Giving in to corporate greed always comes at a cost.
“What’s up, bootlickers?” That’s how one angry Seattle citizen greeted city council members after they repealed a corporate tax they had passed only a few weeks earlier to raise funds to help the homeless.

Who lurked behind this remarkable about-face? That would be Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who threw a fit over the original tax. The measure required companies taking in at least $20 million a year to pay a per-employee fee towards combating the city’s affordable housing crisis.

The backlash from Seattle residents against the city council cave-in to Bezos should serve as a warning for all the cities vying to house Amazon’s second headquarters: Giving in to corporate greed always comes at a cost. We have more this week on Bezos and his billions — and another local inequality-busting initiative now under threat.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
Facebook Twitter
Inside D.C.'s Heated Battle Over the Tipped Wage
Walking into a restaurant in Washington, D.C. these days means entering a battleground. The city’s dining establishments have become the frontline in a war over the subminimum tipped wage, the lower base wage that employers pay tipped workers. On June 19, D.C. voters must decide whether or not to join seven other states that require employers to pay their tipped employees a full minimum wage. Initiative 77 — and the heated debate around it — have dragged a long-standing national discussion over the subminimum tipped wage into the limelight. co-editor Negin Owliaei has more on the tipped workers fighting a well-funded misinformation campaign in their restaurants.
Read More
Facebook Twitter
Friendly Skies, Meet a Bulldozed Beach!
United Airlines, CEO Oscar Munoz freely admits, has had “some setbacks.” Setbacks? Business observers see one disaster after another. Last spring, United security officers violently dragged a doctor out of a plane. The Munoz response? He expressed regrets for “having to reaccommodate” the passenger off the flight. This past March a bulldog died after United forced its owner to stuff the pup in an overhead bin. The Munoz reaction? To demonstrate United’s new “culture of accountability,” the CEO announced he’d accept only $9.56 million in annual pay. Florida environmental officials, meanwhile, want to see some accountability, too. They’re demanding that Munoz and his wealthy oceanfront neighbors fork over nearly $235,000. A Jacksonville TV station has video that shows bulldozers rebuilding the dunes by the Munoz beachfront manse with sand illegally snatched from a nearby public beach.
Facebook Twitter
The Corporate Con Shredding Our Future
Last year, U.S. corporate outlays for stock buybacks totaled $800 billion. The buyback pace this year has quickened, as top execs rush to “invest” the savings they’re realizing from the GOP corporate tax cut enacted last December. In May alone, corporate CEOs bought back $174 billion worth of their shares, “an all-time record” for a single month. None of these buyback billions will make America’s corporations more creative or productive. What will these buyback billions do? They’ll simply, as one Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist noted last weekredistribute “even more of the nation’s wealth to corporate executives, wealthy investors, and Wall Street financiers.” co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
Read More
This week on 

Sarah Anderson and Karla Molinar Arvizo, The Poor People's Campaign Goes to Congress Some politicians are finding ways to lift up the voices of Americans struggling with poverty and inequality.

Mery Concepcion, Inequality Takes Center Stage in Colombian Presidential Election. The popularity of Gustavo Petro’s platform proves it’s time for a progressive movement in Colombia.

Josh Hoxie, Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich? Some rich people fly first class to fancy hotels. Others fly private jets to private islands.

Chuck Collins, Remembering Grenfell: Who Are Our Cities For? Local gentrification cycles are supercharging as cities become global destinations for parking investment capital.

Elsewhere on the web 

Ben Steverman, Heirs of Heirs of Heirs of Heirs Love Dynasty Trusts, Bloomberg. The Republican tax cut enacted last December is opening the door to tax-dodging dynasty trusts.

The rich, the poor, and the trash, Deutsche Welle. Inequality, this stunning new video shows, too often leaves the rich indifferent.

Is government intervention the best way to cut inequality? Debating Europe. A global exchange on the path to economic fairness.

Helaine Olen, Scott Pruitt is acting like what he is: The poorest member of Trump’s Cabinet, The Washington Post. A fresh new angle on the many scandals of EPA chief Scott Pruitt: inequality made him do it!

Bryce Covert, The Demise of Toys ‘R’ Us Is a Warning, The Atlantic. The private equity kingpins swooping in to buy floundering retailers may be hastening their demise.

Noah Smith, Why Economists Avoid Discussing Inequality, Bloomberg. They're too busy looking for theoretical free lunches to explore the real-world dynamics that grand concentrations of private wealth unleash.
Facebook Twitter
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 dont limit incomes. Should we? Would limiting income address the inequality that ails us more effectively than conventional approaches to narrowing our vast economic divides? 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 thats coarsening our cultures, distorting our democracies, and even limiting how long we live.

This is a cancer we can conquer. Egalitarians worldwide, Sam Pizzigati details in The Case for a Maximum Wage, are exploring promising new approaches to capping income. Theyre leveraging the power of the public purse, fighting to deny government contracts, subsidies, and tax breaks to enterprises that pay their top executives more in a morning than their workers can earn in a year  or even a career.

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 pre-order before June 30 can get 50 percent off the cover price. Just use promo code PIZMW.