In this timely and entertaining documentary, noted economic policy expert and UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich distills the topic of widening income inequality, and takes on the question of what effects this increasing gap has on our economy and our democracy.
In recent years, the issue of income inequality has gained unprecedented public awareness, yet most don’t understand the bigger picture. The extreme level of inequality we are now experiencing has roots in economic and policy changes that began over 30 years ago. During this time, the US economy doubled in size – so why aren’t most Americans experiencing the same boom? The 400 richest Americans now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. Our film tackles these issues head-on, offering a larger context and understanding of what we need to know about these imbalances, and how ultimately, this affects us all. Enter Robert Reich – Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, revered professor, charismatic pundit and author of 13 books. “Bob” as he is referred to in the film, is our hero and guide, explaining the urgency of this issue. His voice serves as our narrative thread, providing a clear, comprehensive and surprisingly entertaining explanation of where we are now, how we got here and where we are headed if we don’t act soon. Structurally, our film is organized around a central “spine” in which Reich speaks directly to the audience about key economic topics, interwoven with moments from his 13-week Wealth and Poverty lecture course at UC Berkeley. As Reich references historical moments and specific ideas pertaining to income inequality, we cut to newly shot as well as archival footage illuminating key points of his argument. Throughout the film are innovative graphics that make statistical data on the economy more digestible. The movie also incorporates real life subjects to make potentially heady and intellectual arguments more relatable and personal. Lastly, the film is punctuated by moments that allow viewers to know Reich personally - to understand the man behind the ideas. Reich’s unwavering passion for disseminating this message is clear; viewers trust him when he says that he will do anything he can to help us return our society to one in which the American dream remains possible for everyone. Though this movie primarily deals with the economic situation in America, the issues it addresses reach far beyond our shores. The American economy is by far the biggest in the world, and what happens here inevitably has ripple effects that touch billions who depend on the health of our democracy as well as our economy. We can begin to make meaningful change only when we better understand the pervasive effects of economic inequality, and we believe this film will help us do just that.