Robert Reich

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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock”, “The Work of Nations,” and"Beyond Outrage,“ and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, “Inequality For All.” His latest documentary, “Saving Capitalism,” is streaming now on Netflix.
Updated: 22 min 41 sec ago

The 3 Choices When it Comes to TrumpFirst, you can complain....

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:09


The 3 Choices When it Comes to Trump

First, you can complain. Yell. Bang on the dinner table. Tell your family and friends the man is a dangerous fool. Explode every time you read something about him. Swear every time you see him on TV. Go ballistic when you listen to him or about him on the radio. 

Complaining may feel good, but it won’t help.  

Your second choice: You can bury your head in the sand. Pretend he’s not there. Stop reading the news. Turn off the TV and radio. No longer visit political Internet sites. When family or friends bring up his name, change the subject. 

Burying your head in the sand may also feel good, but it certainly won’t help, either.

You have a third choice. You can get active, and make it harder for Trump to damage America. This coming November 6, 34 senate seats, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and 36 governorships will be up for election or re-election.

Support primary candidates who will resist Trump. Mobilize to get out the vote. Organize so that November 6 becomes a total repudiation of Donald Trump and all he stands for. 

Start right now. Find an Indivisible group near you. Go Indivisible.org and become part of the solution. If you’re already in a blue state and want to reach out to purple or red parts of the country, visit swingleft.org or sisterdistrict.com.

Democracy is fragile, it requires all of us to protect it. 

The Meaning of America

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 13:38
When Trump and his followers refer to “America,” what do they mean?Some see a country of white...

Trump’s Big Buyback Bamboozle

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 18:51
Trump’s promise that corporations will use his giant new tax cut to make new investments and raise...

Trump’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

Sun, 02/04/2018 - 19:01
If Robert Mueller finds that Trump colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election, or even if Trump...

Trump Voters: One Year in, and he’s Broken 20 Big Promises He...

Sat, 02/03/2018 - 12:12


Trump Voters: One Year in, and he’s Broken 20 Big Promises He Made to You

1. He told you he’d cut your taxes, and that the super-rich like him would pay more. You bought it. But his new tax law does the opposite. By 2027, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the richest 1 percent will have got 83 percent of the tax cut and the richest 0.1 percent, 60 percent of it. But more than half of all Americans — 53 percent — will pay more in taxes. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago just days after the tax bill became law, “You all just got a lot richer.” 

2. He promised to close “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors but unfair to American workers,” especially the notorious “carried interest” loophole for private-equity, hedge fund, and real estate partners. You bought it. But the new tax law keeps the “carried interest” loophole.

3. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” You bought it. But he didn’t repeal and he didn’t replace. (Just as well: His plan would have knocked at least 23 million Americans off health insurance, including many of you.) Instead, he’s doing what he can to cut it back and replace it with nothing. The new tax law will result in 13 million people losing health coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 

4. He told you he’d invest $1 trillion in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. You bought it. But after his giant tax cut for corporations and millionaires, there’s no money left for infrastructure. 

5. He said he’d drain the Washington swamp. You bought it. But he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, and he’s filled departments and agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.

6. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. But he has created the most dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, and has already fired and replaced so many assistants (one of them hired and fired in a little more than a week) that people there barely know who’s in charge of what. 

7. He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. You bought it. But now the White House says that promise is “inoperative.”

8. He told you he’d “stop foreign lobbyists from raising money for American elections.” You bought it. But foreign lobbyists are still raising money for American elections. 

9. He told you “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” You bought it. But he and House Speaker Paul Ryan are already planning such cuts in order to deal with the ballooning deficit created, in part, by the new tax law for corporations and the rich. 

10. He promised “six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.” You bought it. But the giant tax cut for corporations and the rich doesn’t leave any money for this. 

11. He said that on Day One he’d label China a “currency manipulator.” You bought it. But then he met with China’s president Xi Jinping and declared “China is not a currency manipulator.” Ever since then, Trump has been cozying up to Xi. 

12. He said he “won’t bomb Syria.” You bought it. Then he bombed Syria.

13. He said he’d build a “wall” across the southern border. You believed him. But chief of staff John Kelly says it is “unlikely that we will build a wall, a physical barrier, from sea to shining sea.”

14. He promised that the many women who accused him of sexual misconduct “will be sued after the election is over.” You bought it. He hasn’t sued them, presumably because he doesn’t want the truth to come out. 

15. He said he would not be a president who took vacations, and he called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief.” You bought it. But since becoming President he has spent nearly 25 percent of his days at one of his golf properties for some portion of the day, according to Golf News Network, at a cost to taxpayers of over $77 million. That’s already more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama cost in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.

