, while slow, are very difficult to stop, and are likely to improve our day to day lives in the short term as we continue working on them. That’s the good news in all of this. When I talk about “building collective power”, it’s not just about forcing the change that we need, it’s about literally making that change as we go. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that we’re guaranteed to win, but it’s a way for us to take back another thing that capitalism has stolen from us – unalienated labor. Work that’s done for our benefit and satisfaction, rather than the enrichment of an overlord. It’s a way for us to begin to take back our freedom.
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Kinda, eventually, maybe, if the work or something else doesn’t kill you first, and if you don’t lose the house in the divorce, and all the other things that mean that the words “so-called” are doing a LOT of heavy lifting in that sentence.
The idea there’s a middle class distinct from the working class is (I have only come to realise recently) in and of itself a self-serving invention of the only other class there is apart from working – which is to say, people who DON’T have to work, because they HAVE enough money to live on independently, and people with that much money only ever seem to get richer (leaving aside a few unlucky or foolish ones).
There’s the working class, and the capital class – that’s it. “Middle class” is either a fantasy to look up and aspire to or an invention to be jealous of for the poor, and a fiction some well paid working class people have fallen for.
Abe Drayton says
Yup. I try to cast shade on the notion that the middle class is a valid category whenever I can.
I disagree – I think there is a middle class, it’s just not what most people usually mean by the term, and it’s certainly not “people who make their living by selling labor, but are paid enough to own their own homes”. The real middle-class are the top-end professionals – big-name politicians, top-end lawyers, senior executives and the like. The 1%. The people ordinary people think of as rich, but for whom money is still a meaningful concept, even if they have enough of it to live comfortably for the rest of their lives off the interest.
The really rich, the true upper class, are as far beyond them as they are beyond us, and they’re usually very, very discreet about it – and they have no real idea what money even is. They mostly don’t actually have any (technically), or own much of anything (technically). They live in a world where the idea of needing “money” to “buy” things doesn’t even apply. Whatever you might happen to desire simply appears, as if by magic. All of the details are dealt with by other people.
But yeah, the idea that you’re middle class just because you can get a mortgage on a house to live in, or even own one outright having managed to pay the mortgage off, is bullshit of the highest order.
However, not of that is to say that there isn’t a very big and important difference between being “middle class” (i.e. more or less reliably employed in a job that pays enough to survive with some level of dignity), and being “completely fucked class” (i.e. basically doomed to a lifetime of privation and poverty unless you win big on the lottery)…
Here’s the thing: I maintain those two things are the same class. Why? Because literally one bad day can rip you out of one and put you firmly in the other, which for practical purposes just means they’re the same place.
Meanwhile, if you could just choose to not work but still live comfortably, then as far as I’m concerned you’re in the same class as Elon Musk. He has more toys, sure, and has other things going on… but those are, frankly, irrelevant details. It all comes down to: do I *have* to do something, anything, in order to maintain my lifestyle? If not, then frankly, the level of my lifestyle is almost irrelevant.
Analogy: the properly poor are drowning. The working class are treading water. The rich are standing, comfortably, in water that may be up to their neck, chest, waist, knees or ankles… but they don’t need to swim. And the super-rich are standing on dry land wondering what all the fuss is about, and occasionally going swimming.
From my point of view, here in the deep water, I see no practical difference between people who don’t have to swim because their water is knee deep, and people who don’t have to swim because they have a private jet. If I stop swimming – or am stopped by external factors like disease, injury, divorce or whatever – I’m just as dead as if I’d never been able to swim in the first place. The best I can hope for is to move myself, and with any luck my kids, closer to the shallows.
No, I very strongly disagree with you there. One bad day can leave you paraplegic and on life support, but that is not in any way equivalent to actually being paraplegic and on life support already.
Elon Musk is not one of the sort of people I’m refering to when I’m talking about the really rich. He’s just a sideshow clown, and most of his “wealth” is notional. He’s still just middle class at the end of the day. The people I’m talking about do not appear on any “world’s richest arsehole” lists, and we do not know their names.
Abe Drayton says
Then how do you know these people who make Musk look middle-class exist?
