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

The American Families Plan Taxes Billionaires and Protects Family Farms and Businesses

President Joe Biden has proposed tax reforms to close a capital gains loophole favoring the wealthiest Americans.

Elly May Clampett Is the Target of Biden’s Tax Plan, Not Laura Ingalls

The capital-gains-tax proposal would actually protect family farmers like those on “Little House on the Prairie” and tax the windfall riches ‘earned” by ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’

Our ‘Trillion-Dollar Seven’: Can We Summon the Courage to Tax Them?

The billions our billionaires are grabbing currently face a next-to-nothing tax rate.

Who Is Buying My Neighborhood?

Anonymous corporations own more and more of our cities.

U.S. Billionaires Got 62 percent Richer During Pandemic. They’re Now Up $1.8 Trillion.

Billionaire wealth gains made during the COVID-19 pandemic could pay for half of Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget package

More Evidence of Warehousing of Wealth in Donor-Advised Funds

New report finds more than one billion dollars in DAF grants went to other commercial DAFs in 2019.

Global Billionaires See $5.5 Trillion Pandemic Wealth Surge

Global advocates call for one-time, 99 percent emergency tax on billionaires’ pandemic windfalls to fund COVID-19 jabs for entire world.

Helping the Rich Let Go

A new generation of wealth advisors helps wealthy people give away their money instead of hoard it.

Taxing Lifetime Gains Serves Different Fairness Goal Than Estate Tax

The “basis step-up” allows wealthy people to avoid paying income tax on lifetimes of investment gains.

New Research Suggests DAF Payout Is Worse Than We Thought

We must prevent our charitable system from being misused by those with the means and motivation to do so.

Billionaire Pandemic Wealth Gain Could Pay For Biden’s American Families Plan

U.S. billionaires have reaped $1.8 trillion in wealth gains since March 2020.

What Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta Means for Charities — and Our Democracy

A new Supreme Court decision enables billionaires to anonymously weaponize their philanthropy.

REPORT: Silver Spoon Oligarchs

How America’s 50 Largest Inherited-Wealth Dynasties Accelerate Inequality

The rich got richer while millions lost their livelihoods. It’s time for a wealth tax

The rich got richer while millions lost their livelihoods. It’s time for a wealth tax.

How Billionaires’ Secretive Speculation Threatens the Next Financial Meltdown

The implosion of Archegos is an early warning sign about the next generation of unaccountable capital and exotic, risky financial instruments hidden inside ‘family offices.’

Who Owns the City? Luxury Towers and Supercharged Gentrification

Wealthy workers moving into central, walkable neighborhoods has long caused gentrification, but global capital is exacerbating the situation.

Decades of Warehousing Charity Dollars — the ‘Fidelity Effect’ on Charitable Giving

Critics of Donor-Advised Funds, or DAFs, have long argued that they starve nonprofits of much-needed funds by “warehousing” charitable donations.

Family Offices: Trillion Dollar Pools of Unregulated Capital You Haven’t Heard About

With the collapse of Archegos Capital, family offices — a main tool of the wealth defense industry — are in the headlines.

U.S. Billionaire Wealth Skyrocketed 55 Percent During Pandemic, Accelerating Inequality

Pandemic inequalities may explain the popularity of proposals to restore progressive income and wealth taxes on the very wealthy.

Don’t Let the Rich Avoid Taxes

A progressive tax system is one of the few tools we can deploy to slow and reverse the growth of billionaire power.