No rest until public officials feel the consequences of protecting profits over people and our planet.
We asked a while back whether greed would deep-six Scott Pruitt’s anti-science tenure as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief. Now we know. Pruitt has finally stepped down after several scandal-filled months, leaving behind a long trail of receipts for misspent public funds.

Where could those dollars have gone instead? How about to schools in Detroit, where students just lost a class-action lawsuit over shockingly poor school conditions that ranged from rat and roach infestations to freezing classrooms. The federal judge in the case ruled that kids don’t have a fundamental right to “access to literacy.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Wheeler, the ex-coal lobbyist replacing Pruitt at EPA, may be even worse for the environment than his predecessor. For the rest of us, no rest until public officials like Wheeler feel the consequences of protecting profits over people and our planet.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Salvadorans Protest Attempts to Privatize Water
The activists in El Salvador who claimed victory with an historic mining ban are now turning their attention to the country’s water resources. Newly elected right-wing legislators have begun pushing through measures that would start privatizing El Salvador’s water systems. A coalition of activists, ranging from environmental groups and students to the Catholic Church, have been marching in the streets to demand the government recognize that water must remain a right, not a commodity. Pedro Cabezas has more from El Salvador.
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Can a Nation Really Become a Family Business?
Wouldn’t you know it: Donald Trump’s “favorite prime minister” turns out to be a world-class kleptocrat. Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister ousted by voters this past May, is now facing charges that he has defrauded the state investment fund out of staggering sums. Some $4.5 billion of that theft, prosecutors believe, went through U.S. financial institutions for laundering. Malaysian police have so far seized $273 million in cash and valuables — including 2,200 rings and 14 tiaras — from Razak’s various residences. Razak, the son of one former Malaysian prime minister and the nephew of another, is denying all the charges against him and says he welcomes the chance “to clear my name.” Adds the ex-prime minister: “If this is the price I have to pay for 42 years I served the people and the country...I am willing.”
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Still Another Good Reason to Cheer LeBron James
Basketball fans have plenty of reason to laud LeBron James. This son of Akron plays the game of basketball at a level that thrills fans both casual and obsessed. LeBron the concerned citizen has given us reason to cheer as well. He ranks as one of the most woke superstars in sports. On matters of social justice, LeBron has consistently refused to “shut up and dribble,” as Fox News host Laura Ingraham infamously advised him earlier this year. Now LeBron had given us still another reason for cheering. He’s just delivered a powerful anecdotal blow against plutocratic economic orthodoxy. co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of the just-published The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
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This week on 

Andrew Leigh, How Randomistas Can Help Fight Inequality. The starting point for creating meaningful social policy: a healthy skepticism.

Timothy O’Grady, Fighting Obfuscation with Certification. Businesses can earn good-conduct certificates for how well they treat the environment. We need certificates for good conduct on pay gaps, too.

Peter Marcuse, Facing the Causes of the Problems with Immigration. Those problems all start with the staggering inequalities of our time.

Elsewhere on the web 

Janice Wood, Who Is More Likely to Share The Wealth? PsychCentral. Wealthy people who feel they’ve “earned” their privilege, new research suggests, will be less likely to share than people of modest means.

Tim Arango, In Los Angeles, Where the Rich and the Destitute Cross Paths, New York Times. On how inequality hardens hearts.

Clair Brown, Luxurious Lifestyles Are Hurting Us and the Earth, Psychology Today. Chasing status no way to live a meaningful happy life.

Dean Baker, Trade: It’s About Class, Not Country, Truthout. U.S. trade policy over the last four decades has been explicitly designed to redistribute income upward.

Richard Murphy, Ignore what the Gini coefficient says: Real inequality is growing and people are suffering as a result, Tax Research UK. The inadequacies of the widely used Gini inequality yardstick allow officials who know full well that inequality is worsening to claim the opposite.

Gabriel Zucman, If Ronaldo Can’t Beat Uruguay, the Least He Can Do Is Pay Taxes, New York Times. The Portuguese soccer star’s financial maneuvers tell us a lot about the world’s failure to adapt to globalization.
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The Case for a Maximum Wage!
Modern societies set limits on everything from how fast motorists can drive to how many ducks hunters can shoot. But we don’t limit incomes. Should we? Would limiting income address the inequality that ails us more effectively than more conventional approaches? Could a cap on income — a maximum wage — ever become politically practical?

All these questions deeply matter. That some people are making far too much has become not just a problem. This inequality has become the problem, a social cancer that’s coarsening our cultures, distorting our democracies, and even limiting how long we live.

This cancer we can conquer. Egalitarians worldwide, Sam Pizzigati details in The Case for a Maximum Wage, are exploring promising new approaches to capping income. These grassroots struggles point us toward a grander goal: a world with income ceilings set as a multiple of income floors. A world without the super rich. A better world for us all. readers who order before July 31 can get 50 percent off the cover price. Just use promo code PIZMW.