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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.


Frugal economics not helping U.S.

By Robert Reich

WE ARE IN the most anemic recovery in modern history. The president is talking about boosting the economy and rebuilding the middle class, but Washington isn’t doing squat.

In fact, apart from the Fed — which continues to hold down interest rates in the quixotic hope that banks will begin lending again to average people — the government is heading in exactly the wrong direction: raising taxes on the middle class and cutting public spending. It’s called austerity economics.

Washington is still

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:56 PM
 
GOP showing inconsistencies

By Robert Reich

SOON AFTER President Obama’s second inaugural address, Speaker of the House John Boehner said the White House would try “to annihilate the Republican Party” and “shove us into the dustbin of history.”

Actually, the GOP is doing a pretty good job annihilating itself. As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal put it, Republicans need to “stop being the stupid party.”

The GOP crack-up was probably inevitable. Inconsistencies and tensions within the GOP have been growing for years — ever since Ronald Reagan put together the coalition that became the modern Republican Party.

All President Obama has done is finally find ways to exploit these

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 5:33 PM
 
Some entitlements due to economy

By Robert Reich

IT HAS BECOME accepted economic wisdom that the only way to get control over America’s looming budget deficits is to “reform entitlements.”

The accepted wisdom is wrong.

Republicans trot out federal budget data showing a 32% increase in direct payments to individuals since the start of 2009, including food stamps, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation and subsidized housing.

But these expenditures are temporary. They’ve resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, which forced many families to turn

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:24 PM
 
Fiscal cliff deal won’t end battle

By Robert Reich

“IT’S NOT ALL I would have liked,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, speaking of the deal on the fiscal cliff, “so on to the debt ceiling.”

For Republicans, the battle over the fiscal cliff is only a prelude to the coming battle over raising the debt

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 4:27 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, January 16, 2013 3:27 PM )
 
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 )
 
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