Ralph welcomes Abigail Disney, to discuss her work trying to get her namesake’s company to pay their workers a fair, livable wage as told in her documentary, “The American Dream: And Other Fairy Tales.” Plus, Erica Payne cofounder of The Patriotic Millionaires and co-author of “Tax The Rich!” returns to update us on their latest work educating ordinary Americans about how they can advocate for a fairer tax system.
Abigail Disney is a social activist, philanthropist, and an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. She is also Chair and Co-Founder of Level Forward, an ecosystem of storytellers, entrepreneurs, and social change-makers dedicated to balancing artistic vision, social impact, and stakeholder return. She also created the nonprofit Peace is Loud, which uses storytelling to advance social movements, and the Daphne Foundation, which supports organizations working for a more equitable, fair, and peaceful New York City. She is Co-Founder of Fork Films, a nonfiction media production company, which produces original documentaries and the podcast All Ears. Her latest film, which she co-directed with Kathleen Hughes, is The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales.
Heirs and heiresses have gotten into a lot of trouble down the years trying to impose their will on the world. I think that my job, if I have one, is to impose the will of the world on wealthy people instead of the other way around.
It is amazing to me that, as this far rightwing guy, [Roy Disney] would never have treated his workers in a million years the way that the CEO at the time—Bob Iger, who was toying with running for president as a Democrat—was treating them on the regular. And that was the total capture of the entire American political spectrum by an idea about work and working that was the inverse—in a relatively short period of time— of what my grandfather was doing as a matter of course.
Erica Payne is the founder and president of Patriotic Millionaires, an organization of high-net-worth individuals that aims to restructure America’s political economy to suit the needs of all Americans. Their work includes advocating for a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens. She is the co-author, with Morris Pearl, of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer.
As far as I can tell, the billionaire class bought up the entire Republican Party and a sufficient number of Democrats that they got a stranglehold on this economy. What they basically created is a system that guarantees we become more unequal more quickly over time, they destabilize the entire country, they threaten democratic capitalism around the world…Mathematically, there’s absolutely no direction this country can go in other than more unequal. And we’re looking at a game of economic Jenga, where we’re basically pulling money out of the bottom and the middle and putting it on the top and the whole thing’s in the process of collapsing.
If they are talking to you about something other than money, they are stealing your money. So the next time someone is talking to you about abortion, or transgender rights, or critical race theory, or any of these other things, you can rest assured that these politicians on the back end are stealing your money.
I’m glad you mentioned Reagan, because I think liberals and progressives underestimate the gigantic impact this cruel man with a smile had on the culture with his market fundamentalism.
The book giveaway for "Tax the Rich!: How Lies, Loopholes, and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer" by Erica Payne and Morris Pearl is now closed. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who showed interest and participated in this event.
In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeStantis
1. As the reinvigorated Teamsters union engages in a massive contract renegotiation with UPS, the labor group has announced they scored a major victory – elimination of 22.4, the “two-tier” system, meaning “all drivers currently classified under the 22.4 system would be reclassified immediately to Regular Package Car Drivers, placed in seniority, and have their pay adjusted to the appropriate RPCD rate.” The two-tier system has been a central issue for organized labor in recent years, and a catalyst for the proliferation of a more militant labor movement.
2. For the past six years, the Department of Energy has been attempting to clean up a “highly radioactive” spill near the Columbia River in Washington State. Now, the Tri-City Herald reports that the spill is “both deeper and broader than anticipated.” The Energy Department is already quoted saying “the soil beneath the 324 Building is so radioactively hot that it would be lethal to a worker on direct contact within two minutes.”
3. Amid a slew of reactionary decisions, the Supreme Court somehow made the right call in a major case. In a 5-4 decision, led by Gorsuch, the Court ruled in Mallory v. Norfolk that “Pennsylvania's law establishing personal jurisdiction over a corporation through mandatory registration does NOT violate due process,” Mark Joseph Stern reports. The full opinion is available here.
4. The membership of the Screen Actors Guild have already voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, yet union president Fran Drescher seems to be merely using that vote as leverage to demand concessions from the studios. In response, Rolling Stone reports that over 300 actors – including household names like Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Quinta Brunson – sent a public letter urging against compromise with the studios in the face of major threats like AI. The letter ends by saying “For our union and its future, this is our moment. We hope that, on our behalf, you will meet that moment and not miss it.”
5. A major new report by Good Jobs First found that major corporate polluters in Michigan have been exploiting an anti-pollution subsidy in the state for decades. Just since 2010, corporations like GM, Ford, and Stellantis have cheated the Michigan treasury of $2.2 billion. As the group notes, the first step to addressing this corporate welfare crisis is “A proper accounting of which communities are losing how much money.”
6. The New York Times reports that, as a result of corrupt dealings within the Department of Education, New York City schoolchildren were fed chicken tenders containing pieces of metal and plastic. This serves as a sobering reminder of the real-world impacts of corporate capture and corruption.
7. In Korea, embattled extreme Right-wing president Yoon Suk Yeol – who, among other dangerous proposals has sought to resurrect the country’s nuclear weapons program – is seeking to crackdown on the country’s unions. In response, the Korea Herald reports that the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions will hold two weeks of sustained strikes intended to drive Yoon from office. Between 400,000 and half a million workers are expected to participate.
8. The “Greedflation” theory – which contends the recent spate of inflation is due to corporate profit seeking rather than a tight labor market – has won a major backer: the International Monetary Fund, or IMF. A new report on inflation in Europe published by the international finance agency found that profits account for no less than 45% of price rises since 2022. Import costs accounted for another 40%. This is a stunning finding for a group that typically does everything in its power to aid multinational capital.
9. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has announced some major wins from the recent state legislative sessions, including defending Washington State’s capital gains tax and blocking a regressive package of tax cuts in Kansas. If he were dead, Grover Norquist would be rolling in his grave.