Senator Chuck Schumer said last week: ďIf we donít do bold change, we could end up with someone worse than Donald Trump in four years.Ē Now that rates as a truly sobering thought. Letís avoid that future. Letís get to work organizing.
 
INEQUALITY.ORG
THIS WEEK
“Investors” — that sober-sounding euphemism for Wall Street speculators — seem quite pleased over the results of last Tuesday’s Election Day. They see a weak, “divided” government ahead, and that prospect sent private equity kingpin fortunes soaring last week.

So how should the rest of us move forward from last week’s roller-coaster of emotions? We might begin by recognizing the encouraging victories last week that point us toward a more equal future. We have details on those bold victories below. We need more of them.

Says who? Says Senator Chuck Schumer, who still might end up the Senate majority leader. Noted Schumer last week: “If we don’t do bold change, we could end up with someone worse than Donald Trump in four years.”

Now that rates as a truly sobering thought. Letís avoid that future. Letís get to work organizing. And how bold dare we think? This brief new video from the BBC draws from an interview on billionaires I just did. May these thoughts help spark your best thinking!

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
 
INEQUALITY BY THE NUMBERS
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FACES ON THE FRONTLINES
Low-Income Voter Mobilization Put Biden Over Top
In last weekís presidential election, higher-income voters swung further towards Trump. The key to Bidenís victory? Poor and low-income voters. Preliminary surveys show those with household incomes under $50,000 voted for the Democratic candidate by an 11.5-point margin, up from an 8.2-point margin in 2016. The Poor Peopleís Campaign contacted over 2.3 million poor and low-income people to encourage them to vote and joined with Forward Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to train hundreds of poll monitors in 10 states. These monitors advocated for extended hours at over 20 polling sites. They also worked with elections officials to remove people engaging in voter intimidation, including armed individuals at majority Black voting locations. The Poor Peopleís Campaign is already mobilizing to turn the vote into policy change, including through caravans demanding more equitable Covid relief.
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WORDS OF WISDOM
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PETULANT PLUTOCRAT
OF THE WEEK
Donít Public Schools Deserve Some Security, Too?
How many textbooks could $24.6 million buy? U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos doesn’t want you asking. The overprivileged scion of not one but two ultra-rich families, DeVos has been surrounding herself with the Education Department’s first-ever high-powered security detail. Last week, the U.S. Marshals Service released the extra cost to taxpayers for all that Trump-era security: an average $6 million annually. The DeVos PR point person at ED has tried to defend those millions as a legitimate response to “threats” against “the Secretary’s safety.” But the special security arrangements didn’t start after a threat to her physical well-being. The security overkill only started after DeVos — on a school visit in the District of Columbia — ran into people protesting her hostility to public education. DeVos has spent the Trump years doing everything she can to shift resources from public to private schools and charter profiteers. Her tenure at ED has turned out to deliver just what Brookings fellow Doug Harris four years ago feared: “a triumph of ideology over evidence.”
 
BOLD SOLUTIONS
14 Successful Ballot Initiatives to Reduce Inequality
Americans last week cast ballots on initiatives with huge implications for inequality. Inequality.org co-editor Brian Wakamo has tracked 14 successful ballot measures that will help narrow our economic divides. Weíre particularly excited about new San Francisco taxes on luxury real estate owners and companies with wide CEO-worker pay gaps. Also inspiring: victories in Arizona and Oregonís largest county that will tax high earners to pay for investments in education. And go figure this: Despite intense business opposition, more Floridians voted for a $15 minimum wage than voted for Donald Trump.
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GREED AT A GLANCE
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TOO MUCH
The 2020 Election: A Triumph for Our Democracy?
On Election Day 2020, our pundits beheld the spectacle of a national voter turnout up by tens of millions and hailed the resiliency of our democracy, as imperfect as that democracy may be. Just before Election Day, meanwhile, two researchers released compelling new evidence that by the metric of governing ó the only reason we hold political horse races ó the United States no longer operates as a serious democracy. We have become something else altogether. In our current political system, their data analysis show, the rich, not the people, almost always win. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more on the research and the implications.
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MUST READS
This week on Inequality.org 

Bama Athreya, Uber and Lyft Notch Another Corporate Victory in the Global Exploitation of ‘Gig Workers.’Labor organizing in California and around the world is pushing platform companies to take extreme measures to defend their exploitative business model.

Bob Lord and Sam PIzzigati, One Key Overlooked Reason We Need the 2017 Trump Tax Act Axed — ASAP. The longer the Trump tax law remains on the books, the tighter the squeeze on funding for state and local public services.

Robert P. Alvarez, Portlandia Votes to Tax the Rich to Pay for Universal Pre-K. Advocates made the case that universal preschool has become even more important since the pandemic hit and prevailed by a landslide.

Sarah Anderson, San Franciscans Vote Overwhelmingly to Rein in Overpaid CEOs. A ballot measure to up taxes on firms with extreme gaps between CEO and worker pay has sailed through by a 65-35 margin.

Elsewhere on the Web

Anand Giridharadas, Biden Can’t Be FDR. He Could Still Be LBJ, New York Times. Biden has an opportunity to seize on policies that now have surprising resonance in both parties. One example: A wealth tax polls surprisingly well among Republican voters.

Nathan Robinson, Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes, Guardian. A reality TV clown who supports policies most Americans hate -- like tax cuts for the rich -- should not have come anywhere near winning a presidential election.

Jon Brodkin, “Overpaid Executive Tax” in SF hits firms that pay CEOs 100X more than workers, ArsTechnica. One of the most important egalitarian victories on Election Day.

Laurie Macfarlane, Six charts that reveal America’s deep divides, Open Democracy. The fractures running through US society long predate Donald Trump and Covid.

Dean Baker, Donald Trump and Being Deplorable, Center for Economic and Political Research. Trying to win over some of Trump’s voters doesn’t mean giving in to Trump’s racism and sexism. We need to recognize that large segments of the country have not benefitted from the economy’s growth.

Branko Milanovic, Is citizenship just a rent? Global Inequality. In a world of enormous income differences, the existence of welfare states has drawn a wedge between citizens of rich countries that enjoy benefits and citizens of poor countries who do not.

Ben Steverman, U.S. Billionaires Got $1 Trillion Richer During Trump’s Term, Bloomberg. Imagine what a second term would have brought us.

Thomas Martin, Only the richest ancient Athenians paid taxes – and they bragged about it, The Conversation. The 1 percent of ancient Athens felt they earned an invaluable payback from paying taxes: respect from other citizens.

Knut Dethlefsen, A new start for transatlantic social democracy? Social Europe. The past four years have been a disastrous flirtation with right-wing populism and extremism, in the United States and in Europe. We now have an opening for reimagining the transatlantic partnership beyond militarism and economic policies that enrich the already rich.
 
A FINAL FIGURE
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