Brian C. Johnson has served in education and advocacy, community organizing, and political activism at local and national levels for two decades, dedicated to the American promise of fairness for all. He’s been featured on CNN and in The Washington PostUSA Today, and The New York Times

Johnson currently serves as the CEO of Equality Illinois, one of the nation’s most successful LGBTQ civil rights organizations. Prior to this role, he served as a first grade teacher in Baton Rouge, a public school leader in Hollywood, a political candidate in Los Angeles, and the head of a community organizing team working in two dozen cities across the country. Brian earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and has graduate degrees from Stanford Law School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He lives with his husband and their daughter in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.

ABOUT THE BOOK

America’s economy does not currently live up to our country’s core values.

We are a nation founded on the ideals of coming together across differences to forge a common future. Yet over the past 50 years, our economy has been pulling us apart at unprecedented rates. By allowing top income earners and the wealthiest Americans to hoard wealth like never before, we contradict what makes our country great. This is a threat to our well-being, our democracy, and our values.

Brian C. Johnson combines accessible scholarship on wealth and income inequality in America with deeply personal accounts of six Americans of diverse backgrounds who are each wrestling with what it means to survive and thrive in this new economic world. In so doing, he offers a solution that is as visionary as it is practical. Dubbed the “Citizen Dividend,” a universal distribution to all Americans in the form of collective business profits, which draws on our shared national values to move us toward a more equitable future, this revolutionary model assumes that economic growth is built off of the wealth we have created together as a country, and together we all reap its benefits. In Our Fair Share, Johnson lays the groundwork for implementing this solution, detailing what the Citizen Dividend is, offering examples of similar existing models, outlining the benefits of such systems, tackling some of the common concerns that arise, and offering a path toward making it a reality.

In a tone that is hopeful and justice-oriented, Our Fair Share brings a fresh view on our country’s values as it seeks to help tackle economic inequality in America. And ultimately, it calls on each of us to claim what is uniquely American, building a common future that embraces and celebrates our differences. This is our revolutionary inheritance. 

TALKING POINTS

  • Ways that rising economic inequality is dangerous to society
  • The 4 types of wealth we own jointly as Americans
  • What is the Citizen Dividend? What are its benefits? 
  • How does the Citizen Dividend compare to other forms of guaranteed income like a Universal Basic Income (UBI), Joe Biden’s Child Tax Credit, or a sovereign wealth fund like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Would it complement those plans to reduce inequality?
  • How can we use the Citizen Dividend to begin reducing inequality and tie our economy more firmly to our national values?
  • How power in the American economy impacts the traumas of racism and misogyny.
  • Ways social mobility, social cohesion, and civic engagement have all suffered as inequality has increased
  • How both income inequality and wage inequality have grown over the past 40 years. Johnson can share stats to highlight these disparities.

TIMELY TIE-INS

  • August 
    • International Peace Month
    • World Humanitarian Day – Aug 19
    • Be Kind to Humankind Week – Aug 25-31 
    • Gender/Women’s Equality Day – Aug 26
  • September 
    • Self Improvement Month
    • Read a New Book Month
    • World Gratitude Day – Sept 21
  • October
    • World Book Month
    • Face Your Fears Day – October 12
    • Evaluate your Life Day – October 19
    • Conflict Resolution Day – October 21
  • November
    • Social Justice Month

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Truly a ‘love letter to our country.’ Anyone concerned about the rising gap between the ultra-wealthy and everyone else in America should read this book.” —Andy Stern, president emeritus of Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

“A logical, persuasive case for a citizen dividend. Read this book, share it with a friend, and be a part of getting this conversation started.” —Sheila Simon, former Illinois Lieutenant Governor

“A deeply moving book that illustrates and humanizes inequities ensconced within our economic system. The Citizen Dividend is the transformational proposal our country needs to ensure every American an opportunity to live the American dream.” —Ameya Pawar, author of Organize Capital

“This simple proposition, if acted upon, could financially improve the lives of millions of Americans and help unite us as a society as never before. Read this book and join the growing movement for citizen dividends. It is an idea whose time has finally come.” —Peter Barnes, author of With Liberty and Dividends for All