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.
Updated: 4 hours 34 min ago

The Crisis of Governance

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 22:43
America is in a crisis of governance. There is no adult in charge.Instead, we have as president an...

My Visit to Trump’s Washington

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 11:25
I spent much of this past week in Washington – talking with friends still in government, former...

An Orgy of Unnecessary Cruelty

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 10:58
The theme that unites all of Trump’s initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty.1. His new...

TRUMP’S BONKERS BUDGETDonald Trump ran for president as a man of...

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 17:36


TRUMP’S BONKERS BUDGET

Donald Trump ran for president as a man of the people, who was going to fight for those who were left behind – but everything we’re hearing about his forthcoming federal budget says exactly the opposite: Spending that’s a great deal for big corporations that have hired armies of lobbyists, and great for the wealthiest few like himself. But leaving everyone else a lot worse off.

Here are four important early warning flares:

1. Trump’s budget will increase military spending by 10 percent (even though U.S. military expenditures already exceed the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined). And that’s frankly scary for a lot of reasons from what it signals about his foreign policy priorities to the impact of that whopping spending hike like this on other parts of the budget.

2. Trump actually plans to cut corporate taxes (even though U.S corporate profits after are higher as a percentage of the economy than they’ve been since 1947).

3. He’s going to pay for this – in part – by cutting billions of dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency (which would strip the EPA of almost all its capacity to enforce environmental laws and regulations, at a time when climate change threatens the future of the planet). This is precisely the opposite of what the United States ought to be doing.

4. Last – but by no means least – huge leaps in military spending plus tax cuts will also mean big cuts to programs like food stamps and Medicaid (at a time when the U.S. has the highest poverty rate among all advanced nations, including more than 1 in 5 American children).

This is only the first step in the budget process, but with Republicans in control of both the House and the Senate these priorities have a good chance of being enacted, which is why we have to raise our voices – and push back – now.

Republicans in Congress are likely still recovering from the last recess – dubbed appropriately “Resistance Recess.” We need to take that winning spirit of resistance into the budget fight – and the time to start is right now.

So, let your members of Congress know that Trump’s budget is not your budget. Trump’s spending and tax priorities are not in the best interest of most Americans. And then let’s get to work to make sure we get a Congress in 2018 that reflects YOUR priorities.

Trump’s War on the Truth Tellers

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 12:47
Trump and his White House don’t argue on the merits. They attack the  institutions that come up with...

Three Terrifying Reasons for Trump’s Latest Rant

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 23:17
Early Saturday morning, March 4, the 45th president of the United States alleged in a series of...

The Old Trump is Back. In Fact, He Never Left

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 20:01
It seems an eternity ago but it was only last Tuesday night when Donald Trump addressed a joint...

3 Terrifying Reasons for Trump’s Latest Rant

Sat, 03/04/2017 - 13:16
Early Saturday morning, March 4, the 45th president of the United States alleged in a series of ...

Trump’s 10 Steps for Turning Lies into Half-TruthsEarlier this...

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 21:41


Trump’s 10 Steps for Turning Lies into Half-Truths

Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief insisted that the Wall Street Journal wouldn’t label Trump’s false statements as “lies.” Lying, said the editor, requires a deliberate intention to mislead, which couldn’t be proven in Trump’s case. 

But Donald Trump is the most lying president we’ve ever had, and he seems to get away with it. Here’s his 10-step plan for turning lies into near truths:

Step 1: He lies.

Step 2: Experts contradict him, saying his claim is baseless and false. The media report that the claim is false.

Step 3: Trump blasts the experts and condemns the media for being “dishonest.”

Step 4: Trump repeats the lie in tweets and speeches. And asserts that “many people” say he’s right.

Step 5: The mainstream media start to describe the lie as a “disputed fact.“

Step 6: Trump repeats the lie in tweets, interviews, and speeches. His surrogates repeat it on TV and in the right-wing blogosphere.

Step 7: The mainstream media begin to describe Trump’s lie as a "controversy.”

