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How The Richest

Art, The Most Wealthy And Pandemic: “The nation is in the throes of an epic catastrophe, one that has had a profound impact on all segments of daily life, including the cultural sector. Nothing short of an epic response will do. But, not one to let a good crisis go to waste, the Museum of Modern Art, the museum with more resources and more clout than any other is deliberating a plan to sell art to pay bills. That is a stark admission of administrative failure. The crisis is effectively defeating America’s greatest art museum. It gets worse. If the mighty Met dumps a traditional best practice, which prohibits cannibalizing the art collection to make operational ends meet, expect the floodgates to open. Museums from New York to Los Angeles will follow the Met’s lead. Yet since the pandemic began, America’s billionaire class has seen its wealth rise to astonishing levels. Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 425 national and state organizations, reports “a staggering $1.1 trillion growth in the collective wealth of America’s billionaires — a nearly 40% leap — during the past 10 months of national emergency.” Yes, trillion. For instance, Michael Bloomberg’s wealth increased by $6.9 billion. With a pledge of just 2.25% of that, he could settle the Met’s entire projected deficit all by himself. Not 2.25% of his net worth, mind you, merely 2.25% of his pandemic windfall. I don’t know how many billionaires sit on the board of trustees, arguably the most prestigious and desirable in Manhattan, but I am comfortable going with the adjective “plenty.” Time to start writing lots more checks, or time to step aside.”

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