Our best defense against the wealthy and powerful is our vote.
We here at Inequality.org are still unpacking the results from last Tuesday. We may not know the official balance in Congress for weeks, but one outcome has already become clear: Wherever clearly defined inequality-fighting candidates and policies appeared on the ballot, they won.

Corporate power, as David Dayen observes in the American Prospect, “had a bad election night.” Candidates who linked inflation to corporate greed, rallied against price-gouging, and lambasted trade deal giveaways consistently triumphed, often against tough odds.

Anti-inequality policies fared even better when they appeared on ballots untethered from partisan horse races. We have plenty of details below on some stunning ballot initiative victories that will raise wages, tax the rich, and build worker and tenant power across the nation.

“Ballot measures like these,” notes our co-editor Sarah Anderson, “can send a healthy wake-up call to political leaders who aren’t listening to their constituents.”

If the final midterm results turn out as now predicted, we’ll most likely see some serious gridlock in Congress over the coming months. But you can count on Inequality.org to outline opportunities to still get things done — across the aisle and out of the box.

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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A Big Bay State Tax-the-Rich Election Day Win
Massachusetts voters have delivered a huge victory in the fight against inequality. The Fair Share Amendment, the tax-the-rich ballot initiative they passed to invest in public education and transportation, creates a 4 percent surtax on individual annual income above $1 million. Analysts expect the tax to raise as much as $2 billion in revenue per year — from less than 1 percent of the state’s residents.

Jeron Mariani, the initiative’s campaign manager, says he knew the vote would be close, given the huge propaganda campaign opponents mounted in the weeks before the election. But, in the end, people saw through all the misleading messaging.

Our Boston-based inequality researcher, Omar Ocampo, has more background below on this historic initiative.
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A Bad Week for a Would-Be Crypto Political Hero
Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, rated as a billionaire just a week ago. Now his FTX, once seen as a bulwark of crypto stability, has gone bankrupt — amid federal probes into assorted shady dealings — and Bankman-Fried’s fortune has fizzled away. On Thursday, the crypto tycoon tweeted out a combo apology and defiant not-my-fault. All this, ironically, unfolded during an election week that could have ended up celebrating Bankman-Fried’s generosity. He emerged this year as the Democratic Party’s second-largest donor. But his contributions, says Slate, had a penchant for “supporting moderate candidates over more progressive ones,” and then Bankman-Fried upset those moderates by financially pulling out the rug from under them in campaign 2022’s final weeks. Incredibly, notes the American Prospect, members of Congress “fattened with crypto money” from before figures like Bankman-Fried “went bust” are still working at “putting together a weak regulatory and tax regime for crypto.”
Inequality-Fighting Ballot Initiatives Win Big
On Election Day, all across the country, states and cities demonstrated how bold policy can become reality through direct democracy. From passing protections for union workers to raising minimum wages, voters approved a number of ballot measures that will serve as models for other states as well as the federal government.

In California, San Franciscans and Angelenos voted to tax the vacant and high-worth housing of their wealthiest residents, investing millions in revenue in more affordable housing. New Mexico, meanwhile, became the first state to enshrine the right to childcare in its state constitution.

But progressive ballot-measure triumphs on Election Day extended well beyond Democratic Party strongholds. In deep red Nebraska, voters approved an increase in the state minimum wage to $15 per hour. South Dakotans voted to expand Medicaid and secure crucial health insurance for over 40,000 residents. And Arizonans cracked down on predatory medical debt and “dark money” donations.

For more, check our Inequality.org team’s comprehensive roundup below.
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Our Biggest Winners in America’s Election 2022?
Who “won” the 2022 midterm elections? Who has cause to crow the loudest? Democrats? They averted the traditional midterm swoon. Florida governor — and presidential hopeful — Ron DeSantis? His state GOP team swept away Dems at every level. Republicans in the House? They’re claiming a bare majority, enough to make life hell for President Joe Biden over the rest of his term. Our pundits will no doubt be endlessly debating, in the days to come, questions like these. But this post-election debate will by and large ignore the widespread national support for policies and proposals that could put a significant dent in America’s greatest fortunes. Inequality.org’s Sam Pizzigati has more.
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What's on Inequality.org 

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Gerardo Sanchez Herrera Moro, Crypto a Risky Bet for Black Americans. There are better ways to close the racial wealth gap while giving a leg up to Americans of every color.

Bella DeVaan, It’s Time to Do Away with Dark Money. After federal lawmakers failed to pass dark money donor disclosure, voters in Arizona had the opportunity to reveal who’s exerting outsize influence in their elections.

Rebekah Entralgo, In One Maine City, Solutions to the Affordability Crisis Are on the Ballot. The Livable Portland campaign offers us a vision of the power of local organizing amid federal gridlock.

Sam Pizzigati, Tax the Rich, House the Homeless. In L.A., 1 percenters currently pay less than a 1 percent city tax on the mansions they make millions selling. A November ballot measure hopes to change that.

Elsewhere on the Web

Chuck Collins and Helen Flannery, Do the Forbes Philanthropy Scores Give Foundation Donors Too Much Credit? Inside Philanthropy. Forbes’ philanthropy scores no longer count how much a billionaire has given to either private foundations or donor-advised funds – but their new algorithm could stand a bit of tweaking.

Marco Guzman, Massachusetts Voters Score Win for Tax Fairness with ‘Fair Share Amendment,’ Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Instead of slashing taxes and moving from a graduated income tax structure to a rich people-friendly flat rate, Massachusetts has chosen to look forward and prioritize investments in key public services.

John McCrank, How Wall St and billionaires have ‘donated’ to US elections, Reuters. Billionaires made 15 percent of all federal political itemized donations through September, up from 11 percent in the 2020 election cycle.

Dharna Noor, The super-rich are funding climate devastation, report shows, Boston Globe. Billionaires are causing one million times more planet-warming pollution than the world’s average households.

Prarthana Prakash, 125 billionaires produce the same carbon footprint as the entire country of France, Fortune. Billionaires exceed the average emissions of an individual who doesn’t make up the wealthiest 10 percent by a million times.

Erin Stone, In Van Nuys, Activists Protest Outsize Climate Impact Of Super-Rich, LAist. The 1 percent flies, the planet dies.

Zoe Rosenberg and Dan Latu, How Hurricane Sandy transformed the Jersey Shore into ‘a playground for the rich,’ Business Insider. Homeownership on the shore has largely become a luxury for the wealthy.

Evan Weidl, Billionaires aren’t going to save us, Daily Iowan. Ending tax loopholes and a wealth tax would generate massive revenue for social programs.

Miquel Echarri, $4,500 for a plate of pasta? How billionaires squander their money, El País. Some 3,000 ultra-rich individuals around the world who don’t flinch at spending $32,000 for a hotel room and thousands more for dinner.

Steven Young, Strikes: Why soaring CEO pay could help explain UK's recent industrial action, The Conversation. Execs at the largest UK companies earn around 100 times more than their lowest-paid employees. UK workers seek to avoid the considerably larger CEO-worker gap in the United States.

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