With his hate-filled rhetoric, President Trump has managed to mobilize a new force against racial injustice: professional football players and team owners. As we all know, the racist justice system that has been the focus of the “take a knee” actions is intertwined with the problem of racial economic inequality. To learn more about this economic divide, check out the recent report we released with Prosperity Now, “The Road to Zero Wealth.”

This week, we’re excited to feature a commentary by the monopoly-busters who recently lost their jobs after criticizing Google’s excessive power. We also analyze the health care debate, the coming fight over tax cuts for the wealthy, and an absurd new way for billionaires to waste their money: luxury submarines.


Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
Busting Up Monopolies that Drive Down Wages
New America’s monopoly-busters have a new home. In case you missed the headlines a few weeks ago, the Washington think tank’s leadership ousted a team dedicated to exposing the dangers of corporate monopoly power. Their offense? They’d publicly applauded European anti-trust action against Google, a financial backer of New America. Thanks to a surge of support, the team’s leader, Barry Lynn, and others have launched a new organization: Open Markets Institute. We’re proud to share one of their first commentaries — an analysis of how monopolies contribute to inequality by the institute’s executive director, Barry Lynn, and researcher Kevin Carty.
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A Hedge Fund King Demands Absolute Honesty
The chairman of the world’s largest hedge fund, the billionaire Ray Dalio, has just released a widely hyped new book that extols the virtues of his “radical transparency,” the workplace principles he requires all his 1,500 employees to follow. People, Dalio likes to tell reporters, need to “get past their own ego barriers” and say what they honestly think. As Dalio puts it: “Evaluate accurately, not kindly.” In the tough-love culture of Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, all meetings get videotaped, the New York Times notes, and employees can use an app to score their co-worker arguments in real time. Dalio’s principles, critics charge,  essentially “offer permission to be verbally barbaric.” One result of that barbarity: A third of Dalio’s employees leave within two years of their hire. Another: Dalio’s personal fortune, the world’s 84th largest, is now nearing $15 billion.
This week on, veteran tax attorney Bob Lord breaks down exactly who will benefit the most from Trump’s proposed tax cuts: Trump himself. Who doesn’t benefit? The Black and Latino families struggling to make ends meet. Josh Hoxie shares findings from his recent report on the growing racial wealth divide.

Josh also wrote on the Medicare for All universal health care plan proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders. The visionary plan is gaining momentum among Sanders’ Democratic colleagues in the Senate. Unfortunately, the health care action with more momentum in the short term is the latest proposal Trump-backed plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Sam Pizzigati outlines how they get rich, we get sick.

And in less Trump-centric news, contributor Kenneth Worles Jr. showcases the dark side of hosting the Olympic games.

Elsewhere on the web, the New York Times Editorial Board takes on the current Republican led effort to cut taxes on the wealthy. The managers of the Grey Lady are unfooled by the false rhetoric claiming the plan is about the middle class. The Chamber of Commerce is contributing to this bait-and-switch, an effort Chamber Watch isn’t falling for. They published a correction of the record in Daily Kos.

On taxes, longtime inequality researcher Robert Reich responds to White House advisor Gary Cohn who claimed “only morons pay the estate tax.” In Reich’s view, only morons don't make the wealthy pay taxes.

In broader inequality developments, Jack Metzgar challenges the central thesis of best-selling author Richard Reeves’ new book Dream Hoarders. Is the driver behind rising inequality the top 1 percent as Metzgar (and many others) thinks or the top 20 percent as Reeves’ claims? Inequality is taking a toll in other avenues including on our shared prosperity as Steve Roth argues and on our constitution as Ganesh Sitaramansept claims.

On a brighter note, all of our inequality research is reaching the masses. A new poll from Wall Street Journal/NBC shows most Americans want to see taxes on the wealthy and corporations go up. Now if only Congress would follow suit!
The Health Care Story: We Get Sick, They Get Rich
Our current health care system in the United States works just fine — for the corporate executives who run it. The CEOs at 70 top American health care companies have grabbed, just since 2010, a combined $9.8 billion in personal compensation. That comes to an average annual take-home of $20 million per exec. Why should we care about millions and billions for CEOs when America’s national outlay for health care annually averages over $3 trillion? Outrageous pay simply gives CEOs an unrelenting incentive to behave outrageously — at the expense of our health.
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