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

Electoral Dysfunction

T he wrong lesson to be drawn from Super Titanic Tuesday is that both Bradley and McCain were too far to the left of their respective parties. The right lesson is that there's a large and growing party of independents and nonvoters in America that neither party's establishment has been interested in courting. The question now is whether Bush or Gore will try to attract them, or whether these potential voters will go back to sleep. Bill Clinton famously repositioned the Democrats in the middle of people who vote, but not in the middle of people who are eligible to vote. Note the distinction. In 1960, 62.8 percent of voting-age Americans chose between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. In 1996 just 48.9 percent of voting-age Americans chose between Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Ross Perot. Apart from the old South, where the 1965 Voting Rights Act has had its largest impact, the drop in voter participation between 1960 and 1996 marks the longest and most persistent decline in voting in...

Amid the Mess, It's the Same Ol' Same Ol'

So who will be in charge of the most powerful nation on Earth come January? Neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore. The new center of power in Washington will lie with the moderates in both parties--liberal-leaning Republicans and conservative-leaning Democrats who together will be the only ones capable of setting Washington's agenda. A president will occupy the Oval Office, but he will be dependent on the approval of congressional moderates for almost anything he'd like to accomplish. Forget George W.'s proposal to use much of the government's projected budget surplus for a large tax cut. The congressional moderates will whittle it down. Gore's proposals for an expensive new prescription-drug scheme for retirees and for a new government-subsidized savings plan on top of Social Security will be similarly downsized. In fact, you can safely forget most of what the presidential candidates proposed during their interminable campaigns. None of it matters any longer. In...

Trial ties up Senate? Don't worry; Congress is irrelevant

USA Today Virtually every member of the U.S. Senate knows there aren't nearly enough votes there to convict the president and send him packing. The only real question is whether the Senate, which is likely to open the trial today, censures the president within a couple of weeks or the process drags on for months. Should we care? If it goes on and on, you can forget Social Security reform or tax cuts. But these were long shots anyway. Even if it were business as usual, the Democrats would block any privatization of Social Security. And the Republicans want to reserve their big tax-cutting crusade for the millennial election. Congress has been deadlocked for a year. Even when it had no impeachment trial on its hands, the Senate did nothing. Why suppose that a long impeachment trial would stop it from doing something else? The dirty little secret is that both houses of Congress...

Coolidge's Democratic Disciples

The New York Times One party claims that the budget surplus will be small, and that a central goal should be to eliminate the debt. The other says the surplus will be big, and we can do ambitious things with it. You'd be forgiven if you thought that the first party was the Republicans and the second the Democrats. But it's actually the reverse. The Democrats are marching under the banner of fiscal austerity, and the Republicans proclaiming this the era of large ambition. "Here's the facts," said George W. the other day, pointing to the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office showing that the nation could well afford his plan to trim income taxes by $1.3 trillion over ten years and still have enough money to fund social programs. But in his new budget, released today, the President claims the surplus that's left over after saving all Social Security receipts is a little more than half...

Look Who's Missing From The President-Elect's Economic Summit

Broadcast January 4, 2001 The person missing from Bill Clinton s economic summit almost exactly eight years ago is the same person who's missing from George W. Bush s economic summit this week. I m referring of course to the president of the United States economy, Alan Greenspan. Greenspan doesn't do economic summits. But he does make deals. Eight years ago his deal with Bill Clinton was this: Mr President, you get the deficit down and I ll cut interest rates. As a result, the economy will boom and you'll be re-elected. Clinton took the deal and the rest is history. Now that the economy has boomed for eight years, what's the new deal Greenspan is offering the new President-Elect? Mr. President, play down your giant tax cut and I'll engineer a soft landing. I'll keep the economy moving forward far more slowly than it's been moving, but I won't put it in reverse. No recession, no inflation. But this time, the new president may not take the deal. Why? Because he knows presidents don't...

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