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Sam Pizzigati
Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the Institute for Policy Studies online weekly on excess and inequality. Currently an IPS associate fellow, he has written widely on issues around income and wealth concentration, with op-eds and articles appearing in publications ranging from the New York Times to Le Monde Diplomatique.

A veteran labor movement journalist, Pizzigati spent 20 years directing the publishing operations of America's largest union, the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. Over the course of his union career, he has also edited publications for three other national unions and co-edited the primary text on trade union journalism, The New Labor Press (Cornell University ILR Press).

Pizzigati's most recent book, The Rich Don't Always Win, explores the forgotten triumph over plutocracy that created the American middle class.

His earlier Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives won an "outstanding title" of the year rating from the American Library Association (Choice, January 2006). Greed and Good examines just how concentrated wealth is poisoning every aspect of our contemporary lives, from our economy and politics to our health and our happiness.

Pizzigati lives in Maryland. He has served on the boards of directors of Progressive Maryland, the state's most important voice for working families, and United for a Fair Economy, the Boston-based national economic justice advocacy group.

Entries by Sam Pizzigati

The Beatles and the Reagan Revolution

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2016 | 2:15 PM

Overcrowded classrooms. Crumbling bridges. Shuttered libraries. These have become our everyday realities after over a generation of tax-cutting political bravado.

A shrinking middle class. Rising dead-end poverty. The splurges of a new super rich. These have also become the markers of our time.

Is it all the Beatles' fault?


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America's Ridiculously Rich: The 2014 Edition

(1) Comments | Posted October 6, 2014 | 1:38 PM

Imagine yourself part of the typical American family. Your household would have, the Federal Reserve reported last month, a net worth of $81,200.

Not much. But 50 percent of America's households would actually have less wealth than you do. The other half would have more.

Now imagine that your...

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Why an Unequal Planet Can Never Be Green

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 11:24 PM

What is it going to take to save the planet from environmental devastation?

Sheer people power? We certainly saw that on the eve of last week's UN Climate Summit in New York. Some 400,000 marchers packed the streets of Manhattan. Millions more rallied the same day in over 2,600...

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A Year of Delightful Egalitarian Imagination

(0) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 10:54 AM

Nurses, philosophers, and trade unions have over the past 12 months all shared some fascinating ideas on how we can make our societies more equal -- and much better -- places to live.

Economic inequality, we suspect, may have crept into more conversations in 2013 than ever before. But people...

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A Question for Tax Time: Why Do We Tax?

(13) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 4:29 PM

April 15 is fast approaching, and Americans are naturally thinking about taxes. But most of us won’t be thinking about taxes the same way Americans once did. Over the past half-century, we’ve had a profound transformation in our attitudes toward income taxation.

How profound? Consider the tax perspective of Randolph...

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America's Top 10 Greediest People of 2012

(7) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 5:19 PM

The essence of greed? Simple. Greed amounts to taking more than you need when you already have enough -- and others don't. Who among us, by this yardstick, rate as our greediest? Those greediest would be those who have the wherewithal to take whatever they want -- and deny others...

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Five Plutocracy-Busting Ideas From America's Progressive Past

(13) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 11:35 AM

Our contemporary billionaires, most Americans would agree, are exploiting our labor and polluting our politics. Can we shrink our super rich down to a much less powerful -- and more democratic -- size? Of course we can. We Americans, after all, have already done that shrinking once before.

Between 1900...

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Joe the Plumber, We Miss You!

(6) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 7:27 PM

Four years ago, a plumber by the name of Joe Wurzelbacher injected a bit of a debate over inequality right into the heart of the 2008 presidential race.

Just outside Toledo, in a chance campaign encounter, then-candidate Barack Obama explained to Wurzelbacher -- soon to become the celebrated "Joe...

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Gagging on an Ad Blitz of Empty Anti-Wall Street Rhetoric

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 4:19 PM

All those political ads flooding our media are smacking dozens of different targets. One particularly: Wall Street. From mid-April to mid-September, Ad Age reports, $1 of every $10 spent on campaign ads has blasted bankers.

And these ads haven't just come from Democrats. The list of "big anti-Wall Street...

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Mitt's Offshore Shenanigans: The Bigger Story

(18) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 10:42 AM

All those official government stats on the maldistribution of wealth in the United States -- and the world -- vastly understate the actual extent of our contemporary inequality, says a landmark new study on global tax havens.

Are America's rich getting richer? They're certainly making much more than ever before....

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The Tea Party's 1776 Shtick: History Mangled

(13) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 5:52 PM

Not too long ago, Americans only dressed up in George Washington wigs, waistcoats, and tri-corner hats on the Fourth of July. But then the Tea Party came along, and colonial garb started turning up at rallies all year around.

In quick order, the legacy of 1776 started "belonging" to the...

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Behind Super-Sized Sodas, a Deeper Danger

(87) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 12:09 PM

The billionaire mayor of New York wants his city's board of health to ban super-sized servings of sodas and other sugar-packed drinks.

Some 58 percent of New Yorkers, explains mayor Michael Bloomberg, currently qualify as either overweight or obese. Their excess pounds are driving up the city's health...

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Another Home Run for the Walloping Wealthy

(5) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 4:16 PM

The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t win all that many baseball games in the eight years owner Frank McCourt signed the team's player paychecks. But McCourt has now won plenty. The mega-rich developer has emerged as the biggest financial winner in the history of professional sports.

On Tuesday, in a special...

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Is Our Health Care Debate Just a Sideshow?

(27) Comments | Posted March 25, 2012 | 5:12 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court this week begins the process of deciding the fate of the Obama health care reform, and much, as the pundits like to say, will be at stake in the high court's decision. The extent of federal authority. The political momentum into November. Access to health care...

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Behold and Beware Our New 'SWAG' Economy

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 4:00 PM

Today's swaggering rich are increasingly stuffing their dollars into investments that do America's 99 percent not one whit of good.

Your pop quiz for today: Define "art."

Wait, you don't need to panic here. You don't need to go fumbling in the deep recesses of your mind for...

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The Global Super-Rich Stash: Now $25 Trillion

(2) Comments | Posted November 15, 2011 | 7:57 AM

Another super-slick global financial analysis firm has just tallied how much net worth is sloshing around in the pockets of the world's most spectacularly wealthy. So when will the time finally come to stop the counting -- and start the taxing?

In today's astoundingly unequal global economy, banks...

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Rags to Riches: Who Should Really Care?

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2011 | 12:53 PM

The defenders of privilege just don't seem to get it. In truly decent societies we measure success by how many people are leading rich, fulfilling lives, not by counting how many people are becoming rich beyond measure.

Mobility, apologists for America's grand fortunes love to argue,...

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In Manhattan's Luxury Towers, Tax Bite Bigger on Janitors Than Mega-Millionaires

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2011 | 1:08 PM

The oh-so-loaded residents at New York's poshest addresses pay less of their income in federal taxes, a new analysis reveals, than the staff who clean up after their messes. Once upon a time, we had a law that discouraged that distinction.

How much of their mega-million incomes did the billionaire...

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A Game-Day 'Program' for the NFL Lockout

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2011 | 3:44 PM

To have any shot at comprehending the unfolding pro football lockout story, we need to first understand the mindset — and the mega millions — of our contemporary sports world's ever-grasping owners.

You don’t have to be a sports fan to care about whether pro football’s...

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Finding the Good in the 'Good Old Days'

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2011 | 2:10 PM

Sometimes we can move forward by turning the political clock back -- if we know exactly where to stop.

Last week, in a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President Obama pledged that the federal budget he unveils this week will take “domestic discretionary spending...

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