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.
Broadcast February 2, 2001 Recently I was putting gas in my car, minding my own business, enjoying my solitude there by the gas pump, when the gas pump suddenly comes alive with a commercial -- right there, on a little liquid-crystal screen mounted on the pump. There's nothing I can do about it. I'm in the middle of filling my tank with gas. I'm a captive audience to a loud talking head who s hawking a product at me. The same thing happened the other day when I was in an elevator. The doors shut, the elevator starts to move, I m enjoying a moment of peace and quiet, and then suddenly another little screen up in the corner of the elevator starts up, with another loud commercial. I can't get out of the elevator until I reach my floor. I mean, I could have got off at the next floor and waited for another elevator, but the other one would have had a commercial, too. Have you noticed -- it s happening all over. Little commercial messages on little screens which you can't escape from. You...
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
You see, I'm a shareholder of Microsoft. Not a big one, mind you. Bill Gates
may not even know that...
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
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...
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...
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
In recent years, institutional investors have been active in ousting chief
executives at IBM, AT&T, Sears, General Motors, Xerox, Coca...