Dow Jones numbers, most of us understand, tell us precious little about how our economy is impacting the lives most Americans lead.
What makes for a “healthy economy”? Wall Streeters and our current White House measure economic health by the Dow Jones stock average. Last week, for the first time ever, that average hit 29,000. But outside the offices and watering holes of America’s privileged, few were cheering. Dow Jones numbers, most of us understand, tell us precious little about how our economy is impacting the lives most Americans lead.

What sort of indicators do offer real insight into how our economy works? Try this finding from a new study just published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health: Higher minimum wages, investigators have found, appear to lower the suicide rate.

The minimum wage in the United States nationally hasn’t budged up a nickel since 2009. But the fight for a $15 minimum has raised the minimum wage in a number of states and localities. The new suicide rate stats show that providing all workers with a real living wage couldn’t be a more urgent task. A more equitable economy saves lives.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Stop Wall Street's Fossil Fuel Money Pipeline
Between fires in Australia and flooding in Indonesia, climate change has already in just the first two weeks of 2020 alone killed dozens of people and ravaged our environment. With the climate crisis continuing to escalate, a coalition is coming together to target the Wall Street firms financing the ongoing destruction. We have more on Stop the Money Pipeline, the campaign that launched at last week’s Fire Drill Fridays civil disobedience event in Washington, D.C.
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A Deep Pocket’s ‘Wealth Tax’ Nightmare Scenario
The end of entrepreneurship in America! Billionaire sports merchandising exec Michael Rubin last week predicted this horrific future for the USA should an annual wealth tax along the lines of proposals from White House hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders ever become law. Is Rubin just making his doomsday claim because a wealth tax could hike his tax bill over $130 million a year? Oh, no, Rubin told Yahoo Finance in an interview published last week. His $2.9-billion personal fortune has nothing at all to do with his opposition to a wealth tax. Explains Rubin: “I'm not saying that because I’m a successful guy.” He only cares, Rubin insists, about America’s future. With a wealth tax, he intones, “people won’t start businesses here anymore.” Not any of Rubin’s billionaire pals at least. For most everybody else, the entrepreneurial spirit just might live on. Under the Sanders proposal, household wealth under $32 million would face no wealth tax. Warren’s wealth tax kicks in at $50 million.
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New Leadership at the IMF, Same Old Hypocrisy?
People listen when the International Monetary Fund speaks. The institution ranks as one of the world’s top economic entities, functioning “as the global lender of last resort, bailing out countries in financial difficulty and issuing policy advice alongside its interventions.” People listen particularly closely when the IMF seems to be changing that advice. From the early 1980s into the 21st century, the advice the IMF proffered essentially ignored inequality. IMF officials advised struggling nations to woo the rich, not tax them, and keep social spending modest. Last week, the new IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva delivered advice that would have shocked those IMF officials. But will her noble sentiments make any difference? co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Sarah Anderson, War Profiteering is Real. We Need to End It. CEOs of major military contractors enjoyed a big jump in the value of their personal stock holdings after the U.S. airstrike that killed an Iranian military leader.

Elsewhere on the Web

Naomi Klein, Climate Solutions That Neglect Inequality Are Doomed to Fail, Truthout. To beat climate barbarism, we need to reverse income and wealth concentration.

Colin Gordon, Inequality in the Trump Era, Dissent. The Trump administration didn’t invent the policies that redistribute wealth and income to the top. But the Trump White House has doubled down on them in characteristically cruel and petty ways.

Lynn Stuart Parramore, Prescription drug costs in Americans are sky-high. And yes, Big Pharma greed is to blame, NBC News. The status quo remains unhealthy for anyone except wildly overpaid pharmaceutical company execs.
Clio Chang, The Only Thing Stopping Us From Taxing the Rich Is Political Will, Nation. Meet Gabriel Zucman, the rock star economist behind the wealth tax.

Tobore Okah-Avae, CEOs make more in first week of January than average salary – pay ratios are the solution, Conversation. A University of Bristol analyst calls for indexing executive pay to worker earnings.

Brock Keeling, Can San Francisco be fixed? Curbed SF. Can a single city confront its “unrivaled economic inequality”?

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