The average CEO took home about 20 times what average workers did in 1970, compared to a ratio of 287 last year. And many corporations have gaps much larger than that. Taking on inequality means tackling those gaps.
The latest point of evidence that Washington’s consensus on matters wealth-related is cracking: Landmark new legislation just introduced in Congress offers a chance to take on Corporate America’s incredibly extreme divides in compensation.

The wide gulf between what companies pay their CEOs and what they pay their median worker has skyrocketed in recent years. The average CEO took home about 20 times what average workers did in 1970, compared to a ratio of 287 last year. And many corporations have gaps much larger than that.

Taking on inequality means tackling those gaps. The Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act, introduced this week by Representatives Barbara Lee and Rashida Tlaib and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, does just that. We've got more on that tax in this week’s issue.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Teachers Strike for More Than Their Paychecks
National news outlets are hailing the conclusion of a historic teacher strike in Chicago. But we haven’t been seeing much media attention on the months that follow successful strikes to defend public education. One of those strikes took place in Oakland, California, where teachers earlier this year won important concessions that benefit classrooms and community. Unfortunately, a continuing lack of resources, coupled with disruptive school closures and increasing privatization via charter schools, is still undermining the education Oakland kids receive. Oakland's struggle, activists point out, shows why educators need to challenge the underlying political and societal dynamics that undercut our nation’s public schools.
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Helping Super Yachtsmen Pull Up Their Bootstraps
Please don’t call Florida developer Wayne Huizenga Jr. a child of privilege. In press interviews, Junior would much rather we focus on a humble upbringing that saw him living with his divorced mom in a modest home “always clean and filled with love.” And, oh yeah, his dad did just happen to be billionaire Wayne Huizenga. Dad gave Junior his first business opportunity right out of college, and Junior these days owns a superyacht marina in West Palm Beach. But he’s still thinking humble, at least humble enough to claim that the census tract that contains his luxury yacht resort ought to rate as an “opportunity zone,” a designation that hands huge federal subsidies to investors who locate new projects in poor communities. In 2018, a new Pro Publica report reveals, Florida’s governor overruled anti-poverty experts and gave Huizenga’s census tract the valuable “opportunity zone” label, a move sure to raise property values within the tract. Besides Huizenga’s yachting playground, those properties now include a $5-million mansion Huizenga bought just last year.
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Braking Corporate America’s Inequality Engine
Why has the United States become so much more unequal? Any number of factors are driving our increased inequality. But no single factor may be more significant than corporate behavior. On the one hand, corporations are systematically depressing incomes for average Americans, through everything from outsourcing to pension cuts. On the other, they’re just as systematically stuffing the pockets of America’s executive class with outrageously huge rewards that give corporate execs an incentive to behave outrageously and squeeze workers. So how can we fight these corporate pay outrages? We change the incentive structure. We start giving Corporate America reason to narrow income divides, not stretch them ever wider. New legislation before Congress does just that. co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
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This week on 

Sarah Anderson, Sanders, Lee, and Tlaib Lead Effort to Tax Huge CEO-Worker Pay Gaps. The House-Senate companion bill addresses corporate America’s extreme disparities, giving firms an incentive to lift up the bottom and bring down the top of their pay scales.

Nazaret Castro, Latin American Protesters Are Demanding New Economic Models. In Chile, Haiti, and Ecuador, demonstrators want more than narrow policy changes. They want to transform the economic systems that have increased inequality for decades.

Bob Lord, Health Care and ‘Head Taxes’: An Unhealthy Combination. We need to fix the health care system that has Joe Six-Pack paying the same basic tax as Jeff Bezos.

Negin Owliaei, Time for a Billionaire Ban. The wealthiest Americans dominate our airwaves. Let’s hear from someone else for a change. 

Elsewhere on the Web

Libby Watson, Rich Americans Are Interfering in Our Elections, New Republic. On Amazon's efforts to manipulate Seattle’s city council race.

David Atkins, Pay Your CEO Too Much? Then Pay A Higher Corporate Tax Rate, Washington Monthly. A new proposal from a bevy of progressive lawmakers comes as a welcome addition to the anti-inequality policy arsenal.

Michael Tomasky, Bill Gates, I Implore You to Connect Some Dots, New York Times. Multibillion-dollar fortunes are often called excessive and decadent. But here’s something they’re rarely called but ought to be: anti-democratic.

Wolf Richter, How the Fed Boosts the 1%, Wolf Street. A look at who benefits when Federal Reserve policies inflate asset prices.

Kelly Candaele, Gabriel Zucman: Tax Policies Fuel Wealth Inequality, Capital & Main. An interview with a leading global authority on income and wealth inequality.

Thomas Blanchet, Lucas Chancel, and Amory Gethin, Why U.S. inequality is higher than Europe’s, Gulf Times. Economists often attribute rising inequality to technology or increased competition from developing nations. Both the USA and Europe have experienced these two trends. Yet Europe has become nowhere near as unequal as the United States.

Henry Aaron, To reduce inequality, tax inheritances, Brookings. If inheritances above $1 million were included in the income tax and the minimum tax rate on them stood at 40 percent, the tax would yield nearly $1 trillion, four times the estimated revenue from the current estate tax.

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