Former U.S. labor secretary to visit Merced

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich will visit Merced this month as part of an event sponsored by the UC Merced Office of the Chancellor and the Blum Center for Developing Economies.

Reich’s visit accompanies the showing of “Inequality for All,” a documentary about income inequality, at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at Merced Theatre, 301 W. Main St.

Following the documentary, Reich will take questions from members of the audience.

Reich is visiting Merced to showcase his film and to start a conversation about how the region can overcome the economic and social costs of income inequality, according to a news release.

Reich, who served as secretary of labor while Bill Clinton was president, is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and senior fellow at the Blum Center.

“Inequality for All” is a 2013 film from director Jacob Kornbluth that follows Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country’s widening economic gap.

The film’s website shares a few facts related to the economic gap:

• More than 633,000 people were homeless in the United States in the winter of 2012, the website says. Based on an annual single-room-occupancy cost of $558 per month, any one of the 10 richest Americans made enough money in 2012 to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S. for the entire year.

• Those 10 men together made more than the nation’s entire housing budget.

• The comparison of average hourly wages between large corporation heads and minimum-wage workers is another example. The difference is $5,000 per hour vs. $7.25 per hour.

• Out of 141 countries, the U.S. has the fourth-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine and Lebanon. According to the authors of the Global Wealth Report, the world’s wealth has doubled in 10 years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017.