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ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest, “Beyond Outrage,” is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, “Inequality for All,” is now available on Netflix, iTunes, DVD, and On Demand.
Updated: 23 min 22 sec ago
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THE WAR ON THE POOR AND MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES
Most Americans are on a downward escalator. Median household pay is dropping, adjusted for inflation. A smaller share of working-age Americans are in jobs than at any time in the last three decades.
Only 113,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in January, on top of a paltry 75,000 in December.
We need a new WPA to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, a higher minimum wage, strong unions, investments in education, and extended unemployment benefits for those who still can’t find a job. When 95% of the economic gains go to the top 1%, the middle class and poor don’t have the purchasing power to keep it going.
Yet too many still believe in trickle-down economics — that the wealthy are the job creators, and tax cuts for big corporations and the rich will boost the economy. The real job creators are the vast middle class and the poor — when they have enough money in their pockets. That’s the only way out of the vicious cycle we’re now in.
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Last week’s massive spill of the toxic chemical MCHM into West Virginia’s Elk River...