Robert Reich reminds us how this film contrasts the decency and humanity of George Bailey (played by James Stewart) with the bullying and selfishness of Mr. Potter (played by Lionel Barrymore). Reich believes this moral tale remains relevant for America now:
If Lionel Barrymore’s ‘Mr. Potter’ were alive today he’d call himself a ‘job creator’ and condemn George Bailey as a socialist. He’d be financing a fleet of lobbyists to get lower taxes on multi-millionaires like himself, overturn environmental laws, trample on workers’ rights, and shred social safety nets. He’d fight any form of gun control. He’d want the citizens of Pottersville to be economically insecure – living paycheck to paycheck and worried about losing their jobs – so they’d be dependent on his good graces.There is basically the same moral conflict in British politics (only without the gun obsession). Britain’s ‘Mr. Potter’ tendency insists there is no alternative to its selfish values. Let’s prove them wrong.