12.14.16: Bias Against Black Veterans, Portland's Inequality Tax, & The Bookshelf

Dec 14, 2016

Forty-thousand African Americans died fighting during the Civil War - more than a million enlisted in World War II.  Military service is often seen as emblematic of America's best qualities - but the record shows that, instead of being honored, African American veterans were disproportionately targeted, beaten and lynched throughout American history. Today on the show: America's history of targeting black veterans.

Plus, the city that put a bird on it decides to put a tax on it - wage gaps that is. We'll hear how about Portland, Oregon's move to penalize companies that pay executives 100 times more than average workers.

Listen to the full show. 

Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans

40 thousand African Americans died fighting during the Civil War – nearly 400 thousand signed up to fight the First World War, in segregated divisions, and more than a million enlisted in World War II.  Fighting for our country has often been seen as emblematic of America's best qualities - qualities like valor, courage, and a willingness to fight for American values.  But history shows that, instead of being honored, African American veterans have been disproportionately attacked, beaten and lynched - a horrific trend that ran through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and continued even after the allies defeated the Nazis in 1945.

Last year, the Equal Justice Initiative's report Lynching in America: Confronting The Legacy Of Racial Terror was able to document some 4,000 lynchings in American history, around 800 more than previously reported.  Recently, EJI released an addendum to last year's findings titled, Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans. Bryan Stevenson is an attorney, author, and founder of the Montgomery, Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative.

Portland's Tax on Wage Inequality

According to a study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, the gap between chief executive pay and average worker earnings grew from a multiple of 20 in 1965 to nearly 300 in 2013. People have come to expect wide pay gaps between CEOs and the rank and file, even if they don't like it - but in Portland, Oregon, companies will be seeing consequences for inequality. There, the city council has recently passed a surtax on companies whose CEOs make more than one hundred times the average wage for workers at the company.

Gretchen Morgenson is a business reporter for the New York Times and co-author of Reckless Endangerment. She wrote about Portland's new surtax on companies with extreme wage inequality. 

       

Related: Portland Adopts Surcharge on C.E.O. Pay in Move vs. Income Inequality

Anti-Tax Activism

Across the country, a community in New Hampshire has taken the opposite stance on taxes for social equality – they want to get rid of them entirely – and they’re modeling private acts of charity themselves to display Libertarian principles. This story was produced by NHPR’s Emily Corwin and first aired 4 years ago.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

The Bookshelf: Exeter Author Brendan DuBois

Now it’s time for The Bookshelf – the series where NHPR’s Peter Biello speaks with writers who are local to New Hampshire (and sometimes those who just love to write about the Granite State). This week, he’s speaking with Exeter author Brendan DuBois and his writing process and recently published 10th mystery novel. 

You can listen to this episode again here: The Bookshelf: Exeter Author Brendan DuBois Returns With Tenth Lewis Cole Mystery