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

A Lost Opportunity to Help Small Business

For Main Street small businesses, the benefits of the Tax Act are peanuts. Nearly half of all the savings go to people making over $1 million a year.

This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . The small-business community is all too familiar with being used as a prop for tax cuts for the wealthy. From estate tax repeal to the corporate income tax cuts, “helping small business” is the go-to fig leaf for Republican tax-slashers. “It is a tried and true tradition of big business to say they are doing something to help small business when just helping themselves,” says Frank Knapp, president and CEOof the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform. “Small businesses are one of the most appreciated institutions in the nation, in contrast to big business.” Small-business advocates like to point out that they are the real job-creators in the U.S. economy, having created nearly two-thirds of private-sector jobs since the 2008 economic meltdown. Yet the 2017 Republican Tax Act funnels...

How to Restore Taxes on Inheritances

With the estate tax further weakened, is it time to pivot to an inheritance tax?

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File Since 2000, a growing number of wealthy U.S. nationals have deployed the offshore system and complex trusts to dodge estate levies and other taxes, including by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, fashion designer Ralph Lauren, DISH Network Chairman Charles Ergen, and 84 current and former partners from Goldman Sachs, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein (pictured, above). This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . As part of the 2017 tax bill, Congress came within a whisker of abolishing the estate tax. In the end, Congress weakened the century-old levy on inherited wealth paid exclusively by multi-millionaires and billionaires. The estate tax was one of the substantive negotiating points of the joint tax conference committee that reconciled the differences between House and Senate versions in December 2017. House Republicans, fulfilling a decades-old aspiration, voted along party lines to abolish the tax...

Private Equity: The New Neighborhood Loan Sharks

Veterans of the Contract Buyers League hit the doors again.

Chuck Collins
This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . M ike Gallagher double-checks the address on his smartphone and walks up the cement steps of the brick two-story house on Detroit’s west side. He rings the doorbell, and after waiting a minute knocks loudly on the door. A dog barks and a shirtless black man in his mid-thirties cracks open the door. “Good afternoon. I’m Mike from the Home Savers group. We’re talking to people who have a land contract from Harbour Portfolio. Is that your situation?” “Yes,” says the man, whom the visitor may have just woken up. He cautiously looks at Mike, who is white with unruly short white hair. “A lot of people are finding these rent-to-buy loans may not be such a good deal. Sometimes they’re worse than being a tenant, since you have to pay for all repairs and maintenance. But you don’t build any wealth until you make the last payment. How long...

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
Hillary 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 anniversary this month, was viewed at its inception as a way to address the excesses of the first Gilded Age. The impetus to pass a tax on inherited wealth came from rural populists...

Bernie, Pope Francis, and the Moral Economy

A lay person’s primer on Catholic social teaching. 

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
Bernie 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 inspirational figure in raising public consciousness about the kind of income and wealth inequality we are seeing all over this world.” “The pope is coming along at the right point in history,” Sanders told a journalist from the Salt and Light Media...