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The One Percent (2006)

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In this hard-hitting but humorous documentary, director Jamie Johnson takes the exploration of wealth that he began in Born Rich one step further. The One Percent, refers to the tiny ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nicole Buffet ...
Herself - Granddaughter of Investor Warren Buffett
Chuck Collins ...
Himself - Great Grandson of Oscar Meyer
Steve Forbes
Cody Franchetti ...
Himself - Italian Baron
Milton Friedman ...
Himself - Nobel Laureate
Bill Gates Sr. ...
Himself - Father of Microsoft Founder
Eddie Bernice Johnson ...
Herself - Chair Congressional Black Caucus 2001-03
Gretchen Johnson ...
Herself - Jamie's Mother
...
Himself
Jim Johnson ...
Himself - Jamie's Father
Adnan Khashoggi ...
Himself - Arms Merchant
Claude Kirk ...
Himself - Former Governor of Florida
Greg Kushner ...
Himself - Lido Wealth Conference Director
...
Himself - US Representative (D)
Roy Martin ...
Himself - President, Martin Lumber Co.
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Storyline

In this hard-hitting but humorous documentary, director Jamie Johnson takes the exploration of wealth that he began in Born Rich one step further. The One Percent, refers to the tiny percentage of Americans who control nearly half the wealth of the U.S. Johnson's thesis is that this wealth in the hands of so few people is a danger to our very way of life. Johnson captures his story through personal interviews with Robert Reich, Adnan Khashoggi, Bill Gates Sr., and Steve Forbes, during which both Johnson's and his subjects' knowledge and humor shine. And he's not afraid to butt heads with Milton Friedman, the economist who coined the term "the trickledown effect." He also shows how the other half lives, using real-world examples of the wealth gap: he takes a tour of a dilapidated housing project in Chicago, rides around with an enlightened taxi driver, and sees the human toll of the unfair economics of the Florida sugar industry. Johnson's film is at its most powerful when it reveals ... Written by Schafer, Nancy

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29 April 2006 (USA)  »

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Himself - Kinko's Founder: One day I'd like to go to the Moon and look at the planet Earth and say, 'Wow, there's part of my portfolio.'
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An earnest, important viewpoint
21 December 2011 | by (elsewhere) – See all my reviews

I am an admirer of "Born Rich," where Mr. Johnson looked at himself and those like him from a critical perspective – unimaginably wealthy without having earned it.

The One Percent is a remarkable effort since it attempts to show how the larger community of extreme-wealth-Americans seek to both maintain and grow personal wealth and sustain their status for future generations – a De facto aristocracy. It's clear that aiming his camera at the adults is more complicated – they know how complex the issues are which surround wealth inequality. There are few easy answers.

What I love about the film is that it takes a very simple approach - Jamie Johnson doesn't question business success at all. His interest is how wealth, once acquired, is maintained within the wealthy community. This question is at the heart of the public debate about wealth inequality – why the wealthy are NOT always the so-called, "job creators." He shows that that many are in fact merely interested in maintaining their position within this informal aristocrat class.

It's not an easy job and to be frank, I wish he'd been more aggressive. But he is looking at this topic from the inside. Even with his naïveté, he still gets Milton Friedman to expose an epic flaw in reasoning – Friedman states that the social needs of ordinary Americans are perfectly represented in Washington by their elected representatives – apparently he was either oblivious or cynically ignoring the fact that the wealthiest Americans and corporations pay enormous sums for political influence on behalf of their priorities, very often at the expense of the other ninety nine percent of Americans.

I was thinking about this film for days after watching it. Highly recommended.


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