Here at we’ve worked to expose the billionaires who enabled the Trump presidency through campaign donations. The financiers of the insurrection, unfortunately, still remain largely anonymous. More on the reforms needed to end their anonymity in this week's issue.
These are tense times for our divided country.

Americans are watching the Covid relief negotiations in anguish. Will Congress come through with a deal that will prevent millions from falling deeper into poverty and financial distress? Or will lawmakers give in to those who seem to care more about “fiscal restraint” than saving lives?

Meanwhile, the impeachment trial has laid bare the depth of the threat to our democracy that January 6 represented. Our former president may now never face charges for what happened that day, but we can still hold accountable those who bankrolled the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Here at we’ve worked to expose the billionaires who enabled the Trump presidency through campaign donations. The financiers of the insurrection, unfortunately, still remain largely anonymous. More on the reforms needed to end their anonymity in this week's issue.

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Pandemic Sparks New Unionizing on Campuses
Workers at universities have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Employment levels have dropped over 14 percent since February 2020, thousands of university staff have fallen sick or even died, and schools are threatening austerity. But staff are fighting back. In Arizona, workers at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University have organized a “wall-to-wall” union of all campus staff to protect workers and improve their working conditions. In an interview with researcher Brian Wakamo, Laurie Stoff, an Arizona State professor and union organizer, shares why these staffers have organized — and how they’re fighting on behalf of all staff to build a better university for all.
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Another Suspect Champ for America’s Little People
The billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, after teasing a run for governor of California last month, now says he feels “not ready” to run. But a race down the road certainly does seem likely. No billionaire seems more intent on establishing a “man of the people” persona than Palihapitiya, who last spring blasted the pandemic bailout for enriching “rich CEOs” while Main Streeters “are getting wiped out.” In last month’s GameStop battle between hedge fund short-sellers and Reddit forum day-traders, he called the traders “a pushback against the establishment in a really important way.” But Palihapitiya, a former Facebook exec, hardly rates as a people’s champion, writes Walker Bragman in Newsweek. Better to see him as just another “tech-industry oligarch promoting anti-government ideology, repackaged and updated for the social media age.” One telling example: Palihapitiya wants to zero out California’s income tax, the nation’s stiffest state levy on wealthy households.
How We Can Expose the Insurrection Financiers
Impeachment managers compellingly argued last week that President Trump was “singularly responsible” for inciting the January 6 assault at the Capitol. They also laid out ample evidence that officials should have seen the insurrection coming. Violent Trump supporters had made no secret of their intentions in the lead-up to the attack. The wealthy financiers behind the “Stop the Steal” rally had to have known what they were supporting. With the Senate now having failed to convict the former president, the immediate struggle now shifts to holding his wealthy enablers accountable. co-editor Sarah Anderson has more.
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Tales of Our Most Gilded Ages, Past and Present
A century ago, at the height of America’s original Gilded Age, the nation’s richest had a veritable army of servants at their beck and call. Last month brought a glimpse at that history when the American Irish Historical Society put up for sale the mansion on New York’s Fifth Avenue that has been its home since 1939. This Beaux-Arts manse went up originally in 1901, one of the many lush homes on the avenue that belonged to the era’s leading plutocratic families. According to the 1910 Census, the mansion hosted eight live-in servants: one butler, five maids, and two cooks. Rooms in the mansion had “call buttons” to summon servants at a moment’s notice and a “back staircase, dark and cramped, that maids used to move quietly from floor to floor.” How does that scene compare to today’s Gilded Age? co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Covid and Inequality Facts: Our data visualization series illustrates how the pandemic and flawed policy responses have widened long-standing economic, racial, and gender divides.

Chuck Collins and Bob Lord, Taxes on the Rich: One-Sixth of What They Used to Be. A new IPS briefing paper highlights the unique role of tax policy in wealth concentration.

Elsewhere on the Web

Olivia Goldhill, Covid-19 vaccination rates follow the money in states with the biggest wealth gaps, analysis shows, Stat. The data back up anecdotal reports from around the country that the wealthy have been able to gain access to vaccines way ahead of low-income people.

Arwa Mahdawi, These wealthy vaccine cheats prove we were never all in this together, Guardian. Numerous studies show the “upper class” are more likely to lack empathy and engage in unethical behavior.

Trebor Scholz, Expanding Democratic Ownership, Public Seminar. Why we need to move towards a democratic economy that distributes control over economic assets far more equitably. 

Dean Baker, Want to Reverse Inequality? Change Intellectual Property Rules, Nation. Changes in intellectual property have done far more than tax cuts to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.

Sam Pizzigati, Toward a More Equal Union, The Progressive. Upping current tax rates on the rich anytime soon may be legislatively next to impossible, but the Biden Administration could focus instead on building an economy that generates less inequality in the first place.

Michael Meeropol, A One-Time Billionaires Tax Could Save Day, WAMC. A 25 percent tax on net wealth applied only to U.S. wealth holdings over $1 billion would raise $1 trillion dollars — and still leave America's billionaires with more $$$ than they had last March.

Sonali Kolhatkar, It’s easy to fix inequality: Tax the rich, Peoples Dispatch. Massachusetts has apparently been losing some of its billionaires to low-tax states like Florida. The easy solution: Raise federal taxes on the wealth and income of the richest and distribute the dollars received to states.

Randy Alcorn, It’s Time for America to Defuse Economic Disaffection, NoozHawk. A system that concentrates wealth in a few fosters a merciless economic jungle where people can be ruined by a single misfortune.
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