The documentary Inequality for All is finally available on DVD. You really ought to watch it. Inequality is a feature-length explanation of the American problem of income inequality, as explained by economist (and former secretary of labor) Robert Reich. As an introduction to the sorry state of American economics—that is to say, as an answer to the question, "Why is the economy supposedly improving when everybody I know can barely make a living?"—it's about as clearly stated as it possibly can be. The film explains where the money went and how inequality came to be so pervasive. It uses Reich's considerable gifts as an educator to provide a crash course in everything that's wrong with the economy.

However, if, like me, you learn better from books than you do from movies, you should seek out Reich's 2010 book Aftershock instead. I reviewed Aftershock on its release, and it served as my introduction to Reich's theories about the importance of the American middle-class. In 146 pages, Reich covers pretty much all the ground that Inequality for All covers, and then he forges ahead with a bold proposal to get America's engine of capitalism fully back on line again. It's a book that sticks with you; I've recommended it dozens of times in the years since I first read it.

If you've already read Aftershock, you can rest easy knowing that you missed nothing of importance in Inequality for All. If you've watched Inequality, you'd be better off digging deeper into other economic books than reading Aftershock. This is too important for you to remain ignorant of Reich's theories for any longer. You only need to experience one of these texts to understand where Reich is coming from, but you definitely need to introduce yourself to Reich's teachings somehow. Choose one.