WASHINGTON (PAI) - There's a new book out that shows, in down-to-earth terms, how the rich - and rampant income inequality they foster - hurt you and me, every day.
99 To 1: How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking The World And What We Can Do About It, by Chuck Collins and with a forward by Barbara Ehrenreich, is a book we've needed for a long time, and especially since the Occupy movement rose up last fall.
Collins clearly and compellingly spells out how unequal we've become - and why. He patiently and powerfully explains the price we pay, in each of our daily lives, for this inequality. And he gives all of us, people who've worried about inequality for years and people just starting to feel alarmed, the confidence that we can indeed narrow the gaps that so divide us.
A tough order. This demands an author who understands both stats that define our great economic divide and the spiritual emptiness this divide engenders within us.
Collins book helps readers gain a mastery over the practical politics of attacking inequality. He has actually organized grassroots campaigns that take aim at inequality's drivers, and has built coalitions for change among working families and affluents alike.
Over the past two decades and more, Collins has moved among - and rallied - all the key players and groups working to make America a more equal place. Think tanks and trade unions. Tax reformers and concerned business leaders. People of faith and even some people of wealth uneasy about their privilege.
Collins has launched economic justice advocacy groups and co-written a book about saving the federal estate tax with Bill Gates Sr., the father of America's richest man. He shared strategic insights with Occupy activists and listened and spoke at hundreds of community forums.
And Collins writes well, with welcome touches of humor. Early on in 99 To 1, he notes he surveyed hundreds of people for ideas on titling the book. He still can't help smiling when he remembers one of the ideas that came in, Eating The Rich: Recipes for Ending The Class War.
But Collins has no interest in "eating" - or bludgeoning - anybody. He's looking for allies, wherever he can find them, for taking on the "compounding inequalities" that are "sucking the life energy out of our communities and destroying our health, livelihoods, well-being, and happiness."
"We really have no choice," he explains in these pages, "but to throw our energies into stopping these forces."
This brief and accessible volume can help significantly in that effort. Read, enjoy, and learn from it. Most of all, share it.
99 To 1: How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking The World And What We Can Do About It
By Chuck Collins
Paperback, 168 pages, $14.95 (also available in Kindle edition)