The theme is economic inequality in Jacob Kornbluth’s documentary “Inequality for All” starring for Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Reich, who now writes books, speaks on cable shows and teaches at UC Berkeley uses this platform (and his bully pulpit as a Professor) to tackle the hard issues of the day. Why are the middle class disappearing fast, and the one percent growing stronger every day? Reich shows an economic graph which depicts the parallels between 1928 and 2007 both times before a great depression and the upswing in job growth prior to the crash and the down swing each time following.
Reich hammers home how the key to economic prosperity both times, was in investments in programs for the middle class, and education at all levels, including the GI bill which allowed many men to get a college degree, who otherwise could not have afforded to. How did people cope as pay rates flattened? Women returned to work, going into debt such as refinancing homes, borrowing against the value of their home, loans and credit cards.
Reich pares all this down in common sense terms and with self-deprecating humor. He does not leave us with despair though, but instead asks us to roll up our sleeves and invest in not only the economy, but in the welfare and humanity that will favor us all. This is a movie about economics, but it also is a movie about all of us. Reich drives the point home with man on the street interviews which run the gamut from a wealthy man who owns a large pillow company, to a woman who literally had thirty dollars to her name. The message is clear, to think beyond who we are now, and invest in the future by putting money back into programs for those in need, and in education. If you are worried about where your next paycheck will come from, if you will be able to pay your medical bills, send your kids to college, food, or even if you are a CEO of Walmart, or Chase Manhattan, this film and its message is worthwhile investment