“Inequality for All” is a must-see documentary in which former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains how income inequality today rivals the period that brought on the Great Depression.
The middle class and the poor are being crushed by the weight of the wealth of the top 10 percent. But that wealth inequality also is hurting the U.S. economy.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
The wealthy don’t spend anywhere near the money that U.S. consumers do. Rich people sit on it. They aren’t job creators. Everyday consumers who spend money are, Reich notes in the film.
But the Great Recession’s unemployment, underemployment, furloughs, pay freezes and fear have caused everyday people to cutback. That’s not good when consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy.
Since the 1970s wages have failed to keep pace with the cost of living. Women entered the workforce to bring more money into households.
Americans then increased the hours they work to try to keep up. Before the Great Recession, people took on huge amounts of debt to try to maintain their standard of living, often borrowing against the equity in their homes.
The debt and housing bubbles burst, sending the economy went into a free fall. The government stimulus money helped officially end the recession a couple of years ago, but many Americans haven’t recovered yet.
People’s frustration boiled to the surface with the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the tea party. But neither has brought about change.
The movie is a downer. Reich encourages more people to get involved and to act to correct the tax and political structure, which has allowed wealth to flow away from the needy into the hands of the wealthy.
But judging from the handful of people at the movie theater, folks would rather watch any reality TV show to forget about the day-to-day difficulties they have to contend with in real life. Reich’s film only reminds them of what they want to forget.