Omar’s home district knows that their representative is in Washington doing the crucial social justice work they elected her to do.
What do workers at the biggest automaker in the United States do when their CEO takes home about $22 million in compensation while laying off thousands of employees? They strike! Nearly 50,000 GM workers have just walked out to demand their fair share of the company’s billions in annual profits.

We have more for you in this week’s issue on what happens when societies let inequality and greed go unchecked. And we also have some good internal news. We’re expanding our team and will soon be hiring in Washington, D.C. and Boston. Please take a look at our open positions and share with anyone who might want to work with us. Thanks!

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Americans Need a Guarantee to a Home. Now.
Linda Armitage lost everything during the financial crisis ten years ago. With the perpetrators of the crisis enjoying a government bailout, she found herself on her own looking for a new place to live. In the years since, Armitage and her neighbors have faced the prospect of having no home at all, an experience all too typical today as America’s systemic housing emergency deepens. That’s why Armitage has become part of a growing grassroots-led push for a national shelter guarantee. In the world’s wealthiest country, she writes this week, we can and we must guarantee that everyone has a home.
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An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?
If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.
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New Evidence: Wealth that Concentrates Kills
Researchers at the Census Bureau have just released results from their latest annual sampling of U.S. incomes. Average Americans, the new stats show, have spent this entire century on a treadmill getting nowhere fast. The nation’s median — most typical — households pocketed 2.3 percent fewer real dollars in 2018 than they earned in 2000. America’s most affluent have been having no such problem. Average top 5 percent incomes have increased 13 percent overall since 2000. What impact is this top-heavy distribution of America’s income having? Increasing inequality, a just-released Government Accountability Office study makes clear, is shearing years off millions of American lives. co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
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This week on 

Bama Athreya, Victory for California’s Gig Workers. The recent passage of an important new bill could upend the predatory business practices of an entire industry.

Chuck Collins, Born on Third Base: An Interview with The Question Lane Podcast. One of our co-editors talks with Alonzo Williams about all things related to our economic divides.

Basav Sen, Name and Shame Big Political Contributors. How we can use publicly available information to fight corruption.

Christine Owens, Democracy Needs Unions. When workers don’t have a voice in their workplace, they lose their voice at the ballot box, too.

Maria Jose Carmona, Stress, Overwork, and Insecurity are Driving the Invisible Workplace Accident Rate. Pressure to work faster and longer is making work more dangerous for everyone from delivery drivers to home care workers. 

Elsewhere on the Web

Chuck Collins, The Perils of Billionaire Philanthropy, Nation. We need an overhaul of the philanthropic sector to align tax and charity rules with the public interest and protect the integrity of our tax system.

Thomas Frank, Is Meritocracy to Blame for Our Yawning Class Divide? New York Times. What we call merit has become “a pretense, constructed to rationalize an unjust distribution of advantage.”

Alexander Sammon, The Republican War on the Capital Gains Tax, American Prospect. The Trump administration is innovating new ways to make tax revenue from investment income vanish.

Derek Thompson, America’s Hot New Job Is Being a Rich Person’s Servant, Atlantic. Maybe one day we'll all end up grooming, stretching, feeding, and driving wealthy people.

Claude Fischer, Parental Love, Opportunity Markets, and Inequality, Made in America. Opportunities for success in life have increasingly gone up on sale, and the rich can always afford more.
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