Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.

Recent Articles

The treadmill of the new economy

Interview by A J Vogl Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich looks at why so many people feel they're running just to stay in place. Robert B. Reich makes it look easy-from university to government back to university again. In 1992, he left Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to serve as secretary of labor during the first Clinton administration-the third in which Reich has served. Four years later, he resigned that position; currently, he is a professor of social and economic policy at Brandeis University and its Heller Graduate School. But while Reich returned to academe, he didn't retire to academe. He keeps busy writing books (eight at last count), is a regular commentator on National Public Radio's "Marketplace," and is national editor of The American Prospect magazine, which he co-founded. He has also been quoted as being interested in running for governor of Massachusetts. Reich's latest book, The Future of Success (Knopf), is related to his magnum opus, 1991's The Work of...

Electrosoft:

Los Angeles Times Microsoft will not be broken up. There's no chance the Bush administration will ask the Supreme Court to reverse Thursday's federal appeals court rescue of the company. Instead, the case will go back to a new judge to decide how to respond to Microsoft's monopoly without splitting it up. The best outcome: a new order requiring Microsoft to make its Windows operating system available to everyone free of charge. Here's the problem with Microsoft's monopoly, which even the appeals court agrees still must be addressed: Windows is so widely used that other producers of computers, browsers and other software have to license it from Microsoft if they want to connect their gadgets and codes to most other gadgets and codes on the market. This gives Microsoft power to thwart competition and discourage innovation. Imagine what would have happened a century ago at the dawn of the age of electricity if a company named, say, Electrosoft had patented a design for electrical plugs...

Gen. Greenspan's Timid March

We're not in a war economy yet. We're in an economy that's just plain sinking. What to do? Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has told Congress to "wait and see" what happens before enacting a stimulus package lest it create inflationary fantasies among traders of long-term bonds. In an extraordinary show of newly bipartisan gutlessness, our representatives in Washington are heeding his advice. Congress shouldn't listen to Greenspan. A stimulus is needed right now. Even before the September 11 terrorist attacks, American consumers were in a deep funk. Personal-savings rates were nearing a 70-year low and credit-card and mortgage debt were at record heights. Millions of Americans were already stepping back from the brink. In June they paid down $1.8 billion of debt and in July they took on no additional debt--the biggest two-month retreat from borrowing in nine years. Meanwhile, their jobs were disappearing. Last year the U.S. economy gained 1.76 million jobs. But since last March...

The Coming Bush Recession

P resident of the United States Economy Alan Greenspan is frustrated. George W., the mere president-elect, won't deal. Worse, Greenspan can't punish W. for not dealing. He can't even credibly threaten punishment, because punishment is just what W. wants. Don't throw me into that briar patch, Br'er Greenspan! The last two presidents have been willing to strike a deal. Bush the Elder struck it too late, of course. Greenspan began raising short-term interest rates in 1988, at the start of the Elder's presidency, and squeezed and squeezed until Elder cried uncle. Elder finally agreed to raise taxes, despite what the public had read on his lips. But by then, growth had stalled and unemployment had shot upward. Elder was kicked out of office by an electorate worried about the economy, stupid. When Bill Clinton was elected, Greenspan made the deal explicit at their first meeting: You saw what I did to Elder Bush, he said. I could do the same to you, and you'll be another one-term president...

Controversy: The Rhetoric of "Corporate Welfare"

Since Robert Reich coined the phrase several years ago, "corporate welfare" has become a rhetorical target for progressives. Activists argue that government subsidies to private businesses amount to giveaways, which sometimes even promote harmful activity. These critics have established "corporate welfare" in the lexicon of both liberal and conservative politics: a recent computer search turned up the phrase in 520 articles from major newspapers and 107 articles in popular magazines over just the last two years. The critics are sometimes right, but their polemics can be politically insidious and discourage serious discussion about when and how government should get involved in private industry. Invoking "welfare" legitimizes the idea that government in volvement in the economy is intrinsically corrupting. The phrase draws on the image of contemptible dependency on government that has dogged social programs for the poor and tries to transfer some of that contempt to CEOs. It risks...

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