Please join us and Reps Omar and Jayapal and Naomi Klein on October 15th to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the assassinations of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt and to honor the heroes of today at our annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Gala.
 
INEQUALITY.ORG
THIS WEEK
We’ve just published online our latest billionaire update. The figures remain stunning. The sum total of U.S. billionaire private fortune has just hit $3.8 trillion, up over $850 billion since mid-March. Check out my chat with Audie Cornish on NPR's “All Things Considered” discussing billionaire wealth during the pandemic. 

The most outsized billionaire fortune of all, most Americans know by now, belongs to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. More and more Americans, fortunately, are also coming to understand that the Bezos billions rest on the exploited and endangered labor of workers like the East African immigrants who make up nearly a third of the workforce at Amazon’s Shakopee warehouse in Minnesota.

Two years ago, protests by these Shakopee employees gained the first concessions to U.S. workers in Amazon’s history. Later this week, our Institute for Policy Studies will be honoring the Awood Center — the moving force behind East African worker organizing in Minnesota — at the 44th annual (but first virtual) Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards Gala.

Also on hand October 15 for the virtual gala will be Naomi Klein, the environmental activist and writer who’s become such an inspiration to so many of us. We have more online about the evening. Please join us!

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
 
INEQUALITY BY THE NUMBERS
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FACES ON THE FRONTLINES
Celebrating Somali Workers Standing Up to Amazon
The pandemic has expanded Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s personal fortune while putting even more stress on his frontline workers. Employees at one of the online giant’s warehouses in Minnesota are pushing the company to address the inhumane working conditions that have become even more dire in the face of Covid-19. Workers have staged a series of walkouts, most recently to demand reinstatement of an employee allegedly fired after voicing concerns about safety protections. On October 15, the Institute for Policy Studies will present the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award to the Minneapolis-based Awood Center, the backbone of support for Amazon's heavily Somali immigrant workforce in Minnesota.
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WORDS OF WISDOM
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PETULANT PLUTOCRAT
OF THE WEEK
From Greatest-Ever to No-Apologies Surrender
The man who made the greatest trade in Wall Street history. The 64-year-old hedge fund manager John Paulson will carry that label for the rest of his days. In 2007, by essentially betting that the speculative edifice of subprime mortgages was going to colossally crash, Paulson scored a $1.25-billion windfall in just a single morning. Overall, he pocketed $4 billion for the year and another $11 billion for the investors in his hedge fund. Other investors, naturally, soon rushed into Paulson’s operation. But their experience wouldn’t prove nearly as rewarding. Paulson & Co. has been “underperforming” for years, and that failure to deliver has had investors fleeing, dropping the dollars under Paulson’s management by over three-quarters. Now Paulson is converting his hedge fund, the Wall Street Journal reports, “into a private investment firm that runs only his family’s money.” Paulson has refused to comment publicly on the switch, but he did note in a letter to the last investors that “I am proud of our long-term returns.” Still a billionaire, Paulson’s keeping busy these days helping Donald Trump raise campaign cash.
 
BOLD SOLUTIONS
Changing the Rules of Billionaire Philanthropy
Institute for Policy Studies research has documented the top-heavy drift of our contemporary charitable giving, with increased donations by the wealthy masking a troubling decline in small-donor giving. Over the last few weeks, two town halls on this alarming trend have drawn over 3,000 participants from 46 states. Both town hall discussions now appear online, the September 21 event featuring analysts from NonprofitAF, Decolonizing Wealth, Byrd Barr Place, and Inequality.org and the October 5 town hall spotlighting experts from the California State Assembly, the Wallace Global Fund, the Chorus Foundation, Slack Global Consulting, and CalNonprofits. The next step: pressing for an Emergency Charity Stimulus to mandate that private foundations and donor-advised funds increase their payouts to front-line nonprofit organizations. You can individually sign on to support the Emergency Charity Stimulus here. If you can make an endorsement on behalf of your organization, please sign on here.
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GREED AT A GLANCE
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TOO MUCH
Will Millennials Ever Live in a More Equal USA?
Every three years researchers with the Federal Reserve fan out across the United States to conduct thousands of interviews with Americans at every economic level. The data these interviews generate drive the Fed’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances. The latest edition of this Survey series has just appeared, complete with the most comprehensive, up-to-date info we now have available on who has wealth in the United States and who doesn’t. In that who-doesn’t category go the vast bulk of the households of the nation’s millennials, those Americans born between the early 1980s and 1996. But some millennials, the new Fed data make plain, hold huge heaps of wealth. What does this asset imbalance portend for the future? Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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MUST READS
This week on Inequality.org 

Rosaline John Baptiste, I Am Not a Mop Bucket for Wealthy Families. Domestic workers like me need Covid-19 relief, regardless of our immigration status.

Chuck Collins, Updates: Billionaire Wealth, U.S. Job Losses and Pandemic Profiteers. U.S.  billionaire wealth up $850 billion since March 18th, and global billionaires are up $1.5 trillion.

Elsewhere on the Web

Lukas Kikuchi, Luke Hildyard, Rachel Kay, and Will Stronge, Paying for Covid: capping excessive salaries to save industries, Autonomy and High Pay Centre. A new report from the UK's top executive pay watchdogs concludes that setting a maximum wage for the British executive class would help secure over 1 million jobs.

Ingrid Robeyns, There’s no such thing as a self-made billionaire, The Correspondent. The reasons why by a professor of ethics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Peter Eavis, While Millions Lost Jobs, Some Executives Made Millions in Company Stock, New York Times. The soaring stock market has delivered outsize gains to the wealthiest Americans. And few among the super rich have done as well as corporate execs.

Sergio Galletta and Tommaso Giommoni, Pandemics and inequality, Vox EU. Troubling new historical research: During the 1918 influenza pandemic, income inequality became higher in areas more afflicted by the flu pandemic, an effect that seems to have persisted even a century after the pandemic.

David Cay Johnston, Two Tax Systems. One For the Likes of Trump, Los Angeles Times. Right-wing lawmakers have defunded the tax police.

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, Trump’s Biggest Advantage in Fighting Off Covid: His Wealth, Yes! People from less-advantaged groups suffer a disproportionate burden of Covid disease and death.
 
A FINAL FIGURE
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