Posts Tagged ‘millionaires’

My Ballot

Press TV (2016)

Film Review

My Ballot is a Press TV documentary examining which examines whether the millionaires who run Congress can ever represent ordinary Americans facing job loss, pay cuts and school closures. The choice of presenter, a guileless young African American named Robert Sughie, is brilliant. The best segment of the film shows him wandering around the halls of Congress, calling up the net worth of each representative on his Smartphone as he prepares to visit their office. Not a single congressional staffer agrees to speak to him – by phone or in person.

The documentary is chock full of shocking facts about the US Congress. Such as

  • More than half of congressional representatives are millionaires (It’s worse than the Roman senate).
  • In 2014, only 9% of Americans approved of Congress, a worse approval rating than King George enjoyed during the American Revolution.
  • Unlike most democracies, Congress isn’t election by majority rule, but by a simple plurality (ie one more vote than any other candidate). Because the US doesn’t hold run-off elections, representatives can be elected by as little as 30-40% of the vote.
  • From the day they take office, congressional representatives spend 75% of their time fundraising for their next campaign. A big reason why they allow corporate lobbyists to write legislation for them – they have no time to focus on developing policies of their own.

The Chinese Economic Bubble

(2011)

Film Review

The Chinese Economic Bubble offers a unique perspective from two low income Chinese – a taxi driver and a construction worker – on China’s so-called economic miracle. Their commentary is interspersed with that of two Chinese economists. The latter discuss the growing Chinese real estate bubble, empty high rise buildings, rent-seeking and corruption, as well as the thousands of government officials who go to jail every year. These vignettes are interspersed with scenes of lavish media events celebrating Chinese millionaires and billionaires.

There is repeated emphasis on the immense sacrifice made by ordinary Chinese workers to create such phenomenal wealth. When the film was made in 2011, the construction worker early only slightly more ($4,200) than the national average ($4,000) for highly dangerous scaffolding work. At the time average global per capita income was $9,000. In 2014 the average Chinese wage had risen to $8,655, compared to an average global wage of $18,000.