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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 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
 
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
 
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