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 Era of Great Social Rest

W e are slouching toward two of the most inconsequential political conventions in American history, followed by the more riveting prospects of a World Series, the Olympics, the TV networks' fall premieres, Alan Greenspan's attempt at a soft landing, a bruising Senate battle in New York guaranteed to captivate America's Hillary-haters and Hillary-lovers, and then an election in which probably fewer than the record-low 49 percent of eligible voters who participated in 1996 will dutifully decide on the next president. America is in an era of great social rest, the summer of our content; smugness has settled over the land like thick yellow smog, and national politics has descended from contempt to tedium. The general election has already dragged on for four long months, and there are four more to go. No one cares except a handful of political junkies. The front-loaded primaries have given both George W. and Al Gore immense amounts of...

The Real Risk for Gore

Al Gore's problem is that he's acting as if he's desperate to be president, but sounding as if he doesn't want to do anything new once elected. Talk about a mixed message. Voters could understand why someone would be driven to get into the Oval Office if he were intent on making a lot of changes. But Gore's message has been that we should stay the course. Keep cutting the deficit. Don't tinker with Social Security. Protect Medicare. Don't take any risks. Yes, the economy is still growing like gangbusters, and unemployment is as low as we've seen it in 30 years. But Gore can't expect America to vote for him simply because he had an office in the West Wing of the White House during these buoyant years. If the polls are to be believed, the public only partially credits Bill Clinton for the expansion anyway. Alan Greenspan wins some of the applause. And many people know in their bones that the largest driving force has been technology. It's the Internet, stupid--along with computers,...

What Kind of Party for the Democrats?

The New York Times The seemingly interminable Clinton scandals are not the Democrats' biggest problem, and merely distancing themselves from Bill Clinton (or Hillary Rodham Clinton) won't restore the party's soul. The Democratic establishment in Washington is no longer connected to the grass roots. The national party is nothing but a fund-raising machine. Terry McAuliffe, head of the Democratic National Committee, is distinguished mostly by his ability to wrestle dollars from donors. The Democratic Leadership Council is distinguished mostly by its opposition to organized labor. Congressional Democrats who flock to the vacuous ''center'' of a rightward-creeping agenda lack the courage of any strong conviction. Yet strong conviction is exactly what's needed. Three million more Americans voted for Al Gore or Ralph Nader than voted for George W. Bush. Most Americans don't want a giant tax cut for the rich. They'd prefer health care, good schools and quality child care for all; stronger...

Bush is Glued to His Script

Los Angeles Times Those who expect President Bush to move to the center now that Jim Jeffords has defected from the Republicans are the same people who expected that Bush would govern from the center once in office. He didn t then and he won t now. The recent Senate inversion will slow him down, to be sure, but not alter his basic strategy. After all, it worked for the tax cut, attracting 12 defectors among Senate Democrats. So it s likely to work with the other two planks of Bushism -- the missile defense shield and the accelerated move toward fossil fuels and nuclear energy with minimum regard for the environment. All three planks have been sold as rational responses to current or pending crises -- a ajor economic turndown; an escalating probability of attack from China, North Korea or a "rogue" state; an energy crisis. But each of these so-called crises has been manufactured by the White House. The economy has slowed, but it's hardly in free fall. The fundamentals (growth,...

The Democrats Aren't "Just Resting"

The Washington Post If I were a political consumer, I would -- with apologies to the late Monty Python parrot -- be going back to the store right about now and registering a complaint: "This political party -- the Democratic Party. It's dead." "No, no, no no," he replies. "It's just resting." But I know a dead party when I see one, and I'm looking at a dead party right now. Just consider the past eight years: lost the presidency, both houses of Congress, almost all its majorities in state legislatures, most governorships. Will lose additional House seats in the next redistrictiing. Most of the current justices of the Supreme Court appointed by Republicans, also most current federal judges. And the interminable Bill Clinton scandals. The Democratic Party is stone dead. Dead as a doornail. Not at all, he says. After all, the Democrats are only one seat away from taking over the Senate. If Katherine Harris and the Supreme Court hadn't mucked it up, Al Gore would be in the White House...

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