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Author Gives Up Personal Fortune to Fight Nation's Wealth Divide

Missouri saw all of its income growth go to the "1 percent between 2009 and 2012. (V. Carter)
Missouri saw all of its income growth go to the "1 percent between 2009 and 2012. (V. Carter)
November 16, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Chuck Collins used to be a "1-percenter," but now he's dedicated his life to fighting wealth inequality in the United States.

In his new book, "Born on Third Base," Collins tells his story of being born into a wealthy family and eventually choosing to give away his inheritance. He argued that income inequality is bad for society - and even the rich - because it undermines the economy and democracy, and cited common ground between the rich and poor who are fighting for solutions.

"It's understandable that people feel angry about how very wealthy people, a segment of wealthy people, have rigged the rules and created these inequalities," he said, "but there are actually a lot of potential allies there. The '1 percent' is not monolithic."

From 2009 to 2012, according to the Economic Policy Institute, all the income growth was to the top 1 percent in several states, including Missouri. The Show-Me State also is ranked 10th highest for income inequality by race.

Collins said inequality was a driver in the presidential election as well.

"In a way, I think this was the inequality election," he said. "When you have an extremely unequal society, you have a polarized politics."

He said candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump represented populist resentments of the lack of a level playing field, economically.

Statistics on income inequality are online at epi.org.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO