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

Trouncing the Taliban

A s I write this, the Taliban are on the run. By the time you read it, they may be back in their caves. What's the lesson here? Already some in Washington are pronouncing the Bush strategy for dealing with terrorism a resounding success. A few are even suggesting that what we've accomplished in Afghanistan should encourage us to topple Saddam Hussein and any other state that harbors or sponsors terrorists. Not so fast. We may have won or be close to winning the war against the Taliban, but that's not the same as winning the war against terrorism. Even if we topple the Taliban, we still have to install a new government in Afghanistan that is more respectful of human rights and less sympathetic to terrorism--a regime that has sufficient involvement of Pashtuns and Afghanistan's northern ethnic groups to remain in power without our continuous military support. And we've got to accomplish all this without destabilizing Pakistan and without heightening tensions between Pakistan and India,...

The Unending War

A t the heart of President Bush's war on terrorism lies a deepening contradiction that, unless resolved, will undermine the legitimacy of the entire war effort. The contradiction is embedded in the narrative of why we are at war and what it will take to win. On the one hand, the White House describes the war as one without obvious end. Administration officials say repeatedly that victory is elusive and may last decades or more. Indeed, we're told, the fight has barely begun. "Afghanistan is just the beginning of the war against terror," the president said recently. "There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them." America's goal is breathtaking in scope; it is also vague. The administration has committed itself to no less a task than rooting out global terrorism. "We will not be secure as a nation until all of these threats are defeated," Bush said. "Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil...

In Kosovo, Power of Tribe Outweighs Power of Technology

USA Today This week, as Congress reconvenes, President Clinton will be coming under increasing criticism for the inadequacies of NATO's bombing campaign. But the favored alternative - a ground war - is something for which we are wholly unprepared. It's not just a matter of military tactics; it's a question of national will. There are two great opposing forces in the world today. The first is technology. The second is tribalism. Technology is based on knowledge, rationality and invention. Tribalism is based on passion, ethnicity and myth. We like to think that technology is about the future, and tribalism about the distant past. Both of these great forces have been at work in the Balkans. So far, the United States and its NATO allies have waged a technological war - replete with Stealth bombers, computer-guided cruise missiles and digital satellite imaging. Serbia is waging a tribal war. President...

Working, But Not 'Employed'

The New York Times CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Linda Chavez, George W. Bush's pick for labor secretary, withdrew as the nominee Tuesday after facing a blizzard of questions concerning Marta Mercado, a Guatemalan woman who, as an undocumented alien, lived in Chavez's home during the early 1990s and did some work for the family. Chavez didn't pay Social Security taxes on Mercado's labors. Have we been here before? No, said Chavez. She never actually employed Mercado. The entire transaction between them amounted to nothing more than the woman's doing a few chores around the house and getting in return some "spending money" - no more than a couple of thousand dollars. A spokesman for Chavez said it was just a matter of helping someone "down on her luck." The distinction Chavez appeared to make turns on a definition - as do so many other pertinent legal distinctions these days. Is someone who receives free rent and a few thousand dollars for doing chores around your home an "employee" under the...

Clinton's Leap in the Dark

from the New York Times Literary Supplement Review of Robert M. Solow's "Work and Welfare" by Robert B. Reich When during his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton vowed to "end welfare as we know it" by moving people "from welfare to work", he presumably did not have in mind the legislation which he signed into law in August 1996. The original idea had been to smooth the passage from welfare to work with guaranteed health care, child care, job training and a job paying enough to live on. As a result, former welfare recipients would gain dignity and independence, and society as a whole would have the benefit of their labours. The 1996 legislation contained none of these supports — no health care or child care for people coming off welfare, no job training, no assurance of a job paying a living wage, nor, for that matter, of a job at any wage. In effect, what was dubbed welfare "reform" merely ended the...

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