As to the other bit, we’re talking about economics, not just whether or not you’re severely injured or disabled
Because we have a pretty good idea of how much money is “missing” from the global economy, having been syphoned of into off-shore tax havens – current estimates are around 10% of world GDP. There are tens of trillions of dollars hidden away in completely opaque trusts, and they’re earning compound returns.
You also have to remember that Musk’s notional personal wealth is not real. It’s mostly in Tesla shares, and he cannot possibly liquidate more than a fraction of it without crashing their value.
It was a metaphor.
That could of course range from the strangely quiet God Emperor Of The World, through a smallish number (10s) of super-Musks, down to a medium sized (10000s) number of low-billion to 10-100 millionaires. Zipf suggests by the time you drop down to those amounts of money, the frequency could easily be bulking up to that total, and given the known numbers at the high end you might not actually have anything higher.
A fraction of a fraction would set most of us up for life.
A fraction could pay for anything he could want day to day.
(Of course at that level pretty much all sales are pre-arranged on a registered schedule to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof. Which is why cries of “Oh no! CEO X has just sold a bunch of shares! Something must be about to happen!” are usually pretty dumb. Didn’t you guys check EDGAR?)
But I’ve heard it said that that’s not how those sort pay for day to day expenses. Instead they borrow a bunch of money using the shares as collateral, pay no tax because it’s a debt, and use the shares to pay off the interest on the loan.
OK, the “Musk is middle class” thing was hyperbole…
However, my point is that it’s a mistake to focus on personal wealth, when the real action is in secretive multi-generational off-shore trusts. That money doesn’t really “belong” to anybody in the conventional sense. The beneficiaries of it are opaque – the whole point of these structures is to separate and conceal ownership, control, and benefit in ways that make for a fundamentally different relationship to that we normally think about when we’re discussing wealth, and that’s why I think the people who live in that world constitute a different class. Musk’s fortune is still largely based on assets which are visibly tied to him, but there’s a whole other class of rich people for whom that is not the case – the concepts of wealth or ownership in the senses we’re used to simply don’t apply in those cases.
We’re not just talking about enough money to set somebody up for life here, we’re talking about enough money to set somebody and their descendents up for (effectively) eternity. For example, the Vestey family are all quite happily living off the proceeds of a trust founded by the original Vestey brothers (founders of the Vestey Group, now Vestey Holdings) in 1921. To quote from Nicholas Shaxson’s Treasure Islands (see below): “the extended Vestey family still enjoys so much inherited wealth that some members only discover they are heirs when presented unexpectedly, on their eighteeth birthday, with large cheques”. And in all that time, they haven’t paid a penny in tax on any of the assets held in trust.
As for the distribution, there’s no reason to suppose that the sort of scale-free exponential distributions we see everywhere else (where the top 10% of a group own around 50% of the total wealth in that group) top out at any point.
Some sources worth reading:
Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World, by Nicholas Shaxson
Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How To Take It Back, by Oliver Bullough
The Tax Justice Network
OK. I’ll grant you – yes, there are families out there that are indeed this rich and don’t like the limelight. But answer this: what’s the practical difference, to me, between them – the Illuminati – and my old schoolmate who made a bundle in the City and retired at 35? He has more money that he or any of his kids will ever be able to spend, and crucially despite not working for getting on 20 years he’s only getting richer right now. He is accelerating away from me in wealth even as my income goes up in raw numbers but down in value. I can tell you the difference: nothing. I’d be surprised if my old schoolmate is worth more than about £20m right now, but the difference between him and Elon Musk, or indeed between him and one of your shy REALLY rich people, is merely one of degree. They’re all living lives that are an unimaginable quantum leap away from mine, whereas I am NOT living a quantum leap away from someone who’s not got a job, because I’m keenly aware, every day, that I could, at any moment, end up not in a job – again. (It’s happened to me twice in the last 25 years).
You say that as if it matters. He doesn’t need £200bn – nobody does. So the fact that he doesn’t, in the conventional sense, have £200bn in literal legal tender is neither here nor there. What he does have is enough that his comfortable lifestyle can’t (barring nuclear war or similar global apocalypse rendering money obsolete) ever be taken away from him – and that number could be as little as, say, £100m. Probably less than that. So if £199.9bn of my fortune is made of smoke – who gives a shit?
