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Robert Reich


Robert Reich


Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future." He blogs at robertreich.org.


Billionaires ready to place their bets
By Robert Reich

LAST WEEK A majority of the Supreme Court decided that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to pour as much as $3.6 million into a political party or $800,000 into a political campaign.

The court said such spending doesn’t corrupt democracy. That’s utter baloney, as anyone who has the faintest familiarity with contemporary American politics well knows.

The McCutcheon v. FEC decision would be less troubling were the distribution of income and wealth in America more equal. But over the last few decades it has become extraordinarily concentrated. The richest 400 Americans now possess more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population put together.

A few billionaires are now deciding on

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 11:04 AM
 
CEOs raking in huge salaries
By Robert Reich

IT’S OFTEN ASSUMED that people are paid what they’re worth. According to this logic, minimum wage workers aren’t worth more than the $7.25 an hour they now receive. If they were worth more, they’d earn more. Any attempt to force employers to pay them more will only kill jobs.

By this same logic, CEOs of big companies are worth their giant compensation packages, now averaging about 300 times the pay of the typical American worker. They must be worth it or they wouldn’t be paid this much. Any attempt to limit their pay is fruitless because their pay will only take some other form.

“Paid what you’re worth” is a dangerous myth.

Fifty years ago, when General Motors

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 9:35 AM
 
The great U-turn
By Robert Reich

DO YOU RECALL a time in America when the income of a single schoolteacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars and raise a family?

I remember. My father (who just celebrated his 100th birthday) earned enough for the rest of us to live comfortably. We weren’t rich but never felt poor, and our standard of living rose steadily through the 1950s and 1960s.

That used to be the norm. For three decades after World War II,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:57 AM
 
WhatsApp deal shines vital light
By Robert Reich

IF YOU EVER wonder what’s fueling America’s staggering inequality, ponder Facebook’s acquisition of the mobile messaging company WhatsApp.

Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $19 billion. That’s the highest price paid for a startup in history. It’s $3 billion more than Facebook raised when it was first listed, and more than twice what Microsoft paid for Skype.

(To be precise, $12 billion of the $19 billion will be in the form of shares in Facebook, $4 billion will be in cash, and $3 billion in restricted stock to WhatsApp staff, which will vest in four years.)

Given that gargantuan amount,

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 11:24 AM
 
We forget those economic lessons
By Robert Reich

WHY HAS AMERICA forgotten the three most important economic lessons we learned in the 30 years following World War II?

Before I answer that question, let me remind you what those lessons were:

First, America’s real job creators are consumers, whose rising wages generate jobs and growth. If average people don’t have decent wages, there can be no real recovery and no sustained growth.

In those years, business boomed because American workers were getting

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:34 PM
 
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