We at the Institute of Policy Studies ended 2017 on a mournful note. Our co-founder, Marcus Raskin, passed away in late December. Marc was many things — a brilliant thinker, an accomplished musician, and a dear mentor — and his loss is deeply felt at IPS. We’re grateful to the many people who have joined us in remembering his life. We’ve been collecting a sampling of those tributes, which you can read here.

To those of you in the Washington, D.C. area, we’d love for you to join us at a memorial service for Marc on February 12 at the Sixth and I Synagogue, followed by an open mic for sharing “Marc stories” at Busboys and Poets. And to our friends outside of the region, please feel free to post comments or stories here. Here’s to hoping that our work in 2018 will bring a more just and equitable world in Marc’s name.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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The Deficit Is No Excuse To Ignore Inequality
The United States is facing an inequality crisis. EEvery time a lawmaker proposes an ambitious idea that could inch the country closer to economic justice, one question jumps to every skeptic's lips: How will funding that idea impact the deficit? But deficits, says Stephanie Kelton, may well be the least important thing to worry about. That's the least important thing to worry about, Stephanie Kelton says. The professor and former chief economist for Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee has some ideas on what we could ask instead in order to enact truly transformative policies.
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Can’t Anybody Cut This Poor Hedgie Some Slack?
Back in the early days of the 21st century, financial journalists rated the “flamboyant” George Hall as “one of the top hedge fund moguls” in America, and everything seemed to be going to Hall’s way. His hedge funds had over $45 billion in assets, and his yacht anchored off Manhattan. Hall even picked up a townhouse just off Manhattan’s Central Park for a mere $11.3 million, just a third of the asking price for the historic four-fireplace, five-bath, six-bedroom manse. But Hall’s financial empire has struggled over the last dozen years, and last June the wobbling financial wizard put his Upper East Side townhouse up for sale at $37.5 million. It didn’t sell. To make matters worse, a townhouse just down the block from his sold in December for an astounding $80 million, an all-time New York townhouse record. Hall, Mansion Global reports, has just placed his own townhouse back on the market.
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The Free Market Made Us Do It!
Business analysts at Bloomberg have just forever scorched the notion that over-the-top American CEO pay somehow reflects “market” reality. Just before the holidays, these analysts released the best comparative data yet on what companies that compete successfully in the global marketplace are actually shelling out for corporate executive compensation. The U.S. CEO pay average turns out to quadruple the average compensation of corporations elsewhere in the world that compete in the same global marketplace as U.S. firms. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on

Makbule Sahan and Ruwan Subasinghe, Global Support for Binding Rules On Corporate Supply Chains. About 94 percent of workers producing goods and providing services for the largest multinationals are not directly employed by these global firms.

Sarah Anderson, Marcus Raskin on Inequality and the National Security State. The Institute for Policy Studies co-founder long warned of the web of war institutions that would drive conflict abroad and economic disparities at home.

Negin Owliaei, Iran’s Protests Take Place Against a Backdrop of Inequality. Regardless of the future of the demonstrations, the country's government must deal with long-standing economic tensions.

Elsewhere on the web:

Anoop Mirpuri, Protecting Inequality, Oregon Humanities. Police violence as the outcome, not the cause, of injustice.

Premilla Nadasen, Extreme poverty returns to AmericaThe Washington Post. The flip-side of America’s insanely concentrated income and wealth.

Jesse Singal, How Wealthy People Use the Government to Enrich ThemselvesNew York. Why policies on everything from intellectual property to land use really matter.

Tom Campbell, When will we see the world's first trillionaire? The Guardian. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appears to have the inside track.

Christopher Croft, Employee ownership gives power to the people, not corporationsBaltimore Sun. New legislative proposals are encouraging business owners to transfer their enterprises to their workers.

Christopher Ingraham, Massive new data set suggests economic inequality is about to get even worseThe Washington Post. “Not only did they start on third base, they’re also running faster than you are.”
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