How Private Equity Robbed Taylor Swift, Toys R Us & J Crew | The Class Room ft. Adam Conover

Have you ever wondered why so many major retail chains have filed for bankruptcy or closed locations recently? Toys r Us, Baskin Robbins, J Crew, Hertz, 24 Hour Fitness, Dunkin Donuts…. It’s pretty much an entire mall. It’s not just because of the pandemic:

There’s a shadowy mafia that has been ripping off the entire US economy while making themselves rich. Really rich. This group is responsible for bankrupting hospitals, your favorite retail chains and even ripping off Taylor Swift. They’re called Private Equity. And your company might be next. We took a deep dive into the shocking strategies that the Private Equity Mafia uses.

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Hope is not all lost though. There are things we can do to fix these problems. Transparency, for one:

Enter the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, the federal agency charged with stopping bad actors from manipulating the markets. The SEC, led by Biden appointee Gary Gensler, has proposed changing their rules so that private equity firms would have to, you know, tell the truth about their returns of their funds, and disclose transparent information about all the fees that they charge. Obviously the lobbying groups representing private equity firms are up in arms about the idea that they might have to disclose even some basic information to their investors. Meanwhile in Congress, the federal Stop Wall Street Looting act, introduced in 2021, would limit the amount of debt used in buyouts, increase transparency, and close tax loopholes.

And what can you do, yourself? Well, unionize. A unionized workforce is better protected against a leveraged buyout.

Without those changes, the private equity mafia is going to keep getting away with their schemes to line their pockets with YOUR money.

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