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: 2 hours 58 min ago

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...

A Good Idea, Even if It’s From Republicans

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 10:28
A group of former Republican officials (including James A. Baker, Henry Paulson, George P. Shultz,...

Trump’s War on the Courts, the Press, and the States

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 23:54
With congressional Republicans in the majority in Congress and unwilling to cross Donald Trump, the...

A Yiannopoulos, Bannon, Trump Plot to Control American Universities?

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 17:33
The events at Berkeley Wednesday night have been a boon to Milos Yiannopoulos, of Breitbart News,...

Don’t Focus on Gorsuch, Focus on Trump

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 08:37
Don’t get caught up in the predictable brawl over Neil Gorsuch’s credentials or his ideology. That...

Trump and Bannon’s “America First”

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 16:29
Donald Trump has reorganized the National Security Council – elevating his chief...

TRUMP’S INFRASTRUCTURE SCAMOur country is in dire need of...

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 14:56


TRUMP’S INFRASTRUCTURE SCAM

Our country is in dire need of massive investments in infrastructure, but what Donald Trump is proposing is nothing more than a huge tax giveaway for the rich.

1. It’s a giant public subsidy to developers and investors. Rather than taxing the wealthy and then using the money to fix our dangerously outdated roads, bridges, airports, water systems, Trump wants to give rich developers and Wall Street investors tax credits to encourage them to do it That means that for every dollar they put into a project, they’d actually pay only 18 cents and we would contribute the other 82 cents through our tax dollars.

2. We’d be turning over public roads and bridges to private corporations who will charge us expensive tolls and earn big profits. These tolls will be set high in order to satisfy the profit margins demanded by elite Wall Street investors. So—essentially—we pay twice – once when we subsidize the developers and investors with our tax dollars, and then secondly when we pay the tolls and user fees that also go into their pockets.

3. We get the wrong kind of infrastructure. Projects that will be most attractive to Wall Street investors are those whose tolls and fees bring in the biggest bucks – giant mega-projects like major new throughways and new bridges. Not the thousands of smaller bridges, airports, pipes, and water treatment facilities most in need of repair. Not the needs of rural communities and smaller cities and towns too small to generate the tolls and other user fees equity investors want. Not clean energy.

To really make America great again we need more and better infrastructure that’s for the public – not for big developers and investors. And the only way we get that is if corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.

Trump’s Two-Step Strategy To Take Over the Truth

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 09:29
Donald Trump is such a consummate liar that in coming days and years our democracy will depend more...

The Life of the Party: 7 Truths for Democrats

Fri, 01/20/2017 - 12:34
3. The ongoing contest between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wings of the Democratic Party...

Four Takeaways from Trump’s Latest Tweet Tantrum

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:35
This morning Donald Trump bashed NBC, tweeting: “Totally biased NBCNews went out of its way to say...

Trump’s Plan to Neuter the White House Press Corps, and Neuter Our Democracy

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 19:03
Tyrants don’t allow open questioning, and they hate the free press. They want total control. That’s...