16. He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in America, and that there would be “consequences” for companies that shipped jobs abroad. You believed him. But despite their promises, Carrier, Ford, GM, and the rest have continued to ship jobs to Mexico and China. Carrier (a division of United Technologies) has moved ahead with plans to send 1,000 jobs at its Indiana plant to Mexico. Notwithstanding, the federal government has rewarded United Technologies with 15 new contracts since Trump’s inauguration. GE is sending jobs to Canada. IBM is sending them to Costa Rica, Egypt, Argentina, and Brazil. There have been no “consequences” for sending all these jobs overseas. 

17. He promised to revive the struggling coal industry and “bring back thousands” of lost mining jobs. You bought it. But coal jobs continue to disappear. Since Trump’s victory, at least 6 plants that relied on coal have closed or announced they will close. Another 40 are projected to close during the president’s four-year term. Utilities continue to switch to natural gas instead of coal, and renewable energy is cheaper than ever.

18. He promised to protect steel workers. But according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, which tracks shipments, steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than in the same period last year. That import surge has hurt American steel workers, who were already struggling against a glut of cheap Chinese steel. 

19. He said he’d make America safer. You believed him. But according to Mass Shooting Tracker, there have been 377 mass shootings so far in the Trump administration, including 58 people killed and hundreds injured at a concert in Las Vegas, and 26 churchgoers killed and 20 injured at a church in Texas. Trump refuses to consider any gun control legislation. 

20. He said he’d release his taxes. “I’m under a routine audit and it’ll be released, and as soon as the audit is finished it will be released,“ he promised during the campaign. He hasn’t released his taxes.

THE NEXT BIG FIGHTFresh off passing massive tax cuts...

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 09:39


THE NEXT BIG FIGHT

Fresh off passing massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump and congressional Republicans want to use the deficit they’ve created to justify huge cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

As House Speaker Paul Ryan says “We’re going to have to get… at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” 

Don’t let them get away with it.  

Social Security and Medicare are critical safety-nets for working and middle-class families. 

Before they existed, Americans faced grim prospects. In 1935, the year Social Security was enacted, roughly half of America’s seniors lived in poverty.  By the 1960s poverty among seniors had dropped significantly, but medical costs were still a major financial burden and only half of Americans aged 65 and over had health insurance. Medicare fixed that, guaranteeing health care for older Americans. 

Today less than 10 percent of seniors live in poverty and almost all have access to health care. According to an analysis of census data, Social Security payments keep an estimated 22 million Americans from slipping into poverty. 

Medicaid is also a vital lifeline for America’s elderly and the poor. Yet the Trump administration has already started whittling it away by encouraging states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.  

Republicans like to call these programs “entitlements,” as if they’re some kind of giveaway.  But Americans pay into Social Security and Medicare throughout their entire working lives. It’s Americans’ own money they’re getting back through these programs. 

These vital safety nets should be strengthened, not weakened. How? 

1. Lift the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax. Currently, top earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $120,000 of their yearly income. So the rich end up, in effect,  paying a lower Social Security tax rate than everyone else. Lifting the ceiling on what wealthy Americans contribute would help pay for the Baby Boomers retirements and leave Social Security in good shape for Millennials. 

2. Allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prescription drug prices. As the nation’s largest insurer, Medicare has tremendous bargaining power. Why should Americans pay far more for drugs than people in any other country?

3. Finally, reduce overall health costs and create a stronger workforce by making Medicare available to all. There’s no excuse for the richest nation in the world to have 28 million Americans still uninsured. 

We need to not just secure, but revitalize Social Security and these other programs for our children, and for our children’s children.  Millennials just overtook Baby Boomers as our nation’s largest demographic.  For them — for all of us — we need to say loud and clear to all of our members of congress:  Hands off Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Expand and improve these programs: don’t cut them.

Trump’s America: Open to Global Capital, Not People

Sun, 01/28/2018 - 11:20
Trump to global CEOs and financiers in Davos, Switzerland: “America is open for business.” We’re now...

How Trump is Destroying the GOP

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 15:53
America has never had a president as deeply unpopular at this stage of his presidency, or one who...

Trump’s Shareholder Bonanza

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:59
The evidence is in: The biggest beneficiaries of the Trump-Republican tax plan are shareholders....

Straight Talk About Trump

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 15:46
Now that Trump has been president for almost a year, it’s time the media called his behavior for...

Seriously, How Dumb is Trump?

Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:58
For more than a year now, I’ve been hearing from people in the inner circles of official Washington...

New Year’s Update for Trump Voters

Thu, 12/28/2017 - 14:38
Almost one year in, it’s time for another update for Trump voters on his election promises:1. He...