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.
The Wall Street Journal
If I had my way there would be laws restricting cigarettes and handguns.
But Congress won't even pass halfway measures. Cigarette companies have
admitted they produce death sticks, yet Congress won't lift a finger to stub
them out. Teenage boys continue to shoot up high schools, yet Congress
won't pass stricter gun controls. The politically potent cigarette and gun
industries have got what they wanted: no action. Almost makes you lose
faith in democracy, doesn't it?
Apparently that's exactly what's happened to the Clinton administration. Fed
up with trying to move legislation, the White House is launching lawsuits to
succeed where legislation failed. The strategy may work, but at the cost of
making our frail democracy even weaker.
The Justice Department is going after the tobacco companies with a law
designed to fight mobsters--the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
(Broadcast 5/24/01) When President Bush recently addressed Yale s graduating seniors, he gave a hearty "well done" to those who got straight A s, but consoled the C students by telling them that they, too, could be president of the United States. Apparently, he was referring to his own less than stellar academic performance as a Yale undergraduate. A C-average as the key to success? Actually the President was on to something. Studies show that students who graduate from college with straight-A s have less chance of becoming chief executives of anything, and also are less likely to become rich later in life, than are students with more modest grades. A recruiter from a major investment bank told me recently he no longer even bothers to interview straight-A students from Ivy League universities, because -- he says -- they ve spent their whole lives jumping obediently through every hoop placed in front of them. He wants young people who are out to beat the system -- who are innovative...
Among the hottest regulatory issues today are these: How to prevent kids
from smoking cigarettes? What to do about the flood of handguns? How to
end sweatshop labor in the apparel industry? How to cope with new kinds of
market power in high-technology industries?
In the old days, state legislatures or Congress would enact laws, which
would be administered by regulatory agencies. But now the era of big
government is over. "Regulation" is a bad word. So how are these regulatory
issues being handled? Through lawsuits.
Consider tobacco. Last spring, Congress punted. It gave up on a bill to jack
up the price of cigarettes. But that didn't mean tobacco companies were off
the hook. The state attorneys general, who had sued the tobacco
companies, settled for $246 billion.
In his State of the Union Address, President Clinton announced he wanted
Broadcast January 18, 2001 A lot of Americans are concerned these days about sweatshops in Asia and Latin America where poor people cut and sew garments at cut-rate wages, often in unsanitary conditions. But you don't need to go to a third-world nation to find a sweatshop. You can find all the sweatshops you want right here in the United States, producing a big portion of the shirts, dresses, blouses, and skirts on the shelves of big American retailers. The U.S. Department of Labor, where I used to work, recently completed its latest survey of cutting and sewing shops in New York and Los Angeles. The places surveyed were randomly selected from lists of registered garment contractors. And here's what the Labor Department found. In Los Angeles, 61 percent of the cutting and sewing shops don't give their workers even minimum wages or overtime. In New York, 65 percent don't provide minimum wages or overtime. In other words, the vast majority of cutting and sewing shops in America s...
The Washington Post
Last year I woke up to discover that I'm now working part-time for a German
company named Bartelsmann AG. You see, when I wasn't looking,
Bartelsmann scooped up Random House, which has published several of my
books and still occasionally sends me exceedingly small royalty checks.
Bartelsmann is now the largest publisher of English-language books in the
world, and for all I know it may become the largest publisher of Chinese
books as well. Do I care whether an American-owned publisher (which may
print its books in Singapore, bind them in New Zealand and market them
through Hong Kong) gains better access to China than my own
Bartelsmann? Not at all, as long as the royalty checks keep coming.
Don't think me either unpatriotic or selfish. It's just my way of suggesting
that there's something missing in all the talk about how America will soon
have its goods on Beijing's streets and will own...