We clearly need to take our eyes off of “billionaires flying off into space” and begin to address the crises facing working families here on Earth. We can make a start in that direction by making sure that those who’ve benefited the most from the pandemic pay for the recovery from it. More on that in today’s issue.
Our common future, some 17 months into a global pandemic, remains deeply uncertain. But one certainty most definitely remains. Our billionaires are only getting wealthier while millions of the rest of us have either lost jobs or been putting our lives on the line performing essential work for non-essential wages.

We’ve just completed our latest pandemic-time wealth analysis with our friends at Oxfam, the Fight Inequality Alliance, and Patriotic Millionaires. Global billionaire wealth, our research shows, has now increased by 69 percent since the pandemic began. In fact, billionaire wealth has increased by more over the past 17 months than over the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has pushed over 200 million people globally into poverty, and 11 people are now dying from hunger and malnutrition every minute, a rate outpacing Covid-19 fatalities.

We clearly need, as Senator Bernie Sanders noted recently, to take our eyes off of “billionaires flying off into space” and begin to address the crises facing working families here on Earth. We can make a start in that direction by making sure that those who’ve benefited the most from the pandemic pay for the recovery from it. More on that in today’s issue.

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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Undocumented Workers Rally After Tragedy
Two years ago, immigration agents arrested over 600 undocumented poultry workers in Jackson, Mississippi. This largest workplace raid in U.S. history has deeply impacted the Jackson area’s close-knit immigrant community. Notes Aura, one of the Jackson poultry workers: “There are still many people that will not come out to the streets because of the fear of deportation.” Inequality.org managing editor Rebekah Entralgo has more on this resilient community of undocumented workers and the potential path to citizenship that awaits them in the U.S. Senate.
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Make a Billion, Cheat a Grandmaster: What Fun!
Being a billionaire means never having to say you’re sorry — and mean it. India’s youngest billionaire, online brokerage mogul Nikhil Kamath, did utter an “apology” this past June on the day after he “beat” India’s greatest chess grandmaster in a charity game, admitting he owed his victory over world champ Viswanathan Anand to computer-equipped pals. But Kamath mostly just laughed off the whole episode: “It is ridiculous that so many are thinking that I really beat Vishy sir in a chess game, that is almost like me waking up and winning a 100-meter race with Usain Bolt.” But India’s chess federation chief saw no humor in Kamath’s stunt: “We don’t expect anybody to get help from computers … This is really bad.” The 34-year-old Kamath, something of a chess prodigy himself, opened his brokerage in 2010 and now also runs a hedge fund. 
Vaccinate the World, Tax Global Billionaires
Over the last 17 months, the world’s billionaires have seen their wealth surge by over $5.5 trillion. In response to this growing inequality, global equality advocates are calling on national governments to levy a one-time, 99 percent tax on these billionaire windfall pandemic gains. These gains could pay for everyone on Earth to be vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as provide a $20,000 cash grant to all unemployed workers. This one-time emergency Covid-19 billionaire tax would raise an estimated $5.445 trillion. More details appear in our new Institute for Policy Studies report with Oxfam, Fight Inequality Alliance, and Patriotic Millionaires.
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The Climate Stat We Cannot Afford to Overlook
Ace researchers dropped two blockbuster reports on us early last week. The first — from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — hit on Monday with a worldwide thunderclap. But few media outlets chose to give the second study — the Economic Policy Institute’s latest look at U.S. CEO pay — any high-profile real estate. Fewer still drew any link between the climate disaster ahead and how much America’s top corporate execs are making. But that link most definitely does exist. Indeed, that link may well determine whether we avert the catastrophic futures the UN climate panel has just laid out for us. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on Inequality.org 

Chuck Collins, Global Billionaire Pandemic Wealth Gains Surge to $5.5 Trillion. As the wealth divide grows deeper, global advocates call for a one-time 99 percent emergency tax on billionaires’ pandemic windfalls to fund Covid-19 vaccines for entire world.

Elsewhere on the Web

How Much Is Enough? Yes! A special issue on the question of enoughness — in money, time, work, food, and just-plain stuff.

Michael Grothaus, Millionaires are calling for an emergency tax on billionaires, Fast Company. A new proposal is reminding the world that hefty one-time taxes on grand fortune have a distinguished history. France, for instance, taxed excessive wartime wealth gains at a 100-percent rate after World War II.

Justin Elliott and Robert Faturechi, Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s “Big, Beautiful Tax Cut,” Pro Publica. Billionaires deployed lobbyist armies to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill met their needs. IRS records reveal the resulting windfall.

Susan Morse, Tax and Race, Tax JOTWELL. An appreciative review and inviting summary of Dorothy Brown’s “instant classic,” The Whiteness of Wealth.

Tim O’Reilly, Why Elon Musk Isn’t Superman, Evonomics. The notion that entrepreneurs will stop innovating if they aren’t rewarded with billions amounts to a pernicious fantasy.

Cynthia Kaufman, Consumerism, Inequality, and the Climate Crisis, Common Dreams. Shifting toward a society that works for people and all nature involves freeing people from the pulls that tie them to a an ever more desperate need for more.

Joshua Kim, A Fresh Take on Concentrated Privilege From ‘Jackpot,’ Inside Higher Ed. A new book shows how extreme levels of economic stratification do grave damage to both the poor and the rich alike.

Michael Sheldrick, As Endowments Rise And Billionaires Gain Wealth, the World’s Poor See Little Relief, Forbes. The world’s wealthiest could immediately fund a global recovery that drives vaccine equity, protects the planet, and eradicates extreme poverty. The only question left: whether they will.

Murtaza Hussain, Nancy Pelosi’s Surprise Flip on Student Debt Cancellation Came After Urging from Billionaire Power Couple, Intercept. Political operatives describe contributors to worthy causes who’ve been rendered “almost comically out of touch by their extraordinary wealth.”
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