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163305 tn?1333672171

Inequality in America is at record levels.

The 400 richest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together

Five years ago this weekend, the Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers collapsed triggering the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Today, the divide between the 1 percent and the 99 percent is as great as ever. According to one recent study, the top 1 percent has captured about 95 percent of the income gains since the recession ended. “Since the recovery, almost all of the gains have gone to the very, very top. People who are in the top 1 percent are doing even better than they did before the Great Recession, better than they have done since 1928,” says former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. “Most Americans are on a downward escalator. Median wage in the United States, adjusted for inflation, keeps on dropping.” Reich is the focus of the new film, “Inequality for All.” In this interview, he also talks about Syria, the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on September 17, Obama’s healthcare plan and Milton Friedman’s connection to the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

60 Responses
377493 tn?1356505749
The gap between the wealthy and poor is increasing at a pretty rapid rate.  Currently, the US has the widest gap, but the fast growing one is actually Canada which I find rather scary (I think the stats I read apply only to the Industrialized world, not the entire world).  We are eliminating our middle class.  It's mind boggling how many are living below the poverty line now.  Beyond the humanitarian aspect, this creates quite a drain on services and therefore the economy.  And please, no one say that folks should just go out and get a job.  Most of these folks, at least in my country, do have jobs and work as hard as anyone.  Not sure where the solution lies, but i do know that it's not sustainable.  Scary.
148588 tn?1465782409
Great stuff. Thank you for the link.
Avatar universal
"Not sure where the solution lies" perhaps outlawing entrepreneurship?
Avatar universal
I've got mixed emotions on the subject.  For one, nobody in the world needs to make millions of dollars a year.  On the other hand, if this person is a go getter, the best in his/her field, risks their reputations, money and *** daily... then I understand the financial rewards.

Then, someone gets a $200 million dollar "golden parachute".  If that person climbed to the top and lead a company to the top as well, but their usefulness is deemed useless, they pay the person off to leave and keep their mouths shut.... but $200 million?  That person did a lot of something to get to a position like that.  But damn... $200 million?
Avatar universal
Outlawing entrepreneurship is an extreme response.

We could close the tax loopholes for the very rich for a start and have enough integrity not to let the rich buy our rights, to further their own interests.

This is not really a left/ right issue. I know a lot of people on the right, who are conservative and hardworking people. They are no more aligned with the  corrupt values of big business than I am. What the Koch brothers and their ilk are banking on is this very attitude that to stop them from running this country into the ground is a 'communist conspiracy.'
However, we all know, communism is dead and socialism is barely breathing.
How about some new vocabulary?
Maybe the idea that you can work hard all your life and have a modest quiet retirement as opposed to living on the streets and being treated as a pariah because you cannot afford healthcare.
A little humanity goes a long way...

377493 tn?1356505749
It is a tough one.  I know my city is a prime example of the extremes.  Because we are an oil town, there are a lot of folks making a heck of a lot of money.  Rents here are super high..currently a standard 2 bedroom apartment goes for about $1200/month.  Buying a home is super pricey.  We have a very basic 1100 square foot bungalow built in 1959.  Nothing fancy at all about it.  We paid $360,000 for it, and that is below average price.   The average basic single family home is about $400,000.  There is no possible way we could own a home if we both didn't work.  Daycare for my son is $1070/month.  It's crazy.  We have lots of jobs, but minimum wage earners, even those just above minimum wage cannot make ends meet.  However, you increase the minimum wage and a lot of business' wouldn't be able to stay in business, and job loss isn't the answer either.  We do have good social services programs, but with so many requiring extra assisstance, well, not sure if that is sustainable or not.  I certainly do not begrudge anyone getting rich, I really don't.  But I worry about the elimination of the middle class (which is exactly where my family lies).  We work hard to pay our bills and save for retirement, but still not sure if it will be enough.  It can be quite stressful.
148588 tn?1465782409
I'll be interested to see this film when it's released. Our country and economy have gone downhill since Robert Reich left his cabinet post. The scare tactic, smear tactic, spin organizations like Groundswell hate Reich with a fiery passion since he is able to simply and  intelligently explain ways that our country can be put back on track again. You will hear him called communist, socialist, and every other hysterical label those with a vested interest in maintaining a broken system can think of.
Avatar universal
I'd chose socialist. I was never much of a fan of Robert Reich.
Avatar universal
Maybe if we tax them to death and make it impossible to make a lot of money we can create a whole country of people dependant on the government.

When you have someone working at McDonalds making $8hr and then someone make $20 Million a year why not look at the education level and drive those people have.

I know a small business owner who for years worked 7am-9pm all by himself. Now he still works from 7am-6pm and he is successful, very sucessful and has several employees. He has a drive for the past 35 years to work work and work. Lets not stifle drive, lets reward it.

If the Occupy movement was not a bunch of lazy no good living off mommy and daddy and government then they might have been taken seriously. But when you have time to protected for days and weeks and months it shows what you want. You want other people to give you stuff instead of working for yourself.

I spit on the Occupy movement.
Avatar universal
Pearls before swine.
Avatar universal

If the Occupy movement was not a bunch of lazy no good living off mommy and daddy and government then they might have been taken seriously. But when you have time to protected for days and weeks and months it shows what you want. You want other people to give you stuff instead of working for yourself.

I spit on the Occupy movement.
You have really outdone yourself this time.

You know nothing about the people of the Occupy movement.
You would rather hold on to a fantasy of the American dream that is no longer possible. These people are working men and women, teachers, professionals and all the folks that make up America that clearly see what the business interests of some and the corruption and bailouts of the banking system are doing to our lives and to the future of our children

I am too old and tired to demonstrate but I applaud the majority of the ppl in that movement for standing up for the rights of the people over the interests of a very few.

I am very sorry for you that you are so deluded, you are in for a big shock,

Avatar universal
So those people who slept out night after night and never left those were the hard working people you speak about? The 20 something year old that can sit out day after day and use is IPad is a good hardworking guy?

Again I spit on the freeloading movement. Get an education and then a job and be happy you have those advantages.

The American dream is possible but it takes 2 things...education and hard work.
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