When I’ve discussed this film concept with people that I know, along with some really positive, supportive responses and questions, I’ve often gotten some interesting questions and quizzical stares, including, “why this topic?” And, “why now?” I also noted many eyebrows raised over the seriousness and complexity of the topic, along with some possible assumptions of what I could possibly know about it, much less contribute to a high-quality documentary film on it.
Unbeknownst to many of my friends and family, my own personal interest in this important topic really started a few years before the last market/housing/economic crash of ’08-’09. Around 2005, I started reading some great economic blogs, including The Big Picture, Calculated Risk, Naked Capitalism and any others that I deemed to be trustworthy sources. For me it was like a self-directed online master class in economics, politics, the market, and how things are connected.
I ultimately became somewhat obsessed with how these “dots” are all connected, and this included the burgeoning wealth inequality problem. Over time, I began reading anything and everything about this topic, including writings by Nick Hanauer, Thomas Piketty’s widely acclaimed book in 2013 “Capital in the 21st Century”, and others. It has become obvious to me that the scales are now tilted way too far in favor of big capital over everything else, including labor, the environment, communities, and the country’s overall well-being. This needs to change now or it will adversely affect us all in some way.
Around this time, Dave and I also began discussing this issue as it relates to the growing wealth inequality problem in the U.S. and how there was an obvious need for some sort of a serious documentary film that covers the many complex facets of it. Those ongoing conversations between us on this topic waxed and waned over the years that included daily texts on it, until finally we mobilized in earnest in 2019 with Sean and Jillian and came up with a real plan of action to get it done.
One, admittedly unproven, theory that I have is that the crash, political response to it (e.g. bailing out the elites at everyone else’s expense, while holding nobody of importance responsible), and subsequent increasing disparities in wealth (and importantly, political power) since then is what has in part led us to the further destabilizing forces that we see today in our politics, including a Trump presidency and GOP that is now completely beholden to him. We need to all connect the damn dots.
Why then, given the weightiness and complexity of this topic, would we try to tackle it by making a documentary film, when it’s been covered in such exhaustive detail by many others? What will be different about it? And, if nothing has changed for the better up until this point, ultimately what difference can we make? My answer is this. I believe that this issue, along with global climate change, is THE most pressing issue of our time to address and fix.
Although other far more credentialed experts have covered this topic well to date, all of the dots that have led us to this point have not been sufficiently covered and connected so that more Americans will have that “aha moment” in their minds enough to change more those minds that will lead to real positive change. We intend to also present some possible solutions to move the ball forward on actually fixing these problems. Also, oftentimes, things needed to be reframed, repeated, and repeated some more before real change occurs. Therefore, I view this project as our own small personal, patriotic contribution to helping the country survive and thrive over the long term.
It is our intention to present and connect all of those “dots” in a coherent, easy to understand way, but most importantly include several personal stories of real people who’ve been directly and adversely affected by these issues. So, why should more Americans care about this issue? It’s pretty simple, actually. More Americans need to understand that many of their fellow citizens have needlessly suffered, and continue to suffer, under a system that is not only often a cruel one, but also one that is counterproductive to continuing our country in a stable, functioning manner, without some sort of eventual civil upheaval. This could also be you, your family, or friends someday. If it hasn’t already, this issue WILL touch us all in some fashion if given enough time and inattention spent on fixing it.
Throughout history, it has been proven each and every time that these kinds of trends are unsustainable for keeping our democratic republic thriving and surviving without some sort of civil upheaval and even ruination. It’s proven to be a destabilizing force that will not end well if not addressed and fixed soon. Our country’s survival therefore may well depend on what we do to fix it. This is why I’m personally motivated to do what I can to get this film out there to people.
I’ll leave you with a link to this very recent Pew Research article highlighting the problem in pretty clear terms. These are dangerous times for our country. It’s high time that we do something about it. This film is our contribution.