If we want to address wealth inequality, we have to start by unmasking the rich.
Here in the U.S, we can get so caught up in our own deepening inequalities that we sometimes forget how global a phenomenon greed and inequality have become.

The International Trade Union Confederation represents 200 million workers in labor unions around the world. Ahead of its World Congress in Australia next month, ITUC is asking people to vote for the worst boss in the world. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos currently leads the balloting — no surprise! — with over 54 percent of the vote.

But the list of contenders for the world’s worst boss go far beyond Bezos. Take, for example, the chief exec currently in second place, Peter Hebblethwaite, the billionaire CEO of P&O Ferries. Under Hebblethwaite, this UK shipping giant fired over 800 workers via a video message about cutting costs — without consulting either workers or their unions.

If we want to address wealth inequality, we have to start by unmasking the rich. Exercises like the ITUC’s worst-boss competition, by calling out greedy wealth hoarders to build global solidarity, help us do just that.

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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The Campaign to Create Truly ‘Livable’ Cities
Every year various outlets publish their take on the “Best U.S. Cities to Live In.” Their rankings almost always rest on the same criteria, things like job and housing markets and crime rates.

But what about cities with strong protections for tenants? Or sustainable wages? Best-city lists routinely ignore measures like these. This November, voters in Portland, Maine have an opportunity to say how much measures like these matter. They’ll be voting on an ambitious slate of inequality-fighting ballot measures that include eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped workers, restricting short-term rentals like Airbnbs, and ensuring better benefits for gig workers.

“A big part of this campaign is in reaction to a lack of urgency from elected officials,” says Wes Pelletier, chair of the Livable Portland campaign behind the ballot questions. “We’re using the referendum process to tackle this affordability crisis and take steps that will protect people from being priced out of the city.”

Inequality.org’s Managing Editor Rebekah Entralgo has more.
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Who Can Spot Greed Any Better than a Billionaire?
The newlyweds Michael Fuchs and Alvina Collardeau-Fuchs once seemed to have it all. They owned, as one of Michael’s lawyers has put it, “five fully staffed homes in fashionable areas of the world, traveled extensively in the world’s top hotels, and spent according to their means, which were unlimited.” Fuchs also owned a huge chunk of midtown Manhattan, including the iconic Chrysler Tower, as well as three Picassos and a superyacht. But their 2012 marriage would not last, and now the two have already spent over $1 million on break-up legal fees. Alvina, a 47-year-old former journalist, is asking for $50 million and $1.34 million more for child support from her ex. Lawyers for Michael, 62, are charging that Alvina “wants to live like a billionaire” after signing a pre-nup agreeing that she would “live like a mere multi-millionaire.” That amounts, Fuchs has his legal team declaring, to “evidence of greed, not need.” Anybody see here maybe a slight bit of what the psychologists call “projection”?
Viennese Housing Has Lessons for New Yorkers
New York City’s unaffordability has reached preposterous new heights. Average rents in Manhattan now top $5,200 a month, at the same time that reporting from The City has revealed that nearly 90,000 rent-stabilized units sit vacant and off-market at landlord behest. A minimum-wage New York worker must now work 111 hours each week to afford rent.

Last week, a delegation of 50 New Yorkers traveled to Vienna, the Austrian metropolis renowned for its livability and social housing models. The visiting New Yorkers — including activists and local legislators — toured housing developments, considered the capacity of public agencies, and learned complex Central European history.

“Vienna society is built around social equity, not wealth equity,” observes Emily Gallagher, a state assemblywoman representing Brooklyn.

International exchanges can always help leaders envision more equitable alternatives to the status quo. Inequality.org’s Bella DeVaan has more.
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Must We Up Interest Rates to Stop Rising Prices?
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell is readily acknowledging the hardships his whopping interest-rate hikes are provoking. The slower growth and softer labor market that rising rates make inevitable, Powell conceded this past August, “will also bring some pain to households and businesses.” But we don’t need to crash the economy to get inflation under control. We need to get our rich under control. These wealthy — especially those who sit in corporate executive suites — are driving the price hikes that are juicing inflation. Inequality.org’s Sam Pizzigati has more.
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What's on Inequality.org 

Sarah Baron, To Protect Working Families, Raise Corporate Taxes — Not Interest Rates. Instead of just relying on job-killing interest rate hikes, policymakers should directly address the problem of price gouging.

Elsewhere on the Web

Timothy Rooks, When a billion dollars is way too much: What is 'economic limitarianism'? Deutsche Welle. An interview with Belgian philosopher Ingrid Robeyns on the importance of capping massive concentrations of private wealth.

Emily Atkin, The curious origins of the anti-ESG movement, Heated. Billionaires are bankrolling the anti-”woke capitalism” movement, one of the biggest emerging barriers to corporate action on climate change.

Michael Waldman, Citizens United lets billionaires set the terms of debate, Brennan Center for Justice. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, just 12 super-rich donors have paid one dollar out of every 13 spent in federal elections.

Susanne Wixforth and Kaoutar Haddouti, ‘Greedflation’: who wins, who loses? Social Europe. ExxonMobil announced earnings of $17.9 billion in 2022’s second quarter, tripling its profit. Time for a windfall profits tax.

Emma Bubola, She’s Inheriting Millions of Euros. She Wants Her Wealth Taxed Away, New York Times. The 30-year-old Marlene Engelhorn feels that philanthropy only perpetuates existing power dynamics. She’s calling for structural change on how we tax the ultra-rich.

Rebecca Klar, How billionaires are building a right-wing online ecosystem, The Hill. A new wave of high-profile billionaires is putting millions into platforms that enable users, including themselves, to say what they want without following rules aimed at limiting abusive content.

Kyle Barr, World’s Second Richest Man Sells Jet So People on Twitter Won’t Track Him Anymore, Gizmodo. The uber rich don’t enjoy other people criticizing them for taking short jaunts on private jets that are shoving tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Mark Kreidler, For America’s Top-Ranked CEOs, Too Much Is Never Enough, Capital & Main. Since 1978, CEOs at the top 350 firms in the United States have seen their pay packages soar by 1,460 percent.

Gregor Gall, Could maximum wage fix soaring rich-poor pay gap? The National. A University of Leeds analyst explores the egalitarian impact of capping corporate executive pay at a multiple of the pay that goes to a firm’s lowest-paid worker.

Shane Markowitz, Combating inflation: the case for one-off wealth taxes, Social Europe. An alternative to interest-rate hikes that hammer low- and average-income families.

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