The week before the election, we have 17 ballot measures to fight inequality and a story on farmers and meatpackers teaming up. Click on! You'll learn and maybe even laugh a little, too.
Elections, the modern proverb goes, have consequences. And America’s wealthiest have certainly enjoyed those consequences over the past three years, ever since the late 2017 passage of the Trump administration’s enormous tax cut — for the rich and the corporations they run.

Our team has just published an analysis that traces that tax cut’s impact on the economy as a whole. Billionaires have made out like boisterous bandits. Their net worth has shot up to nearly $4 trillion. America’s workers? Since the Trump tax act, they’ve seen manufacturing jobs in the United States decrease, in no small part because that act, as my colleague Sarah Anderson writes, “gave big companies an even bigger incentive to offshore U.S. jobs to lower-wage countries.”

We’ve also just published, working jointly with Americans for Tax Fairness, our latest update on how billionaires have fared since the pandemic shutdowns kicked in last March. More on that update below and still more coming this week via Zoom as the good folks at Patriotic Millionaires continue their Tax the Rich, Save America virtual roadshow. Click on! You’ll learn and maybe even laugh a little, too.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Farmers and Meatpackers Teaming Up in Wisconsin
For dairy farmer Hans Breitenmoser, the odds of catching Covid-19 on the job run slim. But that hasn’t stopped him from standing in solidarity with the meatpackers and food processing workers who’ve been among the pandemic’s hardest hit. Through the Wisconsin Farmers Union, Breitenmoser has become active in a farm-labor alliance calling for better protections for vulnerable workers, along with measures to insulate family farmers from the recession. For Breitenmoser, a life-long family farmer, joining forces with mostly immigrant food-processing workers makes total sense. As he told’s Sarah Anderson: “If you look at where value comes from and where the money goes in the food industry, I, as Joe Farmer, have more in common with Bob, the guy in the slaughtering plant, than I do with the CEO of a foreign agribusiness corporation.”
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Covid Sacrifice, CEO-Style, on the Las Vegas Strip
This past March, with his gaming giant reeling, MGM Resorts CEO William Hornbuckle took one for the team. He gave up the $700,000 remainder of his 2020 salary to help his company, the claim went, conserve cash. All that Hornbuckle asked — and received — in return: shares of his company’s stock then worth $700,000. Those shares have since appreciated to $1.3 million in value, and Hornbuckle, overall, has now gained $4 million from the stock awards in his 2020 pay package. MGM Resort’s chief flack, meanwhile, is taking umbrage at any hint that Hornbuckle and his fellow  execs are making out like two-armed bandits. These execs, says Debra DeShong “took on great risk, risk that still exists in that we are not operating under normal circumstances.” Not “normal”? What could be not “normal” about U.S. corporate execs making millions while their workers take it on the chin? In August, MGM Resorts turned 18,000 of its 63,000 Covid furloughs into layoffs.
Seventeen 2020 Ballot Initiatives to Fight Inequality
Come November 3, all eyes will be on the presidential election. But the race for the White House won’t be the only balloting that impacts the future of U.S. income and wealth inequality. Voters across the country, notes’s Brian Wakamo, will be deciding important ballot measures and initiatives that could significantly reduce economic divides  statewide and in local communities. From a tax hike on the wealthy to pay for education in Arizona to an expansion of transit equity in Georgia, these  measures have flown under the political radar — but would have a massively meaningful effect for millions.
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A Bold Pay Prescription for a Post-Trump America
What we know today as the “New Deal” — Social Security, labor rights, and so much more —  would actually only start taking shape two years into Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Great Depression-era administration, and only after massive mobilizations of workers and the unemployed recast the popular sense of what government could and should do. If Joe Biden emerges the winner on Election Day, his administration — like FDR’s — will need to quickly focus on providing badly needed immediate relief, from pandemic this time and not just economic collapse. But then what? What sort of fundamental change should Americans be mobilizing to achieve? We now have a bold and daring new suggestion from our British cousins. Earlier this month, two leading UK think tanks jointly called for a “maximum wage.” co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Taryn MacKinney, The Postmaster General’s Manufactured Mail Slowdown and Racial Inequality. Mail delay complaints are averaging nearly 50 percent higher in zip codes with populations more than 45 percent people of color.

Sarah Anderson, The Trump Tax Reform Helped the Billionaire Class — Not the Working Class. The Republican tax law boosted the fortunes of America’s wealthiest while increasing insecurity for U.S. manufacturing workers.

Chuck Collins, Updates: Billionaire Wealth, U.S. Job Losses and Pandemic Profiteers. U.S. billionaire wealth has surged $931 billion since March, amid 220,000 dead and millions with lost livelihoods.

Elsewhere on the Web

Steven Dean, The Truth About Taxes: George Floyd Died, Donald Trump Got Millions, Economic Hardship Reporting Project. In 2014, Eric Garner died at the hands of police after being suspected of evading taxes by selling cigarettes without tax stamps. That same year, Donald Trump also came under suspicion for evading taxes. But Trump suffered no more than a financial slap on the wrist.

Greg David, Number of Million-Dollar NYC Earners Hit Record, New Stats Show, Even as Tax Bills Grew, The City. So much for the theory that rich people will rush to flee jurisdictions that boost taxes on their awesomely affluent.

Dean Baker, Waiting for a Vaccine: Killing for Inequality, Center for Economic and Policy Research. Patent monopolies for Big Pharma bring us significantly greater inequality and, even worse, cost lives.

Sharon Lerner, Trump Sets Up Pharma Billionaires for Coronavirus Payday, Intercept. Regeneron, led by Big Pharma’s two highest-paid execs, received mega millions in public funds for developing an antibody therapy and now stands to make a killing from its potentially lifesaving treatment.

Ananya Chakravarti, Trumpworld’s Corruption Is as Globalized as the Ultra-Rich the President Mingles With, Foreign Policy. Trump’s wealth has come from exploiting our tax and credit systems — and access to the interconnected world of the global elite.

Sally Haslanger, The problem with philanthropy, New Statesman. By buying their way into academic, scientific, and cultural institutions, the rich have quietly undermined democracy.

Marco Ranaldi and Branko Milanovic, Capitalist Systems and Income Inequality, Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality. Let’s hear it for Slovakia and Taiwan. They’re sharing the wealth.

Robert Kaiser, Corruption and greed in America’s new Gilded Age, Washington Post. The beneficiaries of our new Gilded are using their dollars to aggressively protect their wealth, in the process distorting our democracy and helping our “Midas disease” roar back to life.

Jonathan Chait, Conservative Think-Tank Finds Biden Tax Hike Only Hurts the Rich, New York. But don’t count on GOP politicos lending any support to tax-the-rich efforts.

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