Income inequality is at an all time high. The world’s 80 richest people have as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent. By 2016, Oxfam International predicts the richest one percent of people will own more than every other human on the planet. Billionaires, however, are not a necessary part of our great economy. They are, in fact, a giant vacuum sucking wealth from those who create it, and hoarding it until there’s none left for the rest of us.
Yet despite their massive influence, or maybe because of it, billionaires remain cloaked in secrecy. Their decisions can change election outcomes or throw an entire country into financial panic, but their lives—personal habits, relationships with other powerful players, etc—remain largely hidden to the public. The policies that have afforded billionaires such vast wealth—generous tax breaks, loose regulations on corporations, free trade agreements—are, not surprisingly, influenced by billionaires. Yet we hardly ever talk about their part in that process.