Inequality for All
Rating: The last time our country had today’s massive gap concerning income equality, Hoover was President. As I recall, things didn’t work out well.
Robert Reich’s documentary Inequality for All provides a scathing analysis of what is wrong in our country today. Four hundred individuals in the U.S. have a combined income that exceeds ½ of our population. While the rich are taxed at the incredibly low rate of 35%, the average wage of the middle class has decreased since the 1970’s.
How and why did we let this happen? When compared with other countries, the United States is 64th in income inequality. We are ranked behind Uraguay, and Mr. Reich poses the obvious question, “How much of this can we tolerate?”;
In studying history, the top inequality rates in our country were 1928 and 2007. With the colossally disappointing decision by our Supreme Court in Citizens United, the wealthy in this country have found a way to highjack the political system through their many well-paid lobbyists. Using the phoney mantras that government involvement in our economy is bad while the rich are job creators, they exploit and manipulate grass-roots movements like the Tea Party.
Fundamentally, government sets rules for the free market system that allows capitalism to succeed. However, the fact is that 42% of kids in poverty won’t get out, while Mitt Romney’s annual tax rate was 13%. It is a betrayal of our national heritage to cut access to food stamps and health care.
While this same group of well-heeled oligarchs commandeer state legislatures and pass “right to work” legislation, unions gradually recede into the background. The anti-union crusade began when President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, and we’ve reached a national stage where no one really cares about the workers of this country.
Remember, the tax rates on the wealthy neared 90% under Republican President Eisenhower. No one suffered, and the economy boomed. Today, middle class families inevitably have both parents working longer hours, not to mention increasing their debt obligations. This all burst with the 2008 recession, and we haven’t learned a thing if you listen to Republican Congressmen in Washington.
Consumer spending represents 70% of the economy. The rich don’t spend, they save their money. Congressional Republicans would have us believe that halting taxes on the wealthy who make medical equipment while both cutting food stamps and denying millions of Americans access to the Affordable Care Act will benefit our country. That is a monstrous lie.
If you want to see the absurdity of their position, why are they opposed to the Affordable Care Act while simultaneously having their own health insurance premiums paid by taxpayers? Guys like Senator Cruz and Speaker Boehner want their medical care while denying same to the middle class, and that’s what stands out repeatedly in Mr. Reich’s remarkable documentary.
Having served as Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, Mr. Reich wants us to emulate one country, namely ourselves after World War II. Let’s stop using slogans like “class warfare” and start embracing positive social change.
The middle class is struggling, and it is time Congress comes out from their self-imposed cocoon.
I’d take a different tack: on 8/15/71, Pres. Nixon severed the last remaining link between gold & the US dollar. We’ve operated on a fiat currency ever since, & it has distorted the price-discovery mechanism that’s necessary in an economy. Of course inequality will grow when a government & central bank can print money into existence; those closest to the establishment — military-industrial-congressional complex, big banks, automakers — benefit immensely. The solution (which will eventually occur one way or other) is to take away the printing press & anchor the dollar to something with inherent value, whether it be gold, silver or coffee beans.