Inequality for All is a 2013 documentary film directed by Jacob Kornbluth and narrated by American economist, author and professor Robert Reich. Based on Reich's 2010 book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, the film examines widening income inequality in the United States. Reich publicly argued about the issue for decades, and producing a film of his viewpoints was a "final frontier" for him. In addition to being a social issue documentary, Inequality for All is also partially a biopic regarding Reich's early life and his time as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton's presidency. Warren Buffett and Nick Hanauer, two entrepreneurs and investors in the top 1%, are interviewed in the film supporting Reich's belief of an economy that benefits all citizens, include those of the middle and lower classes.
As shown via a series of suspension bridge graphs, the income gap between middle-to-low-class Americans and the top 1% in the United States was at the same extreme highs in 1928 and 2007, two years that preceded economic crashes. Reich argues that inequality in capitalism is necessary for incentive for citizens to work harder, but at a low-enough level to where democracy is protected and it's in a "Virtuous cycle;" with high-enough wages and taxes, there will be more investments in government programs, a more college-educated population, and consumer spending creating more jobs. The United States economy was in this cycle in the 1940s and 1970s, but that changed starting in the late 1970s as a result of union-busting, tax cuts, deregulation, job outsourcing, and other changes in the system meant to increase Wall Street's profits; this result in a decline of average worker pay and a increase amount of average income for top-earners from 1978 to 2010.
Inequality for All premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition section that had several other political films in its line-up, including another film about income inequality. It won the festival's U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking and was bought by RADiUS-TWC five days after its January 19 premiere. After months of running at several other festivals, the film was released to United States theaters by RADiUS on September 27, 2013 and grossed more than $1 million in just over a month, which was rare for an issue documentary. It received very high opinions from professional critics, who praised its easy-to-understand demonstration of a complicated topic and likable narrator; however, it also garnered criticism for its singular, unoriginal viewpoints and lack of credible opposing arguments, which led to libertarian and right-leaning sources and publications to condemn the film.