A project of the
Institute for Policy Studies

New Research & Commentary

Is Philanthropy the Same As Plutocracy?

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Rather than philanthropy, let’s pay hardworking folks a living wage. The Waltons, Kochs and other wealthy elites won’t miss a meal by doing so—and we can stop relying so much on their philanthropy.

Generating Environmental Inequality

Government decisions have generated environmental inequality in New Jersey's Ironbound community of low-income and minority residents.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is pushing a new proposal containing no environmental protections mainly for low-income, minority communities. Enter environmental inequality.

Beyond Raising the Minimum Wage

In the 19th century, labor organizers emphasized rest and leisure just as much as higher wages.

In the ongoing struggle for worker justice, perhaps we should resurrect a once prominent, 19th-century vision of the importance of civic participation, leisure, and rest for all working people.

Cuomo’s Vision: The Path Not Taken


In the 1980s, two political paths diverged in America. We chose the easier, the one that asked less of us. The late Mario Cuomo’s political vision is a reminder of the path America didn’t choose.

Taking ‘The Spirit Level’ to a New Level


The British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett changed how the world thinks about economic inequality with their landmark 2009 bestseller. Now they have a new book in the offing.

Congress Spreads Joy to the 1 Percent

In the 2015 spending bill, Congress spread holiday cheer to the 1 percent.

Though several members of Congress lauded the 2015 Congressional spending bill as reassuring evidence of bipartisan cooperation, the bill was actually just a holiday giveaway to the 1 percent.

The Politics of Adjunct Faculty Labor

Adjunct unionization is on the rise on college campuses across the country.

The corporatization of the university undermines the historic role of college as a site of political protest. The rise of adjunct professors accelerates this trend since they are less likely to encourage protest.

We’re Subsidizing the Forbes 400

Billionaires from mega corporations like Intel are picking up billions in state and local government subsidies.

Billions of taxpayer dollars are now going to corporations busy stuffing the pockets of America’s billionaires. The eleven richest Americans have all received government subsidies, details a new report.

America’s Ten Greediest of 2014


This year’s all-stars of avarice range in age from thirty-somethings to nearly octogenarian status. They’re all doing their best to keep our world a staggeringly unequal place.

Accelerating Racial Wealth Inequality


The marches in the streets may have been provoked by police conduct in Ferguson and Staten Island. But there is a deeper dream that has been deferred.

Blogging our Grand Divide

Can Philanthropy Fix Our Inequality?

Billionaire Bill Gates has a deep faith in the generosity of his fellow billionaires. Researchers in the financial industry don’t seem to share that faith.

Top 5 Inequality Ideas in the SOTU

The President’s speech included 5 policy proposals that would have a big impact on reducing inequality.

Dueling Wall Street Taxes

To clamp down on Wall Street recklessness, we need to be taxing both excessively leveraged financial institutions and short-term speculating. Why does the White House see the two taxes as an either/or?

A Blue-Ribbon Inequality Blindspot

To save our democracy, a major new report on our grand divide never gets around to recognizing, we need to contemplate our plutocracy.

Understanding the Trust Fund Loophole

The White House is going after a tax code provision that lets the super rich avoid billions of dollars of taxes. Is the President finally having his ‘Piketty moment’?

Putting a Price-Tag on Inequality

The typical American would be three-times richer if the United States distributed wealth as equally as France.

America’s Rich: Poor Have It Easy

A new poll reveals that America’s rich think they work harder than the poor. The problem is that the rich misunderstand what work actually is.

House Dems Push CEO Pay Reform

Right out of the blocks, House Democrats are pushing a tax reform in the 114th Congress that responds to public concerns over the persistently wide gaps between CEO and worker pay.

Top 5 Inequality Moments of 2014

Looking back on 2014, it’s easy to see inequality remains a top issue for Americans. Here’s a roundup of the top 5 inequality moments of 2014.

The Ever-Shrinking Trillion Dollar Club

The ultimate yardstick for wealth’s concentration in the United States? That may be how many billionaire fortunes we need to combine to reach $1 trillion.

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)