Financial players are rigging the rules so that government decision-making increasingly profits them. One important example is the push to privatize government services. First, Wall Street and the super rich push lawmakers to cut their taxes, leaving government budgets with less money for important public services. Then, governments try to save costs by contracting with private companies (often financed by Wall Street investors) that shift the financial burden away from government budgets and onto the users of essential services. This not only weakens services, but drives up user costs, depriving those who cannot afford it of essential services, and those who can afford it to buy private schools, water, and even street lights.

Privatization allows financial players to treat public goods like schools, roads, and clean water as an opportunity to profit by extracting wealth from communities, particularly low-income and communities of color. And it’s not just basic services that are privatized — Wall Street has even managed to turn a profit from police misconduct, mass incarceration, and deportation, creating a financial incentive for inequality and predatory policies.

Learn More

“Breaking Down How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics”, interview of Laura Briggs by Carrie Baker, Ms.Magazine, November 7, 2017.

“How Privatization Increases Inequality”, by In The Public Interest, September 2016.

“Police Brutality Bonds: How Wall Street Profits from Police Violence”, by Alyxandra Goodwin, Whitney Shepherd and Carrie Sloan, Action Center on Race and the Economy, June 2018.

“The IRS Hired Private Debt Collectors Who Are Squeezing Poor People And Hurricane Victims”, by Max de Haldevang & Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, November 20, 2018.

“It’s Your Post Office. Keep It.”, by Julie Bates, Inequality.org, October 4, 2018.

Who Profits From Our Prison System? Mapping the corporations and firms with stakes in our jails, prisons, and immigrant-detention centers,” by Michelle Chen, The Nation, August 9, 2018.

Here’s who’s making money from immigration enforcement,” by Jaden Urbi, CNBC, June 29, 2018.

From Pittsburgh to Flint, The Dire Consequences of Giving Private Companies Responsibility for Ailing Public Water Systems,” by Sharon Lerner and Leana Hosea, The Intercept, May 20, 2018.