The billionaires are billionaire-ing.
Succession’s premiere last night had its billionaire characters in peak form. Kendall, Shiv, and Roman — the disgraced children of a media empire — used every buzzword in the book to practice pitching their new venture, a “disruptor” news app, to oil baron investors. Eldest son Connor contemplated pouring $100 million into his vanity campaign for president.

For these fictional heirs, wealth brings fun and breathless bartering competitions to “say the biggest number.” But, for the rest of us, billionaire greed has real-life consequences, from train derailments and union-busting to ever-growing housing costs, as you’ll see later in this week’s issue.

The Roys of Succession would certainly loathe our newsletter. But we’re not aiming to please them. We’re working for an economy that works for us all!

A bit of housekeeping: Next Monday, our weekly will sport a fresh, new look. What won’t change: We’ll continue to provide the same cutting-edge commentary and research on our widening divides, as well as profiles of the champions leading the fight for a more equitable world and the latest on innovative approaches to solving the crises inequality creates.

A platform like ours that holds our wealthy and well-connected accountable can only grow and flourish through word of mouth. If you enjoy our newsletter, please forward this issue to friends or colleagues — five of them would be nice! — and encourage them to subscribe. We want your people to be among the first to see our latest update!

Chuck Collins and Rebekah Entralgo,
for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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This Doctor Prescribes Bold Executive Action
On top of his work as a pediatric physician, Dr. Sanjeev Sriram works as a passionate advocate for equitable health care for all. This Maryland doctor has co-founded All Means All, a campaign to center racial equity in the fight for universal health care. He also advises Social Security Works, an organization committed to protecting and expanding Social Security.

Dr. Sriram recently spoke alongside co-editor Sarah Anderson on a webinar about actions President Biden could take to reduce inequality without waiting for a congressional consensus. He applauded the administration’s moves to lower prescription drug prices and require corporations that receive semiconductor subsidies to provide affordable child care benefits. But Dr. Sriram also urged the White House to go much further, by using use its power of the pen to reduce health disparities.

Executive actions, the good doctor noted, can “turn words into work.” You can watch his full Congressional Progressive Caucus Center presentation and learn more about the powerful potential of nation-transforming executive actions right here.
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Taxing Investors Could Cool our Housing Crisis
Millions of working-class families are today struggling to find affordable housing at the same time cash-rich investors are snapping up properties and lowering housing stock available for everyone else.

An analysis of Redfin data by our Institute for Policy Studies team has found, for instance, that deep-pocketed investor purchases in Miami accounted for 31 percent of all residential real estate sales in that city between last October and December.

But Miami offers just one example of as city where investors are snatching up residential properties. If investors in Miami and the other nine top U.S. housing markets had faced a 10 percent tax on their housing purchases in last year’s fourth quarter alone, the resulting revenue generated would have hit $1.4 billion!

A federal tax on institutional buyers has the potential to generate significant revenue to fund the construction of new public and social housing that would serve the social needs of all our communities instead of just further enriching corporations and institutional landlords. Our researcher Omar Ocampo has more.
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What's on 

Sarah Anderson and Jasmine Corazon, Where are the Women CEOs? Should We Care? Women CEOs are becoming slightly less rare at large corporations. But simply replacing men with women at the top of the income scale won't lead to greater equity.

Joseph A. McCartin, Making Campuses Platforms for Labor Renewal. Campuses are becoming sites of labor organizing and struggle. The Labor Spring movement is emerging to build that energy across the country.

Elsewhere on the Web

Sarah Anderson, The Biden administration has the power to stop bank CEOs from creating the next SVB. They just need to use it, MarketWatch. A provision in the Dodd-Frank law could have held SVB CEO Gary Becker accountable — and maybe kept Silicon Valley Bank solvent.

Jia Jie Chen, Raises for Moderna, Pfizer CEOs Highlight Continuing Trend, BioSpace. Many biotech companies have profited massively throughout the Covid pandemic, with their chief execs the prime beneficiaries of those profits.

Steven Mintz, How Gross Inequalities in Institutional Wealth Distort the Higher Education Ecosystem and Shortchange the Vast Majority of Middle- and Lower-Income Undergraduates, Inside Higher Education. Inequalities in campus resources imperil the quality of the education most college students receive.

Sam Jones, Inside the Swiss clinic that helps its wealthy guests fight time, Financial Review. Longevity has become the biggest buzzword in the $1.5-trillion global wellness — for our richest — industry.

Michael Hogan, ‘The twisted egos and mediocre minds are spot on’: boardroom survivors on how true Succession is, Guardian. From the scheming super-brats to sweary CEOs, just how realistic is the world of the Roys? As the power-crazed family return for their final showdown, high-fliers reveal all.

Matt Bruenig, Uncapping the Social Security Tax, People’s Policy Project. Why “uncapping” the Social Security tax — applying the 6.2 percent employee tax to all earnings, not just earnings below $160,200 — makes eminent sense.

Ryan Cooper, The Economy Could Not Exist Without Government, American Prospect. The Silicon Valley Bank collapse exposes a reality that rich people would prefer to ignore.

Richard Eskow, Why We (Still) Need a Federal Reserve for the People—Not Wall Street, Common Dreams. Our U.S. system for regulating banks defers many of our regulatory functions to the Federal Reserve and then gives bankers undue power over it.

New Think Tank Will Focus on Tax Reform and Holding the Ultra-Rich Accountable, Excessive Wealth Disorder Institute. This new organization will be working to shine a light on the societal harm that extreme wealth inequality has created.

Jackson Fordyce and Geoff Colvin, A new SEC rule is supposed to reveal the truth about CEO compensation, Fortune. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission now requires corporations to report the CEO “compensation actually paid” over the past three years.

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