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The Gray Market: Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Killing the Art Market Despite Coddling the Richest American Families (and Other Insights)

October 16, 2019

US President Donald Trump smiles. Photo courtesy of Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.



Every Monday morning, artnet News brings you The Gray Market. The column decodes important stories from the previous week—and offers unparalleled insight into the inner workings of the art industry in the process.

This week, stringing up the trickle-down fantasy…



On Sunday, David Leonhardt of the New York Times held forth on a bombshell conclusion about American class disparity with a blast radius that impacts everyone. According to research by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the 400 richest families in the US paid a lower total tax rate in 2018 than everyone else in the country. And while Leonhardt never draws a specific link between this ghastly stat and the art market, I think the consequences are very real… but not necessarily in the way you might think.


Saez and Zucman’s dat