A project of the
Institute for Policy Studies

New Research & Commentary

El Salvador Lessons for the TPP Fight

Miguel Rivera, speaking to reporters about the murder of his brother Marcelo, a prominent environmental leader who opposed mining in El Salvador.

In a tale of people power over corporate power, a tribunal has ruled against a global company in a case over mining rights. Now we need to block trade deals that allow these “investor-state” lawsuits.

Black Wealth in America Hardly Exists


Wealthy NBA, NFL, and rap stars get plenty of national attention. But the overall actual wealth of African Americans barely registers, hidden behind a thick decadent veil of black celebrity.

Taking the CEO Pay Fight Local

Steve Novick, a member of the City Council in Portland, Oregon, speaking at a rally.

The Portland City Council in Oregon is considering a landmark pay-ratio proposal that would place the first-ever surtax on companies with wide gaps between their CEO and worker pay.

A Long View on Trump’s Tax Insanity


Veteran tax reformer Bob McIntyre brings a historical perspective to the Trump tax-dodging scandal — and rates the best and worst American presidents on tax fairness.

Report: Privatization Drives Inequality 


A new study outlines the negative impacts of contracting public services to private companies, everything from rising rates for consumers to wage cuts for workers.

Bad News on Good Census Numbers


It’s tempting to celebrate new data on rising U.S. incomes, but our racial wage, wealth, and opportunity gaps leave a great deal yet to do. Forty-three million people still live in poverty.

The World Bank’s Inequality Omissions


The global financial institution aims to track global progress towards reducing inequality, but its first annual analysis comes flawed, notes this international labor veteran.

Clinton’s Reasonable Estate Tax Plan

If Hillary Clinton directly confronted America's inequality in her acceptance speech for the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination, what might she say?

The Democratic Party’s nominee for President has offered a plan to tax the wealthy that works as smart policy, despite the apoplectic cries now coming from the business press.

Upsetting Billionaires at Standing Rock


The Native Organizers Alliance has been supporting tribal leaders as they develop strategies to counter the powerful economic elites behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

The Clean Power Plan and Inequality


An appeals court will soon be ruling on the legality of a key Obama administration environmental plan that could narrow economic gaps by lowering energy costs and creating jobs.

Blogging our Grand Divide

A City Takes On CEO Pay

Much like advocates for a federal minimum wage increase, CEO pay reformers are realizing that national change may need to bubble up from the grassroots

Why Inequality Turns Technology Toxic

A new book draws from thousands of years of history to show that innovation flourishes in egalitarian settings and is stifled by cut-throat by competition.

Swing Voters Want Wall Street Reform

Nearly 70 percent of voters in four battleground states support breaking up the big banks and eliminating loopholes that favor Wall Street executives.

An Anthropology of the Luxury Life?

Social scientists are starting to place the lives of the wealthy under the same microscope formerly trained on primitive tribes in Borneo. Could their work help explain Donald Trump?

LePage Is Losing It

Maine Governor Paul LePage wants to jail organizers pushing to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Tabloid Takedown of Bernie Sanders

What explains the unrepentant disdain the elite media cast on Bernie Sanders bold ideas and insurgent campaign? Thomas Frank explains.

Clinton and Europe on Wall Street Tax

As 10 EU nations move closer to a financial transaction tax, a Wikileak reveals the Democratic presidential candidate may be more supportive than previously known.

Getting Beyond the ‘Buffett Rule’

In 1944, the year billionaire investor Warren Buffett first paid income tax, Americans ‘soaked the rich’ — and benefited mightily from the soaking.

Review: Let My People Go Surfing

Running a profitable company and engaging in sustained activism on behalf of people and the planet is no easy task. Neither is writing a compelling book lighting the way for others to follow. Yvon Chouinard has done both.

Our Billionaire Age Still Going Strong

The latest release of the Forbes 400 once again documents just how staggeringly unequal the United States has become over the past four decades.

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)