Program on Inequality and the Common Good

Extreme inequalities of income, wealth and opportunity undercut democracy, social solidarity and mobility, economic stability, and many other aspects of our personal and public lives.  The Program on Inequality and the Common Good focuses on these and other dangers that income disparities pose for the U.S.

Through research and reporting, this program encourages policy interventions that can reduce extreme wealth inequality, and close the growing gap between the rich and poor. Recent reports have examined the estate tax, the racial wealth gap, inequality in philanthropy, and other topics related to extreme wealth concentration. The central theme of the program is that without significant reform and a systemic view of inequality on both a national and global level, the overall wealth divide will continue to grow exponentially.

Latest Work

Dismantling the Lucky Sperm Club, One Baby Bond Program at a Time

Cities and states are experimenting with trust fund accounts to narrow the racial wealth divide.
People working in stock market exchange

Congress Takes Historic Step to Tax Stock Buybacks

This provision of the Inflation Reduction Act will discourage corporations from siphoning resources from worker wages and productive investments for share repurchases that inflate CEO pay.
gustavo petro and francia marquez celebrating their victory in the colombian elections

A Proposed Wealth Tax on Colombia’s 4,700+ Richest Would Raise $1 Billion

An Institute for Policy Studies analysis of the progressive tax proposed by incoming Colombian President Gustavo Petro would impact a small percentage of the nation's wealthiest while raising millions to address widening inequality.
billionaire mackenzie scott (bezos) charity and philanthropy

The Rise of the Monster DAFs

Rising like monsters from the deep, donor-advised funds (DAFs) have finally caught up with foundations as the wealthy donor’s charitable warehousing vehicle of choice — and are poised to eclipse them.
a cat playing with a mouse

Reining in Philanthropic Megadonors: What the Data Tell Us Is Needed

While megadonor gifts are celebrated, the growing dominance of large donors speaks to an erosion of democratic values. This must be addressed now.

Report: Gilded Giving 2022

Our nation’s charitable system is in danger of becoming a taxpayer-subsidized platform of private power for the ultra-wealthy.
money going into a savings jar

Giving USA 2022: Charity Sector Stable but Increasingly Top-Heavy

Giving USA 2022 is the gold-standard report on charitable giving in the United States. But this year's story glosses over two important pieces of long-term context: what has happened to the giving capacity of typical Americans, and where much of the charitable giving has actually gone.
miniature wooden carved people depicted as gathering and talking amongst each other

New Ipsos Poll Shows Broad Support for Bold Charity Reform

Concerns about warehousing charity dollars and tax subsidies for wealthy donors and perpetual foundations transcend partisan divide.
the construction of a money sign

Time To End the Capital Gains Rate Giveaway

Our tax loopholes let marginal and arbitrary differences in facts give rise to markedly different tax outcomes.
gustavo petro and francia marquez celebrating their victory in the colombian elections

Gustavo Petro’s Victory Brings an Opportunity to Reverse Inequality in Colombia

Running on a platform of gender equity, progressive taxation, and environmental protection, Colombia’s first leftist president could bring much-needed change to a deeply unequal nation.
emissions smoke stacks

The Climate Case for Taxing Wealth

Vast fortunes rely on destroying our planet. Taxing those fortunes to fund climate action could give us a shot at survival.
money in front of a clock

Visualize This: Donor-Advised Funds As Largest Recipients of Charitable Gifts

Watch this stunning time lapse illustration of the rise of donor-advised funds (DAFs) as the largest recipients of charitable gifts.

Bay State Billionaires

Massachusetts billionaires' wealth surges 46 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Finance Committee members

Whither the Wealth Squad?

Funding the IRS' wealth squad can help ensure the nation's richest pay their fair share of taxes.
world economic forum

Activists Call on Davos Elite to Address Inequality and Hunger

Over 150 millionaires delivered a statement to the World Economic Forum, calling on Davos attendees to take on wealth inequality.
rich person relaxing

Debunking the Myth of the Fleeing Millionaire

As it turns out, high-earners won't leave if you increase their taxes.
1 million COVID deaths comparison

Billionaire Wealth up $1.7 Trillion as U.S. Passes 1 Million COVID Deaths Milestone

The U.S. has recorded 1 million COVID deaths. In the time it took to reach that grim milestone, billionaire wealth is up $1.7 trillion.
U.S. dollar bills

New Data Tells Us Where Donor-Advised Fund Dollars Go—And Don’t Go

A new research database reveals that many donor-advised fund donations take years to make it to the coffers of operating nonprofits.
wealthy person in a suit holding a cigar and a glass of expensive liquor

An Oligarchy Expert Answers Our Questions About Wealth and Empowerment

Northwestern professor Jeffrey Winters says he knows how to get billionaires to jump off the Forbes list of richest Americans.
Billionaire Elon Musk contemplating

Elon Musk Is Hiding the Ball Again on Taxes

Fanboys of the richest person on Earth are spinning bogus tales that swell the Musk fortune and embellish his ‘genius.’

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In the News

Look at Multiple Bottom Lines in Fair Share Amendment Fight

Banker & Tradesman | September 18, 2022

Chuck Collins interview on hidden wealth on KPFA

KPFA Sunday Show | July 24, 2022

5 Minutes With...Wolfgang Puck

Sphere Magazine | June 29, 2022

How Elon Musk Helped Lift the Ceiling on C.E.O. Pay

The New York Times | June 25, 2022

Local Nonprofit Bulletin

Catalogue for Philanthropy | June 24, 2022

A new path for Colombia and Latin America?

KBOO Portland Oregon | June 22, 2022