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December 10, 2023 54 mins
Chuck Collins, author of several works of nonfiction including The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions is Jen’s guest today. They mostly discuss his debut novel, Altar to an Erupting Sun, a near-future story of one community facing climate disruption came out this May.

“My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name, it’s M-A-Y-E-R….” Listeners of a certain age will remember that television ad jingle from their childhoods. Chuck Collins also has childhood and young adult memories as the great-grandson of Oscar F. Mayer, founder of the eponymous meat company, of giving up his fortune for the greater good. When he was 26, he received an inheritance of $500,000 (what would be around $1.4 million today). Instead of spending or investing the money, he donated it to various foundations.

Today, Chuck is the Director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he co-edits the website Inequality Dot Org. He is an expert on U.S. inequality and the racial wealth divide and author of over ten books and dozens of reports about inequality, climate disruption, philanthropy, the racial wealth divide, affordable housing, and billionaire wealth dynasties.

Praise for Chuck’s work is voluminous. Truly a who’s who in politics, academia, and policy circles shared their admiration for The Wealth Hoarders. Senator Bernie Sanders said “Chuck's book reveals not only the inner workings of this elaborate scheme to hide more than $20 trillion in wealth, it offers us a blueprint for reversing this obscene inequality so we can take back our democracy and ensure that our government works for everybody—not just the billionaire class and wealthy campaign contributors.”

Brooke Harrington, Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College and author of Capital without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent said Chuck Collins  "Skillfully blends personal narrative with social scientific research to create unique insights into a world of privilege that is ordinarily out of sight and out of mind for the rest of us."

David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of Perfectly Legal  said: “While government takes out taxes before we get paid, the wealthiest avoid taxes with trusts, evade taxes with help from tax haven governments and escape the IRS because Congress hobbles tax law enforcement. Collins, who rejected the privilege of his birth, explains in plain English how wealth hoarding works and shows how we can stop this costly corruption.”

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