It's a story many Americans have heard before -- the struggle of poverty and the efforts to eliminate the widening economic gap.
Sunday, Vermonters were invited to view the film "Inequality for All," at the Palace 9 Cinemas in South Burlington. The documentary is based on 30 years of research on wealth inequality in the United States. Out of 141 countries included in the film's survey, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world. It's a discouraging number that Senator Bernie Sanders often highlights.
"It's a moral issue. We are seeing a middle class disappearing, more people living in poverty than anytime in the history of this country and yet the top one percent is doing phenomenally well," Sanders said.
"Inequality For All" focuses on former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich's efforts to address the problem -- and to encourage change.
The documentary highlights the importance of taking small steps towards structural change and understanding the research behind the mission to create wealth equality.
"A lot of people can have emotional reactions to what's happening in the moment or in a very anecdotal way in their own lives but to have the greater picture of how policy affects people was the biggest thing," said Michael Perrault of Underhill
After the film, viewers shared their thoughts. Reish also joined the discussion by phone, and took questions from the audience. Some shared concerns about creating more opportunities for women and the debate surrounding minimum wage.
Others who attended the screening found inspiration to be the change they hope to see in their community, no matter how big -- or how small -- the contribution. "I'm sort of perched on this idea of starting a quarterly publication, so I guess just communications and writing more -- blogging maybe," said Robin Reid.
Senator Sanders is focused on concerns for inequality across the U.S. and said while Vermont is creating more jobs and closing the gap of wealth inequality, it's a problem we all are facing and must work together to address.
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