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

Trade: A Third Way

A s we reach the climax of the great battle over trade with China, it's worth taking a closer look at the main sticking point of this and every other major global agreement likely to arise in future years. There's widespread acceptance of the need for "global labor standards" and "global environmental standards." But apart from agreeing that no nation should permit forced labor, slave labor, employment of six-year-old children in factories seven days a week, and ocean dumping of nuclear wastes, there's almost no agreement on what labor and environmental standards actually mean. That's where the trouble begins. On one side are those who believe that workers in the third world are seriously exploited. For example, Students Against Sweatshops, backed by UNITE (the textile and apparel union), faults Nike's production in China, where workers are paid $1.50 for a pair of shoes that retail for $100 in America. And environments in poor countries are becoming depleted--consider the extent of...

Working Principles

The Cabinet met with the president in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on a sultry day in the summer of 1996. Many of us recommended that he not sign the welfare bill that the Republican Congress had sent him (the third one it had sent, only slightly less punitive than the first two, which he had vetoed). But an election was on the horizon, and the president's political advisers urged him to sign, lest Robert Dole use the president's timidity as a battering ram. In the end, he did sign, of course, and since then he and many Democrats have celebrated the decline in America's welfare rolls without acknowledging that millions of people who are now at work but had been on welfare are not earning enough to support their families, that they are in dead-end jobs without a future, and that the greater harm will come when the economy slows and they will no longer be able to find work. This special section of The American Prospect is about "making work pay," which was to have been one of...

Is Scrooge a Democrat Now?

B y the third week of July, at its so-called "midyear budget review," the White House will unveil its new projected 10-year federal budget. Insiders tell me it's likely to show a surplus that's half a trillion dollars larger than the one now projected. Why? Because America's wealthiest 5 percent are becoming far richer, far faster than budget planners had predicted. Even with the aid of high-paid tax attorneys and planners, they're paying a lot more in income taxes and capital gains taxes than had been projected. The surplus is rising like yeasty dough. The new dough presents leading Democrats--especially Al Gore--with something of a dilemma. So far, the Gore campaign's central message has been that George W. and his fellow Republicans are spendthrifts because they intend to use most of the surplus for a whopping $1.3 trillion tax cut, while Gore represents the very model of fiscal responsibility. He'd cut taxes only moderately, spend a modest portion of the surplus on education and...