We may be nearing a political moment for ending the deep inequality that enriches people like Ken Griffin beyond imagination while leaving others without a place to sleep.
Kenneth Griffin has been on a buying streak. The hedge fund billionaire spent $238 million on a Manhattan apartment — the highest price ever paid for a U.S. home — last month. That’s in addition to the nearly $60 million he dropped on four floors of a condo in his Chicago hometown last year, as well as his properties in London and Miami.

Imagine if some of those millions had gone for housing Griffin’s fellow Chicagoans shivering through the record chills of last week’s polar vortex. Those Arctic temperatures stretched the city’s ability to provide for its sizable homeless population. Just to be inside, homeless shelter resident Ray Holleb told the Guardian, counts as “a blessing.”

Fortunately, we may be nearing a political moment for changing all this, for ending the deep inequality that enriches people like Griffin while leaving others without a place to sleep. More this week on the increasing demand for policies that divide our wealth more equally.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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How Workers Ended the Government Shutdown
“Do we have your attention now, Leader McConnell?” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, posed this question after government-shutdown staffing shortages at the Federal Aviation Administration all but halted air traffic in the Northeast. The longest-running federal government shutdown came to an end just hours later, fittingly brought to an end by government workers, the people most impacted by the ordeal. Workers have been fighting Donald Trump’s unprecedented assaults on labor rights from the earliest days of his presidency. Inequality.org co-editor Negin Owliaei has more.
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The Indignity of Dog Hair on a Honda Backseat
J. Mark McWatters rates as more plutocrat wannabee than plutocrat. He doesn’t have a billion yet. But he has espoused, as an academic, a free-market fundamentalism that has cemented his bona fides in plutocratic circles. And McWatters certainly has plutocratic tastes, as he’s displayed in spades since Donald Trump named him chair of the federal agency that regulates the nation’s credit unions. McWatters has tapped the agency’s expense account for everything from two $11,000 airline tickets and a $450 meal to a $250 UberBlack ride from D.C. to just across the river in Virginia. These extravagant tastes caught the eye of the agency’s inspector general, and a subsequent ruling has prevented McWatters from using the luxury UberBlack. That’s left McWatters, note press reports, complaining that he now has to go “schlepping around in somebody’s Civic.”

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The Best Egalitarian Capitol Hill Month Since 1932
If you worry about inequality, if you want to see an end to dangerous concentrations of income and wealth, pinch yourself. We have entered a new political moment. Egalitarians have suddenly seized the policy momentum. In January, progressives in Congress forced onto the nation’s political center stage initiatives for shearing the ultra rich down to democratic size that no major elected leader in America would have dared propose only a year ago. Maybe even a few months ago. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
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This week on Inequality.org 

Chuck Collins, Bernie's Plutocracy Prevention Act. Sanders' new 'For the 99.8% Act' is squarely aimed at preventing the children of today's billionaires from dominating our future democracy, economy, culture and philanthropy.

Basav Sen, Let’s Honor Rosa Parks by Continuing Her Struggle for Transit Equity. Barriers to public transit access make it harder for people, particularly people of color and the poor, to get to jobs and schools.

Bob Lord, Black America’s Vanishing Wealth Is Bad for All Americans. The racial wealth divide gives billionaires more power over all of us. The answer? Reparations.

Sarah Anderson, For Dell's Billionaire CEO, Taxing the Ultra-Rich is a Joke. Michael Dell falsely argues that top marginal tax rates as high as 70 percent have never worked. 

Owen Davis, The Next Shareholder Revolution. Sovereign wealth funds, an emboldened pension fund community, and ethical investor-activists could uncover the egalitarian potential of the stock certificate.

Kenneth Bedell, A Historical Take on the ‘Prosperity Theology’ of Our Deeply Unequal Times. The contemporary claim that God is urging us on to get rich would appall the preachers of America’s colonial era.

Jill Richardson, Another Presidential Candidate Who Doesn't Get It. It’s human nature to be clueless about those with less privilege than you — which for billionaires includes nearly everyone.

Elsewhere on the web 

Chuck Collins, A wealth tax could raise trillions — and save our democracy, The Hill. Why a levy on wealth would be an investment in protecting democracy from the “tyranny of a plutocracy.”

Josh Hoxie, The Shutdown Made Inequality Worse, Inside Sources. Enacting policies that enable low-wealth families to buffer rainy days and build nest eggs should be a top priority for the new Congress.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins, Racism Props Up America's Richest, Here's How We Fix It, Newsweek. Rampant inequality has given a small segment of the population enough clout to thwart efforts to close the racial wealth divide.

Eric Blanc, After LA’s Strike, ‘Nothing Will Be the Same,’ Jacobin. How teachers in Los Angeles turned the tables on billionaire privatizers.

George Eaton, Why elite philanthro-capitalists do more harm than good, New Statesman. An interview with former McKinsey consultant Anand Giridharadas.

Jonathan Mijs, The gulf between the rich and poor is widening, we just can't see it, Independent. How increasing isolation by class impacts our sense of deservedness.

Jenice Robinson, Why We Should Talk about Progressive Taxes Despite Billionaires’ Objections, Just Taxes. We must not accept narratives that treat growing inequality as just the way the world works.

Glenn Kessler, Ocasio-Cortez’s 70-percent tax rate: Not so radical? Washington Post. A top fact checker acknowledges that the AOC tax-the-rich proposal in historical context “would not be out of line at all.”

Lynn Parramore, Millionaire-Driven Education Reform Has Failed. Here’s What Works, Institute for New Economic Thinking. Undoing the mess gazillionaires have created.

Brian Beutler,  Howard Schultz and the Plutocrat Revolt, Crooked. If Democrats don’t learn to welcome the hatred of the plutocrats, they will either be stuck with Trump, or his movement will come roaring back in four years to take on a governing party that will have nothing to show for itself.
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