Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.

Recent Articles

A Shareholder, and a Citizen

The New York Times Soon, possibly tonight, a federal judge will rule on the Justice Department's antitrust case against Microsoft. But whatever the decision, it's only the first round in this and related litigation. That's why I've been spending my money lobbying Congress to cut the budget of the Justice Department's antitrust division. I've also hired a fleet of Washington lobbyists to persuade Congress that the government's lawsuit is misguided and launched a "grass roots" Internet campaign to get other people to send messages to their representatives saying the same thing. I've sent money to Republican and Democratic campaign committees, which will use it to benefit candidates sympathetic toward Microsoft. I've even organized lobbying in state capitals to get the message out to state lawmakers. You see, I'm a shareholder of Microsoft. Not a big one, mind you. Bill Gates may not even know that...

No Easy Answers To Easy Credit Fallout

USA Today This week I got three letters from credit companies, all wanting me to sign up. One of them congratulated me on having been "selected" for a credit line of up to $5,000. Another commended me for being one of its most "valued" patrons and offered me a "low introductory" interest rate plus a free cell phone. The third assured me that my "financial needs would be taken care of." It also promised me extra frequent-flier miles if I signed up now. I was flattered by all of the attention. Then I did some research. Last year, credit card companies sent out almost 4 billion solicitations - the equivalent of 16 letters to every man, woman and child in the United States. If you could breathe, you probably received one. If you could write your name, you got 12. I even found a dog that got one. Credit card issuers aren't overly worried about whether the people they're soliciting are good credit risks. People...

Coping With the Shortage of High Tech Workers

Computer World The biggest threat to America's booming IT sector is a severe shortage of skilled people. Some estimates put the current shortfall at 400,000. What's to be done? In most industries facing such shortages, salary levels rise until enough people are attracted to fill the need. Supply responds to demand. But, as you'll see in Computerworld's 13th Annual Salary Survey ("Return to Sanity,"), salaries in the corporate IT sector have been rising no faster than in most other parts of the economy. There's no beating the free market: If the IT sector wants more skilled people, it is going to have to pay for them. And salaries don't even tell the whole story. IT jobs are becoming less secure. The half-life of a software engineer is coming to resemble that of a professional athlete. One recent survey shows that six years after getting their computer science degrees, 60% of graduates are...

Look Who Demands Profits Above All

Los Angeles Times Despite the populist rhetoric of this campaign season, many traditional Democrats are pushing companies to generate higher returns regardless of social responsibility. These Democrats may not mean to do it, but this is the practical consequence of how they're saving for retirement. American teachers, civil servants, unionized workers, college professors and similar Democratic stalwarts are putting their savings into giant funds like TIAA-CREF, the $ 290-billion teachers' retirement system, and the $ 175-billion California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS. The teachers and others want the highest returns they can get. So the large institutional investors are demanding that companies make big profits and boost their share prices. In recent years, institutional investors have been active in ousting chief executives at IBM, AT&T, Sears, General Motors, Xerox, Coca...

Why You're Spending More Time in Airports

Broadcast June 8, 2001 Have you ever got to an airport to discover your flight's been delayed an hour or two, or more? Or its been cancelled altogether? Or after your plane leaves the gate, you spend the next hour on the runway waiting for it to take off? And as a result, you miss your connecting flight, and you don t get to the wedding or a funeral or meeting you had to get to? Join the crowd. America's entire air traffic system is overwhelmed, failing to keep up with growing demand for air travel. So now the Federal Aviation Administration comes up with a new 10-year plan, featuring more runways, bigger airports, and better technology. Fine. But the FAA has been promising these things for years, and they haven't happened. Since 1978 only one major new airport in America. In the last decade only a handful of new runways. And the last time the FAA tried a major overhaul of air-traffic technology it wasted billions of dollars on a system that didn't work. The FAA's new plan doesn't...

Pages