Soon after Hollywood writer/director/actor Peter Antico read my book Who Stole My Pension? last year, he called me on behalf of a group of SAG/AFTRA members, including Ed Asner (of Lou Grant television fame), and Titanic film star, Frances Fisher. The group of actors was outraged that, in the midst of a global pandemic, the union was stripping health care coverage away from almost 12,000 union members, most of them seniors, who had paid into the plan for 20-50 years.
As the pandemic raged, the group met regularly for months via Zoom about bringing a class action lawsuit to protect the rank-and-file members. Contrary to popular belief, most SAG/AFTRA members do not lead lavish lifestyles—they struggle to earn even $30,000 a year. For many, loss of health care coverage last year was devastating.
Finally, in December 2020, we filed the class action case against SAG/AFTRA. “They can’t get away with this,” Asner (now deceased) was quoted saying by NBC News. “This is criminal.” The day of filing, Eleven Films released a short PSA featuring Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Connie Stevens, Amy Schumer, Martin Sheen, Elliot Gould, Matthew Modine, Mark Hamell and Asner.
The Hollywood crowd is not necessarily known for its financial acumen but Antico stands out for both his passion and knowledge about the world of investing.
So, when I learned that Antico and Sean Stone (Oliver Stone’s son) were working on a 2-hour documentary film that Antico directed and produced with Stone, I was intrigued.
The film, The Paradigm of Money, opens in Los Angeles Friday December 3rd at the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood, California for the qualifying round of the Academy Awards Feature Documentary competition. It’s also available streaming at www.theparadigmofmoneyfilm.com. Here’s a trailer for the film.
Likened to The Big Short on steroids, The Paradigm of Money goes deep into the infrastructure of the global financial system and exposes corrupt policies that allow for the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the one percent. The film points out that the one-percenters now hold more wealth than the entire middle class.
Today, the message that our financial system is unfair and has been corrupted is receiving more attention than ever.
It’s no secret that the global pandemic has been devastating to lower and middle income Americans, as the wealthy have seen their stock market portfolios surge.
It’s no secret that many Americans are working for less that a living minimum wage.
It’s no secret that the overwhelming majority of Americas have little or nothing saved for retirement and will likely spend their golden years in poverty.
It’s no secret that corporate pensions are almost extinct and 401ks have failed to provide comparable retirement security for private sector workers.
It’s no secret that public pensions are severely underfunded and government workers are threatened with benefit cuts almost daily.
It’s no secret that, as the Pandora Papers exposed, the rich are hiding billions in offshore accounts to evade U.S. income taxes.
But there are secrets to be told. The Paradigm of Money documentary exposes that due to corporate greed, widespread systemic corruption and regulatory capture, this wealth transfer is no surprise.
In short: if you think the financial system isn’t rigged, you don’t know the financial system.