Demystifying the wealthy and their schemes is just one way we’re working towards building a more equitable society that works for everyone. Read more about it in this week's edition of the newsletter.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “family office”? Do you envision a spare bedroom turned into a pandemic-time workspace? Our really rich certainly don’t. They have something entirely different in mind when they talk family offices. Have no clue to what that something different may be? That’s exactly how the ultra-rich like it.

“Ultra-high-net-worth” families — those worth at least $250 million — set up family offices to bring wealth management services “in house.” These offices function primarily to accumulate wealth and preserve the inherited wealth dynasties that do so much to drive our inequality.

Our Inequality team has a new briefing paper out on these enormous pools of unregulated capital. Our paper makes the case for increased scrutiny and oversight of family offices. Demystifying the wealthy and their schemes: just one way we’re helping build a more equitable society that works for everyone. Lots more below on related building efforts!

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Centering Black Workers in Economic Recovery
Covid-19 has had a particularly brutal impact on Black low-wage workers. They’ve been the workers most likely to lose income from Covid-related layoffs. Just five months into the pandemic, their employment rate nearly doubled white unemployment. Now, with the nation seeking to reinvent itself for a post-pandemic future, Black workers need to be central to creating an economic recovery that works for everyone. Tanya Wallace-Gobern, executive director of National Black Worker Center, outlines how we can meet this moment and prevent another lost decade for Black workers.
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How Dare Anyone Doubt This Banker’s Decency!
The banking mogul who sits on “the financial world’s most prized throne” has been doing a good bit of harumphing of late. That banker — JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon — can’t understand why anyone would think banks like his need to undergo a racial equity audit. An audit, his bank claimed before a shareholder vote last week, “would not provide us with useful additional information.” In fact, racial justice activists note, Dimon’s “public commitments to equity amount to empty promises” since banks like JPMorgan have essentially abandoned poor people of color to predatory finance firms. Dimon is also grousing about President Biden’s plans to hike taxes on America’s wealthy. He’s demanding an itemized list of exactly where any new tax dollars would go. Complained Dimon earlier this month to a banking trade group: “Just throwing money, it doesn’t work… We already waste tremendous sums.” Speaking of waste, Dimon personally pulled down $31.5 million last year from JPMorgan.
A High Moral Bar for Economic Transformation
Progressive House Democrats are introducing today a sweeping resolution to stamp out poverty and racial and economic inequality. Noted Rep. Barbara Lee at a news conference last week to unveil this “Third Reconstruction” resolution: “It’s unforgiveable that 250,000 people die every year in this country from poverty and inequality.” The resolution’s title draws on the transformational history of the First Reconstruction after the Civil War and the Second Reconstruction that the 20th-century civil rights movement drove. Lee and congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal developed the resolution with input from the Poor People’s Campaign. Among the resolution’s numerous ambitious proposals: a federal jobs program and universal health care — paid for through increased taxes on the wealthy, big corporations, and Wall Street. We have, explains Poor People’s Campaign Co-Chair Rev. William Barber II, “no scarcity” of either resources or solutions. We have instead “a scarcity of moral fusion social conscience.” And that scarcity “ends now,” adds Rev. Barber: “We will see the birthing of a Third Reconstruction.”
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Can We Get a Vaccine for the Greed Pandemic?
McDonald’s workers in 15 U.S. cities staged a one-day strike last week that demanded at least a $15 hourly wage for every McDonald’s worker. McDonald’s is resisting that demand, too busy counting $4.7 billion in annual profits and shelling out $3.7 billion in dividends. McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski, for his part, last year pocketed 1,189 times more compensation than McDonald’s most typical worker. McDonald's workers could certainly use an alternative to this corporate greed show, and, in Spain, one already exists: the huge Mondragón cooperative network. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Chuck Collins, Family Offices: Trillion Dollar Pools of Unregulated Capital You Haven’t Heard About. With the collapse of Archegos Capital, family offices — a main tool of the wealth defense industry — have jumped into the headlines.

Kayla Soren, Over 100 Youth-Led Groups Convene To Address Intersectional Climate Justice. Addressing inequality remains a top priority for youth climate advocates.

Robert Alvarez, New Research Vindicates Scientist Attacked by Pork Industry Over Environmental Racism Charges. Corporate industrial livestock operations pose serious health threats to nearby residents, often low-income people of color.

Beth Markman, Corporate Lobbyists Have Hypnotized Congress With Campaign Cash to Stop a Tax on Wall Street Trades. How corporate interests are maneuvering to dash hopes for a financial transaction tax.

Elsewhere on the Web

Helaine Olen, As wealthy CEOs rake in money, an ugly trope about Americans needing help reemerges, Washington Post. A worship of the wealthy and lack of concern for the poor go hand in hand.

Chuck Collins, US billionaire wealth skyrocketed 55 percent during pandemic, accelerating inequality, The Hill. Pandemic inequalities may explain the popularity of proposals to restore progressive income and wealth taxes on the very wealthy.

Janet Nguyen, What if the U.S. had a national maximum wage? MarketPlace. A look at the drive to cap excessive windfall incomes.

Yanis Varoufakis, Austerity’s Hidden Purpose, Project Syndicate. Simply put: to preserve the power of the few to compel the many.

Galen Herz, In Washington State, the Left Won a Major Victory for Taxing the Rich, Jacobin. For a century, reformers have tried to change Washington's regressive tax system. Last month, a landmark capital gains tax became law. The story behind that victory.

Tim Schwab, The Fall of the House of Gates? Nation. Fully reckoning with Bill Gates means not just focusing on how he treats women — vital as that is — but also confronting our own deep-seated worship of wealth and hardwired belief in hero narratives.

Caitlin McCabe, Companies Are Flush With Cash — and Ready to Pad Shareholder Pockets, Wall Street Journal. Major U.S. corporations are putting three times more cash in share buybacks and dividends — moves that enrich the already rich — than in investments that enhance productivity and innovation.

David Sirota, The Millionaires Trying To Cut Off Jobless Benefits, Daily Poster. U.S. Chamber of Commerce execs getting paid millions are leading the fight to depict jobless workers as overcompensated moochers.

Martin Hesse und Michael Sauga, The Social Consequences of the Pandemic: ‘The Super-Rich in the West Are Evading Their Responsibility,’ Der Spiegel. An insightful interview with economist Branko Milanovic.

Emily Stewart, Seriously, just tax the rich, Vox. The chips of the economy are stacked in rich people’s favor, and they’re getting handed more chips constantly. So why not take a few chips away?

Robert Reich, The Secret Tax Loophole That Makes Rich Even Richer, LA Progressive. The stepped-up basis loophole enables the super-rich to avoid paying over $40 billion in taxes each year. Passing the Biden tax plan would close it.
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