The CEO-worker pay gap is just one of many contributing factors to inequality. Wealth hoarding is another. And speaking of, we happen to have another handy, concise video explainer on the topic. Please check it out and share if you found the information useful.

Local media has been overflowing with anecdotes about business execs lamenting that they can’t find workers for the job slots reopening as the economy rebounds. The business claim: “No one wants to work anymore.”

The actual situation: Few folks can afford to work for peanuts, particularly after a pandemic that’s crushed low-wage workers while CEOs have been shamelessly cashing in. Our researchers revealed last week that over half our nation’s 100 largest low-wage employers rigged their own pay rules in 2020 to guarantee windfalls to their CEOs. These execs averaged $15.3 million. Their frontline workers averaged $28,187.

The CEO-worker pay gap remains a prime driver behind our widening inequality. Wealth hoarding remains another, as our concise, handy new video explainer makes outrageously clear. Please take a look and share if you find the info useful. Thanks!

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team

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Humanizing the ‘Essential’ in Essential Workers
On Workers Memorial Day last month, Americans nationwide gathered to honor and remember colleagues and loved ones killed or injured on the job. Among these lost loved ones: far too many undocumented frontline workers not covered by federal Covid-19 safeguards even while providing the food, services, and labor that allowed millions to stay safe at home. Salvador Sarmiento, an activist with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, shares why the Biden administration must take bold action to acknowledge and protect the humanity of the workforce so essential to our daily lives and futures.
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A Rapidly Rising Realtor’s Take on Rags-to-Riches
Some wags have tagged realtor Ryan Serhant “the plutocrat’s broker of choice.” But Serhant would rather others see him as a billionaire-to-be at “the future of where real estate, tech, and media collide.” He’s already making “a million dollars every month,” Serhant boasted earlier this year, after growing up “on a farm” and working a ranch his college summers. In fact, the “farm” sat in one of New England’s ritziest towns, and the ranch — in a luxury corner of Colorado — belonged to his old man, who just happened to run the high-net-worth department at a powerhouse Boston asset-management firm. Serhant now expects 2021 will be “the biggest year” of his career. He has so far sold “the most expensive house in the history of Florida,” for just under $140 million, and closed on another place in Palm Beach, “sight unseen” by the buyer, for $15 million. Serhant’s heroes? The Musk and Bezos crowd: “because you can do anything when you have that much.” 
Needed at Wall Street Banks: Racial Equity Audits
At the JPMorgan Chase annual meeting tomorrow, CEO Jamie Dimon will urge shareholders to vote down a proposed independent evaluation of the bank’s impact on racial inequality. The bank’s enormous progress towards narrowing the racial wealth divide, Dimon claims, makes the evaluation unnecessary. Enormous progress? Last year Dimon made $32 million while leading an 81-percent-white senior management team. Two labor-related institutional investors, the CtW Investment Group and the SEIU pension fund, have already filed racial equity audit proposals at seven major Wall Street banks this proxy season. Despite the banks’ professed support for Black Lives Matter, only one — Morgan Stanley — has agreed to conduct such a review. Notes Marc Bayard, director of the Institute for Policy Studies Black Worker Initiative: “Stating commitments without accountability and transparency does not dismantle systemic racism.”
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Can We Get a Vaccine for the Greed Pandemic?
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t exited yet. But it’s ebbing. With our greed pandemic, on the other hand, no such luck. Avarice is still spreading at levels seldom ever seen. Last week, for instance, we learned that small armies of lawyers are routinely charging over $1,000 an hour for handling claims in the ongoing Boy Scouts bankruptcy, litigation that involves thousands of child abuse victims and myriad Scouting subdivisions. The legal fees so far filed in the Boy Scouts bankruptcy now total over $100 million and will, at the current rate, hit $150 million by August. How does a greed grab this staggeringly immense get going? Where do the grabbers get their nerve? Those grabbers, new research from the Institute for Policy Studies suggests, are getting their inspiration from America’s corporate suites. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Manuel Pérez-Rocha, Corporations Should Not Have the Power to Undermine the Global Battle Against Covid-19. Even if governments agree to suspend patent protections for vaccines, corporations can fight back with expensive lawsuits.

Jan Masaoka, The Emerging Philanthropic Reform Movement. A young and growing movement that may ultimately transform institutional philanthropy – for the benefit of nonprofits.

Rebekah Entralgo, There’s No Labor Shortage. Pay Workers What They Deserve. It’s not that people don’t want to work — it’s that they don’t want to work for so little.

Sarah Anderson, How Corporations Pumped Up CEO Pay While Their Low-Wage Workers Suffered in the Pandemic. More than half of the country’s 100 largest low-wage employers rigged pay rules in 2020 to give CEOs 29 percent average raises while their frontline employees made 2 percent less.

Elsewhere on the Web

Luke Savage, Corporate CEOs Won the Pandemic, Jacobin. Essential workers dying from COVID, layoffs in record numbers, wages slashed while CEOs literally see the company rules rewritten so they can receive even bigger payouts. You can’t make this stuff up.

Lawrence Mishel and Josh Bivens, Identifying the policy levers generating wage suppression and wage inequality, Economic Policy Institute. Inequality will stop rising, and paychecks for typical workers will start rising in line with productivity, only when we enforce labor standards and embrace policies that reestablish bargaining power for workers.

Thomas Dudley and Ethan Rouen, The Big Benefits of Employee Ownership, Harvard Business Review. Research shows that limiting the concentration of ownership in the hands of a precious few would reduce inequality and improve productivity.

Ruchir Sharma, The billionaire boom: how the super-rich soaked up Covid cash, Financial Times. Central banks have injected $9 trillion into world economies since the pandemic hit. Much of that stimulus has gone into financial markets and from there into the net worth of the ultra rich.

Anders Melin, Kroger, blasted for ending pandemic hazard pay, gave its CEO $22 million in 2020, Bloomberg. Still another reason to enact the Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act.

Amazon’s Fair Share in US Taxes Would Be Enough to Keep 1.7 Million Americans from Going Hungry Each Year, Oxfam. A 3 percent wealth tax on Jeff Bezos alone would generate $6 billion in revenue from his $198 billion fortune, enough to provide child care to every child under four in Amazon’s home state of Washington, about 440,000 children.

Harold Meyerson, California’s Taxes: The Only Ones Suited for the 21st Century, American Prospect. Good things happen when you tax the rich.
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