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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.


Sustaining the economy
By Robert Reich

ON MAY 1, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its highest peak since December 2007. But April’s jobs report was a disappointment — only 115,000 new jobs were created. At least 125,000 are required each month just to keep up with the growth of our working-age population.
What’s going on?
Shares are up because corporate profits are up, and profits are up largely because companies have figured out how to do more with less.
One of the most striking legacies of the Great Recession has been the decline of full-time employment — as companies have substituted software or outsourced jobs abroad (courtesy of the Internet, making outsourcing more efficient than ever), or shifted them to contract workers also linked via Internet and software.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 2:56 PM
 
Fairness needed to grow economy
By Robert Reich

GET READY FOR the tax wars.
President Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich, setting a minimum tax rate of 30% on millionaires (the so-called “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says it’s unfair that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary).

Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, wants to lower taxes on the rich. He supports the House Republicans’ plan to cut the highest tax rate from 35% to 25%, thereby reducing the taxes of millionaires by an average of at least $150,000 a year.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 5:25 PM
 
The house always wins
By Robert Reich

ANYONE WHO SAYS you can get rich through gambling is a fool or a knave. Multiply the size of the prize by your chance of winning it and you’ll always get a number far lower than what you put into the pot. The only sure winners are the organizers — casino owners, state lotteries and con artists of all kinds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 2:08 PM
 
Morality crisis in America
By Robert Reich

REPUBLICANS HAVE morality upside down. They’re condemning gay marriage, abortion, access to contraception and the wall separating church and state.
But the moral crisis in America isn’t a breakdown in private morality. It’s a breakdown in public morality. What Americans do in their bedrooms is their own business. What corporate executives and Wall Street financiers do in boardrooms and executive suites affect all of us.
We’re living through a new Gilded Age of financial fraud and conflicts of interest; exorbitant pay to executives, traders, hedge-fund and private-equity managers; tax loopholes that allow them to pay a lower rate than many middle-class Americans; and legalized bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations.”

Tuesday, April 03, 2012 2:31 PM
 
Economic pie is growing again
By Robert Reich

FIRST, THE GOOD news. The economic pie is growing again. Growth in the fourth quarter last year hit 3% on an annualized rate. February’s 227,000 net new job mark the third month in a row of jobs gains well in excess of 200,000.
Here’s the bad news. The share of growth going to American workers is at a record low.
Although the nation is now producing more goods and services than it did before the slump began in 2007, we’re doing it with 6 million fewer people.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:26 PM
 
Extra dollars spent at the fuel pump
By Robert Reich

NOTHING DRIVES voter sentiment like the price of gas — already up nearly 30 cents from the start of the year and hitting $4 in many places. The last time gas topped $4 was 2008.


And nothing energizes Republicans like rising energy prices. House Speaker John Boehner is telling Republicans to take advantage of voters’ looming anger over rising prices at the pump. House Republicans have passed a bill to expand offshore drilling and pressure the White House into issuing a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The tumult has already prompted the Interior Department to announce expanded oil exploration in the Arctic.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 11:04 AM
 
The sad spectacle of Obama’s super PAC

By Robert Reich

HOW MANY billionaires does it take to buy a presidential election? We’re about to find out. The 2012 campaign is likely to be a battle between one group of millionaires and billionaires supporting President Obama and another group supporting his GOP rival.
Perhaps this was the inevitable result of the Supreme Court’s grotesque decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010, which opened the floodgates to unrestricted campaign money through so-called “super PACs.” But I’m not sure. What if Obama had stuck to his guns and eschewed super PACs?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 11:41 AM
 
Free enterprise, who bears risks?
By Robert Reich

AS NEWT GINGRICH  lashes out at “liberal elites,” Mitt Romney is casting the 2012 campaign as “free enterprise on trial” — and Romney defines free enterprise as achieving success through “risk taking.” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue, defending Romney, explains, “This economy is about risk. If you don’t take risk, you can’t have success.”
But who do they think is bearing the economic risks? The higher you go in today’s economy, the easier it is to make a pile of money without taking any personal financial risk at all. The lower you go, the bigger the risks and the smaller the rewards.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:48 AM | Updated ( Tuesday, February 07, 2012 11:24 AM )
 
The ongoing decline of the public good
By Robert Reich

MERYL STREEP’S eerie reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” brings to mind Thatcher’s most famous quip, “There is no such thing as ‘society.’ ” None of the dwindling herd of Republican candidates has quoted her yet, but they might as well, considering their unremitting bashing of everything public.
A society is embodied most visibly in public institutions — public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.
But much of what’s called “public” today is increasingly private. Tolls are rising on public highways and public bridges, as are tuitions at so-called public universities, and admission fees at public parks and public museums.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:17 PM
 
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