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Inequality for All (2013)

Old 11-09-13, 12:29 PM
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Inequality for All (2013)

http://youtu.be/YCbAyk8aRxI

This is the best documentary I've seen all year (and I see a lot of them at the theater I volunteer at). I'm not just talking about the subject matter, but how it's constructed and presented. Robert Reich is a compelling speaker and the data that's shown is in a way that's not dumbed down and in a digestible fashion for an hour and a half. It's a thoughtful little film that totally smokes Michael Moore's movie from 2009.

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Old 01-31-14, 07:24 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Agree with everything you said. Just saw it and it was really well done. Never realized he was getting on everyone's nerves toward the end of the first term. Thought that was very interesting.
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Old 02-03-14, 03:53 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

It was OK. It could have been an excellent documentary were it not for the fact that the affected people portrayed came off as entitled and clueless. There was this couple who did not have any savings, and asked how one build wealth, when they are spending $172 per month on cellphone and buying macbook pros. That is the opposite of how one builds wealth.

They also had $360 under "Diesmos" - what does that category mean?

They were also spending $80 on laundry - why in the world???
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Old 02-05-14, 11:39 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by wearetheborg View Post
It was OK. It could have been an excellent documentary were it not for the fact that the affected people portrayed came off as entitled and clueless. There was this couple who did not have any savings, and asked how one build wealth, when they are spending $172 per month on cellphone and buying macbook pros. That is the opposite of how one builds wealth.

They also had $360 under "Diesmos" - what does that category mean?

They were also spending $80 on laundry - why in the world???
The amount of things people buy that they have to essentially go into debt to buy is a very good point. But what happens in our economy if people don't buy those things? I tend to believe that unless we are talking about a house, you shouldn't buy it unless you have the money to pay for it. But looking up personal debt in America here we see this....
In total, American consumers owe:
  • $11.36 trillion in debt
    A decrease of .1% from last year
  • $856.9 billion in credit card debt]
  • $7.93 trillion in mortgages
  • $1,049.0 billion in student loans
    An increase of 11.% from last year
Now imagine taking the $856.9 billion out of our economy. But that isn't even the full story, as many people (and it has become more common) use refinancing as a way to purchase cars, pay off credit cards, etc. I don't know exactly how much that adds, but to people who have a lot of debt, it would be quite common, I'd think. But let's say it is just 10% of total mortgages for fun, and you end up with over $1.5 trillion that was spent on things the people could not afford. Now take that out of the economy, and what happens to jobs?

That is the real problem that I see. Yes, people shouldn't buy stuff they can't afford (nor should the government, for that matter), but it shows that our economy and society is built upon spending more than we have. Obviously, just like the government, this is not something that is sustainable over the long run. There is a tipping point. Get rid of all debt and you kill our economy. So what's the answer?
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Old 02-15-14, 04:02 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

One of the points made in the movie was that companies try to push wages and benefits down, and keep profits high. Fair enough. And then the movie claims that if wages are low, and thus people do not have money to buy the stuff they produce, the economy will tank.

But this is a bogus argument. If company A has high profits, and low wages (so it can afford to pay more wages but chooses not to), what is to prevent another company B from starting up, which sell the same products at lower prices (and thus lower profits), the prices at which people can afford to buy stuff, the end result being company A going out of business, and companies selling products at prices which normal people can afford?

Many industries have had to lower prices (notably the electronics industry). However some sectors have not, despite lower wages, and the movie does not address the causes for these. Should public college education (assuming no govt help) be this expensive? Or is this a result of professor and administrative salaries being way too high? And housing - what is the rationale for for housing costs to keep getting more and more? The housing price in an area should be directly proportional to what people earn.

In an equilibrium, in a free market, there is a relationship between wages and the prices of good/services sold. Something has been preventing this equilibrium from being reached in recent times. What is it?
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Old 02-18-14, 11:24 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by wearetheborg View Post
Many industries have had to lower prices (notably the electronics industry). However some sectors have not, despite lower wages, and the movie does not address the causes for these. Should public college education (assuming no govt help) be this expensive? Or is this a result of professor and administrative salaries being way too high? And housing - what is the rationale for for housing costs to keep getting more and more? The housing price in an area should be directly proportional to what people earn.
I thought they showed the college thing with professors who made $600,000, etc. It would be interesting to see what Reich makes being a professor.

Housing is far more complex than being proportional to what people earn. Some other factors include land use laws. For example, it is extremely difficult to develop new land in much of California because of their land use laws. It can be done, but it is crazy expensive. Those costs are passed on. Additionally, a number of places are big for the secondary housing market. Vale Colorado is an obvious and extreme example of that. Cost of labor affects it as well. In smaller towns it is often more expensive to build that in cities (actual labor cost) because large areas end up with cheaper labor to sweep brooms and pound nails. Anyway, it is a pretty complex thing.

