Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org, 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

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...

Tax Wealth to Broaden Wealth

I recently spoke at a veterans' club in suburban Boston about the dangers of America's growing wealth gap and its possible solutions. I informally polled the assembled group of 150 men, all white and over the age of 60. How many had received a low-interest home mortgage from the Federal Housing Administration, the Veterans Administration or the Farmers Home Administration? About two-thirds raised their hands. How many graduated from college without any debt, thanks to the GI Bill or other public-education programs? Again, about two-thirds. How many thought that these past policies were bad investments or a waste of tax dollars? Not one. My final question generated a lot of laughter: How many had helped their children, through a "Parental Down Payment Assistance Program," purchase a home or start a business? Almost every hand in the room went up. Here was living testimony that our country's postwar commitment to wealth building for one generation and one racial group has had...

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