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‘Inequality For All’ a convincing case

If a movie crammed front-to-back with bad news, woeful stats and glaring injustice can be considered inspiring, well, then, “Inequality for All” — starring the diminutive, indefatigable Robert Reich — is that movie.

A must-see documentary about America’s widening income gap and shrinking middle class, “Inequality for All” shadows the former secretary of Labor (in the first Clinton administration) and current UC Berkeley economics professor as he drives his Mini-Cooper around, meets with families struggling to live paycheck to paycheck, faced with mounting expenses, day care costs, rents, mortgages — household budgets in the red, no matter how hard they try.

Movie trailer: Inequality for All

Directed by Jacob Kornbluth and deploying nifty animated graphics (pie charts and bar graphs, oh my!), “Inequality for All” should be required viewing in high schools, colleges and on Capitol Hill, where the Trickle Downers keep denying that the system is broken.

This film makes an absolutely convincing case that the system is busted. “Today, the richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together,” Reich says at one point, having contrasted the typical male worker’s salary in 1978 with that of the average wage earner in the top 1 percent back then — and how that gap has exploded now.

“Think about it,” he says. “Four hundred people have more wealth than half the population of the United States.”

In the ranks of the top 1 percent is Nick Hanauer, a Seattle pillow manufacturer and venture capitalist (and early investor in Amazon), who puts the lie to the belief that the wealthy should be left alone in a free market system because they are the “job creators” — their success means more commerce, more people with money in their pockets.”

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