Segments in this Video

"That's Debatable" Housekeeping (01:51)


Moderator John Donvan introduces the resolution for this interactive debate on current issues and the panelists.

Opening Statements For: Robert Reich (02:21)

Former Secretary of Labor Reich states that the U.S. infrastructure is crumbling and the country cannot afford many necessary things. The typical American pays 25-30% of his or her income in taxes while billionaires pay 23% on average.

Opening Statements Against: Allison Schrager (02:10)

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Schrager states that tax percentages are wild estimates based on dubious assumptions. Two thirds of the 10 richest Americans are self-made entrepreneurs; most rich people have limited liquid wealth to pay taxes.

Opening Statements For: Yanis Varoufakis (02:24)

Former Finance Minister of Greece Varoufakis argues that wealth is not distributed in proportion to entrepreneurship; wealth breeds wealth. The power of big business and wealth concentration causes stagnation for the majority.

Opening Statements Against: Lawrence Summers (03:01)

Former Secretary of the Treasury Summers states that a wealth tax is based on the politics of envy. A practical tax form agenda raises the capital gains tax rate, ensures compliance, and eliminates tax shelters. See an upcoming segment preview.

Financial Imbalance and Democracy (08:41)

Reich argues that wealth translates into power. Schrager states that the use of money to gain power occurs mostly at the corporate level. Varoufakis worries about corporate wealth and power. Summers agrees a reduction of financial influence in politics is necessary. See an upcoming segment preview.

Constructive Money (04:17)

Schrager agrees that removing distortions is the best way to reform taxes, but likens Varoufakis' statements to Stalinist or Maoist sentiment. Panelists argue against Schrager's statements and Donvan calls a time out. See an upcoming segment preview.

Global Billionaire Class (05:47)

Reich states that "deserving" assumes a neutral market; the wealthy change the organization of the market. Summers favors an approach that begins with the approach of obtaining a fairer and better society. See an upcoming segment preview.

Behavioral Impact (09:12)

IBM Watson uses AI to scale public opinion. Varoufakis believes concentrated wealth and power stifles innovation and destroys the market. Schrager is unsure if redistribution would lower work incentive. Summers cites a point of agreement but questions strategy. Reich discusses reform and consequences. See an upcoming segment preview.

Closing Statements For: Reich (01:48)

Middle class people in the Rust Belt and the South want someone to "shake things up." They believe the concentration of wealth and power reveals a rigged system.

Closing Statements Against: Schrager (01:32)

We really do not know the extent of someone's wealth. Most wealthy people in America did not obtain their wealth in a zero-sum manner.

Closing Statements For: Varoufakis (02:00)

Life in today's society resembles the Roman arena more than the Olympic Games. Hard work is not guaranteed to lift people out of poverty.

Closing Statements Against: Summers (01:32)

Making the redistribution of wealth the central theme of policies creates central control. Raise taxes correctly and with the right regulation to create a better society.

Voting Results (01:32)

Donvan reveals audience votes before and after the debate, declares the winner, thanks the panelists, and highlights an upcoming debate.

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It's Time to Redistribute the Wealth: A Debate

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Economic inequality has become a matter of growing concern in the United States. As Americans face a reckoning on racial and social justice and work to combat the broad, uneven financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, should the U.S. government undertake major efforts to redistribute the nation's wealth from richer people and communities to poorer ones? Should the United States address growing inequality by overhauling the tax system, expanding the social safety net, and investing more in public initiatives like education, infrastructure, and universal health care? Or would such efforts stunt economic growth, unfairly punish the wealthy, destroy the promise of a meritocracy, and inevitably lead to excessive government intervention in people's lives? Is it time to redistribute the wealth?

Length: 49 minutes

Item#: BVL237641

ISBN: 978-1-63722-243-0

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

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