A project of the
Institute for Policy Studies

New Research & Commentary

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.

Why Are China’s Rich So Eager to Exit?

National People’s Congress gives rich businesspeople an opportunity to network with top politicians. They take full advantage.

China has become the world’s leading billionaire factory, producing more new billionaires in 2014 than any other country. But the powerful billionaires who run China do not want to live there.

Does Inequality Limit Life Span or Not?

Back in the mid 20th century, with smoking entrenched in our daily lives, even doctors couldn't see the health impact of smoking. We see a similar dynamic today with inequality.

The idea that our economic divides impact how long we live remains difficult for many of us to swallow. But swallow we must because inequality is killing us, as a wealth of research makes clear.

Reclaiming Our Squeezed State Budgets

If our wealthiest pay their fair share of taxes, we can make the investments we need for a healthy economy.

Governors all across the nation are crying poverty and demanding deep budget cuts on needed social services. But we’re not broke. We’re just keeping too much of our wealth in too few pockets.

Segregation’s Insidious New Face


Racial segregation dominated the American landscape for generations. We can’t afford, suggests the research of Stanford’s Sean Reardon, to let economic segregation have anywhere near as long a run.

Fair Trade? We Have Nothing Close

For the 18th century philosopher Adam Smith, markets needed fairness to function efficiently and effectively. Photo Adam Lederer

In Adam Smith’s textbook market economy, buyers and sellers know all they need to know and never get burned. Today’s oligarchs and plutocrats have essentially burned the textbook.

Blogging our Grand Divide

What George Will Got Wrong

George Will’s op-ed yesterday in the Washington Post got just about everything wrong. But the huge point he misses is that there’s more to life than the cost of a 50-inch plasma TV.

Enriching CEOs, Endangering Patients

A new online petition drive is protesting the incredibly high prices that enormously overpaid pharmaceutical company CEOs charge for cancer drugs.

Tax Fairness Strikes a Chord

You wouldn’t know it by watching our elected representatives in Congress this week, but the majority of Americans think the wealthy should have to pay more taxes, according to a new report.

Using the Family Farm to Help the Rich

At a recent House hearing, estate tax opponents focused on farmers because they’d prefer not to mention that repealing the tax helps only billionaires and multi-millionaires.

Keeping Up With the Walton’s

In the wake of Walmart’s decision to raise wages, Dollar General announced it would improve workers’ schedules but stopped short of increasing wages. What gives?

‘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.

A Promising Proposal in Rhode Island

The basic idea behind innovative legislation now pending in our smallest state: The taxes we all pay should bankroll quality public services, not grand fortunes.

We Owe You Nothing!

A new landmark student debt strike is drawing attention to the desperate need for action on a student debt crisis that’s enriching a few at the expense of a generation.

A New Yardstick for Wall Street Bonuses

The financial industry’s 2014 bonuses doubled the combined earnings of all Americans who work full-time at the federal minimum wage, shows a just-released Institute for Policy Studies report.

Study: Financial Tax Would Pay Off Big

A serious tax on financial industry high-rollers, says a landmark new German study, would raise far more billions than previous estimates have assumed.

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)