Documentary tackles wealth inequality in America

By Una Tingvik-Haave, A&E Writer

Through the documentary “Inequality for All” and subsequent discussion, Pacific Lutheran University students learned about the fast-widening inequality gap in the United States April 15 in the Hauge Administration Building.

“This is such a pertinent topic right now,” Kaitlyn Sill, an assistant professor of political science, said. “We felt that this was something we should open up to the campus community.”

In regards to wage inequality, the U.S. is one of the most unequal countries in the world today, and the inequality gap is only widening.

The documentary, “Inequality for All,” closely examined the widening income inequality in the U.S. and presented former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s views on what is happening and why it is happening in the U.S. today.

After the screening it was the students’ turn to share their views, which varied greatly. A couple of them had opinions so different they had a heated discussion.

Sill said she tried to do a few screenings per year and to choose a topic that makes people think about government and politics and not just current events.

“We really try to dig in and actually talk about the actual underpinnings of our government,” Sill said. “And then we like multiple perspectives.”

One question the documentary posed, and one that also came up in the subsequent discussion, was: How do you build wealth in the U.S. when you don’t have anything?

The movie offered several solutions to this problem, most of which required the government to raise the minimum wage, strengthen workers’ voices, invest in education and fix the tax system.

“I actually learned a whole lot, because I’m not very educated in the whole economics discourse, which is really what came out today,” junior Chris Johnson said.

Sill said she was surprised by the high attendance.

“We had political science, philosophy and probably some econ students, and so we had a pretty good turn out,” Sill said.

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