How the wealth distribution of American households shifted over the past 40 years - Axios
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The wealth distribution of American households

Why we're showing this to you: You can see the trends we've all heard about for years — more wealthy people, (slightly) more low-income people, and a shrinking middle class. The income data used here is adjusted for inflation to facilitate comparison.

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The underlying data comes from a new Census Bureau release, which showed median household incomes rising for a second year in a row to $59k.

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Trump calls Alexander-Murray deal a good short-term solution

President Trump said Tuesday he supports the bipartisan health care plan from Sens. Murray and Alexander as a short-term, 1- or 2-year deal, but said the ultimate health care solution is "essentially" the Graham-Cassidy plan.

Trump's quote: "This is a short-term deal because we think that, ultimately, block grants [for the states] are going to be the answer."

Highlights from Trump's press conference with Greece's Prime Minister Tsipras:

  • On Tsipras's comments during Trump's campaign that a Trump presidency would be "evil": The Greek Prime Minister repeated that the two world leaders had a productive meeting. Trump joked, "I wish I'd known that" before my speech ... "A number of countries were nervous" at first.
  • On the markets: "The stock market hit an all-time record high. I hope that Greece is going to be doing the same thing very soon," Trump said.
  • On Greece's defense budget: "I commend Greece for being one of the few NATO countries" spending at least 2% of GDP on defense.
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Alexander, Murray reach bipartisan ACA deal

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray want to stabilize the ACA. AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Sen. Lamar Alexander says he and Sen. Patty Murray have reached a deal to fund the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing subsidies in exchange for giving states more regulatory flexibility with the law. Shortly after Alexander announced the deal to reporters, President Trump called it a "good short term solution."

What we're watching: Whether this deal can gather enough support to pass — and if so, how quickly.

What's in the deal:

  • Two years of subsidy funding, along with funding for the rest of 2017. There will also likely be additional steps to help enrollees with their premiums in 2018.
  • A "copper plan" for people older than 30, which would be less comprehensive than other ACA plans but would have a lower premium.
  • $106 million in enrollment outreach funding in 2018 and 2019.
  • Shorter review time for states seeking waivers from some of the ACA's coverage requirements. It's unclear what other waiver changes have been agreed to at this time.
  • Authorization for funding to help states launch reinsurance programs, which would defray the costs of covering the sickest consumers.
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Trump loses big in Forbes' richest Americans list

Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump's net worth has fallen by $600 million over the past year from $3.7 billion to $3.1 billion, according to Forbes' 400 list ranking the richest people in America. Trump, who last year was ranked as the 156th wealthiest person in the country, now falls to No. 248, tied with Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel and others.

"Most notable loser:" Forbes, which has tracked Trump's wealth since the list first debuted in 1982, called Trump this year's "most notable loser," and blamed his losses on "a tough New York real estate market...a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign."

Key quote: "Trump did not campaign with the magazine in an effort to boost his ranking as he's done in years past" Luisa Kroll, Forbes magazine senior wealth editor, told CNBC. "We'll see if he tweets today. I know he cares a lot."

The top 10 members of America's most exclusive club:

1. Microsoft's Bill Gates is ranked at the top for the 24th-consecutive year, with a net worth of $89 billion in 2017.
2. Amazon's Jeff Bezos is second for the second-consecutive year, with a net worth of $81.5 billion in 2017.
3. Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett is third for the second year in a row, after dropping in 2016 from his 15-year hold on the second spot. His net worth is currently $78 billion.
4. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was Forbes' "biggest gainer," with his net worth jumping $15.5 billion to $78 billion.
5. Oracle's Larry Ellison has a net worth of $59 billion.
6 & 7. Koch Industries' Charles Koch and David Koch tied. The brothers have a net worth of $48.5 billion each.
8. Bloomberg's Michael Bloomberg has a net worth of $46.8 billion.
9. Google's Larry Page shows a net worth of $44.6 billion.
10. Google's Sergey Brin has a net worth: $43.4 billion.

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GM will test self-driving cars in New York City

A Cruise Chevy Bolt car. Photo: Cruise

Cruise, General Motors' self-driving car unit, says it plans to test a fleet of autonomous Bolt vehicles in a section of Manhattan in early 2018. The company will be the first to test fully autonomous cars in the state. Cruise has already been testing its vehicles in its hometown, San Francisco, as well as in Arizona and Michigan.

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FCC chairman pushes back on Trump's NBC tweets

Pai at an open meeting earlier this year. Photo: Robin Groulx / Axios

FCC chairman Ajit Pai offered a measured response Tuesday to President Trump's tweets last week arguing for a challenge to broadcast licenses for NBC stations. Pai, speaking at an event hosted by the right-leaning Mercatus Center, said the Federal Communications Commission would not revoke a license based on content.

"I believe in the First Amendment, the FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment, and under the law the FCC does not have the authority to revoke the license of a broadcast station based on the content of a particular newscast."

The bigger picture: Pai's been under pressure to respond as the nation's top media regulator, appointed by a president who regularly attacks the media.