Step 8: Polls show a growing number of Americans (including most Republicans) believing Trump’s lie to be true.

Step 9: The media start describing Trump’s lie as “a claim that reflects a partisan divide in America,” and is “found to be true by many.”

Step 10: The public is confused and disoriented about what the facts are. Trump wins.

Don’t let Trump’s lies become near truths. Be vigilant. Know the truth, and spread it. The media should stop mincing words. Report Trump’s lies as lies.

Boycotting TrumpBoth Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, among other...

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 12:14


Boycotting Trump

Both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, among other retailers, have dropped Trump brands, both Ivanka’s and her father’s. Their decisions came amid calls for a boycott against retailers that carry Trump products.

Macy’s dropped Donald Trump’s clothing line early in his campaign after he called Mexican immigrants “killers” and “rapists.“ Now Macy’s is under increasing pressure to drop Ivanka’s as well.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, quit Trump’s economic advisory council after he was pressured by consumers and employees. That came after Trump’s Muslim ban and #deleteuber went viral.

Keep the pressure on. Let’s make it unprofitable to work with Trump. Boycott Trump. Reject companies that do business with Trump. Boycott companies whose CEOs collaborate with Trump. 

You need to be both a political activist and a consumer activist.

Go to www.grabyourwallet.org for a complete list of companies to boycott.

7 Signs of Tyranny As tyrants take control of democracies, they...

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:37


7 Signs of Tyranny

As tyrants take control of democracies, they typically do 7 things:

1. They exaggerate their mandate to govern – claiming, for example, that they won an election by a “landslide” even after losing the popular vote. They criticize any finding that they or co-conspirators stole the election. And they repeatedly claim “massive voter fraud” in the absence of any evidence, in order to have an excuse to restrict voting by opponents in subsequent elections.

2. They turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize them, calling them “deceitful” and “scum,” and telling the public that the press is a “public enemy.” They hold few, if any, press conferences, and prefer to communicate with the public directly through mass rallies and unfiltered statements (or what we might now call “tweets”).

3. They repeatedly lie to the public, even when confronted with the facts.  Repeated enough, these lies cause some of the public to doubt the truth, and to believe fictions that support the tyrants’ goals.

4. They blame economic stresses on immigrants or racial or religious minorities, and foment public bias or even violence against them. They threaten mass deportations, “registries” of religious minorities, and the banning of refugees.

5. They attack the motives of anyone who opposes them, including judges. They attribute acts of domestic violence to “enemies within,” and use such events as excuses to beef up internal security and limit civil liberties.

6. They appoint family members to high positions of authority. They ppoint their own personal security force rather than a security detail accountable to the public. And they put generals into top civilian posts.

7.They keep their personal finances secret, and draw no distinction between personal property and public property – profiteering from their public office.

Consider yourself warned.

Why Trumponomics Fails

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 18:12
When Donald Trump gave a speech last Friday at Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, South Carolina...

The Republican Tax ShamWatch your wallets. Republicans are...

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 11:55


The Republican Tax Sham

Watch your wallets. Republicans are pushing a new corporate tax plan that will end up costing most of you a bundle. Here’s what you should know about the so-called “border adjustment tax." 

The U.S. imports about $2.7 trillion worth of goods a year. Many imports are cheap because labor costs are much lower in places like Southeast Asia.

Our current tax code taxes corporations on their profits. So, for example, when Wal-Mart buys t-shirts from Vietnam for $10 and sells them for $13, Wal-Mart is only taxed on that $3 of profit.

But under the new Republican tax plan, Wal-Mart would be taxed on the full price of imported items, so in this case the full $13 sale price of that t-shirt. As a result of this tax, Wall Street analysts expect retail prices in the U.S. to rise as much as 15 percent.

The plan would also cut taxes on companies that export from the United States. This is intended to encourage companies to locate production here in the United States. 

But it wouldn’t reverse the tide of automation that’s rapidly eliminating jobs even  from American factories.

The worst thing about it the plan is it’s a hidden upward redistribution.  

