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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

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
GOP showing inconsistencies

By Robert Reich

SOON AFTER President Obama’s second inaugural address, Speaker of the House John Boehner said the White House would try “to annihilate the Republican Party” and “shove us into the dustbin of history.”

Actually, the GOP is doing a pretty good job annihilating itself. As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal put it, Republicans need to “stop being the stupid party.”

The GOP crack-up was probably inevitable. Inconsistencies and tensions within the GOP have been growing for years — ever since Ronald Reagan put together the coalition that became the modern Republican Party.

All President Obama has done is finally find ways to exploit these

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 5:33 PM
Some entitlements due to economy

By Robert Reich

IT HAS BECOME accepted economic wisdom that the only way to get control over America’s looming budget deficits is to “reform entitlements.”

The accepted wisdom is wrong.

Republicans trot out federal budget data showing a 32% increase in direct payments to individuals since the start of 2009, including food stamps, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation and subsidized housing.

But these expenditures are temporary. They’ve resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, which forced many families to turn

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:24 PM

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