Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His website can be found here.

Recent Articles

The Constitutional Crisis Is Now

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
I keep hearing that if Trump fires Mueller we’ll face a constitutional crisis. Or if Mueller subpoenas Trump to testify and Trump defies the subpoena, it’s a constitutional crisis. Or if Mueller comes up with substantial evidence that Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or of obstructing justice but the House doesn’t move to impeach him, we’ll have a constitutional crisis. I have news for you. We’re already in a constitutional crisis. For a year and a half the president of the United States has been carrying out a systemic attack on the institutions of our democracy. A constitutional crisis does not occur suddenly like a coup that causes a government to collapse. It occurs gradually, as a system of government is slowly weakened. The current crisis has been unfolding since the waning days of the 2016 campaign when Trump refused to say whether he’d be bound by the election results if Hillary won. It continued through March 4, 2017, when Trump...

A Second American Civil War?

Imagine that an impeachment resolution against Trump passes the House. Trump claims it’s the work of the “deep state.” Fox News’s Sean Hannity demands every honest patriot take to the streets. Right-wing social media call for war. As insurrection spreads, Trump commands the armed forces to side with the “patriots.” Or it’s November 2020 and Trump has lost the election. He charges voter fraud, claiming that the “deep state” organized tens of millions of illegal immigrants to vote against him, and says he has an obligation not to step down. Demonstrations and riots ensue. Trump commands the armed forces to put them down. If these sound far-fetched, consider Trump’s torrent of lies, his admiration for foreign dictators, his off-hand jokes about being “president for life” (Xi Xinping “was able to do that,” he told admirers in March. “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some...

America's Megalomaniac

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File
I spent last week at a conference in South Korea, during which time Trump went from seeking a meeting with Kim Jong-Un to cancelling it, then suggesting it might be back on. “What does Trump want?” South Korean officials at the conference kept asking me. Notably, no one asked what the United States wants. They knew it was all about Trump. Trump’s goal has nothing to do with peace on the Korean peninsula, or even with making America great again. It’s all about making Trump feel great. “They are respecting us again,” Trump exulted to graduating cadets at the Naval Academy last Friday. “Winning is such a great feeling, isn’t it? Nothing like winning. You got to win.” In truth, the United States hasn’t won anything, in Korea or anywhere else. After 15 months of Trump at the helm, America is far less respected around the world than it was before. The only thing that’s happened is Trump is now making foreign policy on his own...

Trump's Curious Coalition

Trump’s strategy for keeping power is to build up his coalition of America’s white working class and the nation’s ownership class. It’s a curious coalition, to say the least. But if Democrats don’t respond to it, it could protect Trump from impeachment and even re-elect him. It just might create a permanent Republican majority around an axis of white resentment and great wealth. Two decades ago, Democrats and Republicans competed over the middle class. They battled over soccer moms and suburban “swing” voters. Since then the middle class has shrunk while the working class has grown, and vast wealth has been accumulated by a comparative few who now own a large portion of America. Some of their wealth has taken over American politics. Enter Trump. Counties whose voters shifted from Obama to Trump in 2016 had lost economic ground to the rest of America, even more than did solidly-Republican counties. Trump is counting on the unwavering support of...

Trump's Drug Pricing Scam

Trump promised to rein in drug prices. It was his only sensible campaign promise. But the plan he announced Friday does little but add another battering ram to his ongoing economic war against America’s allies. He calls it “American patients first,” and takes aim at what he calls “foreign freeloading.” The plan will pressure foreign countries to relax their drug price controls. America’s trading partners “need to pay more because they’re using socialist price controls, market access controls, to get unfair pricing,” said Alex Azar, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, who, perhaps not incidentally, was a former top executive at the drug maker Eli Lilly and Company. By this tortured logic, if other nations allow drug companies to charge whatever they want, U.S. drug companies will then lower prices in the United States. This is nonsensical. It would just mean more profits for U.S. drug companies. (Revealingly, the...

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