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 Global Economy Is Teetering

The Los Angeles Times The White House is working with other nations to fight global terrorism. It also should be working with them to stave off a global economic meltdown. There's no longer any doubt that we're in a recession. More than 400,000 jobs were lost last month, the biggest job loss in two decades. Meanwhile, national output is shrinking. Consumer spending is dropping. And consumer confidence is plummeting. That's just the United States. The rest of the world is as bad or worse. Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is in a slump, dragging the rest of Europe down with it. The Japanese economy is nearly comatose. Argentina, until recently South America's powerhouse, is in deep recession and about to default on its international loans. The former "tigers" of Southeast Asia--Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan--are basket cases. The global economy is teetering. That's partly because American consumers--deep in debt, worried about keeping their jobs and now stressed out...

Will Terrorism Stall Globalization?

Broadcast November 2, 2001 Will the war on terrorism enhance globalization, further immersing America in the global economy? Or will it cause us to retreat or try to retreat from the rest of the globe? At first glance, the war seems to have generated a flowering of multilateralism. Western Europe and America haven't been closer since World War II. Suddenly, it seems we're also close allies of Russia, China, Pakistan, even places Americans hardly knew existed six weeks ago, like Uzbekistan. And with political alliance comes economic integration. There's even a move afoot to increase trade with Pakistan. The administration is pushing Congress harder than ever for authority to move trade treaties without amendment. Yet, most of this is symbolic. In fact, terrorism is already causing America and other advanced nations to step back from globalization. You can see this reflected in the steep drops in global equities, higher interest rates on bonds of emerging markets, and higher insurance...

Accounting the Future

B ill Clinton plans to spend $219 billion on educating and training Americans and on rebuilding the infrastructure of the nation. George Bush plans to cut taxes. In assessing the two plans, much of the media-along with Paul Tsongas, Warren Rudman, Pete Peterson, ross Perot, and a group of vocal academic economists-have focused on one deceptively simple question : Which plan will cut the budget deficit the most? On this criterion, Clinton's proposal is obviously superior because he has specified where the revenues would come from to pay for his plan; as of this writing, Bush has not-a difference that elicited belated, if not whole-hearted, support for Clinton's plan from Paul Tsongas, among other deficit fretters. But it's safe to assume that Bush soon will be compelled to offer his own laundry list of proposed spending cuts and "revenue enhancers" (no taxes, please), regardless of how gimmicky. The moment Bush's list is released, the debate about the two plans will shift to...

Fiscal Irresponsibility

I t's time to strike the term "fiscal responsibility" from responsible political rhetoric. Few terms in public discourse have moved as directly as this one has from imprecision to meaninglessness without any intervening period of coherence. Democrats have been particularly loose-lipped about it lately. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, recently campaigning in Iowa for a fellow Democrat, was quoted in The Des Moines Register as calling the Bush tax cut fiscally irresponsible and touting the Democrats' 1993 effort to reduce the budget deficit. "I'm glad we did what was right in 1993," he said, "and I'll do it again because I believe in being fiscally responsible with taxpayers' money." The reporter for the Register assumed that Gephardt had meant that Democrats would repeal the Bush cut if they controlled the House. The minority leader's office promptly issued a rejoinder: He'd meant no such thing. Then what did Gephardt--who is among the Democrats' shrewdest politicians--mean? In...

The Big Split

I t would be bad enough if the Republicans' tax plans were merely extravagantly regressive, rewarding the rich and leaving a big budget hole for everyone else to fill. But they appear just when the income gap has grown wider than it has been in more than a century. It's a double whammy. Al Gore correctly assails the Republican tax proposals, yet Gore and most Democrats have failed either to emphasize the larger regressive trends in American income and wealth or to propose the most direct remedy--a more progressive tax. Neither Bush nor Gore talks about the biggest consequence of the 1990s boom: America's rich have become much, much richer. Bush doesn't mention it because his proposals would make things worse. Gore wants to claim the boom was good for everybody. But here are the unadorned facts. First, income: The average income of the richest 1 percent of Americans--after they paid all federal income taxes, and adjusting for inflation--rose from $273,562 in 1986 to $517,713 in 1997 (...

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