In an equilibrium, in a free market, there is a relationship between wages and the prices of good/services sold. Something has been preventing this equilibrium from being reached in recent times. What is it?
Greed, and it goes around to everyone. We want out stocks to do well (or retirement, or any other thing that is invested) so we demand higher profits. And profits are at all time highs. But those profits are also made by decreasing labor costs. The other thing is education. Our education system is about indoctrination and social programming far more than it is about education. Don't know that this will ever change.
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Old 02-19-14, 04:04 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
And profits are at all time highs. But those profits are also made by decreasing labor costs.
My point was that you cannot have sustainable high profits with low labor cost. A Free market should ensure that high profit companies go out of business (barring some very few exceptions).

Regarding land: I do not know about land regulations in CA, but otherwise, the labor required to build properties was also required 30 years ago. Its not like much more human effort is required to build properties now.


https://ucannualwage.ucop.edu/wage/ says Reich's salary was $246,000 in 2012.
$215,000 in 2010; $235,000 in 2011.

And this is for a public university. In a fiscally challenged state.

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Old 02-21-14, 11:17 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by wearetheborg View Post
My point was that you cannot have sustainable high profits with low labor cost. A Free market should ensure that high profit companies go out of business (barring some very few exceptions).
A free market should. Why doesn't it?

I don't believe we have a true free market.
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Old 02-22-14, 05:28 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
I don't believe we have a true free market.
That is what should have been explored in the movie.

But given the political bias of the movie, free market is not something the producers were interested in.
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Old 02-23-14, 09:04 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Truly free markets are what prompted the Communist Manifesto.
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Old 03-09-14, 11:14 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
We want out stocks to do well (or retirement, or any other thing that is invested) so we demand higher profits. And profits are at all time highs. But those profits are also made by decreasing labor costs. The other thing is education. Our education system is about indoctrination and social programming far more than it is about education. Don't know that this will ever change.
Education is all about profits as well. People will sell a student whatever they want to hear in order for the student to run up an Education Tab with the Feds. Why? Because the money is guaranteed, so there's no risk to institutions who lend the money.

True, we all want our stocks to do well, but this is a cyclic argument. Companies blame their stockholders for their greedy demands and pass on the cuts and layoffs accordingly. But companies do have the obligation to lead by example. They chose the easier route.
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Old 03-27-14, 09:00 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

This documentary is now on Netflix Streaming.
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Old 04-21-14, 12:31 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
Education is all about profits as well. People will sell a student whatever they want to hear in order for the student to run up an Education Tab with the Feds. Why? Because the money is guaranteed, so there's no risk to institutions who lend the money.

True, we all want our stocks to do well, but this is a cyclic argument. Companies blame their stockholders for their greedy demands and pass on the cuts and layoffs accordingly. But companies do have the obligation to lead by example. They chose the easier route.
I believe that's an example of the "vicious cycle" (rather than the "virtuous circle") that Robert Reich was speaking of in the doc. Screwing over leads to a entropic effect of more screwing over into oblivion.
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Old 04-21-14, 12:58 PM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Originally Posted by wearetheborg View Post
My point was that you cannot have sustainable high profits with low labor cost. A Free market should ensure that high profit companies go out of business (barring some very few exceptions).
This is a very strange contention. What makes you think this is true?

Regarding land: I do not know about land regulations in CA, but otherwise, the labor required to build properties was also required 30 years ago. Its not like much more human effort is required to build properties now.
This seems like aother very strange contention. Tightness of building codes, cost of insurance, features and size of an "average" house, wealth of the United States, price of real estate in California... all have skyrocketed over the past few decades.


https://ucannualwage.ucop.edu/wage/ says Reich's salary was $246,000 in 2012.
$215,000 in 2010; $235,000 in 2011.

And this is for a public university. In a fiscally challenged state.
San Jose is already paying police officers $189K in salaries and benefits on average. This makes Reich, a man who can and has easily earned millions a year in the private market, a bargain.
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Old 06-15-14, 10:15 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

One can't underestimate the value of teaching young Americans how to think about economic policy. Loved the movie.
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Old 06-17-14, 07:16 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Hey, it's moorehed. It has been awhile. Good to see you.
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Old 06-17-14, 10:00 AM
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Re: Inequality for All (2013)

Hey Dave. Think of you every time I vacuum my yard. I'm on twitter @circulargenius. Don't visit these boards much these days, but it's a good trip down memory lane every once in a while
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