When nature is destroyed in one place, the consequences can be felt on the other side of the world.


Just $5,700. The average individual Native American wealth in the United States, according to our friends at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. By comparison, the median individual wealth within the entire American population stands at around $65,000.

On this Indigenous Peoples Day, we find ourselves meditating on the interconnected struggles that drive and deepen inequality among indigenous communities, both here and abroad. And what impacts indigenous communities impacts us all, from continuing starvation wages to the plundering of our environment to line the pockets of top execs.

Sônia Guajajara, an indigenous activist with the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil and a 2020 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awardee, puts the matter well: “Indigenous peoples have known for a long time that everything in this life is interconnected. When nature is destroyed in one place, the consequences can be felt on the other side of the world.”

This Thursday the Institute for Policy Studies will honor our 2022 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award winners, the Amazon Labor Union and the Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México. Please consider joining us, either virtually or in-person. We’d love to salute and celebrate the courage of this year’s awardees with you!

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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Airport Fast-Food Workers Score Major Pay Victory
Labor leader Anand Singh knew fast-food workers at the San Francisco International Airport had become fed up. They’d gone three years without a raise, and many of them were working two or even three jobs to survive in one of the country’s most expensive cities.

“We’re done with it,” Singh announced in August, after eight months of fruitless negotiations between the union he leads, UNITE HERE Local 2, and airport restaurant employers. “You shouldn’t have to strike for basic things like a good job and affordable health care, but workers at SFO are ready if that’s what it takes.”

Nearly 1,000 workers made good on that threat in late September with a strike that shut down airport food services for several days. Their action paid off. This past Sunday, they ratified a new contract with a $5 per hour raise and free family health care.

“This victory shows the world that fast-food jobs can in fact be good, family-sustaining jobs,” says Singh, “and it’s all because workers had the courage to strike."
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Save My Tax Cut: A Mega-Millionaire on a Mission
Just about five years ago, on the same day the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Trump tax cut, Rep. Vern Buchanan from Florida celebrated. He bought himself a yacht. Buchanan — currently the House’s third-richest member — had good cause for celebration. That tax cut would go on to deliver Buchanan and his fellow super rich some $2 trillion in tax cuts. Their only problem: That Trump tax cut will expire in 2025. But not if Buchanan can have his way. The mega-millionaire has just introduced legislation that would make the 2017 Trump tax cut permanent. He’s claiming that move would mean “greater prosperity for small businesses and families.” In fact, as a ProPublica analysis last year revealed, the Trump tax cut has so far “resulted in a vast redistribution of wealth,” with the biggest winners the nation’s richest 1 percent. Those deep pockets have “reaped nearly 60 percent” of the billions in tax savings touted to go to small businesses.
Raise Taxes on Corporations, Not Interest Rates
Can’t afford a new car? A recent New York Times article helps explain why. With high demand and short supply, dealerships are charging higher prices and making record profits — at consumers’ expense — and show no sign they’re planning to drop prices down on their own.

Car dealers, in our current economy, hardly stand alone. CEOs across every sector are announcing new “pricing strategies” and bragging about sky-high profits, even as supply-chain pressures are easing.

In an Inequality.org exclusive, Sarah Baron of the Unrig the Economy campaign is calling for congressional action to hold corporate price-gougers accountable. Raising taxes on these profiteers would help protect working families, Baron notes, while the current reliance on interest-rate hikes will likely lead only to more painful job losses.
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America’s Rich Dominate Global Rich Lists. Why?
Spin a globe, then stop it with any finger. Some fantastically rich individual will most likely be living — or yachting — somewhere close to wherever your finger lands. Billionaires have become a truly worldwide phenomenon, and now Credit Suisse has just published a census of the world’s wealthiest that finds grand fortunes in nearly every nation. But some nations, this analysis also shows, host far more grand fortunes than others. And one nation, the United States, sits in a wealth class all its own. Some 53 percent of global deep pockets worth at least $100 million call the USA home. What explains this U.S. dominance within global ultra-rich ranks? New Economic Policy Institute stats point to one answer: corporate executive pay. Inequality.org’s Sam Pizzigati has more.
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What's on Inequality.org 

Bob Lord and Emily McCloskey, Corporate America Suddenly OK with Paying Taxes...So long as those taxes enable them to lavish mega-millions on their top executives.

Elsewhere on the Web

Robert Reich, The US ultra-rich justify their low tax rates with three myths – all of them rubbish, Guardian. Billionaire campaign contributions have soared from a relatively modest $31 million in 2010 to $1.2 billion in 2020, a nearly 40-fold increase.

Timothy Noah, You Won’t Believe How Crazy CEO Pay Has Gotten Now, New Republic. CEO pay no longer rises with the stock market. CEO pay now rises well in excess of the stock market.

Deborah Hargreaves, How did the gap between CEO pay and that of ordinary workers get so wide? Prospect. According to a recent UK High Pay Centre survey, over 60 percent of the British people think that corporate chief execs should make no more than 10 times their average worker pay.

Noah Buhayar, Sophie Alexander, and Ben Steverman, Wealthy Use Loophole to Reap Tax Breaks — and Delay Giving Away Money, Bloomberg. Foundations are shifting billions to donor-advised funds, as Institute for Policy Studies research has shown, skirting US laws requiring transfers to those in real need.

Ezra Klein, There Is a Tax That Could Help With Inflation, New York Times. The Fed’s interest-rate hikes continue to hit America's most vulnerable the hardest. Could a progressive consumption tax counteract the Fed squeeze?

Sarah Liez, There are no ethical billionaires, Pitt News. No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars.

Tanvi Dayal, Are Luxury Goods Really Worth It?  JumpStart. A look at the allure of (artificial) exclusivity.
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