Take a look through this week's newsletter and let’s all get ready for the struggles to create a strikingly egalitarian 2021!
Our Inequality.org reporting on the soaring wealth of America’s billionaires — during our pandemic — is starting to make a real impact on the 2020 election campaign discourse. Just yesterday the New York Daily News gave front-page coverage to our work showing that U.S. billionaires have seen their wealth jump over $930 billion since mid-March alone.

And our reporting also seems to be inspiring journalists to dig into just how billionaires have been collecting all those billions. This past week, for instance, we learned that White House officialdom last February shared with Wall Streeters insider info about the actual severity of the pandemic, info that enabled hedge funds to “short everything” and make some spectacular speculative killings.

Also this past week, I had the honor of helping to launch the Patriotic Millionaires Tax the Rich, Save America Roadshow, a series of zoom calls that features some of our top congressional advocates for a much more equal America. You can see one of the first roadshow stops wirh Rep. Pramila Jayapal  on C-Span and register for any of the upcoming calls online. Take a look and let’s all get ready for the struggles to create a strikingly egalitarian 2021!

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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Brazil’s Indigenous Are Fighting Corporate Greed
The Association of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil is standing up to powerful, government-backed corporations to protect indigenous rights and lands, all while fighting a deadly pandemic. On October 15, the Institute for Policy Studies honored the Association for its brave work with the prestigious Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. Sônia Guajajara accepted the award on the Association’s behalf and described the continuing assaults on Brazil’s indigenous, including arson in the Amazon. Noted Guajajara: “Behind every fire that is lit is corporate greed,” the greed of the world’s largest banks and corporations, “the ones who profit from this destruction — from every centimeter of land invaded, from every tree cut and burned. In the flames, they see money.”
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A Single-Minded Fixation on Keeping the Rich Rich
Fifty years, a long time to hold a grudge. Billionaire Charles Koch has been stewing that long about taxes on the rich and regulations on their businesses. Americans who accept those taxes and regs, he intoned in 1974, are “preaching pure and unadulterated socialism.” Back then, Koch set himself a goal:  to develop a “well-financed cadre of sound proponents of the free enterprise philosophy.” And he’s kept at that goal for decades, first by bankrolling litigation that gave America’s wealthy carte blanche to spend as much as they wanted on political campaigns, then by seeding the courts with pliable jurists. In the 1990s, Koch dollars financed seminar junkets for judges at ski resorts and beachfront palaces. More recently, Koch millions have fueled the Federalist Society, a recruiting network that fills state and federal benches with free-market zealots. Since 2017, Koch has focused on packing the Supreme Court. Now, with high-court nominee Amy Coney Barrett nearing confirmation, his life’s work — turning America into “a free market free-fire zone” — seems almost complete.
Needed: A Global Treaty to End Corporate Impunity
Covid-19 has had a disastrous impact on workers for transnational corporations. Millions have abruptly lost their jobs while others have had no choice but to continue working in dangerous conditions. This crisis offers just one more reminder that we need a legally binding global treaty to end the impunity of transnational corporations that profit off violating the rights of vulnerable workers, particularly in developing countries. From October 26 to 30, a working group of the UN Human Rights Council will hold the next in a series of negotiations since 2014 to develop such an instrument. Makbule Sahan of the International Trade Union Confederation and Ruwan Subasinghe of the International Transport Workers’ Federation have identified key priorities to ensure a treaty that goes beyond ineffective voluntary corporate responsibility standards and provides enforceable protections for workers the world over.
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The Biden Tax Plan: A Lot for Progressives to Like
Want to know where the 2020 presidential election is heading? Don’t obsess about the polls. Pay attention to the tax lawyers and accountants who cater to America’s most wealthy. These experts in saving the rich millions and billions at tax time understand what Americans as a whole still haven’t quite fathomed: The nation’s wealthiest will likely pay significantly more in taxes if Joe Biden becomes president. If these rich don’t take immediate steps to “protect their fortunes,” their law firms are advising, they could lose out big-time to Uncle Sam. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on Inequality.org 

Bob Lord, Inequality in America: Far Beyond Extreme. The maldistribution of America’s income and wealth has reached levels that our conventional economic stats have trouble revealing.

Elsewhere on the Web

Jason Hickel, Billionaires are incompatible with planetary boundaries, The Correspondent. To survive the impending environmental catastrophes that loom before us, we need to distribute income and wealth more fairly. That will require a maximum wage and a wealth tax.

Guido Alfani, Pandemics and inequality: A historical overview, Vox EU. The 14th century’s Black Death had a major leveling impact. But the rich then figured out how to keep their fortunes largely intact.

Josefa Velasquez, Calls to Tax the Rich Abound. But What Exactly Does that Mean? The City. Lawmakers in New York are considering a new annual levy on the unrealized capital gains of billionaires.

Thalif Deen, Global Poverty Soars As Incomes of World’s Billionaires Hit New Highs, Inter Press Service. A look at a new World Bank report.

Emma Penrod, Is your CEO worth $6 million? Utah Business. Why corporate chiefs make too much and what we can learn from Utah’s lower executive pay levels.

Dean Baker, Waiting for a Vaccine: Killing for Inequality, Center for Economic and Policy Research. Americans are dying avoidable deaths while patent laws concentrate our wealth into ever fewer pockets.

Matt Stoller, Congress Gets Ready to Smash Big Tech Monopolies, BIG. Our tech giants have each built up giant monopolies in key sectors, in the process concentrating enormous stashes of wealth. The pushback has just taken a giant step forward.

Peter Goodman, Stakeholder Capitalism Gets a Report Card. It’s Not Good, New York Times. The corporate CEOs of the Business Roundtable last year pledged to go beyond self-interest. They haven't.

Jacqui Germain, Congress is full of millionaires. Their wealth should be taxed to fund social programs, Mic. The wealth tax that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders boosted earlier this year needs to return to our political center stage.
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