My colleague Marc Bayard has some great insights worth a read this Labor Day.

My colleague Marc Bayard, the director of the Black Worker Initiative here at the Institute for Policy Studies, has some insights just published in The Nation worth a read this Labor Day.

“Bias,” he writes, “limits our collective growth.”

And this year’s Labor Day, Bayard adds, sees that bias under assault as seldom before. “Acts of radical defiance” — by activist essential workers and professional basketball players alike — are showing that “systemic racism cannot be separated from the growing and perverse economic inequalities” that have devastated Black America and concentrated the nation’s wealth and power. We can take hope from their struggles.

Lots more good reading for Labor Day in this week’s issue!

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team

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For California Gig Drivers, a Cambodian Connection
Uber and Lyft have launched a war against the state of California for requiring the two rideshare giants to treat their drivers as employees subject to normal job protections. The companies have bankrolled a ballot initiative, Prop 22, to roll back this law, claiming their drivers benefit from the “independence” and “flexibility” of their contractor status. Writer Bama Athreya has drawn from interviews with gig workers around the world to expose the reality of the app-based model. In Cambodia, for example, rickshaw drivers have never had a great life, but they had more independence before they had to use apps to get passengers. They no longer have power to negotiate over fares or even know what fare will be paid before they accept a ride. If they don’t accept rides at whatever fare the platform company sets, they risk being “deactivated” and losing their livelihoods. California gig workers face the same exploitation. Prop 22’s passage would only accelerate the pace.
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A Double Fault for a Billionaire’s Squeezed Son
Life can get rough for the progeny of billionaires. They have to live up to the “success” of their outrageously wealthy parent and, at the same time, make sure their kids “succeed,” too. Life just became even rougher for the 54-year-old Amin C. Khoury, son of billionaire Amin J. Khoury. A Massachusetts grand jury indicted him last week for agreeing to shell out $200,000 to Georgetown University’s tennis coach in exchange for that coach helping his daughter get accepted, falsely, as a star tennis recruit. Khoury now ranks as the 57th person charged in the still unfolding national college deep-pocket admissions scandal. Khoury’s attorney is charging that his client’s daughter has committed “no test or class cheating” and filed “no misrepresentations” in her Georgetown application. But that defense doesn’t speak to the charges against Khoury, a self-described “financial professional” with over two decades of executive experience in private equity and hedge fund operations.
Upcoming Town Halls on Charity Funding Reform
Current tax rules enable wealthy donors to warehouse most of their charitable funds forever. As a result, more than $1 trillion dollars is not reaching front-line charities in desperate need right now. Meanwhile, those wealthy donors have already taken their tax deduction, costing other taxpayers up to 75 cents for every dollar being warehoused in this way. Join us for two upcoming online town halls to learn more about this problem and what can be done about it. The co-hosts: the Charity Initiative of the Institute for Policy Studies along with CalNonprofits and the Community Centric Fundraising Network.
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Those Short Pressure Putts Sure Can Be Killers
Trying to keep up with the stunningly inappropriate — and worse — remarks of Donald Trump can sometimes seem a full-time job. Last week’s most outrageous Trump comments may have come in a Fox News interview. In an exchange with right-wing superstar Laura Ingraham, Trump sloughed off this year’s widely reported instances of police brutality against Black people — like the seven shots a Kenosha police officer fired into the back of Jacob Blake — as “chokes” by law enforcement officers “under siege.” And what exactly did he mean by “chokes”? Said Trump: “They choke just like in a golf tournament. They miss a three-foot putt.” Trump’s analogy provoked immediate revulsion. But his vile equivalence between a golf putt and police violence doesn’t just reveal the sordid worldview of an impulsive man. Trump’s golfing equivalence has so much more to tell us about the bubble of enormous wealth that has always enveloped him — and so many others of his super-rich class. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Marc Bayard, Black Labor Leaders Are Needed Now More Than Ever. We’re working to build the leadership and strategists that a diverse labor and worker movement demands today.

Brian Wakamo, Professional Athletes and the Power of a Union. If a few sports walkouts can force change on the national level, imagine what an Amazon or Wal-Mart walkout could do.

Elsewhere on the Web

Shirley Leung and Larry Edelman, Coronavirus made the wealth gap worse. How long can a divided economy stand? Boston Globe. The economy could fall into a downward spiral as low- and higher-income households both continue to spend less. Meanwhile, billionaires have seen their wealth surge nearly 33 percent, or $970 billion, since mid-March

Somini Sengupta, Here's What Extreme Heat Looks Like: Profoundly Unequal, New York Times. A hotter planet does not hurt equally. In much of the world, staying cool has become an unaffordable luxury.

Adolph Reed, Jr. and Walter Benn Michaels, The Trouble with Disparity, Eliminating the wealth gap between the poorest 50 percent of Whites and the poorest 50 percent of Blacks would eliminate only 3 percent of the U.S. overall racial wealth gap. An analysis of  the questions these numbers raise.

Sheri Berman, Where did Trumpism come from? Social Europe. How can rich elites maintain their privileges once mass suffrage exists? A look at the latest chapter in a long-running political science debate.

Emma Vickers, How the Sacklers Shifted $10.8 Billion of Their Opioid Fortune, Bloomberg. A graphic examination of how one Big Pharma family has laundered billions through a variety of tax havens.

Meg Wiehe and Carl Davis, The Rich Are Weathering the Pandemic Just Fine: Tax Them, Just Taxes. New Jersey is showing the way with the governor pushing for financial transaction tax

Matt Stoller, Why Jeff Bezos Is Worth $200 Billion, BIG. You might be worth $200 billion, too, if you ran a company that knows how to use politics to destroy its competition.

Joseph Stiglitz and Kitty Richards, You Want Progressive Policies? You Need Progressive Taxes, New York Times. States, cities, and school districts must require their wealthiest to pay higher taxes right now.
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We’re Hiring an Managing Editor!
The Inequality team at the Institute for Policy Studies works with partners to reverse the maldistribution of income and wealth that is undermining our democracy, fraying our social fabric, and destroying our planet. We’re looking for a new managing editor for the website and weekly newsletter, ensuring that the content stays fresh and meets high-quality standards for a broad, general audience. This full-time, full-benefit position will operate out of our office in Washington, D.C., pandemic permitting.