Film tackles national income inequality

— Facing the world in his Mini Cooper, Robert Reich drives his way to communities around the world, including Plattsburgh, discussing economic fairness and inequality.

The film showing of “Inequality for All” took place at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Plattsburgh with discussion leader Colin Read, chair of the Economics and Finance Department at SUNY Plattsburgh and the economic outreach coordinator for the new Center for Public Service, along with 700 other watch parties watching the film and listening to the live telecom with Reich on March 27 at 9 p.m.

“Inequality for All” shows a passionate argument on behalf of the middle class, a class that has been struggling since the widening of the income gap in the late 1970s.

According to Reich’s film, 400 people have more wealth than half of the population. Those 400 people, known as the 1 percent, earn most of the wealth in the country while the middle class struggles.

“Unemployment and underemployment now are still quite bad in this period,” Read said. “It’s just such a waste of resources and really a waste of lives.

“They could make a big contribution, but if they’re unemployed, how can they?”

A chart featured in the film, showed the middle class’ household median income which is $50,000, going as low as $25,000 to as high as $75,000. While the upper class, however, earns from $380,000 from doctors and lawyers to $10 million and more from CEO’s of major corporations and athletes.

“There ought to be rules that don’t allow million dollar pay increases for cheap executives and that kind of nonsense,” said Lee Clark, attendee of the film and discussion.

Before this gap occurred, between 1947 and 1977 there was, as Robert Reich called it, a virtuous cycle. In this cycle, productivity grew, wages increased, workers bought more productive, companies hired more, tax revenues increased, workers became better educated and the government invested more. However, that soon changed.

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