The U.S. has passed one million deaths from Covid-19. Meanwhile, our CEOs and other top corporate execs have spent the pandemic years becoming ever more comfortable.
This past week’s most sobering news: Less than two and a half years into the global pandemic, over one million U.S. lives have been lost to Covid-19, a staggering number roughly equal to how many Americans died in the Civil War and World War II combined.

More grim news: Frontline workers exempt from stay-at-home orders — Americans working in food service and health care, transportation and agriculture — turned out to be nearly twice as likely to die from Covid.

Meanwhile, our CEOs and other top corporate execs have spent the pandemic years becoming ever more comfortable. According to new Wall Street Journal analysis, the median CEO pay package at top US corporations reached $14.7 million in 2021, a sixth straight annual record. Here at the Institute for Policy Studies, we’re now finishing up our own annual report on CEO pay. So please keep your eyes peeled for that.

We close out this week’s intro with a request to help rein in global oligarchy: U.S. banks currently must follow rules designed to ferret out dirty money. Wealth hoarding enablers like investment advisors, art dealers, and accountants, on the other hand, can legally help kleptocrats launder dirty money. The ENABLERS Act now before Congress can plug this loophole. Please urge your member of Congress to support this bill, then forward this to two of your friends. Thanks!

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Nurses Make a Powerful Case for Medicare for All
Throughout the pandemic, nurses have witnessed endless death and despair — and endured inadequate workplace protection all the while. That’s why the nation’s largest nurses’ union, National Nurses United, is fighting for a suite of federal legislation that would bolster nurse safety and fix a broken healthcare system that prioritizes profit over patients.

On May 12, International Nurses Day, the union’s executive director, Bonnie Castillo, testified before the first-ever Senate hearing on Medicare for All. She described a health care system “beholden to the corporate interests that determine who gets treatment and who deserves it,” a system that undermines professionals’ judgment and patient health. The same day, Senator Bernie Sanders reintroduced his popular universal health care legislation, with 15 co-sponsors.’s Bella DeVaan has more.
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Might This Mogul Soon Be Managing Your Money?
Vivek Ramaswamy, just 36, has already built up a personal fortune worth $500 million, largely via pharmaceutical startups. Now he’s cementing his future billionaire status with a flashy move that has right-wing nabobs like Peter Thiel cheering. Ramaswamy has just launched a new financial firm to challenge what he calls the “woke” capitalism of America’s “Big Three” asset managers. BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street have become, Ramaswamy charges, an “ideological cartel” that’s working “to foist” onto Corporate America a “liberal bias” on issues like the environment. He’s pledging to “refocus” corporations instead “on the shared pursuit of excellence over politics.” Does Ramaswamy actually want Americans “waking up” in a nation where CEOs don’t play politics? Doesn’t appear so. He’s saying nada about banning corporate contributions to political candidates. Maybe that’s because U.S. corporations, as the Harvard Business Review notes, gave seven times more to GOP candidates between 2010 and 2020 than Democrats. 
Why We Badly Need a Black Worker Bill of Rights
After years of global pandemic, racial uprisings, and attacks on voting rights, a coalition of Black-led, worker-focused organizations has banded together to build a policy agenda to improve job quality and advance racial and economic justice. The new Black Worker Bill of Rights, unveiled on May Day 2022, seeks to close the loopholes in anti-discrimination and labor law that let employers continue to mistreat Black workers. Among the rights outlined in the policy framework: the right to organize and the right to workplaces free from discrimination, harassment, and other harm. Tanya Wallace-Gobern, executive director of the National Black Workers Center, notes that our current economy, “built on structural racism,” simply isn’t working, the reason why we need to “demand a Black Worker Bill of Rights to undo the legacy of racism and intergenerational poverty.”
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The Height of Folly: Safeboxes High Up in the Sky
You can never be too rich or too thin, the old quip goes. But can a skyscraper for the rich ever be too thin? New Yorkers these days have good reason to ask that question as they look up at the latest addition to Manhattan’s skyline, the amazingly skinny 84-floor “Steinway Tower” right in the middle of New York’s Billionaires’ Row. The owners-to-be of this tower’s mega-million-dollar condos will all have fabulous views. What they won’t have: places that anyone expects them to actually live in. Our cleverest architects and builders have essentially constructed a modern eighth wonder of the world that will largely sit empty for the bulk of every year.’s Sam Pizzigati has more.
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What's on 

Domenica Ghanem, Two Years In, We Need To Learn the Lessons of This Pandemic. America’s pre-existing condition when the pandemic hit was inequality. That’s not a “normal” we should return to.

Elsewhere on the Web

Mike Scutari, What If Five Top Tech Billionaires Emulated MacKenzie Scott's Approach to Giving? Inside Philanthropy. Rarely do billionaires take a trenchant moral stance against the system that has enabled their colossal wealth accumulation.

Lydia Kiesling, Rags-to-Riches Stories Are Actually Kind of Disturbing, New York Times. In our economic system, hard work by itself won’t get you to obscene wealth, not in a million years. So you better look cute and hope someone comes along to give you what you need.

Ralph Nader, The New Corporate Dictators: Super-Rich And Super-Immune, Eurasia Review. Today’s dollar dictators have fused children with their iPhones and incarcerated them in the vast gluttonous Internet.

Matthew Taylor, The link between extreme weather and extreme inequality, Down to Earth/Guardian. On why extreme heat spells have left large parts of northern India and Pakistan all but unlivable.

Matthew Cunningham-Cook, How Wall Street Is Taking Over Medicare, The Lever. An insidious form of for-profit Medicare is benefiting private equity firms and well-connected health care giants.

Ryan Cooper, Lessons from the Crypto Crash, American Prospect. Crypto has minted billionaires now becoming major political players hard at work preventing the regulations we should have had all along.

Jan Weir, CEO Pay Explodes Again, LA Progressive. Why hasn’t public anger over excessive CEO pay translated into effective reform? A look at the historical record.
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