This week, as the U.S. pandemic death toll creeps ever closer toward 1 million, Karen Dolan reports on a stunning new study from the Poor People’s Campaign.

They found that Americans in poorer U.S. counties died at nearly double the rate of Americans in richer counties — even when controlling for vaccination status. Our real pre-existing condition, she writes, was poverty all along. All the more reason to start treating it now.

Also this week, as tax season winds down, we offer a pair of Tax Day perspectives.

Lindsay Koshgarian shares her original finding that the average American paid about $900 to military contractors — and just how little we got for that money. The good news is, she found some better places to spend it.

Meanwhile, Sam Pizzigati looks back at the revolutionary pamphleteer Tom Paine — who apparently outlined a wealth tax that looks a good bit like one just proposed by, of all people, Joe Biden. Two centuries on, can we finally get a fair tax system? It’s worth a look!

Finally, as we look ahead to Earth Day on April 22, Daphne Wysham shares some promising technology that could help mitigate climate change. And cartoonist Khalil Bendib sketches the risks of doubling down on fossil fuels in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

New This Week…

A Pandemic of the Poor | Karen Dolan
As we approach 1 million COVID-19 deaths, new research finds that Americans in poorer counties have died at double the rate of wealthier counties.

An Earth Day Technology Worth Investing In | Daphne Wysham
Global emissions of methane are skyrocketing. But if we act now, we can start getting it out of the atmosphere.

About That $900 You Gave Pentagon Contractors | Lindsay Koshgarian
This tax season, I’d rather fund green jobs and disease control than jets that spontaneously combust. Wouldn’t you?

The Tom Paine Tax Plan | Sam Pizzigati
Over two centuries ago, Tom Paine urged our new republic to tax extreme wealth. This tax season, President Biden is picking up the call.

Drilling Down the Wrong Path | Khalil Bendib
If the U.S. doubles down on fossil fuels in response to Russia’s war, the whole planet loses.

In Case You Missed It…

A Five-Alarm Emergency for Democracy | Robert P. Alvarez
The GOP’s voter suppression laws are working. They need to be stopped before more states adopt them.

Lessons About Poverty in America’s Heartland | Britnie Remer
Being poor affects everything from your health to the water you drink. It can also be transformed into a powerful force for change.

Two Years In, We Need to Learn the Lessons of This Pandemic | Domenica Ghanem
America’s pre-existing condition when the pandemic hit was inequality. That’s not a “normal” we should return to.

Our Military Budget Is More Lopsided Than Ever | Lindsay Koshgarian
Spending 12 times as much on our military as Russia didn’t prevent a war in Europe. It just deprived us of resources at home.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.

(Note: Images credited to Getty or Shutterstock are not covered by our Creative Commons license. Please license these separately if you wish to use them.)