connecting the dots on a growing divide

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The ‘Makers’ and the ‘Takers’

Today’s super rich engorge themselves on federal dollars and evade billions in taxes while ordinary Americans work themselves to the bone.

Today’s super rich engorge themselves on federal dollars and evade billions in taxes while ordinary Americans work themselves to the bone. Professor of Law and Public Policy Sheila Suess Kennedy maintains it’s high time we rethink who are the ‘makers’ and the ‘takers.’

Meet America’s Uber Wealthy ‘Double Rich’

New research suggests that if we really want to understand privilege, we need to look at both income and wealth.

Pundits usually have income in mind when they talk about the top 1 percent. And analysts sometimes rank our richest by wealth. But Duke University sociologist Lisa Keister points out that if we really want to understand privilege, we need to start looking at both.

Fast Fortunes: On the Diamond and Beyond


Baseball’s top hitter and Wall Street power suits both ply their trades in a high-speed world. That hitter will make over a quarter-billion in the next decade. The top suits stand to ‘earn’ astonishingly more. The phenomenon of high-speed trading accounts for one reason why.

A Better Yardstick for Measuring Inequality


We always get what we measure. And if we measure inequality with a yardstick that only wonks can decipher, we’ll end up with a society too confused about inequality to do anything meaningful about it. Thanks to Chilean economist Gabriel Palma, we do have an alternative.

America’s Last Throwback to Plutocracy 1.0


Heiress Bunny Mellon lived a long and rich life that spanned the divide between the top-heavy United States of the early 20th century and the equally top-heavy United States of our own times. The mystery: How did her family’s fortune outlast America’s years of high taxes on the rich?

A Third of a Trillion for Three Families

Billionaire David Koch divides most of his time between this $37-million oceanfront manse in Palm Beach, another $18-million oceanfront estate in Southampton, a $9.5-million apartment in Manhattan, and a $15-million mountain getaway in Aspen.

How concentrated has America’s wealth become? In the not-so-distant future, if current trends continue, the Koch brother, Walton, and Mars family households will together hold over $1 trillion in wealth, over 1 percent the net worth of a nation with over 300 million people.

Can a Great City Overdose on Billionaires?


The chase after the super rich is leaving the world’s choicest cities nastier places to live for anyone without a grand fortune. Any city “in thrall to money and greed,” one UK newspaper editorial warns, is inviting “nightmarish consequences” that only begin with inflated housing costs.

A Thought for the Web’s Silver Anniversary


Let’s learn from our not-so-distant past and share the gold. New technologies don’t have to bring us new inequalities. The prime example from our relatively recent past: the advent of television in the decade right after World War II. TV changed our lives, without creating billionaires.

A Tax Turnabout in the Ranks of the Right


A prominent conservative in Congress, House Ways and Means Committee chair David Camp, has released a wide-ranging tax reform package that actually will not leave the rich significantly richer. Should America’s 99 percent be grateful for small blessings — or suspicious? Or both?

The Mess on Our ‘Information Superhighway’


Why should moving data around be any different from moving people? No private party, the battle over the pending Comcast-Time Warner merger reminds us, ought to be getting rich off a basic public trust. Decades ago, in a more equal America, no private party did.

“Money is like muck, not good except that it be spread.”

English philosopher (1561-1626)

Our top reads

Executive Paywatch, by AFL-CIO

A new AFL-CIO website that calculates the ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay in 350 available companies in the S&P 500. (source)

Our columnists

Sam Pizzigati

Taxes, the Rich, and Our Known Universe

Pundits and political scientists are always searching for that simple theory that’ll explain just what makes our politics tick. Where should they be looking? How about in the eyes of a billionaire at tax time?