Inequality for All @ The Ross

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

You remember when on that elementary school playground or in that high school hallway someone picked on you just because you were breathing! You longed for that bodyguard who would take up for you when that bully came around the corner for its next punch or mean word. Who knew that we, as consumers, would need someone to protect us from inequality economics? Who would have thought?

Independent director Jacob Kornbluth did think it. His documentary Inequality for All is a heartfelt and very insightful commentary on the economic inequalities experienced by the majority of Americans. Kornbluth places at its core a concern for the American people; specifically, the film focuses on the widening gap between the rich and the poor and exposes extreme income inequality that eventually will marginalize the middle class.

Income Inequality Graph

Income Inequality Graph

The film’s anchor is Robert Reich, political economist who served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton and is now the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His Wealth and Poverty class facilitates Reich’s concise but thorough lessons in economic theory. Reich is an effective, engaging, and passionate instructor, and you will enjoy each power point presentation as well as his detailed graphs. These classroom props certainly keep the attention of his students and the audience, and his approaches to teaching are accessible to any person coming to understand income inequality for the first time. These aspects are the film’s appeal. Reich’s bottom line is simple: a healthy middle class makes for a healthy economy. After all, the U.S. is a consumer-based economy. When the middle class has disposable income, Reich points out that the economy flourishes, jobs are created, homeowners increase as well as other growth incentives. He then supports this economic principle with a timeline to demonstrate when the U.S. economy was vigorous, and what historical events compromised the nation’s health.

Based on Reich’s book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, Kornbluth utilizes all of Reich’s expertise and charisma. The UC Berkeley instructor does not disappoint, as he mixes comedy, autobiography, history, politics, and some drama to highly the dire consequences of inequality for all.

Inequality for All plays through January 30 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

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