By Eleanor Ringel Cater
There are so many inconvenient truths in Robert Reich’s “Inequality for All,” it makes Al Gore’s Oscar winner look like a Tea Party screed.
His premise? The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. And poorer. And poorer. And….
Reich, who was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton and a professor at such tony places as Berkeley, Harvard and Brandeis, is as entertaining a guide as Gore was. Actually, he ‘s more personable since a lot of the Gore bump (personality-wise) could be traced to the former VP’s singular stiffness as a Presidential candidate. If he’d presented the Gore then that he did later in “An Inconvenient Truth,” he just may have been President.
Addressing one of his classes at the University of California, Berkeley, Reich is wryly funny, yet also as scary as an Old Testament prophet as he charts the crushing and ever-growing gap between CEOs and what used to be the Middle Class.
His on-screen audience (aside from us) are the students in one of his classes at Berkeley. Does it have to be Berkeley? I mean, easy aces. Try teaching that class at Bob Jones University. Yet, Reich uses his graph and charts and stats so persuasively, you have to think, well, maybe he would get through.
Roughly Danny DeVito size thanks to a rare genetic disease Reich remains optimistic despite the depressing tone of his conclusions. And he holds our interest with tossed-off factoids that have considerable impact.
Consider this: the 400 richest Americans have more total combined wealth than half — yes, half — of the entire United States population.
Of course, the movie is preaching to the choir. I don’t know a single person who will go to have their minds changed about the soaring inequality between the 99 and the 1 per centers.
But then, I’m being knee-jerk myself. My husband, who eats, drinks and sleeps FOX, believes the gap between haves and have-nots has become intolerable. And undesirable.
You may remember the old saying: Without a nail, the shoe was lost; without a shoe, the horse was lost, without a horse, the king was lost; without a king, the kingdom was lost.
Without a healthy middle class….