Here at and the Institute for Policy Studies, we stand as proud partners of both organizations. Together, we’re fighting inequality and injustice from both extremes.

Off their names alone, you’d think the Patriotic Millionaires and the Poor People’s Campaign would share little in common, with each catering separately to our nation’s richest and poorest. But last Monday both groups gathered in Washington, D.C., and both boldly confronted inequality’s ravages.

Reverend William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign came to D.C. to unveil landmark new research. A Poor People’s Pandemic Report, their new paper, tracks the intersections of poverty, race, and Covid-19 via an interactive county-level map — and shows clearly that poverty has not been “tangential to the pandemic, but deeply embedded in its geography.”

A few blocks away, at the Patriotic Millionaires Oligarchs vs. All of Us conference, experts, movement leaders, and proud class traitors gathered to examine the unjust systems created by and for America’s richest. Extreme concentrations of wealth don’t just protect immoral systems and policies, argued keynoter Abigail Disney. These giant fortunes degrade wealthy people themselves, fostering greed, selfishness, and isolation.

All in all, a Monday for the books! Here at and the Institute for Policy Studies, we stand as proud partners of both organizations. Together, we’re fighting inequality and injustice from both extremes.

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Senators Join Cafeteria Workers on the Picket Line
Anthony Thomas earns just over $15 an hour as a porter and dishwasher. Every day, he serves some of the wealthiest lawmakers in the U.S. Senate. Last year, Thomas and many of his cafeteria colleagues lived through the January 6 assault on the Capitol. They helped keep the building safe and operating. But despite this essential work, Thomas and over 80 other Senate cafeteria workers found themselves at risk of being laid off by their employer, a federal contractor named Restaurant Associates. Together with UNITE HERE Local 23, these workers leveraged their personal relationships with U.S. senators to strike a deal to avoid layoffs. managing editor Rebekah Entralgo has a dispatch from the Capitol, where an all-star cast of Democratic lawmakers have joined Senate cafeteria workers on the picket line to support their struggle for jobs and a strong union contract.
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And What Exactly Has This Mogul Ever Sacrificed?
Rob Kapito, the co-founder of the world’s largest asset manager, now takes in about $20 million a year as BlackRock’s president. These days, Kapito doesn’t particularly like what he sees when he looks out across America. We have in our midst, the 65-year-old exec recently told a group of Texas oilmen, “a very entitled generation that has never had to sacrifice.” In these inflationary times, he sneered, “this generation is going to go into a store and not be able to get what they want.” Just who exactly does Kapito have in mind? His Texas talk never delved into any specifics. But Guardian commentator Arwa Mahdawi thinks the BlackRock kingpin has a point. The United States, she explains, does have an “entitlement problem”: “We have a very entitled generation of executives who seem to think sacrifice is just for poor people.”
Taking on the Oligarchs — Here and Everywhere
Democracy isn’t just facing threats from Russian oligarchs. The United States has oligarchs — no less dangerous — of its own. Last week,’s long-time allies at the Patriotic Millionaires hosted a conference that explored how these home-grown ultra-rich and powerful have rigged our economy and brought our democracy to its knees. A long list of dynamic speakers discussed practical steps to reclaim our country for everyday people. Pictured here: Dorian Warren of Community Change, Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter, and filmmaker Abigail Disney.

Inequality co-editors Chuck Collins and Sarah Anderson also spoke at the conference. Collins explained how we could ensure that philanthropy addresses our most pressing needs instead of serving as a tax-dodging tool for billionaires. Anderson detailed what the White House and Congress could do to end our nation’s ongoing CEO pay plunder.
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Buffalo Brings Our Oligarchs Panic and Confidence
How are the power suits at Starbucks reacting to the national union upsurge that baristas in upstate New York’s Buffalo have sparked? They’re panicking. They’ve even brought back their intensely anti-union former top exec, Howard Schultz, for his third stint as Starbucks CEO. But crushing the momentum that Buffalo baristas have inspired won’t come as easily as Schultz seems to believe. The Buffalo barista challenge to America’s oligarchy has already burst past the confines of Starbucks. On the other hand, America’s oligarchs continue to wield enormous political power, even in our so-called “Blue States.” We now have a new outrageous example of that power — also, by coincidence, from Buffalo.’s Sam Pizzigati has more.
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Bob Lord and William Rice, Elon Musk Is Hiding the Ball Again on Taxes. Fanboys of the richest person on Earth are spinning bogus tales that swell the Musk fortune and embellish his ‘genius.’

Elsewhere on the Web

Dominic Rushe, Tax the rich: these one percenters want people like them to pay higher taxes, Guardian.  If we don’t dare ruffle some feathers now, says Abigail Disney of Patriotic Millionaires, we are going to have a class war. A real one.

Rick Wartzman, American Pie: Corporations Have Changed How They Slice Up Each Dollar of Revenue, and Guess Who Benefits? Capital & Main. Compared with 60 years ago, workers are getting less and CEOs and other big shareholders are getting more — sometimes a lot more.

Steve Wamhoff, Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns About the President Billionaires’ Minimum Income Tax, JustTaxes. A solid take-down of the objections to the Biden plan now coming from the wealth defense industry.

Jaime Lowe, With ‘Stealth Politics,’ Billionaires Make Sure Their Money Talks, New York Times. Much of the “stealth politics” practiced by America’s ultrarich is happening at the state and local levels, where many crucial pocketbook issues get decided, often outside the scrutiny of the national media.

Lori Falce, Why are we reluctant to tax billionaires? The Trib. If a household making $50,000 a year saved every penny of that, building a billion-dollar nest egg would take 20,000 years. Humans invented fire 20,000 years ago.

Forbes Unveils 36th Annual World’s Billionaires List, Forbes. Over 1,000 global billionaires have become wealthier over the past year, with the 20 richest alone worth a combined $2 trillion, up from $1.8 trillion the year before.

David Marchese, Thomas Piketty Thinks America Is Primed for Wealth Redistribution, New York Times. The famed economist’s upcoming book argues we’re moving lays out his prescriptions for remedying our current corrosive wealth disparities.

Kate Pickett, Class in the classroom, Social Europe. Private U.S. universities can give priority in admissions to the children of rich donors at the same time they benefit massively from public funding.
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