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Student groups and local non-profit show “Inequality For All”

GRACE STANLEY, Channels Contributor

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The student government, Political Science Club, and local non-profit organization People Organized for the Defense and Equal Rights of Santa Barbara Youth, or PODER, hosted a screen of “Inequality For All” on Nov. 2 in Administration Building Room 211.

The screening was followed with a Q and A session by political science Teachers Joseph Martorana and Kay Zare and wrapped up with presentations from PODER, which focused on gentrification.

“Inequality for All” was produced by political commentator and economist Robert Reich. In the film, Reich narrated the story that has been unfolding for decades; what has happened in terms of income distribution in the United States.

The film describes that the U.S. has the greatest inequality rates out of developing countries. This is creating a case of class warfare. Today, the top 400 richest people have more wealth than the bottom 150 million American combined.

To find the origins of this inequality, Reich presents a graph of income tax which revealed that income inequality peaked in 1928 and 2007. Both of the years the richest 1% were taking home a staggering 23% of their incomes.

Financial crashes followed both of those years. A bubble was created by capital looking to a small number of assets such as housing or gold. The middle classes saw their incomes stagnate, going into debt and creating a debt bubble that eventually popped.

The issue according to Reich is that our gross domestic product continues to grow, but wages have stagnated since the 70’s. This is when American manufacturing jobs moved abroad and there were the beginnings of a technological revolution. Two things changed the structure of our economy during this time: globalization and technology.

“So who’s system should we embody?” Reich asked. He answered his own question by stating: “our own.”

The last point Reich made is that as the rich get richer, they have more resources with which to influence democracy, via lobbyists.

If big companies are not for the workers and big companies are increasingly in places of power in our government, then who is for the people? According to Reich, no one.

The event then took a turn towards City College’s Martorano and Zare. One big question of the night was: why can’t we implement executive income caps?

“Obama’s attack on the rich is like Hitler’s invasion of Poland,” Zare said, quoting Steven Schwarzman.

According to Zare, things like tax hikes referred to right-wingers as insane communist ideas, simply because they don’t want to lose any money.

Lastly a representative from PODER, talked about inequality and gentrification in Santa Barbara. He described gentrification as a disregard for the original residents of the area in regards to housing prices.

The representative described how homes are owned by privileged transplants to Santa Barbara, while locals have the inability to survive in the city on minimum wage. This inequality between locals and non locales has been present for generations. He highlighted different laws like the 2011 gang injection proposal which would allow police to search your house without any probable cause except the assumption that you are in a gang. Which is obviously problematic, dividing classes, races, and taking away people’s rights.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Student groups and local non-profit show “Inequality For All””

  1. NOAH B SMITH on November 6th, 2017 8:49 am

    Lets get some perspective on this hyperbolic, virtue signaling article. Talk about inequality? You only need to be making 34k a year to be in the global 1%. The average monthly welfare check in the USA is more than 1/2 the world makes annually.

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Student groups and local non-profit show “Inequality For All”