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

American Optimism and Consumer Confidence

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...

The treadmill of the new economy

Interview by A J Vogl Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich looks at why so many people feel they're running just to stay in place. Robert B. Reich makes it look easy-from university to government back to university again. In 1992, he left Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to serve as secretary of labor during the first Clinton administration-the third in which Reich has served. Four years later, he resigned that position; currently, he is a professor of social and economic policy at Brandeis University and its Heller Graduate School. But while Reich returned to academe, he didn't retire to academe. He keeps busy writing books (eight at last count), is a regular commentator on National Public Radio's "Marketplace," and is national editor of The American Prospect magazine, which he co-founded. He has also been quoted as being interested in running for governor of Massachusetts. Reich's latest book, The Future of Success (Knopf), is related to his magnum opus, 1991's The Work of...

Electrosoft:

Los Angeles Times Microsoft will not be broken up. There's no chance the Bush administration will ask the Supreme Court to reverse Thursday's federal appeals court rescue of the company. Instead, the case will go back to a new judge to decide how to respond to Microsoft's monopoly without splitting it up. The best outcome: a new order requiring Microsoft to make its Windows operating system available to everyone free of charge. Here's the problem with Microsoft's monopoly, which even the appeals court agrees still must be addressed: Windows is so widely used that other producers of computers, browsers and other software have to license it from Microsoft if they want to connect their gadgets and codes to most other gadgets and codes on the market. This gives Microsoft power to thwart competition and discourage innovation. Imagine what would have happened a century ago at the dawn of the age of electricity if a company named, say, Electrosoft had patented a design for electrical plugs...

Microsoft Case - The Transformation Of Government From Regulator Of TheOld Economy To Definer Of The New

The Washington Post At first glance, the Microsoft breakup order last week looks like a throwback to an earlier era. At a time when big telecommunications, finance, entertainment and other new-economy industries are consolidating into a handful of post-industrial global giants--and when government is deregulating and privatizing almost everything in sight--here's Washington imposing the heaviest of heavy hands, slicing up the very icon of American technological prowess. Or maybe it's just another example of what I've been calling a new era of regulation by litigation; Microsoft joins cigarettes and guns as subject to court-imposed sanctions when the normal paths of legislation and regulatory-agency rule making are politically blocked. But I think the Microsoft case can be better understood as a harbinger of a new kind of role for government in the emerging "new economy"--even if the company wins on...

The Coming Bush Recession

P resident of the United States Economy Alan Greenspan is frustrated. George W., the mere president-elect, won't deal. Worse, Greenspan can't punish W. for not dealing. He can't even credibly threaten punishment, because punishment is just what W. wants. Don't throw me into that briar patch, Br'er Greenspan! The last two presidents have been willing to strike a deal. Bush the Elder struck it too late, of course. Greenspan began raising short-term interest rates in 1988, at the start of the Elder's presidency, and squeezed and squeezed until Elder cried uncle. Elder finally agreed to raise taxes, despite what the public had read on his lips. But by then, growth had stalled and unemployment had shot upward. Elder was kicked out of office by an electorate worried about the economy, stupid. When Bill Clinton was elected, Greenspan made the deal explicit at their first meeting: You saw what I did to Elder Bush, he said. I could do the same to you,...

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