Over the last several days, protesters across the United States have demanded justice for the horrific police killings of George Floyd and countless other African Americans. These uprisings for racial justice have seen more police violence against protesters and sparked a new national dialogue on a question that needs raising: What counts as looting?
Over the last several days, protesters across the United States have demanded justice for the horrific police killings of George Floyd and countless other African Americans. These uprisings for racial justice have seen more police violence against protesters and sparked a new national dialogue on a question that needs raising: What counts as looting?

We have looting, the standard media take tells us, when people take stuff out of Target. Do we also have looting when the Target CEO takes in $21.6 million in compensation and pays so little attention to safety and employee well-being that Target workers recently had to go on strike?

Or did the satirists at The Onion have it right when they blasted protestors for having the nerve to loot a business without first forming a private equity firm to gather "a group of clandestine investors to purchase it at a severely reduced price and slowly bleed it to death." Or is looting directing federal corona aid to the nation's most powerful corporate execs?

Black lives do matter. The looting we should be worried about, the kind that spawns inequality and violence, has gone on for far too long.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
Facebook Twitter Download
Bus Drivers Refuse to Work With Police
Over the past several days, police have met protesters with force across the United States. But police have run into an obstacle as they’ve attempted to arrest large numbers of demonstrators demanding justice for those killed by police violence: The transit workers they had asked to transport people to jail are instead standing in solidarity with the protesters. We have a roundup this week on these worker actions.
Read More
Facebook Twitter Download
The Lucrative Tyranny of Lowered Expectations
Poor Paul Murphy. Back last October Murphy came on as CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. — a 454-restaurant chain — after negotiating a $7-million annual cash-and-stock package. But then the pandemic hit, and the company’s revenue cratered. Murphy suddenly stood to miss all the company profit targets he had to clear to pocket his full $7 million. How unfair! Red Robin’s board of directors apparently thought so, too. They rewrote the performance targets in Murphy’s pay deal. To collect his millions, Murphy now only has to perform as well as the CEOs of Red Robin’s restaurant rivals. Red Robin’s workers, meanwhile, are suffering pay cuts and layoffs. The restaurant chain, a special Reuters investigation finds, has joined a growing complement of corporations that are rewriting CEO performance standards in light of the pandemic — to make sure they can retain “talent” and give executives “fair and realistic” goals.
Put Digital Infrastructure Under Democratic Control
The coronavirus crisis has demonstrated how the for-profit oligopoly that controls our wireless spectrum, cloud infrastructure, and broadband Internet has deepened economic and racial divides. In Philadelphia, for instance, around 20,000 students lack Wi-Fi and have not been able to attend online classes. Comcast, a giant telecom headquartered in Philly that has pocketed billions in public subsidies, refused to open its residential Wi-Fi networks to these students. As a result, thousands of low-income children have been forced to do their schoolwork in parking lots. The Democracy Collaborative and Common Wealth are now proposing taking digital infrastructure out of corporate hands and treating this vital service as essential public infrastructure like roads and water systems.
Read More
Facebook Twitter Download
Our Future: ‘Failed State’ Status Here We Come?
Americans have at various times in our past battled horrific bouts with infectious disease. And Americans have lived through times of sheer economic desperation. But we’ve never — until this corona spring — experienced both at once. The latest stats have made this grim landmark “official.” Over 100,000 Americans now dead from Covid-19. Over 40 million claims for unemployment insurance. No nation on Earth has lost as many people to the coronavirus. No rich nation on Earth has a population less economically secure. The United States is becoming, commentators are contending, a “failed state.” Where does the blame belong? Societies that tolerate deep divides in income and wealth, new research suggests, invite pandemic disasters. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
Read More
This week on Inequality.org 

Manuel Perez-Rocha. Corporate Lawsuits Could Devastate Poor Countries Grappling with COVID-19. Wealthy corporations may use trade courts to keep public health measures from cutting into their profits.

Michael Elliot, UK Court Nails a Big Four Auditing Firm for Enabling Financial Misconduct. A judge has awarded $11 million to a former partner at Ernst & Young who was fired for blowing the whistle on money laundering at a gold refinery in the United Arab Emirates.

Elsewhere on the Web

David Dayen, How the Fed Bailed Out the Investor Class Without Spending a Cent, American Prospect. The Federal Reserve has done wonders for Corporate America’s confidence.

David Sirota, Who Exactly Is Doing the Looting, and Who’s Being Looted? Jacobin. Our Orwellian era defines working-class people pilfering convenience store goods as “looting” and rich people stealing hundreds of billions as just well-functioning “public policy.”

Basav Sen, Coronavirus Denial and Climate Denial Have One Thing in Common: Greed, Newsweek. The common thread between climate denial and coronavirus minimization: the weaponization of opposition to science in the service of profit — no matter the cost to everyone else.

Catherine Rampell, Republicans’ latest proposed tax cut for the rich could permanently hobble future presidents, Washington Post. The new GOP proposal: a temporary “holiday” on capital gains taxes. Last year, our top 1 percent received three-quarters of all long-term capital gains.

Angela Saha, Time is a luxury only the rich can afford, and it is about time we change that, Highlander. Every second not spent at work represents a second wasted to someone of modest means.

Holly Corbett, What The Pandemic Means For The Wealth Gap, Forbes. Fed policies have sparked a stock market rally that's benefiting higher-income earners.

Chris Arnade, What About the Rotten Culture of the Rich? American Compass. An ex-Wall Streeter reflects on the financial industry selfishness that trickles down infecting and impacting everyone.

Selena Hill, What Pandemic? Billionaires Are Getting Richer During COVID While the Economy and Labor Force Tank, Black Enterprise. Between March 19 to May 19, billionaire wealth grew 15 percent.
Facebook Twitter Download