The case of PG&E shows us yet again how dangerous it is when goods that should be public are sold for profit.
How is one city in California expecting residents with medical needs to cope with the power shutoffs the utility giant PG&E is now inflicting on the state? The advice from Berkeley city officialdom: “Please use your own resources to relocate to an unaffected area now.”

This advice might work for the wealthy, like the PG&E shareholders who’ve reaped ample financial rewards or the flacks raking in millions distracting attention from PG&E’s role on deadly wildfires. But that advice certainly isn’t going to work for Californians without resources.

Fortunately, we do have some good advice out of Berkeley this week, from University of California economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. The 50 percent of Americans with the lowest incomes, their new analysis shows, today pay taxes at higher rates than billionaires. Their advice? Demand that our elected leaders make like plumbers and fix the leaks that let the wealthy siphon off wealth from the rest of us.

Tax justice, Saez and Zucman remind us, can have a “bright future.” More on that justice in this week's issue.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Garment Workers Combat Gender-Based Violence
In Lesotho, labor unions and women’s rights advocates, with support from international allies, have secured landmark agreements with leading apparel brands to combat gender-based violence and harassment in the garment sector. Levi's, Children’s Place, and the Wrangler and Lee jeans company will now require local suppliers to cooperate with a worker-led, enforceable program to eliminate these problems. These agreements set a vital precedent in the fight against one of the most pervasive obstacles to gender equality. More this week on the campaign for these agreements.
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Our Youngest ‘Self-Made’ Billionaire Has a Bad Day
Life will likely never be a bowl of cherries, even for the youngest person ever to grab a billion-dollar fortune. TV reality star-turned-makeup mogul Kylie Jenner reached that milestone earlier this year, at age 21, but money can’t apparently buy you love. Needing a little “retail therapy” after a recent break-up, Jenner picked up a cute new set of wheels, a $3-million Bugatti Chiron. She then posted a video about the new wheels online, no doubt expecting congrats from her 147 million social media followers. What Jenner received instead: an immediate massive pushback. Seems that folks seem to believe that someone who already owns over a dozen cars — including a Lamborghini and a trio of Rolls-Royces — doesn’t need another. As one fan put it: “When is enough enough?” Jenner quickly deleted her Bugatti post, after only a few hours live. Groused the lip-kit billionaire a few days later: “The internet makes everything 100 times more dramatic than what it really is.”
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Have Researchers Just Hit an Inequality Trifecta?
At racetracks all across America, lucky bettors every so often pull in small fortunes when the horses they pick to finish one, two, three — a trifecta — just happen to finish in that order. But America’s awesomely affluent don’t have to place any bets to pull in the windfalls. They’re essentially hitting jackpots on a daily basis, as a “trifecta” of timely just-released research reminds us. co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
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This week on 

Theo Wuest, Don't Leave Equality to the Supreme Court. In 29 states, trans people can legally be denied jobs and housing because of who we are. Congress should act.

Josue De Luna Navarro, A 'Red Deal': Why Indigenous Communities Belong at the Center of Climate Action. Policies that aren’t rooted in Indigenous communities can cause many of the same oppressive outcomes as extraction.

Elsewhere on the Web

Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice, New York Times. Two top inequality scholars have produced a jaw-dropping analysis of the past half-century of U.S. tax history.

Berkley Bedell, I ran a business. I know a CEO doesn't need to make 1,000 times more than his workers, USA Today. Wisdom from a 98-year-old former U.S. “Small Businessman of the Year.”

Annie Lowrey, Cancel Billionaires, Atlantic. Wealth inequality, we need to recognize, hurts us all.

David Leonhardt, The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You, New York Times. For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans last year paid a lower total tax rate — spanning federal, state, and local taxes — than any other income group.

Daniel Greenstein, The Future of Undergraduate Education: Will Differences across Sectors Exacerbate Inequality? Daedalus. We are facing a higher ed future where “personalized, face-to-face experiences” will only be available for people of considerable means.

Eileen Appelbaum, How Private Equity Makes You Sicker, American Prospect. Investment firms are consolidating hospital empires nationwide, leading to closures, higher prices, and suffering — and windfalls for private equity kingpins.

Norman Vanamee, Meet the Rich Kids Who Want to Give Away All Their Money, Town and Country. Resource Generation is helping rich people examine the visible and invisible ways they have benefited from their wealth.

Thomas Gilovich, Unequal Happiness, What Makes Us Human? An enlightening episode of a Cornell University What Do We Know about Inequality? series.
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Work with The Institute for Policy Studies is hiring for three new positions on our Inequality team! We’re looking for an Inequality Policy Researcher and an Administrative Assistant and Events Coordinator to join our Boston office, as well as an Inequality Data Researcher to be based in Washington, D.C. You can read more about the positions and apply here.

Apply for the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity: Are you a change-maker committed to fighting inequality? Do you want to learn from scholars, innovators, activists and social change organisations, and the latest academic research and expert insights on inequalities? The Atlantic Fellows are looking for applicants who are bold and ready to challenge power; who see the bigger picture of how inequalities are playing out; who are imaginative and daring in the way they envision solutions; who bring care and collaboration into their practice; who recognize the significance of lived experience of inequality and whose own lived experience informs their practice; who are not focused on advancing their careers, but are truly committed to changing the world through collective and collaborative approaches. The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme is a funded fellowship based at the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Read more about the program and apply here.