We can afford to make the investments that would create a peaceful, democratic, and equitable economy. Indeed, we can’t afford not to make these investments.
We often highlight, here at Inequality.org, the grossest unjust contrasts in our U.S. economy: the luxury condos near encampments of homeless people, the CEO pay that skyrockets while the minimum wage stagnates. What would our economic order look like without those injustices? How can we go about building that economy?

A new report from the Poor People’s Campaign and the Institute for Policy Studies brings us closer to an answer. The report, Poor People’s Moral Budget: Everybody has the Right to Live, offers up a way to imagine the social transformation we so desperately need.

We can afford to make the investments that would create a peaceful, democratic, and equitable economy. Indeed, we can’t afford not to make these investments. More in this week’s issue on struggles — and victories — that move us along toward achieving two of the basic rights the Moral Budget lays out, the right to housing and the right to a decent wage.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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A Raise for New York Car Wash Workers
After years of organizing, downstate New York’s car wash workers — also known as carwasheros — are finally seeing progress in their battle to receive the full minimum wage from their employers. State lawmakers passed legislation earlier this month that will end the subminimum wage for carwasheros, a move that will simplify a confusing pay system that has allowed employers to exploit a largely immigrant population for far too long. The move is huge for carwasheros, who’ve spent years fighting wage theft in their industry. But they’re not the only ones excited. Other tipped workers are hoping that this victory in one industry will help pave the way forward for one fair wage across the board. Inequality.org co-editor Negin Owliaei has more.
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An Election Campaign with No Campaign Workers
What does a billionaire accustomed to the top-down management style of a modern CEO do when his vanity bid for the White House flounders? If you happen to be former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, you walk into the staff meeting of the election effort laying the groundwork for your independent campaign for President and announce, as the Huffington Post reports, that you’re “letting everyone go except those in senior leadership positions.” Does this mean Schultz no longer has any intention of making a presidential race? Says a senior leadership aide: “He is realigning a team for the next phase of his exploration.” Says Schultz in a message to supporters: “I look forward to being back in touch after Labor Day.”
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Our Plutocrats May Now Need a New Playbook
Back in 1978, on a June day in California, conservatives engineered an earthquake. They won a ballot initiative that capped local property taxes and, in the process, cratered funding for California’s world-class public services. But Proposition 13’s most lasting impact would be political. Prop 13 gave America’s cheerleaders for grand private fortune a winning formula for electoral success: Make elections about cutting taxes. Always. We’re still living amid the record inequality Prop 13 did so much to usher us into. But last week, in New York, the outcome of another titanic statewide political battle may well signal the dawn of a new and far more egalitarian epoch. New York has just enacted — over stiff billionaire opposition — legislation that essentially defines housing as a basic human right. 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 

Michael Galant, The Time Has Come for a Global Minimum Wage. The International Labor Organization, now celebrating its 100th anniversary, should embrace the chance to stop the global race to the bottom.

Tom Athanasiou, Global Inequality in a Time of Climate Emergency. Our world’s richest have a great deal of money. They also have the power to decide whether our civilization sinks or swims. So what can we do?

Chuck Collins, Spotted: A Piketty Reference on Hulu. Pop culture flash: A French economist’s groundbreaking book on inequality has turned up on the bookshelf of a character from The Handmaid’s Tale.

Elsewhere on the Web

Kate Aronoff, The problem with billionaires fighting climate change? The billionaires, Guardian. Nice that philanthropists are pouring money into environmental causes. But the planet would be better off if billionaires didn’t exist at all.

Umair Haque, Half of Americans Are Effectively Poor Now. What The? Medium. An unequal United States is becoming the world’s first poor rich country.

Dion Rabouin, Too much money (and too few places to invest it), Axios. Wealthy people and the corporations they run have so much money they literally don’t know what to do with it.
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Finding the Cure for Excessive Wealth Disorder
Livestream the day-long conference from the Institute for Policy Studies, Inequality.org, and the Economic Policy Institute on Taxing the (Very) Rich. Watch keynote speaker Paul Krugman, along with other policy experts, activists, and elected officials who will be making the case for taxing the very rich — and debating how best to accomplish that taxation! 

Any serious policy agenda geared towards combating inequality and raising living standards for the vast majority, the conference will help show, must look to ultra-high earners in the top 0.1 percent, the elites who wield disproportionate economic and political power. 

Save the link below to watch the live conference on June 25.