When mall-goers were asked to divvy up the American economic pie, they became surprised and disturbed at just how unequal the U.S. distribution of wealth actually turns out to be. Those feelings are playing into voting choices around the presidential elections.
 
INEQUALITY.ORG
THIS WEEK
We’ve published thousands of words, charts, and graphics about wealth inequality over the years, so we can spot a vivid depiction of our staggering economic divide when we see one. We’ve just seen one: this new CBS News video that features a reporter asking mall-goers to divvy up — literally — America’s economic pie.

Participants in this exercise quickly became surprised and disturbed at just how unequal the U.S. distribution of wealth actually turns out to be. And, as CBS notes, those feelings are playing into voting choices around the presidential elections. We have more this week on today’s Iowa caucus, where inequality will affect outcomes in more ways than one.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
 
INEQUALITY BY THE NUMBERS
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FACES ON THE FRONTLINES
Overcoming Barriers to Iowa Caucus Participation
Low-income Iowans face multiple barriers to participating in the Iowa Caucus, from inflexible scheduling to language challenges. The League of United Latin American Citizens is pushing for a more equitable process and pressing to make the current system more accessible as well. Thanks to LULACís work, some Spanish-speaking Iowans will have the opportunity to participate in the stateís first bilingual caucuses tonight. Inequality.org co-editor Sarah Anderson has more from the frontlines of the ďfirst in the nationĒ presidential contest.
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WORDS OF WISDOM
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PETULANT PLUTOCRAT
OF THE WEEK
Real Economists Donít Insult Thoughtful Teens
People who live in glass houses — and mega-millionaires who dissemble on economics — shouldn’t throw stones. For Trump treasury chief Steve Mnuchin, dissembling on economics has become standard operating procedure. Mnuchin, for instance, keeps predicting that the 2017 Trump tax cut for the rich will pay for itself, even as the federal budget sinks over $1 trillion annually into the red, almost double the 2016 level. At last month’s Davos World Economic Forum, reporters asked Mnuchin about 17-year-old climate-change activist Greta Thunberg and her call for divestment in fossil-fuel firms and an end to subsidies for fossil fuels. Sneered Mnuchin: “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can go back and explain that to us.” That snark led Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman to speculate that Mnuchin must have “slept through his undergraduate economics.” Annual U.S. subsidies for fossil fuels now run $650 billion. Without these subsidies, Krugman notes, “it’s hard to imagine that anyone would still be investing in fossil fuels.”
 
GREED AT A GLANCE
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TOO MUCH
From the UN, Exciting New Ammo for Egalitarians
At the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, analysts have just produced a remarkable new report that directly undercuts the rationalizations for inequality that cheer the current leaders of the UNís most powerful nations. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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MUST READS
This week on Inequality.org 

Brian Wakamo, NFL Owners Want Politics out of Their Sport — Unless It Comes from Them. The NFL strives to keep politics out of football, except for when the politics come from billionaire owners.

Chuck Collins, Luanda Leaks and the Global Wealth Defense Industry. We should focus on the enablers exposed in the Angola scandal: Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, and PwC.

Phil Mattera, Regulator Slaps Wells Fargo CEO With Biggest Fine Ever. Itís Still Not Enough. John Stumpf has to pay $17.5 million and is banned for life from banking. He should face criminal charges as well.

Elsewhere on the Web

Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs, A surprising solution to save American democracy, Newsweek. Why labor law may be the key to breaking the cycle of economic and political inequality.

Mark Joseph Stern, How the Supreme Court Contributed to Growing Inequality, American Prospect. The conservative majority that took shape after Earl Warren retired set in motion a stratification of rights that gave the wealthy more control over governance.

David Lay Williams, David Brooks and Economic Inequality, Public Seminar. A political scientist taps the wisdom of ancient philosophers to expose the emptiness of contemporary rationalizations for inequality.

Jason Wingard, Yes, Ms. Disney — CEOs Get Paid Too Much, Forbes. The current dean of Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies and former Goldman Sachs chief learning officer argues for raising taxes on firms with wide gaps between executive and worker pay.

Darren Walker, Charity won't fix inequality. Only structural change will, Guardian. The president of the Ford Foundation on why we need to undo the systems that create inequity.

Aimee Picchi, Is America’s low estate tax to blame for wealth inequality? CBS News. On the factors that a progressive inheritance tax so necessary.
 
A FINAL FIGURE
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