Monday

Inequality For All - A Review Lite

As has become the norm with the contemporary "documentary," Inequality For All abandons the standard impartial-arbiter method of documentary film-making and embraces the lone perspective of a political operative. In other words, impartial, inquisitive minds need not apply - not when opposing perspectives are suppressed and where the narrative is designed solely for the goose-bump crowd and low-information-voter.

That being said, Inequality For All, is an informative, engaging film, which will prove to be a special delight for those who have already drunk the Kool-aid.

The presenter of Inequality For All is American economist, professor, and Secretary of Labor for the Clinton Administration, Robert Reich. Reich is an affable man whom I would have, in my college days, gone to great lengths to enroll in any of his classes. He's the most compelling component of the film and makes even the most flimsy accounts feel substantive.
Robert Reich, in "Inequality For All," asks, "What nation does it better?" The answer, "United States." 
Inequality For All, via Reich, poses a simple question: What is a good society and what role does the widening income gap play in the deterioration of the nation's economic health? It's a sound premise but execution was tendentious, at best.

Indications of Reich's lopsided exposé is the unfathomable omission of China/WTO, NAFTA and TTP (Trans Pacific Partnership). All of which have adversely affected the wage earning potential of the middle-class.

These exclusions are no small slight - some might say intentional… We're Reich to have touched upon them, the storyline would have inevitably taken a turn where more than a few fingers point back in his direction (i.e. Reich's previous boss, Clinton, initiated two of these trade "deals"). What do you think?

Reich points to technology and education as the primary culprits behind America's decline. I agree, they must be addressed. However, removing rust from but a few spokes of an enormous wheel out-of-whack and expecting polish to produce economic parity is anything but levelheaded. It's not only quixotic, it obscures legitimate concerns, depriving the crisis of substantive scrutiny and subsequent solutions.

Undeniably, the downward mobility of Americans is real and is getting worse. Though Inequality For All may serve to evoke sentimental appreciation for the plight of a diminishing class, its eloquent message is nonetheless a disproportional slice of a vast and expanding dilemma. In short, IFA emits steady heat but little light.

One of many Mad Men like charts examines widening income inequality in the United States.
For me, Reich falls short most by failing to arouse a sense of political boldness, daring his audience to look outside the comfort-zone of their dispositions. Even when Reich attempts to be bipartisan by incorporating a Republican Mormon family, we discover they are pro-union... In other words, Reich's reach is woefully short, neutralizing any substantial risk.

Considering that no concrete change will materialize (except possibly the extinction of America's middle-class) until an objective, nonpartisan analysis is put forth, one would think that for all Reich's economic bravado he would have strove to present an evenhanded, candid look. The tentacles eroding the financial foundation of America today is multifaceted, but Reich ignored them. He blew it. He squandered an opportunity to connect with all of America in favor of a hackneyed agenda. Too bad, Inequality For All had great potential.

Those who truly care for the poor and the economic state of affairs of ALL Americans would do best to seek, if not demand, a more studious and well-balanced examination of the many causes of disparity in America. Only then can efficacious solutions be initiated, achieving equality for all.

Anyone genuinely interested in learning more about the challenges of America's economy, I suggest passing on Inequality For All, and instead investing your time with Paul Craig Roberts. Few are more knowledgeable, articulate and discerning.

Mark
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