Go deeper: Why Trump can't revoke the licenses. One reason: NBC the network doesn't have a license from the government.

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White House says Obama didn't call Kelly after his son's death

Trump and Kelly in the Oval Office. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

After President Trump essentially goaded reporters into asking the question, a senior White House official told Axios that Chief of Staff John Kelly "did not receive a call" from Barack Obama after his son was killed in Afghanistan.

Be smart: Trump is doubling down on a claim that is well outside the bounds of normal political attacks, and now he's bringing his chief of staff into it. Even after all his previous attacks on Obama, this is new territory for Trump.

Update: Kelly and his wife attended a 2011 White House event for Gold Star families, and sat at Michelle Obama's table.

Trump's comments

Defending his false claim that past presidents "didn't make calls" to families of soldiers killed in action, Trump told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio Tuesday that reporters should ask Kelly whether Barack Obama made such a call to Kelly.

"To the best of my knowledge, I think I've called every family of somebody that's died," Trump told Kilmeade. "As far as other representatives, I don't know, I mean you could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?"

Kelly's son, Marine Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly, died after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010. John Kelly, now a retired four-star Marine general, was a lieutenant general at the time.

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Report: Canada, Mexico to reject Trump's NAFTA proposals

From L-R: Trump, Trudeau, Peña Nieto. Photos: Carolyn Kaster, Ettore Ferrari, and Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

Mexico and Canada will "firmly reject" U.S. proposals for NAFTA renegotiation in a meeting today with top U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer, CNBC reports. Sources told CNBC that despite their objections, the two countries will not walk away from the negotiations.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated

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China's first space lab will fall to Earth in next six months

A man looks at a display model of a Shenzhou 8 spacecraft docked with Tiangong 1. Photo: Alexander F. Yuan / AP

Tiangong 1, China's first space lab, will make an uncontrolled descent to Earth sometime before April after the country lost control of the craft due to its rapidly decaying orbit, per The Guardian. The reentry into Earth's atmosphere should burn up most of the craft, but 220-pound pieces of debris could reach Earth's surface. China has told the United Nations the chances of the lab wreaking any havoc on the ground are "very low," but that it would closely monitor the craft's reentry.

Think back: It's not the first uncontrolled reentry of a large spacecraft, as Skylab broke up over Australia in 1979. And no word if Taco Bell will set up a target for Tiangong 1 to offer free tacos to every American — like it did with Mir's descent in 2001.

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Cryptocurrency investing gets more formal

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Serial tech entrepreneur and investor Rick Marini has launched the first-ever fund-of-funds for cryptocurrencies, called Protocol Ventures.

Why it matters: An increasing number of investors are interested in cryptocurrencies as values skyrocket, but they aren't yet comfortable parsing through white papers or picking from the dozens of nascent crypto hedge funds. This is where Marini says his fund-of-funds can help.

The fund: Starting with $1 million of his own money, Marini hopes to eventually grow the fund to at least $100 million.

  • He expects his fund's investors to be a mix of high net worth individuals, family offices, a few institutions, and potentially venture capital funds.
  • Marini plans to invest in about ten cryptocurrency hedge funds with diverse profiles, strategies, and sizes.
  • He already plans to to invest from Protocol Ventures into two funds he's personally backed—MetaStable Capital and Neural Capital. The former was co-founded by AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant, who introduced Marini to cryptocurrencies three years ago.

Pros and cons: "Family offices, institutions, and [high net worth] individuals want exposure to this space, but are unsure of how to pick the right fund managers to back," Neural Capital managing partner Christopher Keshian told Axios. MetaStable Capital's Josh Seims, on the other hand, is more cautious and says that it's too early to have an opinion on funds like Protocol Ventures. "In general, we prefer direct relationships with principals, but fund of funds allow better scaling," he adds.

On ICOs: "Probably 97% of them are garbage and that's a problem the industry needs to clean up," said Marini, adding that regulations should help.

Go deeper: Finance pros want in on the crypto boom

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Young people flock to Snap, flee Facebook

Teens overwhelming prefer Snapchat to any other social media platform, according to Piper Jaffray's 34th semi-annual Teens research survey. 47% of teens indicated that Snapchat is their favorite social platform, while only 24% of teens indicated Instagram was their favorite platform.

Data: Piper Jaffray, The Taking Stock With Teens survey; Note: Survey of 6,100 teens with an average age of 16 years; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: Investors were initially bearish on Snapchat after Instagram launched a rival "Stories" feature, which put a dent in Snap's user growth. But now Snapchat is proving that its focus on engagement over scale can lead to more opportunities for advertisers. A recent analysis by MarketingLand shows that advertisers have more opportunities to reach 13- to 17-year-olds with ads on Snapchat than they do on rival properties, like Facebook or Instagram.

One philosophical thing: Snapchat executives tells Axios they are focused on connecting people with their closest personal contacts. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told Axios' Mike Allen last week that their strategy is the exact opposite. Facebook connects people to their "weak ties," or people they aren't close to, Sandberg said.