A Washington Post article last week concluded that People have no idea what inequality actually looks like, and that caused me to respond and to enhance this article, which was published here two years ago. It features some disturbing videos that help us understand the corrupting influence of big money in politics and the direct relationships between:
- Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
- Between the widening wealth gaps and poverty,
- Between Poverty and obesity,
- Between obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
- Between chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
- Between rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.
Highlights from the video above
- The Reality in this country is not at all what we think it is.
- Our Perception of wealth distribution is far from our Ideal but not even close to Actual distribution.
- The top 1% has more of the nation’s wealth than 90% of us think the top 20% Should have.
- 1% has 40% of all of the nation’s wealth and takes home almost 25% of the annual income.
- The top 1% own half the country’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
- The bottom 50% own just 0.5% of stocks, meaning they live hand-to-mouth and don’t invest.
- The bottom 80% of the nation has only 7% of the nation’s wealth between them.
- Do CEOs really contribute 380 times more than the average worker (not lowest, but average)?
- UPDATE: CEOs now make almost 1,000 times more, according to this billionaire.
- The Average worker needs to work more than a Month to make what the CEO makes in one Hour.
After seeing the Washington Post article and browsing Netflix for a good movie, I noticed and watched Inequality for All. It’s a 2013 documentary featuring economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who served under three presidential administrations — Ford (R), Carter (D) and Clinton (D) — and offers important and expert insights. The film is described as “a game-changer” in our national discussion of income inequality, but only if people watch it. After watching the trailer below, I encourage you to watch the full version and even host a Watch Party, inviting your friends and discussing the issues raised. It’s a great way to better understand the impact that inequality has had on the nation’s poor and middle-class and the economy in general, or healthcare in particular, watch the full version that follows.
Reich starts with a discussion of just how wide the wealth gap has become and how the top 1% can’t even spend what they earn, even with lavish lifestyles. They can’t buy “that” many homes or cars or pillows or jeans. Such extreme wealth doesn’t really contribute much to the economy or jobs, he argues. He then describes some of the causes, including:
- The accelerating pace of tech innovation, and
- The growing influence of big money in politics.
His recommendations are hard for some people to swallow, a bitter pill if you will, including:
- Get big money out of politics,
- Fix the tax system,
- Invest in education,
- Raise the minimum wage,
- Strengthen worker’s voices, and
- Reform Wall Street.
Inequality for All — Trailer
Inequality for All — Bootlegged Full Version
Inequality for All — Bill Moyers interview
Inequality for All — Related Infographic