Inequality for All: Coming To A Theatre Near You
Today, opening in theaters across the country is a new documentary Inequality for All that explores the widening income gap in America. Narrated by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, the film profiles people from different walks of life – Costco employees, wealthy venture capitalists and middle class professionals – to demonstrate how our economy is set up to work for the wealthy few but not for all of us.
From Secretary Reich: “This movie is critically important. It exposes the heart of our continuing economic problem. The problem has been growing for over thirty years, but we’re coming to a tipping point. The problem is widening inequality. We’re still in the gravitational pull of the biggest economic slump since the Great Depression because so much of the nation’s income and wealth are going to the top. The vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power to get the economy back on track.”
Inequality today is as extreme as it was right before the Great Depression. The valley in between those two peaks of inequality, which shows up repeatedly on screen in Inequality For All, represents a time of broad prosperity from which the country can draw lessons. The Great Recession has not produced the same kind of policy shift Reich points to as a key to that prosperity, and inequality is only getting worse. Eroding investments in education and children undermine the future workforce, low union membership undermines present-day workers, and weak financial industry oversight allow the sector that drives inequality and creates economic crises to regain its footing while leaving the middle class behind.
To find theaters and times near you, click here.
Watch the trailer here.
Facts on Income Inequality:
The top 5 percent made $191,157 or more in 2012, while the bottom fifth made $20,599 or less. The top 10 percent of earners took home half of the country’s income, the largest amount on record. The gap between the employment rate for the highest income Americans and the lowest income ones is the widest in a decade. Income for households in the top five percent of American earners have grown by more than five percent over the past three years. From 2009 to 2012, income for the 1 percent grew by 31.4 percent, while everyone else only saw it grow by 0.4 percent. Income inequality in the U.S. is worse here than in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, the Ivory Coast, Pakistan, and Ethiopia. Through the 2000s, the richest 20 percent of Americans saw their incomes grow by $2,550, while the bottom 20 percent just saw $1,330 in growth. The top 10 percent now has 15.9 times the income of the bottom.
The progressive plan to grow the economy from the middle class out stands in marked contrast to the failed and even dangerous “trickle down” tax cut and draconian austerity spending plans championed by conservatives. Conservatives want to cut even more from education, medical research and infrastructure in order to give even more tax cuts to the rich and huge corporations in the hopes that it trickles down to the rest of us.
Instead of continuing the trickle down policies that created income inequality in the first place it is time to put policies in place that will create an economy that works for everyone.
Policies to grow the economy from the middle class out:
Investments in growing the middle class: Investing in education, infrastructure, energy, and innovation boosts the economy today and helps create the job creators and strong middle class that will fuel economic growth tomorrow. Everyone paying their fair share: Tax cuts for the wealthy and huge corporations don’t grow the economy. If the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share, we simply cannot afford to make the investments in the middle we need to in order to grow the economy. Minimum wage: Nobody who works full time in America should have to live in poverty. Raising the minimum wage will lift people out of poverty and create more consumers to help fuel the economy. Health security: Millions of Americans will soon have access to quality, affordable health care for the first time and the 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance are seeing new benefits and better coverage as a result of Obamacare. Retirement security: We need to strengthen both Social Security and our private retirement system so middle-class Americans can afford to retire and live with dignity, a promise beyond the reach of too many. Affordable housing: The housing market is recovering, but we need to implement additional policies and reforms to help those who are still underwater and the millions who can’t get a loan to buy a home today.