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

THE PUBLIC OPTION'S LAST STAND -- AND THE PUBLIC'S.

I would have preferred a single-payer system like Medicare but became convinced earlier this year that a public, Medicare-like optional plan was just about as much as was politically possible. Now the White House is stepping back even from the public option, with the president saying it's "not the entirety of health-care reform," the White House spokesman saying the president could be "satisfied" without it, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that a public insurance plan is "not the essential element." Without a public Medicare-like option, health-care reform is a band-aid for a system in critical condition. There's no way to push private insurers to become more efficient and provide better value to Americans without being forced to compete with a public option. And there's no way to get overall health-care costs down without a public option that has the authority and scale to negotiate lower costs with pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals, and...

OBAMA'S SECOND BIGGEST TEST: REFORMING WALL STREET.

Citigroup -- the giant Wall Street bank still on life-support courtesy of $45 billion from American taxpayers -- wants to pay its 25 top executives an average of $10 million each this year, and award its best trader $100 million. Whaaat? Second only to health-care reform as a test of Obama 's toughness and resolve is reform of Wall Street. And like the health-care industry, Wall Street has platoons of lobbyists and an almost unlimited war chest to protect its interests and prevent change. So what can we learn by what's going on now, regarding pay for the top brass at big "too big to fail" banks? After the bonus plan for AIG executives blew up last year, a law enacted last February requires that any "too big to fail" institution that's received bailouts get Treasury's approval on pay for their top earners. So far, most are seeking around $7 million each for their top 25. More after the jump. -- Robert Reich

SARAH PALIN'S DEATH PANELS.

Three years ago, my mother died after a long and painful illness. During her last months she was only partially conscious, and in her brief intervals of awareness was often distraught. At several points my father, sister, and I met with doctors to figure out how to ease her obvious suffering with pain medications, and how we could get her into a hospice facility. We could afford the counseling, but millions of other families cannot -- which is why one of the useful heath care reforms now moving through Congress authorizes Medicare to reimburse doctors for such voluntary end-of-life consultations. The American Medical Association and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization support the provision. But in a cruel contortion, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin calls these consultations "death panels," and in a Facebook posting late Wednesday night charges that they'll force the elderly to accept minimal end-of-life care in order to reduce health care costs: "It's misleading...

HOW TO FIGHT HEALTH-CARE FEARMONGERERS AND DEMAGOGUES.

My friend, Keith , from New Orleans, just emailed to say he attended a local "town meeting" on health care and tried to get a word in favor but was almost hounded out of the room. Why are these meetings brimming with so much anger? Because Republican Astroturfers have joined the same old right-wing broadcast demagogues that have been spewing hate and fear for years, to create a tempest. But why are they getting away with it? Why aren't progressives -- indeed, why aren't ordinary citizens -- taking the meetings back? More after the jump. -- Robert Reich

The Limits of Likeability

The president remains popular even as many of his supporters become uneasy about what he's actually doing.

President Barack Obama jogs in to speak at a town hall meeting on health care in Belgrade, Mont. Friday, Aug. 14, 2009.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
My friend Fred voted for Obama and trusts him to do the right thing. "He's the brightest and most decent person who's occupied the Oval Office in my lifetime," Fred says. His trust for the man extends to Obama's agenda. "I don't have time to wade into the details of the economy or health care or climate change legislation or anything else, but I know he's got my interests at heart." My friend Sally also voted for Obama and still likes him, but she's increasingly upset about his policies. "He's giving away the store," she complains, pointing to his penchant for compromise. "He gave Wall Street $600 billion in bailouts and doesn't even want to regulate it, gave big polluters 85 percent of the cap-and-trade permits, and has promised the American Medical Association, Big Pharma, and private insurers whatever they want in return for their support of universal health care." Sally says she voted for Obama because he promised to change American politics, but she thinks corporate interests are...

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