“INEQUALITY FOR ALL”
72 Productions, Directed by JACOB KORNBLUTH, Produced by JENNIFER CHAIKEN and SEBASTIAN DUNGAN, Written and Narrated by ROBERT REICH (2013, 89 min)
WHEN: Sunday February 2, 2014 1:15 pm
WHERE: Community Church NY Gallery Room, 28 East 35th St. btwn Park & Madison Aves.
ADMISSION: Free, donations appreciated
In the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis and the rise of the Occupy movement, the issue of income inequality has gained public awareness. Over the last thirty years, before the latest recession, the U.S. economy doubled. But, according to this documentary, these gains went to a very few: the top 1% of earners now take in more than 20% of all income—three times what they did in 1970. Distortions are even more extreme at the very top. The 400 richest Americans now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. While this level of inequality poses a serious risk to all Americans, regardless of income level, much of the rhetoric on this subject has been fueled by anger and resentment from a frustrated middle class who feels their birthright – the American Dream – has been taken away from them.
Professor Robert Reich, author, professor at Harvard University and UC Berkeley, official in three administrations, including United States Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, narrates this film. Reich is a thinker on the topic of inequality, having spoken on the subject for nearly three decades. Structurally, the film is organized around a central “spine,” in which he speaks directly to a student audience about key economic topics. As Reich elaborates on each sub-topic, the film cuts to newly shot footage of real people and real lives, as well as archival footage and experts that address the points of his lecture. Throughout the film are graphics that expound upon statistical data.
Reich describes what motivates him like this;
“I’ve spent most of my working life concerned about what’s happening to American workers – their jobs, their wages, their hopes and fears. My father sold clothing to the wives of factory workers in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. I watched as the factories began to close, and as those families struggled with a new economy. Households kept their living standards by sending those wives and mothers into paid work – a strategy that did the trick for a time. But when it no longer generated enough income, American families went deeper and deeper into debt – and that’s been the vicious cycle most middle class Americans have been in ever since.”………“Until we can take a step back and understand the big picture, we can’t do anything to get ourselves out of this mess. Our democracy as we know it depends on it.”
Reich’s great passion in life is to help people understand that economic big picture.
“It’s my life’s work and it’s more important than ever. One of the best ways to help people understand the challenges we face, is with a movie that can grab an audience and move them to action”.
And this movie will do exactly that.