Over the years we’ve showcased the countless ways the world’s richest are wasting away immense fortunes on everything from gold-plated sports cars to diamond encrusted footwear. What’s your gaudiest favorite? Let us know! The reason we ask: America’s rich are expecting a sizeable new hunk of disposable cash, what with new figures from the Tax Policy Center showing the nation’s top 1 percent stands to gain an average of $200,000 per year from the pending Donald Trump tax cuts.

In this week’s issue, we interview the new president of the Economic Policy Institute — a key resource in the struggle against inequality — and wonder about the psychological underpinnings that hold inequality in place. And if you missed it, check out the new Bernie Sanders Show where Bernie and I explore our still growing economic divide.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
At EPI, New Leadership and the Same Old Integrity
In Corporate America these days, business gurus never tire of hammering home the importance of “building up the brand.” Over the past three decades, in  U.S. progressive circles, no institution has a done a better job at building up the brand — for careful, cogent number crunching — than the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute. Now the 31-year-old EPI stands poised to begin a new era. Thea Lee will next month succeed the veteran economist Larry Mishel as the think tank’s president.

Lee’s no stranger to EPI. She worked there early in her career, over 20 years ago, specializing on global trade during the pivotal debates on NAFTA. Lee continued that trade work at the AFL-CIO, America’s labor center, where she went to become the labor federation’s policy director and then its deputy chief of staff. What will Lee’s new role mean for EPI’s widely respected work on income distribution and America’s working families? sat down with Lee last week to get her take.
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A Hollywood Powerhouse Can’t Decide on an Ending
Harvey Weinstein, the notoriously “brash and controlling” Hollywood producing magnate worth an estimated $150 million, says he’s sorry. Sort of. The New York Times last week detailed 30 years of charges that Weinstein had sexually harassed women in his employ — after Weinstein’s all-star legal team had tried to stop the Times from publishing the story. At the last minute, with the story’s publication imminent, Weinstein did apologize for behavior that “has caused a lot of pain.” But shortly after the story’s appearance, USA Today notes, Weinstein unapologetically “threatened legal action” against the Times. His lawyer called the Times account “saturated with false and defamatory statements.”
This week on, Jessicah Pierre questions if the NFL’s billionaire owners who’ve publicly resisted Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric will back their gestures up with real action — and real dollars. John Fullerton of the Capital Institute implores cities to say no to the race to the bottom Amazon sparked when the giant retailer announced plans for a second U.S. And Chuck Collins shares tales with Bernie Sanders on their more than 20-year relationship fighting the scourge of rising inequality.

Elsewhere on the web, Jennifer Berkshire explains how school “choice” is actually widening the racial wealth divide. Over in Europe, young people are running an inspiring new campaign —  dubbed the 99% initiative — to dramatically increase taxes on the ultra-wealthy.

Here in the United States, regretably, the talk of the town is running all about how far Trump’s proposed tax cuts will take us in the opposite direction. On that front, economists Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman each have penned pieces excoriating the Trump tax plan, an objectively bad deal for those concerned about inequality, adds Eduardo Porter.

Trump’s tax cut agenda took a step forward last week as the House passed a budget resolution plan designed to serve as a legislative vehicle for the plan. Mike DeBonis and Kelsey Snell at the Washington Post break down that bill. The Koch brothers, meanwhile, are spending big to push wavering Democratic senators to support the bill, as John McCormick points out in Politico.

The Trump tax plan may yet hit some roadblocks, starting perhaps with the massive deficit the plan’s tax cuts would create, as Bob Bryan explains. Unfortunately, that hasn’t prevented 48 percent of the country, as one new poll shows, to say they support the bill. Worse yet, as Stephanie Kelton reminds us, deficits rate as the weakest of the many reasons to hate this tax giveway-to-the-rich legislation.  
Why Do So Many Super Rich Despise the Poor?
Just days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Donald Trump unleashed a tweet that outraged many but surprised few. With millions of Puerto Ricans without minimal food, water, and fuel, Trump lashed out against those islanders literally begging for more federal help. Tweeted Trump: “They want everything done for them.” How terribly insensitive, millions of us on the mainland muttered in response. But how predictably Trump, we all sighed. The Donald being Donald. But we’re making a mistake, a big mistake, when we react that way. Trump’s insensitivity doesn’t just reflect Donald being Donald. His comments reflect Donald being rich. Super rich. co-editor Sam Pizzigati explains.
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