Rep. Jim Hymes (D) was named last year to head the US House Select Committee on Economic Inequality and Growth Equity. It’s home to the highest concentration of millionaires in the country and some of the most economically deprived communities.
The commission was tasked with producing a report containing policy recommendations, but Himes wanted more than that.Inspired by Depression-era photographer Walker Evans — his iconic The work documented rural poverty on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Agriculture — a commission allocated creative extra credit to produce the documentary film. Both projects finished this month.
“I am very pleased with the commission’s results,” said Himes. “One of the reasons we get confused in Washington is that we stop thinking about real people and start thinking about stereotypes…that destroy your ability to help real people. It destroys the empathy needed to be thoughtful about things.”
The 30-minute documentary “Grit & Grace: The Fight for the American Dream” features three families facing various financial challenges. Immigrant mothers in West Virginia and California have struggled to keep their businesses afloat during COVID. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker narrates the production, and in her introduction briefly admits that her own family faced financial difficulties during her childhood.
“It’s pretty hard to tell a story and to inspire about the tax system,” said Himes. “But when you’re talking to people about their hopes of bettering themselves financially, you can tell some great stories.”
In parallel with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, Hymes said:
This fall, the former Wall Street banker won his eighth term as a representative of the Connecticut Legislature’s Fourth District. He said he was often asked how it was possible to represent a population with such wide disparities in income and wealth.
“As far as I can tell, there is a great deal of commonality between radically different levels of affluence,” he said. “Nobody wants to waste an hour. [Interstate] 95. No one wants an unstable banking system.
That said, Himes is committed to shaping policies that level the playing field.
“This system needs to be taken seriously because the system is tilting in favor of people who are already successful,” he said.
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“There is no moral or economic argument for taxing people who work at a higher average tax rate than those who receive dividends. In places like Yale, there is no moral argument for traditional preferences.” So we have to address these issues.”
In the 16 months starting last July, the Task Force on Economic Inequality and Growth Equity held 12 hearings in Washington and several more around the country. Business support, infrastructure, social programs, taxation.
Through contacts made at these hearings, the commission identified approximately 150 families whose stories were researched for the documentary. Ultimately, only three were included.
Himes asked a friend who works in television for advice on who should narrate the production. What are you doing in this documentary?'”, referring to her character on the long-running HBO series. sex and the city. “But he said, ‘She does a great job of telling her own story, and it’s an amazing story.
The documentary premiered in Washington this week and is available on the Congressman’s website and on YouTube. According to Himes, various members of the committee are planning to screen the film in their respective districts and promoting it at the university.
“As you know, Netflix and HBO have no plans to distribute it, but hopefully there will continue to be interest in showing it nationwide.”
Erica E. Phillips I am a reporter for the Connecticut Mirror (https://ctmirror.org/ ). Copyright 2022 © Connecticut Mirror.