As our very own Sarah Anderson testified before the Senate Budget Committee last week, the CEO-worker pay gap may be the single most dramatic driver of our country's economic divide. Learn more in this week's edtion.
We vividly remember — as many of you might as well — the horrifying headlines from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The massive outbreaks at Tyson Foods poultry plants. The Carnival cruise line employees abandoned offshore without pay and basic necessities.

That sort of corporate villainy continues to enable one of our society’s deepest divides: the vast chasm between the rewards that go to corporate execs and the paychecks of average American workers. Last week, co-editor Sarah Anderson vividly described that chasm’s horror in testimony before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.

Many of America’s top corporate execs, Sarah detailed, have bent the rules to protect their own massive paychecks. They have created what may be the single most dramatic driver of our country’s economic divide. But we can rewrite those rules. Sarah explained just how.

You’ll find more about antidotes to inequality this week at a virtual conference on power and money our friends at Patriotic Millionaires will be hosting Wednesday, March 24. Our colleagues will be there and hope you will too!

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Minnesotans United Against Billionaire Landlords
All across the United States, billionaire landlords and private equity conglomerates are snatching up single-family homes, often via foreclosure. In the Twin Cities, courageous tenants from Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia/United Renters for Justice have taken on the billionaire owners of their homes, pushing back against evictions and poor management. Their struggle offers just one example of how tenants nationwide are battling housing exploitation from our new Institute for Policy Studies report, Cashing in On Our Homes: Billionaire Landlords Profit as Millions Face Eviction.
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Defending the Sanctity of (Beachfront) Property
You kick sand in people’s eyes, and they have a moral right to be angry. But beachgoers have no moral right to get angry when someone runs a cable 30 feet under their sand — to supply wind-energy electricity to 70,000 homes. Unfortunately, morality doesn’t seem to be stopping the deep pockets of Wainscott, a Hamptons summer hamlet for the super rich. They’re aggressively opposing what would be the first windfarm off the eastern tip of New York’s Long Island. The proposed wind turbines wouldn’t be visible in Wainscott, but cosmetic king Ronald Lauder of Estée Lauder fame and his fellow wealthy don’t want to deal with the disruption the cable trenching will bring or the “electromagnetic fields” they claim the laid cable will create. Lauder and pals have hired a high-powered Manhattan PR firm and filed a lawsuit that charges local officials with “bad faith, authoritarian motives, and irrationality.” One local retired lawyer who supports the wind project is worrying that Lauder’s crowd will get its way. Some of these people, he notes, “aren’t used to losing.”
Let’s Crack Down on Huge CEO-Worker Pay Gaps
After the 2008 financial crash, big corporations and Wall Street banks beat back bipartisan calls for caps on CEO pay. Then they crafted new compensation packages that allowed top executives to rebound from the crash much more quickly than ordinary Americans. In the current national crisis, we’re seeing a similar pattern. Corporate boards are once again bending rules to safeguard CEO paychecks while working families suffer. co-editor Sarah Anderson testified about all this before the Senate Budget Committee last week, along with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Amazon worker Jennifer Bates. Read Sarah’s policy solutions to excessive CEO pay and view the full hearing video below.
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A U.S. Senator CEOs Deeply Fear Now Has a Gavel
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is using his new gavel, as chair of the powerful Senate Budget Committee, to highlight legislation that penalizes corporations that pay their top execs outrageously more than their workers. In a landmark Senate hearing last week, Institute for Policy Studies analyst Sarah Anderson explained why the newly introduced Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act could end the CEO pay windfalls that now have America’s chief execs routinely making more in a morning than their workers can earn over an entire year. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more on this crucial new legislation.
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This week on 

Chuck Collins and Helen Flannery, Foundation Payout Mandate Would Raise $8.7 Billion in Revenue Over 3 Years. The mandate would also give a $200-billion boost to charities hard hit by the pandemic.

Robin Broad and John Cavanagh, Water is Life. Can We Protect It?. Americans will have to fight hard to protect their water from corporate greed. They can learn a lot from El Salvador.

Chuck Collins, For Every Buck a Billionaire Gives to Charity, You Chip in Up to 74 Cents. The wealthier the donor, the bigger the taxpayer subsidy.

Sarah Anderson, How the CEO-Worker Pay Gap Deepens Income and Wealth Inequality. The games corporate boards play to protect massive CEO paychecks.

Bob Lord and Chuck Collins, No, The Rich Are Not Paying Their Fair Share. The share of the nation’s wealth pie owned by the richest 0.01 percent has quadrupled over the last 70 years. Their percent of the total tax obligation has stayed the same. What’s wrong with this picture?

Elsewhere on the Web

Harold Meyerson, A Tax Hike That Would Play Well at the Polls, American Prospect. Even rank-and-file Republicans think that CEOs have never been worth 300 times more than their average employees.

Chuck Collins, Taking on a Billionaire Landlord in the Twin Cities, Yes! Private equity conglomerates see money to be made by snatching up single-family homes, often in foreclosure, and renting to the growing number of families locked out of homeownership.

Francesca Mari, A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street, New York Times. A national look at how private-equity kingpins have  created a new asset class: the single-family-rental home. They’re making fortunes on rising home values while tenants cover the mortgages.

Caitlin Flanagan, Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene, Atlantic. Elite schools like Dalton, Exeter, and Andover breed entitlement, entrench inequality — and then pretend to be engines of social change.

Akin Olla, Elon Musk declared himself 'technoking.' He's just a hyper-capitalist clown, Guardian. The core fault with Musk lies in a system that allows individuals to acquire vast amounts of wealth and use that wealth to control the present and the future.

Steve Wamhoff and Matthew Gardner, A straightforward way to pay for Biden's recovery plan, The Hill. An imaginative proposal for a simple high-income tax — an HIT — set at 39.6 percent of essentially the total income of taxpayers making over $600,000.

Judd Legum, The hillbilly and the billionaire, Popular Information. Our plutocracy at work (for the rich): Billionaire Peter Thiel has donated $10 million to a super PAC formed to support conservative Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, now considering an Ohio U.S. Senate run.

Alexander Sammon, In Bezosworld, American Prospect. What motivates Jeff Bezos? A Wall Streeter by trade, he moved into a house with a garage so he could claim to have started Amazon in a garage.

Kathryn Kvas and Vignesh Seshadri, How to Become a Billionaire in 2021, New Yorker. A walk on the lighter side.
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