Inequality is getting worse. Most of us know that the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the US economy. Between March 18 and June 25, over 46 million people filed for unemployment. In that same period, however, U.S. billionaire wealth surged over $600 billion. At least eight billionaires have seen their wealth grow by more than $1 billion this year. I talk about this with CHUCK COLLINS, who directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits Inequality.org. His books include 99 TO 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It; and BORN ON THIRD BASE.
CHUCK COLLINS is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and author most recently of Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good. We talk about inequality in America and the GOP’s proposed 2017 tax bill that will only make things much worse.
For over thirty years, you and I have lived through a radical redistribution of wealth — upward, to a tiny fraction of the population — as though we’re part of a bizarre experiment to see how much inequality a democratic society can tolerate. Finally this past year, as a result of the Great Recession that burst the mortgage/refi/credit card bubble that had allowed too many of us to deny reality, people have woken up and “We are the 99%,” the rallying cry of the Occupy movement, has spread far and wide.
CHUCK COLLINS has been on the case since at least 1995, when he co-founded United for a Fair Economy to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support efforts to address it. In fact, when he did so, he was one of my first guests on this show and we talked then about the same issues we will talk about today.
Chuck’s new book, 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It, paints a picture of how disparities in wealth and power play out in America and the world, and identifies the shifts in social values, political power, and economic policy that have led to our current era of extreme inequality. He lays out the destructive cost of inequality on virtually every aspect of society.
But Collins believes there’s hope and offers proposals for closing the gap, and a guide to many of the groups working toward a society that works for everybody.