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

America's Real Divide Isn't Left vs. Right. It's Democracy vs. Oligarchy.

John Rudoff/Sipa via AP Images Police patrol in front of Trump Tower in Washington, D.C. I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved “left” and that some Democratic candidates may be “too far left”. But in this era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be “left”. A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the “left” sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the “right” sought greater reliance on the free market. But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else—whether on the old right or the old left—has become disempowered and less secure. Safety nets have unraveled, public investments have waned and the free market has been taken over by crony capitalism and corporate welfare cheats. Washington and state...

The Four Biggest Conservative Lies About Inequality

America’s lurch toward widening inequality can be reversed. But doing so will require bold political steps.

Even though we’re heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the 19th-century robber barons, conservatives keep lying about what’s happening and what to do about it. Here are their four biggest lies about inequality, followed by the truth. 1. The rich and CEOs are America’s job creators, so we dare not tax them. The truth is the middle class and poor are the job-creators through their purchases of goods and services. If they don’t have enough purchasing power because they’re not paid enough, companies won’t create more jobs and the economy won’t grow. The giant Trump-Republican tax cut for corporations and the rich hasn’t trickled down to ordinary Americans . It’s just made the rich even richer. 2. People are paid what they’re worth in the market, so we shouldn’t tamper with pay. Wrong. Four decades ago, CEOs of big companies got 30 times the pay of typical workers . Now they get 361 times their...

Dems Cave on the Border

While attention has been focused on the Democratic debate—in which most contenders are pushing progressive policies—congressional Democrats have moved in the opposite direction. They caved on an emergency border supplemental appropriation that can now be used by Trump to make the border situation worse, not better. This is how it happened, folks. The House had been working on a $4.5 billion emergency border supplemental appropriation designed to respond to the inhumane conditions in migrant holding cells. The goal was to use the funds to improve standards for migrants, and include safeguards to prevent Trump from using the money to finance deportation raids or his border wall. But then Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans, along with a number of Senate Dems, came up with their own $4.6 billion bill containing none of the safeguards to limit the funding to emergency aid—even earmarking some of it to continue Trump’s draconian immigration policies, including...

The "Center" of American Politics Is on the Left

Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with “fringe,” “radical,” or “socialist.” Well, let’s see where the American people actually stand. On the economy, 76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich , including over half of registered Republicans . Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more . Even Fox News polls confirm these trends . What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All , which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. Sixty percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare . Ninety-two percent want lower prescription drug prices . Over 70 percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada . On family issues, more than 80 percent of Americans want paid maternity leave . Seventy-nine percent of voters want more affordable child care. And that includes 80 percent of Republicans . Sixty...

The Seven Biggest Failures of Trumponomics

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress keep crowing about the economy, when in reality Trumponomics has been a disaster. Here are its seven biggest failures: 1. Trump promised to bring down America’s trade deficit “ as fast as possible .” Instead, the trade deficit has hit an all-time high . The United States is now purchasing more goods and services from the rest of the world than we sell abroad than at any time in history. 2. As a presidential candidate in 2016, he said he could completely eliminate the federal debt in eight years . Instead, the federal debt has exploded thanks to Trump and the GOP’s $1.9 trillion tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations . They’re already using the growing debt to threaten cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 3. He promised to boost the wages of American workers, including a $4,000 pay raise for the average American family . Instead, wages for most Americans have been flat, adjusted for inflation ...

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