Economist Robert Reich found himself slightly agreeing with former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in an interview with Bill Moyers, arguing that while he doesn’t support “equality of results,” the problem with the U.S. financial system is a lack of equality when it comes to opportunity.
“The question is not inequality, per se,” Reich told Moyers on Friday. “The question is, at what point do you tip over, do you get to a tipping point where the degree of inequality actually is threatening your economy, your society, your democracy? When do you reach a point where inequality is simply too much? Where most of your people feel like the game is rigged.”
Reich told Moyers that when the country’s tax laws are weighed in favor of the wealthy, that creates an educational system that steers families in lower socio-economic tiers to schools that lack comparative resources.
“A lot of middle class and poor people actually are paying, particularly through social security taxes, which nobody talks about,” Reich explained. “They all want to talk about income taxes. They’re paying a much larger share of their income.”
Reich, a former Secretary of Labor under Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, also explained what he described as an easy decision to team with director Jacob Kornbluth for the new feature Inequality For All, a long-form visual explanation of his theories on the surge in income disparity.
“There is something about film with which you can emotionally connect with people and open people’s minds and eyes and hearts,” Reich argued. “And on this issue of widening inequality there’s so much confusion, many people if they’re, you know, if they’re rightwing, they want to blame the poor, if they’re leftwing they want to blame the rich. There’s a lot of blame going around. But people are not looking at the actual structure of the economy as it’s evolving.”
Watch Reich’s discussion with Moyers, published on Friday, below.