Inequality for All: Robert Reich Warns Record Income Gap Is Undermining Our Democracy

Inequality For All is a movie that will be playing in Kendall Square, Cambridge (search for “inequality” on the page) starting September 27, 2013.

Democracy Now has an interview Inequality for All: Robert Reich Warns Record Income Gap Is Undermining Our Democracy.

The video covers a number of topics. Here are just a couple of excerpts to whet your appetite.

ROBERT REICH: Let me just be clear. In the late 1990s,1999, Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, others in the administration, did agree to support Republican bills to get rid of the Glass-Steagall act, which as I said, had separated investment from commercial banking. They also opposed the move a by the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation to regulate derivatives. That is what got us into trouble, the lack of oversight from derivative trading. These are bets on bets. Wall Street was making a fortune on them, certainly by 2007. And those bets were out of control. So, let’s just put it this way. Bob Rubin is also a friend, but I spent a lot of time in the administration battling Bob Rubin because, Bob, again I like him, his view of the economy is through the eyes of Wall Street. Those eyes — the Wall Street’s view of America, is not where most people live. It is just not — it doesn’t take account of the problems, the challenges, the realities faced by most people. It views the economy as sort of a bunch of assets to be moved around wherever they can get the highest use and best use. And people are not simply assets.
ROBERT REICH: It is very interesting to examine who the great economic criminals are. It is interesting you mentioned the Pinochet coup because two years after that, Milton Friedman came down to Chile to meet with Pinochet to urge economic reforms that were basically quite brutal and brutalized a great number of people. Milton Friedman was not necessarily a supporter of Pinochet, but certainly hated Allende, was very supportive of what Kissinger and Nixon had both done and that is helped Pinochet take over eventually

AMY GOODMAN: Interestingly, this week, Kerry met with Kissinger to get advice on Syria, on September 11th.

ROBERT REICH: On September 11th. There are these unfortunate parallels. So in defining an economic criminal, I think it would be interesting to see the interactions between economics and politics. The criminal actions to me, around the world, particularly in the United States, are the underminings of democracy. That is, if we cannot have a democracy that controls, that limits the excesses of capitalism, the brutality of capitalism, then we don’t have any hope of a just economy. And the people who are making it difficult for our democracy or any democracy to function—again, very poignantly reflected in this Fortieth anniversary of the coup in Chile—are those people who could very well be defined as economic criminals.


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