Legislatures tend to operate — in healthy democracies, at least — as deliberative bodies. They investigate issues. They hear out experts and stakeholders. They debate. And then they take votes.

In Washington, D.C. these days, that standard legislative operating procedure has essentially ceased. GOP leaders are trampling over almost all the legislative niceties in a mad rush to pass a tax plan that privileges the already privileged. The key vote on this tax disaster — and disgrace — could come this week.

Can we stop this greed grab? In this week’s issue, we go back to 1932 for a little stop-the-rich inspiration. Want to do your part to stop today’s rich? Tell Congress “Not One Penny” more in giveaways to the wealthy!

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
Understanding Retail's Volatile Moment
When you do your holiday shopping this year, keep this in mind: there's a chance the cashier ringing you up is borrowing money or using credit cards to pay their bills. Thanks to a survey from the Fair Workweek Initiative, a project anchored at the Center for Popular Democracy, we now have a better picture of the lives of retail workers around the country. co-editor Negin Owliaei spoke with Carrie Gleason, the project's director, to learn how insights from the survey can help the organizers fighting for financial stability for America's retail workers.
Read More
Even the Most 'Sacred' of Trusts Has a Price
Jeffrey Bewkes, the CEO of media giant Time Warner, likes people to see him as a statesman-like steward of the public well-being. He has described and defended the independence of CNN, the news network Time Warner owns, as “sacred.” But apparently not sacred enough to keep CNN off the open market. AT&T, the telecom giant, cut a $108-billion deal last year to take over Time Warner and all its TV networks, CNN included. The U.S. Justice Department has just filed an antitrust suit to stop the deal, but the deal makers, AT&T and Time Warner, have served notice they’ll fight that suit in court. Bewkes will no doubt be watching the litigation closely. He stands to pocket an $111-million personal payout if the merger goes through.  
How to Stop a Rich People-Friendly Tax Plan
Average Americans today are facing a political elite hellbent on a tax "reform" that funnels new fortunes to the already fortunate. Back in 1932, average Americans faced the same scenario — and dealt their political elite a history-shifting defeat. Could that history repeat? co-editor Sam Pizzigati surveys the scene of 1932's historic tax struggle.
Read More
This week on

Bob Lord, Under Senate Tax Plan, Average Folks Lose Even If They Win at the Track. A telling window into the impact of the GOP tax plan on America's middle class.

Sarah Anderson, Big CEOs' Thanksgiving Tax Feast. A new video explains why we shouldn't let top corporate execs continue to gorge themselves at our expense.

Elsewhere on the web:

Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie, Income inequality is bad enough, then add the race factor, The Hill. America's wealthiest 269 billionaires hold fortunes that equal the combined wealth of the nation's entire African-American population.

Americans for Tax Fairness, 13 Terrible Things About the Senate Republican Tax Plan. Business movers and shakers stand to reap a $225 billion tax cut from the changes the GOP bill makes on "pass-through income" alone.

Steven Teles and Brink Lindsey, How the State Can Make Inequality Worse, The Nation. On everything from zoning to bank bailouts, government too often serves corporations and the wealthy who run them.

George Monbiot, Our relentless consumption is trashing the planet, The Guardian. And concentrated wealth drives that consumption.

Alex Morales and Charlotte Ryan, Corbyn Means Business: An Investor Guide to Labour's Plan for the UK, Bloomberg. The plan includes an innovative proposal that would require companies that get government contracts to pay their top execs no more than 20 times what their workers receive.

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, Teachers set aside politics to help students tackle economic inequality, Christian Science Monitor. Nearly half of America's states don't mention economic inequality in their curriculum standards.

Sarah Kaplan, Long before hedge funds, cattle drove inequality, study says, Washington Post. The contemporary United States turns out to have a higher economic inequality index rating than ancient Egypt of the pharaohs!

Harvey Wasserman, Is Puerto Rico Being "Ethnically Cleansed" for the Superrich? Truthdig. A billionaire's playground à la Cuba before the revolution may now be in the offing.