Inequality.org in the News
Plutocratic Policies and the Age of Gilded Giving
Rob Reich | The Washington Post | November 30, 2018
“The trend toward ‘Gilded Giving’ is the subject of a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies . It confirms that we have shifted from broad participation in charity to an increasing dependence on the giving of the wealthy. Fifteen years ago, households earning $200,000 or more were responsible for only 30 percent of all charitable deductions. In 2017, however, they accounted for 52 percent of such deductions. Over the same period, there was massive growth in the number of private foundations and increasing warehousing of wealth in donor-advised funds (which allow donors to invest tax-exempt money, reaping immediate tax deductions, for future disbursement to nonprofit organizations).”
The problem with Michael Bloomberg’s massive donation to Johns Hopkins University
Helaine Olen | The Washington Post | November 20, 2018
"The age of inequality has led to an explosion of massive fortunes. One result is a surge in philanthropic giving by the wealthiest of Americans. On the one hand, it’s their money. But on the other, charity, in the words of the Institute for Policy Studies, has become increasingly 'top heavy,' dominated by a few multimillionaires and billionaires with their own needs, wants and agendas. "
It’s time to break up wealth dynasties in the U.S.
Ellie Anzilotti | Fast Company | November 16, 2018
"When reading 'Billionaire Bonanza 2018,' it’s difficult to know where to start. Do you talk about the fact that the wealth of the Walton family alone increased from $690 million in 1982 to $169.7 billion in 2018–an unfathomable leap of 9,257%, and one of the few times I’ve spelled out a percent change with a comma? Or do you look to Jeff Bezos, whose individual fortune of $160 billion is now nearly equivalent to that of the entire Koch family? [...] The U.S., the 'Billionaire Bonanza' report reminds readers, has a strong tradition of breaking up concentrated wealth."
What Taxing the Rich Could Yield
Kalena Thomhave | The American Prospect | November 1, 2018
“A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) takes a close look at the billionaire multi-generation families who wield that power—the American dynasties. Taking their cue from the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the United States, the report, ‘Billionaire Bonanza,’ by Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good, and Josh Hoxie, director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation, both at IPS, details how the nation’s 15 wealthiest families—some with household names (Walton, Koch, Mars), some perhaps less-known (Duncan, Bass, Stryker)—are worth a combined $618 billion. Overwhelmingly, this is inherited money; the companies from which these families derive their wealth were all started at least a generation ago. [...] ‘We’re not a society trying to create kings and queens and piles of hereditary fortunes,’ says Collins, ‘but that’s essentially where we’re heading if we don’t intervene to break up these wealth dynasties. And if you think we’re already there,’ he adds, the future ‘will be worse.’”
Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and the Rule of Pampered Princelings
Naomi Klein | The Intercept | October 10, 2018
“Chuck Collins, an heir to a family fortune who gave it up in order to fight entrenched inequality, recently wrote about the moral risks that accrue when so many powerful people, from Trump to Kavanaugh, deceive themselves about how much they were helped. ‘If I believe that success is based entirely on personal grit,’ he wrote for CNN, ‘then why should I pay taxes so that someone else can have a comparable head start to mine — with early childhood education, access to quality health care and mental health services, and low-cost higher education?’ [...] In some cases, people are still genuinely convinced that they worked for all the money they have. But where this is obviously not the case, different justifications are emerging. ‘They responded that “our family is deserving. We have better values that we have passed on or a different work ethic.”’ And sometimes, Collins told me, this self-justification slips into more dangerous territory. ‘You hear that this is all genetics. Or that “our health is better” or “we have more energy.”’”
Boston’s new luxury towers appear to house few local residents
Tim Logan | The Boston Globe | September 11, 2018
“Many buyers of condominiums in the new luxury towers sprouting around Boston are either part-time residents or investors — sometimes with no clear connections to Boston — according to a study published Monday that argues the city’s high-end building boom is doing little to help local residents. Researchers with the Institute for Policy Studies, the Washington, D.C., think tank that produced the report, combed property records for some 1,800 condos in 12 newer luxury buildings in Boston, from the Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing to the petite Le Jardin, overlooking the Public Garden. They found that more than one-third of the units are owned by limited liability companies, trusts, and other business entities that allow buyers to obscure their identities. Just 36 percent of owners requested the property tax exemption the city offers homeowners — a sign that the owners may live elsewhere most of the time.”
Elite CEO pay jumps to average of $19 million, as fears mount over the wealthy pocketing gains
Jeff Stein and Jena McGregor | The Washington Post | August 16th, 2018
"Another report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank, found that the richest 400 Americans control more wealth than the poorest 80 million U.S. households, and similar research has found the top 1 percent now holding 40 percent of the nation’s wealth."
Skyrocketing executive pay packages are about to become more costly for corporate America
Renae Merle | The Washington Post | January 3, 2018
“‘The  tax bill included a CEO pay reform that we’ve been calling for about 20 years, but we’re not bragging about it because it will not make up for all the other corporate giveaways in the legislation,’ said Sarah Anderson, global economy project director for the Institute for Policy Studies, a social justice think tank. ;We would like to think this would result for an overall decline in compensation that it could inject some rationality.’”
It’s Been 50 Years Since MLK Jr. Declared War on Poverty. The Economy for Black Americans Still Stinks.
Eli Day | Mother Jones | January 16, 2018
“Moreover, the wealth gap between black and white families is more like a yawning chasm. The most widely cited data on this comes from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, which shows that the median white family is worth 10 times more than the median black one, ($171,000 and $17,600, respectively) [.…] Yet under a less generous model employed by the Institute for Policy Studies (but perhaps more accurate since it excludes the falling value of the family car), the median white family ($151,800) is worth over 35 times the median black one ($4,300). More damningly, a recent report from the institute finds that 30 percent of black households have ‘zero or negative wealth,’ with median black household wealth on a collision course to hit $0 by 2053.”