Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His website can be found here.

Recent Articles

Dems Cave on the Border

While attention has been focused on the Democratic debate—in which most contenders are pushing progressive policies—congressional Democrats have moved in the opposite direction. They caved on an emergency border supplemental appropriation that can now be used by Trump to make the border situation worse, not better. This is how it happened, folks. The House had been working on a $4.5 billion emergency border supplemental appropriation designed to respond to the inhumane conditions in migrant holding cells. The goal was to use the funds to improve standards for migrants, and include safeguards to prevent Trump from using the money to finance deportation raids or his border wall. But then Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans, along with a number of Senate Dems, came up with their own $4.6 billion bill containing none of the safeguards to limit the funding to emergency aid—even earmarking some of it to continue Trump’s draconian immigration policies, including...

The "Center" of American Politics Is on the Left

Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with “fringe,” “radical,” or “socialist.” Well, let’s see where the American people actually stand. On the economy, 76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich , including over half of registered Republicans . Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more . Even Fox News polls confirm these trends . What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All , which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. Sixty percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare . Ninety-two percent want lower prescription drug prices . Over 70 percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada . On family issues, more than 80 percent of Americans want paid maternity leave . Seventy-nine percent of voters want more affordable child care. And that includes 80 percent of Republicans . Sixty...

The Seven Biggest Failures of Trumponomics

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress keep crowing about the economy, when in reality Trumponomics has been a disaster. Here are its seven biggest failures: 1. Trump promised to bring down America’s trade deficit “ as fast as possible .” Instead, the trade deficit has hit an all-time high . The United States is now purchasing more goods and services from the rest of the world than we sell abroad than at any time in history. 2. As a presidential candidate in 2016, he said he could completely eliminate the federal debt in eight years . Instead, the federal debt has exploded thanks to Trump and the GOP’s $1.9 trillion tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations . They’re already using the growing debt to threaten cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 3. He promised to boost the wages of American workers, including a $4,000 pay raise for the average American family . Instead, wages for most Americans have been flat, adjusted for inflation ...

The Same Old Scare Tactic about Socialism

I keep hearing a lot about “socialism” these days, mainly from Donald Trump and Fox News, trying to scare Americans about initiatives like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, universal child care, free public higher education, and higher taxes on the super-wealthy to pay for these. Well, I’m here to ask you to ignore the scaremongering. First, these initiatives are overwhelmingly supported by most Americans. Second, for the last 85 years, conservative Republicans have been yelling “socialism” at every initiative designed to help most Americans. It was the scare word used by the Liberty League, in 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed Social Security. In 1952, President Harry Truman noted that “Socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years.” Truman went on to say , “Socialism is what they called public power … Social Security … bank deposit insurance .....

What Does Oligarchy Mean?

Oligarchy” means government of and by a few at the top, who exercise power for their own benefit. It comes from the Greek word oligarkhes , meaning “few to rule or command.” Even a system that calls itself a democracy can become an oligarchy if power becomes concentrated in the hands of a few very wealthy people—a corporate and financial elite. Their power and wealth increase over time as they make laws that favor themselves, manipulate financial markets to their advantage, and create or exploit economic monopolies that put even more wealth into their pockets. Modern-day Russia is an oligarchy, where a handful of billionaires who control most major industries dominate politics and the economy. What about the United States? According to a study published in 2014 by Princeton Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern Professor Benjamin Page , although Americans enjoy many features of democratic governance, such as regular elections, and freedom of speech and...

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