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Robert Reich


Robert Reich


Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future." He blogs at robertreich.org.


Let's take care of our children

America’s children seem to be shortchanged on almost every issue we face as a society.
Not only are we failing to protect our children from deranged people wielding semi-automatic guns, we’re not protecting them from poverty. The rate of child poverty keeps rising, even faster than the rate of adult poverty. We now have the highest rate of child poverty in the developed world.

Monday, December 24, 2012 4:49 PM
 
Holiday plight of retail workers

 

By Robert Reich

WE’RE OFFICIALLY into Christmas buying season when American consumers determine the fate of American retailers and, indirectly, the American economy.

What’s often forgotten is that consumers are also workers, and if their pay doesn’t keep up, they can’t keep the economy going.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 3:24 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:36 PM )
 
Corporations aren’t people

 

By Robert Reich

THE JUSTICE Department has entered into the largest criminal settlement in U.S. history with the giant oil company BP, in connection with the 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused the worst oil spill in American history. BP pleaded guilty to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter, and agreed to pay $4 billion over the next five years.

This is nonsensical. BP isn’t a criminal. Corporations aren’t people. They can’t know right from wrong. They’re incapable of criminal intent. They have no brains. They’re legal fictions — pieces of paper filed away in a vault in some bank.

 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:23 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:47 PM )
 
It’s almost a civil war

 

By Robert Reich

THE VITRIOL IS worse than I ever recall. Worse than the Palin-induced smarm of 2008. Worse than the swift-boat lies of 2004. Worse, even, than the anything-goes craziness of 2000 and its ensuing bitterness.

It’s almost a civil war. I know families in which close relatives are no longer speaking. A dating service says Democrats won’t even consider going out with Republicans, and vice versa. My e-mail and Twitter feeds contain messages from strangers I wouldn’t share with my granddaughter.

What’s going on? Yes, we’re divided over issues like the size of government and whether women should have control over their bodies. But these aren’t exactly new debates. We’ve been disagreeing over the size and role of government since Thomas Jefferson squared off with Alexander Hamilton, and over abortion rights since before Roe vs. Wade almost 40 years ago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 2:29 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:18 PM )
 
Non-voters vital in this election

 

By Robert Reich

HOWEVER YOU READ the polls, the 2012 presidential election is turning into a nail-biter. Former Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are just about tied among likely voters.

The bump Romney got from the first debate seems to have been matched by the bump the president got from the good jobs report for September. (We won’t know the real results of Tuesday night’s matchup for another week.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:03 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:19 PM )
 
Structure change will help economy

 

By Robert Reich

THE WHITE HOUSE is breathing a bit easier. The president’s awful debate performance was bad enough. If it had been followed by a bad jobs report, the president’s chances for re-election might have plummeted.

But the report showed September’s unemployment rate dropping to 7.8% — the first time it’s been under 8% in 43 months.

Look more closely, though, and the employment picture is murkier.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 3:06 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:20 PM )
 
Four reasons why Romney might win

By Robert Reich

CAN MITT ROMNEY possibly recover? Pundits and pollsters are beginning to doubt it. A survey conducted between Sept. 12 and Sept. 16 by the Pew Research Center — before the “47% of Americans are victims” video came to light — showed Obama ahead of Romney 51% to 43% among likely voters.

That’s the biggest margin in the September survey prior to a presidential election since Bill Clinton led Bob Dole, 50% to 38%, in 1996.

And, remember, this poll was done before America watched Romney belittle almost half the nation.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 4:17 PM
 
Recovery hinges on ‘basic bargain’

By Robert Reich

THE QUESTION at the core of America’s upcoming presidential election isn’t merely whose story most voting Americans believe to be true — Mitt Romney’s claim that the economy is in a stall and Obama’s policies haven’t worked, or Barack Obama’s claim that it’s slowly mending and his approach is working.

If that were all there was to it, last Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the economy added only 96,000 jobs in August — below what’s needed merely to keep up with the growth in the number of eligible workers — would seem to bolster Romney’s claim.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 5:28 PM
 
More vacation would be benefit
By Robert Reich

HERE’S A MODEST proposal I offer free of charge to President Obama and Mitt Romney:
Every American should get a mandatory minimum of three weeks’ paid vacation a year.
Most Americans only get two weeks off right now. But many don’t even take the full two weeks out of fear of losing their jobs. One in four gets no paid vacation at all, not even

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 3:27 PM
 
The Ryan choice
By Robert Reich

MITT ROMNEY’S chosen running mate, Paul Ryan, is the reverse of Sarah Palin. She was all right-wing flash without much substance. He’s all right-wing substance without much flash.

Ryan is not a firebrand. He’s not smarmy. He doesn’t ooze contempt for opponents or ridicule those who disagree with him. In style and tone, he doesn’t even sound like an ideologue — until you listen to what he has to say.
It’s here — in Ryan’s views and policy judgments — we find the true ideologue. More than any other politician today, Ryan exemplifies the social Darwinism at the core of today’s Republican Party: Reward the rich, penalize the poor, let everyone else fend for themselves.

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:54 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:25 PM )
 
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