“The problem isn’t really individuals making money. The problem is having an entire system that grows the wealth of billionaires at the expense of everything else we care about — including our democracy,” writes Chuck Collins in an op-ed for CNN Business, “The US would be better off with fewer billionaires.” Collins, who is the heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune, has long championed raising taxes on the rich and campaign finance reform, and writes extensively about inequality. Collins discusses Mike Bloomberg, the problem with philanthropy, and the many ways that billionaires undermine the middle class and democracy. (March 11, 2020 broadcast)
Chuck Collins, co-editor, Inequality.org at the Institute for Policy Studies, author, Born on Third Base
A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies highlights how a racial wealth divide has grown between white households and households of color over the past three decades. Since the early 1980s, median wealth among black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. Meanwhile, white household median wealth grew from $105,300 to $140,500, adjusting for inflation. This is documented in Dreams Deferred: How Enriching The 1% Widens The Racial Wealth Divide. If this trajectory continues, by 2050 the median white family will have $174,000 of wealth, while Latino median wealth will be $8,600 and black median wealth will be $600–falling to zero wealth by 2082. We speak with the co-author of the report about how we got here, and how to address this disparity. (February 6, 2019 broadcast)
Josh Hoxie, director, Project on Opportunity and Taxation, Institute for Policy Studies
In his January budget address, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott declared that Vermont has a demographic crisis. He has proposed a range of solutions, including paying young workers $5,000 to move to the state. He also announced that he is abandoning his longstanding pledge against raising taxes and fees in order to raise funds to fight e-cigarette abuse. We talk with Stephanie Yu of the Public Assets Institute about whether the governor’s numbers add up, and explore who is thriving and struggling in Vermont today, inequality, school funding, and other issues. (January 30, 2019 broadcast)
America’s 3 richest people — Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos — now own more wealth than half of all Americans. This extreme inequality is unsustainable, but many politicians accept it as irreversible. In his new book, Is Inequality in America Irreversible?, scholar and activist Chuck Collins diagnoses the causes and drivers of inequality and proposes policies to roll back inequality and build a national movement for change. Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and co-edits Inequality.org. He is author of Born on Third Base, and, with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. (June 13, 2018 broadcast)
A new report, Billionaire Bonanza 2017, shows that the three wealthiest Americans — Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and investor Warren Buffet — have more wealth than the bottom half of all U.S. households combined. “If left unchecked, wealth will continue to accumulate into fewer and fewer hands,” says Josh Hoxie, report co-author. “The time to reverse this trend is past due.” Hoxie, a former staffer for Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders, is director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-editor of Inequality.org. He discusses America’s new oligarchy, how the 2017 Republican tax overhaul will rob the middle class to pay the rich, and how citizens can push back. (November 29, 2017 broadcast)
The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America (Chelsea Green) is a new book by veteran journalist Jonathan Tasini that features speeches by and analysis of presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Tasini is the former president of the National Writers Union and a political analyst. He is the publisher of Working Life, a popular progressive blog on work and the economy. In 2006, he ran against Sen. Hillary Clinton in New York. He talks about his new book, Sanders, Clinton, Donald Trump, the decline of the labor movement, and his own insights on what it takes to run a major campaign.