Taxing the rich shouldn't be a difficult decision. We now know that as working class people stuggled during the pandemic, the billionaires in the U.S. wracked up even more wealth. That means they should foot the bill for an equitable recovery.

Congress and the White House are now nearing the end of negotiations over the Biden administration’s proposal to invest trillions in vital infrastructure goods that range from clean energy and elder care to broadband and public transit. The White House wants to pay for this landmark investment through relatively modest tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals making over $400,000.

Naturally, the nation’s ultra-rich — and those who work to keep their wealth hidden — are panicking. One wealth manager in Silicon Valley has described “mini freakouts in every client meeting we have.”

Our affluents have reason to panic. Their pandemic gravy train now stands endangered. Billionaires have seen their fortunes increase by 55 percent since the pandemic hit, all at the same time that working Americans have struggled mightily to make ends meet. The decision on Capitol Hill ought to be an easy one: Those who have profited the most from the pandemic should foot the bill for a recovery that will benefit everyone.

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Can a Driver Uprising Make Food Apps Deliver?
One year ago, with lockdowns allowing some workers the flexibility to labor from home, other workers — low-wage employees in the housekeeping, food service, and construction industries — had no such flexibility. Many found themselves laid off and forced to find other ways to support themselves and their families. These workers — many of them immigrants — started working for gig economy delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash. Now these workers are standing up against their tech overlords and demanding better benefits and safe working conditions.
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A Lesson for Big Oil: Everyone Doesn’t Love Bacon
ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods has been pocketing around $20 million a year of late. He must feel he’s earned every penny. His stint as CEO has been the rockiest in the energy giant’s history. Financially, Exxon last year rated as the Fortune 500’s “biggest money loser.” Climate activists, meanwhile, have been pressing Exxon on the environmental front. Woods has been mealy-mouthed about climate change in public, but privately derisive. Inside the company, notes one former employee, no one bothers putting any “lipstick on the pig.” The internal attitude toward activists on the environment: “Everyone likes bacon, so shut up.” But this spring activist investors refused to shut up. They put up four director candidates to contest the stranglehold Woods holds on Exxon’s current board. Woods, in response, had all four challengers formally tagged as “unqualified.” Their election to the board, he declared, would “derail our progress and jeopardize your dividend.” The result? Three of the challengers won anyway. The trio now makes up a quarter of Exxon’s board.   
A Century After Tulsa: Close the Racial Wealth Gap
On May 31, 1921, a white mob destroyed an estimated $1.47 million — more than $20 million in today’s dollars — of Black-owned homes and a thriving commercial district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, widely hailed as the nation’s “Black Wall Street.” This tragic event left as many as 300 people dead and ranks as just one of the many great disruptors of intergenerational wealth that Black families have experienced. Black households today remain  twice as likely to hold zero or even “negative” wealth compared to white households. Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow Dedrick Asante-Muhammed has 10 solutions that can help bridge the nation’s deep and persistent racial wealth divide. They range from “baby bonds” to postal banking,
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Living Ever Endlessly Larger in the Lap of Luxury
Some inequality-related stats don’t tell us much of anything about the world we inhabit. Some inequality-related stats tell us almost everything. Like this one: At one point last month, the largest private fortune in the world — all $186.3 billion of it — belonged to a billionaire who makes his money selling luxuries to rich people. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Jen Moore and Ellen Moore, In Guatemala, Harris Should Address U.S. Policies That Put Corporations Over People. As the Vice President seeks to remedy root causes of migration, she should vow to dismantle neoliberal rules that have been devastating for rural and Indigenous peoples.

Bob Lord, Tax Foundation Sounds the Alarm — Over the Plight of Totally Mythical Taxpayers. No actual taxpayers are going to face anything remotely close to the tax rate critics of the Biden tax plan are claiming.

Max Lawson, Inequalities Are Shaping How We’re Fighting the Pandemic — And How We’ll Remember It. Covid-19 infections in most countries have been hugely underestimated — not least because rich countries bought almost all the tests.

Elsewhere on the Web

Brenda Medina, How the world’s richest defend their wealth, with help from a dedicated industry, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. An interview with’s Chuck Collins on how billionaires pay millions to hide trillions.

Natalie Shure, You Don’t Have to Root for Melinda Gates, New Republic. Let's not choose sides in this P.R. war of plutocrat divorcés. Let's scrutinize whether billionaire philanthropy really works.

Matt Stoller, Amazon Prime Is an Economy-Distorting Lie, BIG. A look at the price-gouging manipulations that underwrite one of the world's largest personal fortune.

Kim Phillips-Fein, We Are Facing a Turning Point for New York City, New York Times. A city belongs to those who are willing to fight for it, whose lives and whose labor make it run.

Carter Dougherty, Why Joe Biden Should Listen to Bernie Sanders on Corporate Taxes, Washington Monthly. Now before Congress: legislation that would key a corporation’s tax rate to the gap between its CEO and median worker pay: The wider the gap, the higher the tax rate.

Rachel Cohen, Pressure Mounts to Tax the Rich in Connecticut, Intercept. An emboldened wealth tax movement is gaining ground state by state.

Lynn Parramore, How Greedy Corporations Turn the Black American Dream into a Nightmare, Institute for New Economic Thinking. Government policies designed by the wealthy have enabled the corporate onslaught.

Amber Jamieson, ‘Rich People Gonna Rich People’: People Say Their Wealthy Friends Disappointed Them During the Pandemic, BuzzFeed. Average Americans talk about the outrageous displays of wealth they have witnessed during the pandemic.

Frank Fish, Greed and plutocracy are destroying America, Salt Lake Tribune. A retired corporate VP explains why the rest of the world sees the United States as a corrupt falling star.

Theodore Schleifer, Billionaires are racing to sidestep President Biden’s plan to raise their taxes, Vox. Movers and shakers in the wealth management industry are brimming with a cocksure optimism that they can outsmart the IRS.

Steve Wamhoff, How Biden’s Plan Would Crack Down on Wealthy Tax Evaders, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. His administration’s plan increases the IRS budget, expands income reporting by financial institutions, and regulates tax preparers.
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