In the Documentary Inequality for All, scholar Robert Reich dissects the staggering facts on an unequal distribution of wealth between classes and its shattering effects on the American economy. He focuses on the fact that our middle class, which makes up 70% of our economy, is being kept on a tight leash from the wealthy that only make up the miniscule 1% of society, making the same amount of income as half of the country. He begins explaining how In the late 1970s inequality became a prominent issue, not necessarily on a declining economy, in contrast he clarifies that the GDP (gross domestic product) kept on increasing.
The problem arises from the unparalleled income of the American workforce compared to the increasing prices of health care, housing, college and everyday costs of living. As expenditures increased for American households so should of workers wages, but instead many dropped or remained the same throughout the economic boom and even until now in our current date.
This “huge gap” as Reich describes, between wages and rising economy became a problematic concern to all Americans constituting the middle class. The economy entered a vicious cycle as Reich explains it to be, a cycle on which low wages cause low consumer spending thus leading to a troubled economy for all. At first the middle class leaned on to borrowing from banks to get through their struggle balancing high living prices and low wages, another coping mechanism that kept the middle class going for a while was that women began entering the workforce to aid in the responsibilities of their households. Yet, these efforts weren’t enough for the two underlying issues; globalization and new technology whom were responsible for contributing to the flattening wages since 1970. An example of this can be seen with Amazon.com, a company that is responsible for taking out of the market many small businesses.
The businesses that once performed the same work that Amazon.com does now, did so with many more workers, thus, propelled many more jobs than what amazon provides currently. With higher living standards and not enough disposable income the middle class go through daily struggles, only enough to make it on to next day while the wealthy keep storing away unimaginable sums of money that they themselves have no clue what to do with. With the raising inequality on the middle class, they are constrained to battling hurdles that make their efforts of moving upwards in life all the more difficult. Reich suggest that the attention needs to be shifted towards the working class, primarily with their education; “prosperity generates prosperity. Preparing our workforce to specialize and become well-educated individuals will just add on to a thriving stable economy; making education affordable and investing on them expands the middle class as well as the success for both the wealthy and the working class.
The rich believe they do enough since they see themselves as job providers, and think that if it weren’t for their role in creating jobs, that our economy would be much worse. With this they argue on issues such as getting taxed too much and how the “job creators” are being attacked. In reality they are not making any genuine effort on balancing out our economy. The wealthy making over six figure salaries a year manage to pay 15% on taxes while the average middle class male that makes anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 a years will get taxed double, paying an average of 30% or more on their taxes. Instead they keep accumulating money and invest in other things that give them a profitable return to themselves but not to the rest of the economy. With big companies such as General Electric (ge) who prioritize on making a profit rather than good jobs, by creating overseas jobs rather than providing them to laborers in America.
Inequality is monster on its own that’s is growing out of proportion, taken down with it many middle class members jobs, homes and destabilizing their every day lives. As executive pay continuous to go up, they have enough money to buy government and their decisions. Inequality is a matter that came about those decisions driven by the wealthy on to the government that make choices for its people. No real effort to counter act the issue has been taken into place, still we are responsible for getting the message out to the masses and begin making a change for a united workforce.
If we continue with the trend that began in the late 1970s and has made its way all the way until the present, it will only continue to get a lot harder for upcoming generations to have a fair way of life. Workers having no say on the matter will add more gasoline to the fuel that has begun to wash away many Americans hopes and dreams. This Documentary is a wide opening realization to all the factors that are contributing to many economic problems that have affected many, including me personally. Many are still blinded by the government’s false efforts of aiding every one towards the perfect “American Dream”. The issue falls on our hands from this point on to make advancements in our education and expanding the capacities of our work force.