The widening income gap undermining America’s democracy is quickly worsening and threatening the moral integrity of this country, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich said Thursday.
But there isn’t one specific factor to close the gap. Education, structural infrastructure investments, tax reform, and capital markets all contribute to the problem, Reich said.
“These structural problems are endemic around the world, but it doesn’t mean we’ve got to throw up our hands and say, ‘We can’t do anything about them,’ ” he said on Morning Joe. “If we don’t actually get to work dealing with these really savage inequalities, we are going to have an economy that’s not working.”
Infant mortality rates are worse in the United States than in other industrialized countries, and Americans’ median wage decreases instead of increases.
Reich, a noted economic expert, is featured in the new documentary, “Inequality for All.” The film looks at the American economy through the lens of widening income inequality—currently at historic highs—and explores the gap’s effects on the economy and democracy.
“When you’re living in it day-to-day, it doesn’t hit you with the same force as when you step back and see that this has been growing and widening for a very long time,” Jacob Kornbluth, the movie’s director, said on the show.
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Reich has argued in the past for the wage to increase to $9 per hour. Strikes involving thousands of fast-food workers across seven cities launched earlier this week demanding a base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union.
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