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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.


Back to school; more inequality
By Robert Reich

AMERICAN KIDS ARE heading back to school. But the schools they’re heading back to differ dramatically by family income.

Which helps explain the growing achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children.

Thirty years ago, the average gap on SAT-type tests between children of families in the richest 10% and poorest 10% was about 90 points on an 800-point scale. Today it’s 125 points.

The gap in the mathematical abilities of

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 10:50 AM
 
Some workers aren’t rewarded
By Robert Reich

WHAT SOMEONE IS paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society.

Does anyone seriously believe that hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?

On the other hand, what’s the worth to society of social

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 11:05 AM
 
The super-rich are nonworking
By Robert Reich

IN A NEW Pew poll, more than three-quarters of self-described conservatives believe “poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything.” In reality, most of America’s poor work hard, often in two or more jobs. The real nonworkers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing.

In fact, we’re on the cusp of the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history.

The wealth is coming from those who over the last three

Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:56 PM
 
Conservatives lobby for freedom
By Robert Reich

THE SUPREME COURT struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that privately owned corporations don’t have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners’ religious beliefs.

The owners of Hobby Lobby, the plaintiffs in the case, were always free to practice their religion. The court bestowed religious freedom on their corporation as well — a leap of logic as absurd as giving corporations freedom of speech. Corporations aren’t people.

The deeper problem is the court’s obliviousness to the growing

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:37 PM
 
Hillary Clinton’s hardest choice
By Robert Reich

WHAT’S THE REASON  for the tempest in the teapot of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s personal finances?

It can’t be about how much money they have. Wealth has never disqualified someone from high office. Several of the nation’s greatest presidents, who came to office with vast fortunes — John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his fifth cousin, Teddy — notably improved the lives of ordinary Americans.

The tempest can’t be about Hillary Clinton’s veracity. It may have been a stretch for her to say she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House, as she told ABC’s Diane Sawyer. But they did have large legal bills to pay off.

And it’s probably true that, unlike many of the “truly well off,”

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 1:29 PM
 
Right-wing lies about poverty
By Robert Reich

RATHER THAN confront poverty by extending jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed, endorsing a higher minimum wage or supporting jobs programs, conservative Republicans are taking a different tack.

They’re peddling three big lies about poverty. To wit:

Lie No. 1: Economic growth reduces poverty.

“The best anti-poverty program,” wrote Paul Ryan,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:01 PM
 
Here’s some more on jobs, wages
By Robert Reich

I SPENT SEVERAL days in New York last week with students from around the country who were preparing to head into the heartland to help organize Walmart workers for better jobs and wages. (Full familial disclosure: My son Adam is one of the leaders.)

Almost exactly 50 years ago, a similar group headed to Mississippi to register African-Americans to vote, in what came to be known as Freedom Summer.

Call this Freedom Summer II.

The current struggle of low-wage workers

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:27 AM
 
Federal policies killing women
By Robert Reich

ACCORDING TO a report released earlier this month in the widely respected health research journal The Lancet, the United States now ranks 60th out of 180 countries on maternal deaths occurring during pregnancy and childbirth.

To put it bluntly, for every 100,000 births in America last year, 18.5 women died. That’s compared to 8.2 women who died during pregnancy and birth in Canada, 6.1 in Britain, and only 2.4 in Iceland.

A woman giving birth in America is more than twice as likely to die as a woman in Saudi Arabia or China.

You might say international comparisons should be taken

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:52 PM
 
The four biggest right-wing lies
By Robert Reich

EVEN THOUGH French economist Thomas Piketty has made an airtight case that we’re heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the 19th-century robber barons, right-wing conservatives haven’t stopped lying about what’s happening and what to do about it.

Herewith, the four biggest right-wing lies about inequality, followed by the truth.

Lie No. 1: The rich and CEOs are America’s

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:51 AM
 
Losers of game saying ‘no deal’
By Robert Reich

EVERY YEAR I ask the students in my “Wealth and Poverty” class to play a simple game. I have them split up into pairs and imagine that I’m giving one of them $1,000. They can keep some of the money only on condition they reach a deal with their partner on how it’s to be divided between them.

I explain that they’re strangers who will never see one other again, can only make one offer and respond with one acceptance (or decline), and can only communicate by the initial recipient writing on a piece of paper how much he’ll share with the other, who must then either accept (writing “deal” on the paper) or decline (“no deal”).

You might think many initial recipients of the imaginary $1,000

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:31 AM
 
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