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

Donald Trump’s Abuse of the Conservation Easement Tax Loophole Shows How the Tax Code Favors the Ultra Rich

How to ‘donate’ land to a charity, but keep it for your own exclusive use.

U.S. Billionaires Wealth Surges $931 Billion since Beginning of Pandemic

An unseemly juxtaposition: 220,000 dead and millions lose their health, wealth and livelihoods.

Wealth Inequality in America: Far Beyond Extreme

The maldistribution of America’s income and wealth has reached levels that our conventional economic stats have trouble revealing.

U.S. Billionaire Wealth Is Up $850 Billion Since March 18th

U.S. billionaire wealth has climbed 28 percent since March 18th, 2020. During the same span, global billionaire wealth is up $1.5 trillion.

You Paid More Taxes Than Donald Trump

There are two tax systems in America: one for you and me, and one for the wealthiest 0.1 percent.

Ginsburg Would Want Women to Fight, Not Despair

The late justice dedicated her career to women and other marginalized Americans, and we owe her the same faith she had in us.

Remembering Bill Gates Sr.

He believed the estate tax was an “economic opportunity recycling program.”

FinCen Files Shine Spotlight on Suspicious Bank Transfers

The reporters behind the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers gave more to share. We should pay attention.

In a Pandemic, We Need Democracy — Not Billionaire Charity

We need a movement to democratize philanthropy — and the concentrated wealth that increasingly defines it.

It Is Time to Levy a One-Time Pandemic Wealth Tax on Billionaires’ Windfall Gains

How we face this extraordinary inequality is the ultimate test of what kind of country we are and what we will become.

Twelve US Billionaires Have a Combined $1 Trillion

A disturbing milestone in the concentration of US wealth.

Voices from the Field: Giving Pledge at 10, Peril and Possibility

The Giving Pledgers set out to give away half of their wealth. Ten years later, their assets doubled. How do we break this pattern?

In a Pandemic, Billionaires Are Richer Than Ever. Why Aren’t They Giving More?

Billionaires get huge tax breaks to park money in private family foundations operated by wealthy heirs. Little goes to actual charity work

The Perils and Possibilities of Billionaire Charitable Giving: MacKenzie Scott (Bezos) Makes Her First Move

Philanthropy is at risk of becoming another extension of the private power of plutocrats, alongside monopoly ownership and media domination.

How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy

Inequality is making charity increasingly reliant on the rich. Here’s why wealthy people dominating philanthropy a problem and what we can do about it.

Gilded Giving 2020: How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy and Imperils Democracy

How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy and Imperils Democracy

SCOTUS Birth Control Decision Favors Medicare for All

Access to essential medications, like birth control, should not be subject to the whims of our employers.

Can Corporations Walk the Walk on Racial Justice?

Many companies are tweeting about their commitment to racial equity, but not practicing it in their own staffing.

Fair Tax Solutions for Cities Facing COVID-19 Budget Crises

The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has strained municipal budgets. How can cities close the gap fairly?

The Pandemic Is Accelerating the Racial Wealth Divide. Here’s How We Turn It Around.

If we want justice, we must help Black families invest in themselves