Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits, and author of the new book, Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good

Recent Articles

Hillary Clinton Channels Her Inner Teddy Roosevelt

Clinton’s announcement to expand the federal estate tax on the wealthy is a bold step towards addressing today’s skyrocketing inequality.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
AP Photo/Matt Rourke Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at the Frontline Outreach Center in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, September 21, 2016. H illary Clinton’s proposal to strengthen the federal estate tax is the best idea yet to reverse our national drift toward extreme wealth inequality. Clinton proposes an expansion of the federal estate tax, our nation’s only levy on the transfer of accumulated wealth of multimillionaires and billionaires. The tax falls on fewer than two out of 1,000 estates, yet puts a brake on concentrated wealth, encourages charitable giving, and raises substantial revenue from those most able to pay. Her plan would generate $260 billion over ten years, exclusively from multimillionaires and billionaires, that she plans to use for investments in expanding opportunity, such as reducing college debt, simplifying small business taxes and expanding the child tax credit. The estate tax, which celebrates its 100th...

Bernie, Pope Francis, and the Moral Economy

A lay person’s primer on Catholic social teaching. 

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally with striking federal workers at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on East Capitol Street NE, September 22, 2015. The event was organized on the day Pope Francis, who is an advocate for low income workers, arrived in Washington. B ernie Sanders is on his way to the Vatican, with high hopes of a meeting with Pope Francis. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall during that conversation? I imagine them bonding over the moral economy and their shared concern about the idolatry of money. Between them stands a rich tradition of Jewish and Christian teachings on economic life. Sanders will be addressing the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences about the “moral economy.” But it’s no secret he’d love an audience with the pontiff. “It’s something I would be very proud to see happen,” Mr. Sanders told The Washington Post about the prospect of meeting Pope Francis. “I believe that the pope has been an...

The Wealthy Kids Are All Right

In a tough economy with dwindling social supports, children of privilege have a bigger head start than ever.

AP Photo/Luigi Costantini
T wo 21-year-old college students sit down in a coffee shop to study for an upcoming test. Behind the counter, a barista whips up their double-shot lattes. In the back kitchen, another young adult washes the dishes and empties the trash. These four young adults have a lot in common. They are the same age and race, each has two parents, and all grew up in the same metropolitan area. They were all strong students in their respective high schools. But as they enter their third decade, their work futures and life trajectories are radically different—and largely determined at this point. The culprit is the growing role of inherited advantage, as affluent families make investments that give their children a leg up. Combined with the 2008 economic meltdown and budget cuts in public investments that foster opportunity, we are witnessing accelerating advantages for the wealthy and compounding disadvantages for everyone else. One of the college students, Miranda, will graduate without any...

Back from the Dead

On April 13, the U.S. House of Representatives undertook its annual drill of voting to permanently abolish the federal estate tax, our only tax on inherited wealth. In 2003, the House passed identical legislation. Last time, Congress' projected 10-year cost of repeal was $162 billion; now, it's a cool $290 billion. The lopsided vote for repeal, with 42 Democrats joining a unified gop, might suggest that the sun is setting on the estate tax. Anti-tax maestro Grover Norquist characterized it as “flopping around like that stupid fish in the boat.” “It's over, fish,” Norquist declared in one interview. “You're done!” But an obituary (or fish fry) is premature. Thanks to gridlock in the Senate and mounting deficit concerns, pressure is building for reform , not elimination, of the tax. This pushback is coming from budget hawks, officials in states that continue to tax inherited wealth, and progressive organizing. Public opinion is shifting, as budget cuts begin to trickle down into local...