Summary: In less than 2 minutes and 15 seconds, Robert B. Reich explains the problem with the economy by "connecting the dots" and illustrating the bigger picture. He raises 6 basic economic points that students can easily follow. (1) While we have experienced a rapidly growing economy since 1980, wages have remained flat. (2) Rather than resulting in increased wages, these gains in the economy went to the super rich, which (3) allowed them to leverage more political power and thereby cut their own taxes. (4) With less tax revenue, the economy has experienced huge budget deficits, resulting in cuts to public services and the social safety net. (5) This has lead to fear and division among the middle class and, rather than collectively coming together to fight for better wages and policies, people are competing for individual scraps. (6) Without the purchasing power they had in the past, the middle class is unable to jumpstart the economy, resulting in an "anemic recovery." This short clip would be useful in a class lecture on the economy, income inequality, or a discussion about our country's policy approaches to economic booms and recessions. It might also be useful in a lecture on Marxism and class consciousness, for Reich argues that a lack of class consciousness among working people contributes to class divisions and ultimately an anemic recovery. For another clip on The Sociological Cinema that uses illustration techniques so that students can easily follow a complex argument, click here.
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp