Segments in this Video

Two Park Avenues (02:35)


Park Ave. in New York's Upper East Side is home to an elite class with immense wealth and political power. Park Ave. in the South Bronx is the country's poorest congressional district.

Modeling Financial Inequity with Monopoly (03:13)

One study using a rigged game of Monopoly illustrates how systematic inequality keeps the poor at a disadvantage and propels attitudes of entitlement among the rich.

Low Upward Mobility (02:04)

Children born into low-income families start life at a disadvantage. The U.S. has extremely low upward mobility rates when compared with other developed nations.

Chasm in Income Distribution (01:44)

In the last 30 years, the gap between the richest 1% and rest of the country drastically widened, with the 1% controlling wealth that was once more evenly distributed.

Concentration of Billionaires at 740 Park Ave. (02:02)

740 Park Ave. in New York City is home to more billionaires than any other U.S. building. Its has housed the businessmen involved in the 1929 market crash, Standard Oil executives, and (currently) hedge fund billionaires.

Residents of 740 Park Ave. (02:55)

A former doorman of 740 Park Ave. describes the nature of the job. A list of 740 Park's current residents includes the richest and most prominent CEOs in the country, like business magnate Stephen Schwarzman.

"Winner-Take-All Politics" (00:54)

One expert argues that the concentration of wealth at the top is the result of powerful individuals rigging politics in their favor.

Corrupt Lobbyists & Politicians. (02:21)

After serving prison time for corruption, lobbyist Jack Abramoff now campaigns against the broken system from which he once profited. He reveals that lobbyists author Congressional bills and promise results for money.

Raising Campaign Funds at 740 Park Ave. (01:59)

In 2007, President George W. Bush visited Stephen Schwarzman at 740 Park, raising $1.2 million in 15 minutes. These wealthy contributors then influence tax policy in their favor.

Tax Advantages for the Rich (03:02)

The Carried Interest Provision allows hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate, thanks to lobbying from the financial industry. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer buried the bill to end the Carried Interest Provision.

Koch Brothers (03:07)

Oil tycoon David Koch is 740 Park's richest resident. The Koch brothers spend millions on Republican campaigns, right-wing think tanks, and universities that promote free market ideology.

Koch Brothers & Tea Party (01:57)

The Koch brothers' latest venture, Americans For Prosperity, supports Tea Party politics. The Kochs are largely responsible for the creation and boom of the Tea Party.

Ayn Rand Ideology in the Tea Party (03:16)

Ayn Rand's economic ideology, which rejects all market control, has experienced a resurgence in the Tea Party. The party cites "Atlas Shrugged" as evidence of capitalism's inherent morality.

Paul Ryan's Budget Plan (03:48)

Paul Ryan receives more Koch brother money than any other member of Congress. His Ayn Rand-inspired budget framework seeks to use tax policy to eviscerate government programs.

Education, Employment, & Class Mobility (02:09)

Paul Ryan and the Tea Party neglect to acknowledge that It's harder than ever to pay for college and to get a job without a college degree. Despite the demand for skilled labor, Republicans slash training programs.

Paul Ryan's Campaign Against Food Stamps (02:25)

One in seven Americans receives food stamps, and a job no longer keeps Americans out of poverty. Paul Ryan's budget would drastically cut the food stamp program, "shredding the safety net" for 8 million people.

Impact of Bush Tax Cuts (02:27)

The government presently collects its lowest tax revenue (as a share of the GDP) in our modern history. Tax rates for corporations and the ultra-rich are also at all-time lows, thanks to a 2003 provision signed by George W. Bush.

Overpaying America's CEOs (02:34)

The ratio of a CEO's pay to an average worker's pay has drastically risen in the last 40 years. John Thain, CEO of Merill Lynch, handed out executive bonuses in 2008, even as the company suffered losses.

Skewed Capitalist Morality (01:24)

Experts explain that the very wealthy begin to define morality in terms of how to get more money, so different moral constructs guide their behavior. Wealth doesn't equate to wisdom or refinement.

Entitlement & "Class Warfare" (02:29)

Studies show that, the more wealth one has, the more entitled one feels. Right-wing politicians use the term "class warfare" in defending their wealth and turn the middle class against the lower class.

Scott Walker's Anti-Union Politics (03:40)

The poor aren't represented in the U.S. government, largely due to the decline of unions. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (funded by the Koch Brothers) campaigned against public sector collective bargaining.

Scott Walker's Recall & National Agenda (02:53)

Thanks to Americans for Prosperity, Gov. Scott Walker won his recall election. A recorded call between Walker and a man posing as David Koch reveals Walker's national anti-union agenda.

Relationship Between Rich & Poor in the U.S. (03:10)

When wealth is created in this country, so is poverty. Though the rich are often held up as examples of the American Dream, the bridge from "have not" to "have" grows increasingly mythical.

Credits: Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream—Why Poverty? (00:41)

Credits: Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream—Why Poverty?

Blank Screen (00:56)

Blank Screen

Bonus Segment: "Textless Elements" (11:23)

Short clips from "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream—Why Poverty?" play without sound.

Short Film: "New Poor" (05:25)

A business-owner in Spain explains how trying to save his company has plummeted him into debt. Statistics reveal his story is not unique in his country. (Spanish with English Subtitles)

Credits: "New Poor" (00:15)

Credits: "New Poor"

Short Film: "Holiday from Poverty" (05:34)

A filmmaker follows an English family on their very first vacation to a retreat for low-income families. Their trip is subsidized by a charity that brings low-income families together to foster strength and support.

Credits: "Holiday from Poverty" (00:21)

Credits: "Holiday from Poverty"

Short Film: "The Car's Got to Go" (05:28)

This film follows an English debt collector in the UK as he repossesses vehicles. Having suffered through bankruptcy before, he's sensitive to the people he meets.

Credits: "The Car's Got to Go" (00:19)

Credits: "The Car's Got to Go"

Short Film: "The Crisis and the Sunglasses" (04:34)

The European Union's debt crisis affects a Greek man's already-struggling family. He sells sunglasses that were donated to him to support his family. (Greek with English Subtitles)

Credits: "The Crisis and the Sunglasses" (00:14)

Credits: "The Crisis and the Sunglasses"

Short Film: "Lullaby" (02:27)

In stark polarity at an ATM vestibule, homeless individuals sleep and bank patrons withdraw cash.

Credits: "Lullaby" (00:15)

Credits: "Lullaby"

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Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream—Why Poverty?

Part of the Series : Why Poverty?
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Number 740 Park Avenue is home to several New York billionaires. Just ten minutes north, in the South Bronx, is another Park Avenue, where more than half the population rely on government food stamps to survive. According to the American dream, any Bronx Park Avenue resident can end up living at 740 with enough willpower and hard work. But is that dream still attainable? In this program, director Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) argues that the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. has widened significantly and will continue to do so as the rich use their wealth to fund political campaigns and lobby groups that rig the system in their favor. A part of the series Why Poverty?

Length: 85 minutes

Item#: BVL55239

ISBN: 978-0-81608-759-4

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

72nd Annual Peabody Award winner

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Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.