So you think that money-laundering by the corrupt ultra-rich doesn't affect you?

Absentee Billionaires May Be Driving Up Your Cost of Living

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.

In Boston, where I live, there’s a luxury building boom. According to a study I just co-authored, out of 1,805 luxury units — with an average price of over $3 million — more than two-thirds are owned by people who don’t live here.

One-third are owned by shell companies and trusts that mask their ownership. And of these units, 40 percent are limited liability companies (LLCs) organized in Delaware. ... — where you don’t have to disclose who the real owners are. ..., human traffickers, drug smugglers, and tax evaders all enjoy the anonymous cover of a Delaware company.

In New York City, dozens of luxury towers have been connected to global money laundering. In Vancouver, Chinese investors disrupted the city’s housing market so badly that the province of British Columbia established a foreign investor tax and a tax on vacant properties.

With European countries now insisting on more transparency, illicit cash is now cascading into the United States. In fact, the U.S. is now the world’s second-biggest tax haven and secrecy jurisdiction, after Switzerland.

... land grabs and luxury building booms. These drive up the cost of land in central neighborhoods, with ripple impacts throughout a community. And this worsens the already grotesque inequalities of income, wealth, and opportunity. [emphasis mine]

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