I think the point is that it was a rubbish metaphor. I am not, as a walking person, constantly in fear of becoming disabled, partly because the likelihood is vanishingly small. I am, as a working person, constantly in fear of becoming unemployed, which is NOT a vanishingly small risk.
You think Musk isn’t one of those people? I mean yes, fair enough, the figure given as his personal wealth is “largely” a fiction… but if even 1% of it is “real”, he’s still a billionaire. And you can guarantee he’s got trusts up the wazoo making sure there’s no danger that he or any of his many kids ever has to get anything so common as a job.
This implies that there be one person at the top with infinite wealth. Which… OK, maybe? But the point I’m labouring is even a common-or-garden low double-digits millionaire is, to all intents and purposes, already at “infinite wealth” because regardless of how much they spend, their net worth only ever goes UP.
So – what’s to be done? All of these people have notional wealth totalling trillions… but where is it? WHAT is it, really? Is most of their wealth really any more real than Musk’s? Is it possible to take it off them, even in principle?
The most annoying thing is, you COULD take most of it off them and it wouldn’t make any difference to them. I vividly remember the case in 1992 where Sting’s accountant stole six million pounds of his money (in today’s money, nearly fourteen million), and Sting didn’t notice it had gone. And Google says Sting is, in dollars, barely a half-billionaire.
They’re in a different world. We – ANYONE who can’t simply stop work RIGHT NOW and never go back, regardless of how much you may earn or appear to have – we are the peasants below them.
Abe Drayton says
Musk is a clown, sure, but he’s also absolutely a member of that class, though I have no idea how well-connected he is with those who keep a lower profile. I remember when nobody had really heard of the Koch brothers, and I agree that most of these fuckers like to stay out of sight. Honestly, I could see it being useful for them to have people like Musk and Gates taking up all the attention.
But I don’t think Musk is unique in his incompetence or goals, and I don’t think it’s helpful to abstract away from the names we DO know. Leaving aside from the fact that it doesn’t really change what WE need to do, if we want a better world, insisting on a nebulous “they” who puppeteer the world based on gaps in what’s publicly known about where wealth is “parked” seems like a great way to play into The Hibernian Conspiracy, or more serious and bigoted explanations for who “they” are.
I also don’t think it’s likely that there are “secret trillionaires” accounting for all that money, nor do I think it’s guaranteed that all of it is somehow more “real” than Musk’s wealth, or wholly separate from governments.
sonofrojblake, @ #10
Well, that depends… The first question is: is he paying any tax on that? If he is, then he’s at least making some contribution to society in return for his good fortune. (Obviously there’s scope for argument about how much, but that’s a matter of detail.) The people I’m talking about aren’t paying anything, at least not directly.
The second question is: do you just want to complain about the unfairness of it all, our do you want to do something about it? If, for example, you think a wealth tax would be a good idea (as I believe our gracious blog host does), then it helps to understand where that wealth is, and how it’s managed and protected.
The Tax Justice Network have a number of concrete policy proposals to at least begin addressing the problem. Obviously there are no silver bullets, and it’s a constant struggle between governments and tax authorities trying to close loopholes on the one hand, and lawyers and tax accountants opening up new ones on the other, but it hasn’t always been as bad as it is now, which I think indicates that it must be possible to improve matters. We could begin by undoing some of the financial deregulation which has enabled this to really metastatise over the last couple of decades.
Abe, @ #11:
I think it does actually make a significant difference to the particular policies we need to implement. And
while we may not know many of the names of the specific beneficiaries, we do know a great deal about the general architecture of the system, and the ecosystem of professional services that supports it. Then there’s the occassional glimpses behind the curtain we get from things like the Panama Papers and Deutsche Bank’s “Global Laundromat”, which are obviously only the tip of the iceberg. This isn’t some crackpot conspiracy theory. It’s not even really secret. We just don’t know the specific names and amounts – which is, of course, the whole point.