Its burden will fall mainly on the poor and middle class because they already spend almost all of their incomes, so they’ll feel the greatest pain from higher retail prices.

The benefits will go to companies that export and their shareholders, who will benefit from the tax cuts in the form of higher profits – and higher share prices.  Shareholders, who are mostly upper-income people, don’t need this windfall.

Republicans claim that the U.S. dollar would rise in response to higher taxes on imports, effectively wiping out the tax burden. But as a practical matter, no one knows if this will happen.

Bottom line: The tax plan is dressed up as a way to make America more competitive. But underneath it’s just a typical Republican plan that redistributes from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy.

Trump’s Nutty “America First” Economics

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 12:42
Donald Trump gave a speech Friday at South Carolina’s Boeing facility, where the new 787...

Trump’s Most Shameful Act So Far

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 10:27
On Sunday, White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller claimed 14 percent of non-citizens...

Michael Flynn and the 6 Big Questions

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 09:21
The American public deserves to know the answers to at least the first five of these questions, and...

The White House Mess

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 17:52
Donald Trump sold himself to voters as a successful businessman who knew how to get things done, a...

The 4 Dangerous Syndromes of Coping with TrumpWith Donald Trump...

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 15:27


The 4 Dangerous Syndromes of Coping with Trump

With Donald Trump as president, some of you may be tempted to succumb to one of the following 4 syndromes. Please don’t.

1. Normalizer Syndrome. You want to believe Trump is just another president – more conservative than most, but one who will make rational decisions. You’re under a grave delusion. Trump and his ultra-conservative cabinet pose a clear and present danger to America and the world.

2. Outrage Numbness Syndrome. You are no longer outraged by what Trump says or does because you’ve gone numb. You can’t conceive that someone like this is our President so you’ve shut down emotionally. Maybe you’ve even stopped reading the news. Please get back in touch and re-engage with what’s happening.  

3 Cynical Syndrome. You’ve become so cynical about the whole system – the Democrats who gave up on the working class, the Republicans who suppressed votes around the country, the media that gave Trump free air time, the establishment that rigged the system – that you say the hell with it. Let Trump do his worst. Well, you need to wake up. It can get a lot worse.

4. Helpless Syndrome. You aren’t in denial. You know that nothing about this is normal and you desperately want to do something to prevent what’s about to occur. But you don’t know what to do. You feel utterly helpless, powerless and immobilized.

Instead of falling prey to one of these syndromes, I urge you to take action – demonstrate, make a ruckus, join with others, demand your members of congress also resist, commit yourself to changing American politics.

Fighting Trump will empower you. And with that power you will not only to minimize the damage, but also get this nation and the world back on the course it must be on.

We need you in the peaceful resistance.

THE REAL REASON REPUBLICANS WANT TO PULL THE PLUG ON...

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 12:17


THE REAL REASON REPUBLICANS WANT TO PULL THE PLUG ON OBAMACARE

Don’t be fooled by Trump’s and Republican promises to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. They could repeal it, but they can’t and won’t replace it. They’ve tried for years to come up with a replacement that keeps at least as many people covered. Their “replacement” never appears. 

So why do Republicans want to repeal Obamacare and leave millions without insurance?  Because it would mean a huge tax windfall for the wealthy.

Repealing Obamacare will put an average of $33,000 of tax cuts in the hands of the richest 1 percent this year alone, and a whopping $197,000 of tax cuts into the hands of the top 0.1 percent. 

The 400 highest-income taxpayers (with incomes averaging more than $300 million each) will each receive an average annual tax cut of about $7 million. 

It would also increase the taxes of families earning between $10,000 and $75,000 – including just about all of Trump’s working class voters.

So what do we end up with when Republicans repeal Obamacare?

– 32 million people losing their health insurance, 

– tens of thousands of Americans dying because they don’t get the medical care they need, 

– Medicare in worse shape, 

– And the rich becoming far richer.  

This is lunacy. We must stand up to it.

Who Lacks Respect for the Office of the President?

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 22:26
Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway charges that media coverage of Donald Trump lacks “respect for and...