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.
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...
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...
Broadcast Sept 18, 2001 Ask somebody who's not from the United States to describe Americans, and almost invariably you'll get a description of someone who's outgoing and upbeat. No challenge is too great for us, no obstacle too high. In fact, to the outsider, our overwhelmingly sunny view of life sometimes seems a bit naive, our boundless enthusiasm rather childlike. American optimism carries over into our economy, which is one reason why we've always been a nation of inventors and tinkerers, of innovators and experimenters and why we're the most productive economy in the world. Optimism also explains why we save so little and spend so much. As long as such things have been measured and compared, Americans have had the lowest rate of saving and the highest rate of personal spending of any major economy, and over the last decade, we've saved less and less and spent more and more. Our willingness to go deep into debt and keep spending is intimately related to our optimism and our...