On a cold weekend afternoon last February, my son Caleb and I were searching for a good movie on Netflix. And we ended up watching a documentary called Inequality for All.
The star of the documentary is Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor during the (Bill) Clinton administration, and who now is a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. In the film, Reich sketches a rather frightening portrait of how income inequality is crippling our economy and our nation. But what makes Reich’s argument so riveting is not its moral clarity, but its practicality.
Put another way: Reich doesn’t simply insist that the growing gulf between rich and poor is unfair or wrong or unjust (although he certainly says all those things). What he emphasizes is that economic inequality is unsustainable. That if we maintain our current course, and we do nothing to strengthen the middle class, then our whole economy will collapse.
It’s been about a year since Caleb and I first watched Inequality for All, and it’s not an overstatement to say that Caleb’s enthusiasm for Bernie — and probably mine too — can be tracked back to this documentary.
Jacob Kornbluth is the director of the film, and the other day we talked about how his documentary came to be — and why it could almost serve as a campaign film for Bernie 2016.