So how should we react to all this unexpected good fortune? By thinking bigger and bolder. Mass pressure from grassroots movements, not any single person in the White House, will bring about the transformative change we so enormously need.

“My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked. It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle-out.”

Who would have thought — at any time over recent decades — that we would ever get to hear a president of the United States utter words like these in a joint address to the U.S. Congress? But we did last week.

President Biden’s speech represented a clear triumph for those of us who want to build a more equitable society — and have the nation’s richest foot the bill! And the first 100 days of the Biden administration, overall, have certainly proven to be promising on the inequality front.

So how should we react to all this unexpected good fortune? By thinking bigger and bolder. Mass pressure from grassroots movements, not any single person in the White House, will bring about the transformative change we so enormously need.

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

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Nation’s Care Advocates Aren’t Done Fighting Yet
For decades, care advocates have been organizing across the country to secure protections for working families. Their organizing appears to have paid off, as President Joe Biden is proposing multi-billion dollar investments in the care economy via the American Families Plan, including in his plan measures that range from putting in place paid family and medical leave and pay hikes for child care workers to expanding the child tax credit and implementing universal pre-school. But the work of care advocates remains far from over.
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A Scary Screed from a Flunky for Grand Fortune
Edward Filene, the Boston department store king, helped found the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1912. He believed rich people — like himself — should pay their fair tax share. As Filene once quipped: “Why shouldn’t the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them.” Our current U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO, Suzanne Clark, couldn’t agree less. She’s leading the charge against the Biden tax-the-rich push and calling the president’s proposed 39.6 percent tax on millionaire capital gains — a doubling of the present rate — a “scary” move that would “punish people for investing in the economy.” If Biden’s capital gains tax hike became law, counters former financial industry executive Morris Pearl, we’d still have “people with money to invest and they’ll still invest it.” After all, adds Pearl, the only alternative would be putting money under the mattress, “and mattresses don’t pay much at all.” Pearl chairs Patriotic Millionaires, an advocacy group organizing Americans of means concerned about concentrated wealth and power.  
Can Impact Investing Reduce Inequality?
Institute for Policy Studies Associate Fellow Mitty Owens is proud of his efforts as a college student to push his university to divest from apartheid. But more than three decades later, he’s disheartened by the persistence of severe inequality in South Africa. In this commentary, he shares ideas on how today’s “impact” investors can do much more to marshal the power of capital for lasting social justice. A core message is that this well-financed community should “amplify their impact (and avoid ‘savior mentality’) by working in close partnership with social justice actors and principles to build a movement of true regenerative/restorative economies and economic democracy.”
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Joe Biden’s Tax-the-Rich Plan: New Deal Revived?
President Joe Biden has made no secret of his admiration for Franklin D. Roosevelt. He’s even given a portrait of FDR the most prominent wall space in the White House Oval Office. A bit more significantly, Biden has just announced the most ambitious gameplan — since FDR’s New Deal — for enhancing the well-being of working Americans and trimming the incomes of America’s super rich. Has Biden, with this gameplan, definitively reached FDR-like levels on the political daring meter? That depends — on how we answer one more question: Just how bold does Biden’s new tax-the-rich plan actually happen to be? Much bolder than the numbers — at first glance — might seem to suggest. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh, Progressives Urge Biden to Go Bigger, Bolder, Faster in Spending and Tax Plans. Leading research and movement organizations and progressive Democrats are calling for rapid passage of legislation to transform the economy.

Elsewhere on the Web

Benjamin Fong and Rebecca Garelli,  Voters Will Opt to Tax the Rich — If They Know How the Money Will Be Spent, Jacobin. The key lesson from two recent state-level tax-the-rich campaigns.

Amy Maxmen, Inequality’s deadly toll, Nature. An amazing piece that traces how long scientists have been working to help societies understand the “social determinants of health.” From an 1848 report on typhus in Poland: “The plutocracy...did not recognize Upper Silesians as human beings.”

Sam Haselby, Break Up the Ivy League Cartel, BIG. Since the pandemic, 650,000 jobs have disappeared in U.S. higher ed. Meanwhile, the aggregate value of the endowments of the richest 20 U.S. schools now hovers at over $311 billion.

Ben Steverman, America’s Ultra-Rich Fear Biden Will Close Their Favorite Tax Loopholes, Bloomberg. America’s richest find themselves in a strange place: For the first time since the New Deal era, they’re actually facing a serious push to significantly raise their taxes.

Allan Sloan and Cezary Podkul, How the Federal Reserve Is Increasing Wealth Inequality, Pro Publica. The Fed’s low-interest-rate policies have turbocharged the stock market. But the bottom 90 percent of Americans hold only 11 percent of that market’s shares.

Simon Kuper, How the middle class became downwardly mobile, Financial Times. We’re experiencing what amounts to a reversion to the historical norm. In most epochs, the vast bulk of wealth comes from inheritance, not work.
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