It's important to understand the shady system by which our wealthy and powerful stay wealthy and powerful as wages for everyday Americans continue to stagnate.

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

On this Indigenous Peoples' Day, we are meditating on the interconnected struggles that drive and deepen inequality among indigenous communities, both here and abroad. From the plundering of our environment to line the pockets of executives, to the continuation of starvation wages, what impacts the indigenous communities impacts us all.

As Sônia Guajajara, a Brazilian indigenous activist with the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil and one of the 2020 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awardees, said: “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 coming Thursday the Institute for Policy Studies will honor our 2022 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awardees, the Amazon Labor Union and Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México. Virtual and in-person tickets are still available. Please consider joining us for this celebration, we’d love to have you.

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team

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A Victory Against Fossil Fuel Industry Dirty Deals
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin met in secret this past August to cut a deal on the pending high-priority Inflation Reduction Act. In exchange for Manchin’s support, Schumer promised to ram through to passage the West Virginia coal millionaire’s pet environmental deregulation bill.

Basav Sen, the Institute for Policy Studies climate policy director, has spent the past five years working with movements challenging Big Oil and its backers in Congress. The Manchin deal, he quickly realized, would make challenging fossil-fuel projects that endanger vulnerable frontline communities much more difficult.

Political “insiders,” meanwhile, figured that Schumer and Manchin would easily get their way. What they didn’t figure: that activists like Sen and groups like the Climate Justice Alliance and the People vs Fossil Fuels coalition would flex their growing power and beat back Manchin’s “dirty deal.” We have more from Sen on the significance of this victory and the long road ahead to climate justice.
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Facebook’s Chief Now Face-to-Face with Failure
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, once America’s third-richest billionaire, now no longer ranks in the top ten, Forbes reported last week. Zuckerberg’s personal fortune has sunk “a staggering $76.8 billion,” the nation’s single largest net-worth plummet since last September. Things could get worse for Zuckerberg. Users and advertisers have been “jumping ship” from Facebook, and only four stocks in the entire S&P 500, the Wall Street Journal notes, “are having a worse year” than Meta, Facebook’s parent company. Zuckerberg remains defiantly optimistic amid the current carnage, even telling CNBC this past summer that he envisions getting “around a billion people” — each spending “hundreds of dollars” — on the virtual-reality “metaverse” his Meta is now building. But Zuckerberg’s bravado isn’t convincing Wall Street, and some financial analysts now see Meta in a “death spiral.” Some good-news perspective for Zuckerberg: The 38-year-old could lose another $50 billion and still be worth over 22,000 times more than what typical American workers earn in a year. 
Cracking Down on Billionaire Enabler States
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that nation’s allies zeroed in on a possible Moscow vulnerability: the hidden fortunes of Russia’s elites. But the clandestine world of financial secrecy stretches far beyond Russia, and our latest Institute for Policy Studies report, Billionaire Enabler States: How U.S. States Captured by the Trust Industry Help the World’s Wealthy Hide Their Fortunes, reveals how that world increasingly revolves around the United States.

The U.S. currently hosts an estimated $5.6 trillion in trust and estate assets, with trust-subservient states like Nevada, South Dakota, and Florida enabling illicit wealth hoarding and tax avoidance. The federal government could be moving on a number of fronts to take on our onshore tax havens, from boosting federal and state oversight of complex trust transactions to reforming estate, gift, and other generation-skipping taxes. The full report by Chuck Collins and Kalena Thomave has more.
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In Italy, a Stark Setback for a More Equal Future
In any unequal society becoming substantially more unequal, democratic forces better directly address that growing inequality. Or else get prepared to face the consequences. In Italy, established democratic parties have spent years leaving their nation’s inequality unaddressed. Now they’re facing those consequences. Near the end of September, just a few weeks shy of the 100th anniversary of our modern world’s first fascist putsch, Italian voters gave a smashing triumph to a party with deep roots in the neofascism that emerged after the fall of Benito Mussolini, Italy’s first fascist head of state.’s Sam Pizzigati has more.
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What's on 

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

Luke Savage, State Governments Are Colluding With Billionaires to Shield Their Wealth From Taxation, Jacobin. An interview with Kalena Thomhave and Chuck Collins explains how U.S. states have turned their tax codes into plutocratic rackets where billionaires can stash their cash tax-free

Kalena Thomhave, How One Man Helped Make America a Global Tax Haven, Mother Jones. To curb billionaire power over our lives, we're going to have to tackle the legacy of  estate lawyer Jonathan Blattmachr first and foremost.

John Nichols, It's Official: America Is an Oligarchy, The Nation. The Congressional Budget Office confirms that the rich have exponentially increased their share of America's wealth over the past 30 years.

Stewart Lansley, Trussonomics: pro-rich, anti-poor, LSE. The first measures announced by the new UK PM Liz Truss government, from the abolition of the 45-percent top tax rate to the lifting of the banker’s bonus cap, vastly favor the rich — and push a social strategy more anti-poor than anti-poverty.

Christian Wade, Ballot spending on millionaires’ tax hits $20M, Salem News. Unions and community groups in Massachusetts are asking voters to amend the state constitution and set a new 4% surtax on annual income over $1 million. The state’s rich are pushing back big-time.

John Battle, To truly level up, cap the pay of the super-rich, The Guardian. A former UK cabinet minister says we need to get serious about fighting inequality and consider “even a statutory maximum wage.”

Michael Roberts, Trickle-Down Economics, Next Recession. An update on the latest research that exposes the emptiness of the notion that policies that favor the rich eventually benefit average citizens.

Whizy Kim, Tech billionaires lost $315 billion in 2022 and it genuinely doesn’t matter, Vox. Losing billions to recent stock slides hasn’t erased the wild gains tech giants have made since the start of the pandemic.


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