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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.


The two centers of power today
By Robert Reich

THERE ARE TWO great centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system today — places where decisions that significantly affect large numbers of Americans are made in secret and are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition.

One goes by the name of the intelligence community, and its epicenter is the National Security Agency (NSA) within the Defense Department. If we trusted that it reasonably balanced its snooping on Americans with our nation’s security needs, and that our elected representatives

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:19 PM
 
Signs still show a stormy economy
By Robert Reich

ECONOMIC forecasters exist to make astrologers look good. But the recent jubilance is enough to make even weather forecasters blush.

“The economy is going gangbusters! Just look at consumer spending!”

“Look at home prices! Look at the bull market!”

Please.

I can understand the jubilation in the narrow sense that

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:02 PM
 
Family values and the economy
By Robert Reich

My mother went into paid work soon after my father’s clothing store was flooded out in a hurricane, almost wiping him out. She had no choice. We needed the money.

This was some two decades before a tidal wave of wives and mothers went into paid work.

For the relatively few women with four-year college degrees, this change was the consequence of wider educational opportunity and new laws against gender discrimination that opened professions to well-educated women.

But the vast majority of women entered the paid workforce

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 2:59 PM
 
The xenophobes find new targets

By Robert Reich

THE BOSTON Marathon bombing has brought out the xenophobes.

Often when America suffers some large, inexplicable tragedy, we want to blame foreigners and look for ways to fortify ourselves against them. It’s more reassuring to believe that an evil lies outside our borders — in them — than to face the possibility that it’s randomly among us.

And like the communist scare before it, the so-called war on terror — a war without end — offers a convenient means of targeting the source as a foreign menace bent on destroying us.

Let’s blame immigrants, say the xenophobes. Sen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 2:08 PM
 
A widening inequality

By Robert Reich

FOUR YEARS INTO a so-called recovery and we’re still below recession levels in every important respect except the stock market.

A measly 88,000 jobs were created in March, and total employment remains some 3 million below its prerecession level. Labor-force participation is at its lowest level since 1979.

The recovery isn’t just losing steam. It never had much steam to begin with.

That’s because so much of our debate over economic

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 4:00 PM
 
Stealth sequester hasn’t hit home

By Robert Reich

SO FAR, the much-dreaded “sequester” — some $85 billion in federal spending cuts between March and September 30 — hasn’t been evident to most Americans.

The dire warnings that had been issued from the White House beforehand — threatening that Social Security checks would be delayed, airport security checks would be clogged and other federal facilities closed — seem to have been overblown.

Sure, March’s employment report was a big disappointment. But it’s hard to see any direct connection between those poor job numbers and the sequester. The government has been shedding jobs for years. Most of the losses in March were from the Postal Service.

Take a closer look,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 2:26 PM
 
Morality brigade battles marriage

By Robert Reich

WE’RE STILL legislating and regulating private morality, while at the same time ignoring the much larger crisis of public morality in America.

In recent weeks, Republican state legislators have decided to thwart the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to have an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks into pregnancy.

Legislators in North Dakota passed a bill banning abortions

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 2:08 PM
 
What would RFK do for our nation?

By Robert Reich

WITH THE SEQUESTER now beginning, I find myself thinking about Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) — and 46 years ago when I was an intern in his Senate office.

The nation was going through a difficult time in 1967. America was deeply split over civil rights and the Vietnam War. Many of our cities were burning. The war was escalating.

But RFK was upbeat. He was also busy and intense — drafting legislation, lining up votes, speaking to the poor, inspiring the young.

I was awed by his energy and optimism,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 3:20 PM
 
Entitlement reform needs immigrants

By Robert Reich

I WAS BORN in 1946, just when the boomer wave began. Bill Clinton was born that year, too. So was George W. Bush, as was Laura Bush. And then the next year, Hillary Rodham. And soon Newt Gingrich, known as “Newty” as a boy. And, also in 1946, Cher. Every time I begin feeling old, I remind myself she’s slightly older.

Why did so many of us begin coming into the world in 1946? Demographers have given this a great deal of attention, but it’s not that complicated.

My father, for example, was in World War II, as

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 6:03 PM
 
Frugal economics not helping U.S.

By Robert Reich

WE ARE IN the most anemic recovery in modern history. The president is talking about boosting the economy and rebuilding the middle class, but Washington isn’t doing squat.

In fact, apart from the Fed — which continues to hold down interest rates in the quixotic hope that banks will begin lending again to average people — the government is heading in exactly the wrong direction: raising taxes on the middle class and cutting public spending. It’s called austerity economics.

Washington is still

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:56 PM
 
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