A project of the
Institute for Policy Studies
  • Minimum-wage-fight-for-15

    Fight for 15 Reaches New Heights

    What began as a couple hundred fast food workers in 2012 has grown into a broad-based social movement.
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    The Public Cost of Low Wages

    As workers fight for $15 an hour, a new report reveals that the restaurant industry's low pay is subsidized by taxpayers.
  • SarahscottStudyTwitter

    ‘Burning Our Bridges’

    A new report from the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies documents the sky-high cost of corporate tax avoidance.
  • House_Chamber

    Who’s Representing Us?

    In today's deeply unequal America, the latest political science research shows, people of modest means have no influence on public policy.
  • houseofcards

    ‘House of Cards’ Makes a Wonk’s Day

    In 15 seconds, this hit TV series may have exposed more people to America’s biggest CEO pay loophole than 15 years of studies and reports.
  • Fickr/Photo: Nick Kenrick

    A Model of Maldistribution

    In the mid 20th century, the world saw the United States as a pacesetter for economic equality. Not anymore.

New Research & Commentary

The National Shame of Child Poverty

The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world.

America’s wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children in America has also grown by 60 percent.

The War on (Poor) Women


Poor women’s health has fallen victim to yet another series of policy decisions, not unlike many of those over the last three decades, that have exacerbated economic inequality in America.

It’s the Narrative, Stupid!

The prevailing narrative about the economy is financed by big, well-heeled special interest groups.

The prevailing economic narrative has warped our sense of the American Dream and taken advantage of Americans’ optimistic nature. To change our politics, we must change the narrative.

The Stealth Politics of Our Unequal Age


Average Americans today have essentially zilch influence on public policy. You don’t need to trust your gut on that. Northwestern University political scientist Benjamin Page has the data.

4 Ways Corporations Owe You Money

Corporations use our nation's plentiful resources, largely at no cost, to build their profits.

The distorted belief that corporations are job creators has led to huge subsidies and tax breaks for them. In reality, corporations owe a great debt to the nation that has made them rich.

The Danger of Public-Private Partnering


Billions of dollars are at stake in the public-private partnership deals that governments are increasingly cutting. Sadly, our kids and grandkids will foot the bill on these deals if anything goes wrong.

Privatization Means Profits Over People


A recent study reveals that the federal government spends more on private contractors than on public employees for the same services. Yet elected leaders insist that free-market capitalism works best.

The Fed Needs to ‘Read the Signs’

The Fed didn't blow the whistle on the reckless banking behaviors that ended up crashing the economy in 2008, analysts suggest, because Fed officials have much too close ties to the banks they regulate.

In the years right before the 2008 financial meltdown, too many powerful people were making too much money for anyone in authority to blow the whistle and yell “foul.” Has anything really changed?

Four Facts that Illustrate Inequality

There's something perversely wrong with a society that creates $30 trillion in new wealth while putting six million more children on food stamps.

The media rarely report carefully on numbers, and Congress has little use for facts. That’s unfortunate because numbers reveal the dramatic fall of the middle class over the past 35 years.

The President’s Middle Class Economics

Had wage increases since the 1970s been distributed more equally across the board, two-earner families today would be making $20,000 more per year.

America’s middle class can once again prosper, but only if we confront growing inequality within the nation’s private sector. President Obama’s new plan for middle class revival doesn’t do that confronting.

Blogging our Grand Divide

Do Americans Want to Tax the Rich?

This simple question can’t seem to get a simple answer. A look at some new attempts to explain why.

Fight for $15 Reaches New Heights

What began in 2012 as a couple hundred fast food workers in New York has blossomed into a national movement of tens of thousands of low-wage workers.

Taxpayers Subsidize Restaurant Pay

As workers join forces to demand a $15 minimum, a new report reveals just how much the restaurant industry’s low-wage model costs ordinary taxpayers.

Estate Tax Wars: Pinocchio on Viagra

With outright lies dominating estate tax debate on Capitol Hill, two Washington Post columnists have different takes on the untruths of the anti-tax crowd.

Can an Olympics Fight Inequality?

Staging an Olympics in Boston could help reduce the wealth gap, but only if planners identify the interventions that could reduce the city’s most basic disparities.

Taxes and the Martini Lunch

It’s shameful that business lunches for restaurant executives are tax deductible, especially in an industry known for its low worker wages.

Traffic Fines from Finland to Ferguson

A $58,000 traffic ticket? A number of European nations don’t let the rich off easy. In the United States, by contrast, we punish the poor for minor offenses.

McDonald’s Workers Aren’t Lovin’ It

McDonald’s is the latest corporate employer to announce it’s giving workers a raise. But workers aren’t lovin’ the company’s decision to up wages by only $1.

5 Tax Secrets of America’s Billionaires

How does tax avoidance by the wealthy affect you? Here are five tax secrets billionaires deploy to keep you paying more than you should.

Corporate Stockpiling Out of Control

if we’re serious about fixing our crumbling bridges, roads, and dams, we should start by fixing our broken corporate tax system.

Our top reads

Twin Peaks Planet

Between our world’s twin peaks — the ever-richer global elite and the rising Chinese middle class — lies what we might call the valley of despond: the stagnating incomes of the advanced-country working classes. (source)

The Rise and Rise of the Top 0.1 Percent

New research unveiled in 2014 has solved the puzzle in our statistics on economic inequality. (source)

World’s 400 Richest Add $92 Billion in 2014

The globe’s 400 wealthiest billionaires are ending the year worth a combined $4.1 trillion, an average $10.3 billion each. (source)