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11:26 PM on 08/22/2013
This is the shame that our country has become.

We seemingly don't have the stones our forefathers had to protect American workers against corporate greed.

We've been bought and sold many times over. If they could, the conglomerates would have a special half-minimum wage salary that they would pay children so that they could cut their labor costs in half.

Occupy America, my friends and take our country back.
11:24 PM on 08/22/2013
I want to reply to this but I'd have to correct almost every single line of Reich's blog.

1. Corporations are paying more taxes now than they have in 95 of the past 100 years.

2. Tax revenues are UP. This year they will be nominally higher than any year in the history of our nation.

3. The government is spending more than they have in history.

4. The toll roads existed before the government took them over so the government is responsible for the toll roads not the "private sector".

5. College tuition is influenced by the same policies of low interest lending to unqualified borrowers that floods the market with unlimited dollars chasing a limited amount of goods and services that drove up prices in the housing market.

6. Public institutions by definition are the opposite of "bulwarks against fascism and communism".. .They ARE fascism and communism by the very definition. Not saying they're "bad" but the basic concept of community ownership is communism and the way the government is in bed with the corporations to create these "public institutions" could fairly be defined as an incremental form of fascism.

7. Domestic discretionary spending as a percentage of GDP is only down because government spending on mandatory spending is so far up and because government spending in general is so far up. We made so many entitlement promises that they had to be made up from growth in discretionary spending.
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Civilization is for weaklings.
05:19 AM on 08/23/2013
1. However, the effective corporate tax rate in 2011 fell to 12.1%, its lowest level since before World War I.[2]

2. The chart belies your words.

3. Not as a percentage of GDP.

4. I wish I could figure out what your point is supposed to be.

5. When I went to M.I.T. in the seventies, I paid most of my tuition by washing dishes in the dining hall. Interest on money borrowed to go to college wasn't even an issue. The problem isn't low interest rates, the problem is high tuition.

6. "Public institutions by definition are the opposite of "bulwarks against fascism and communism""
This is beyond ludicrous. The concept of community ownership is central to communism, but it is not communism. For a definition of "public institution", see

7. Domestic discretionary spending is down because fascist (in the proper sense of the word; I am not just throwing it around because my "libertarian" teenage friends think it's cool, like the swastika on the back window of their pickup, right in front of the gun rack) forces have captured our government.

Margaret Thatcher famously said "There is no such thing as society." Margaret Thatcher was wrong.
Bill Denaro
08:49 AM on 08/23/2013
very good post. We need more of this truth to lie, not right vs left. The sad part is that we are getting what seems to be more and more lies, and we seem to be spending an extraordinary amount of our time combatting them instead of doing good things for the country.
02:20 PM on 08/24/2013
Excellent comment--especially the well-crafted (and, sadly, necessary) bit in parentheses at item 7. Fanned.
02:21 PM on 08/24/2013

"1. Corporations are paying more taxes now than they have in 95 of the past 100 years."

"2. Tax revenues are UP [and] . . . nominally higher than any year in the history of our nation."

So what? Most huge corporations with offices here pay no income tax whatever and our effective tax rates--personal and corporate--are lower than those of most other Western nations.

" 6. Public institutions by definition are the opposite of ‘bulwarks against fascism and communism'.. .They ARE fascism and communism . . ."

That's utter nonsense--if quite humorous. Fascism and communism in practice (which was what Prof. Reich was referring to) have always been inherently totalitarian. There's nothing inherently totalitarian about a public road, park, or university and asserting otherwise doesn't change that. Nor are public institutions a threat to private ones. The University of Massachusetts poses no threat to Harvard nor the U.S. Postal Service to Fed Ex.

I do, however, admire the detail in which you express your beliefs. Ayn Rand would be proud.
10:28 PM on 08/22/2013
It is said that conservatives' amygdalas are the largest part of their brains, as they are in teenagers. These parts account for the notion that "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine." Liberals, however, tend to have enlarged forebrains, which temper the selfishness of the amygdala with concern for the public good. Evidence for this can be seen in the fact that people with graduate degrees tend to be more liberal than those with only undergraduate degrees--or no college at all.
TruthSayer, TrollSlayer
09:41 PM on 08/22/2013
The private gain of the few at the expense of gain for the many is shown in living proof in North Dakota and Texas where greed disguised as national security is ripping up the State roadways and draining the land of precious fresh water as bought and sold government stands aside and does not even bother to tax the profits to any extent.

And, get this, the oil companies are complaining to the government about how the badly beaten up roads are harming their profit margins and want the taxpayer to fix them! AND they want more WATER, always more WATER for oil and gas companies. Never enough.

When citizens become the special interests and corporations become the citizens, it has gone too far.
11:15 PM on 08/22/2013
Excellent points, Mr. Fred Sanders!
12:37 AM on 08/23/2013
mr have got the water thing right.....any idea how much water it takes to frack a new gas well? water will be the next oil a very high priced natural resource.....anyway thanks for the comments as they are spot
09:35 PM on 08/22/2013
People have long taken public goods for granted and take notice only when things aren't working all that well. Good governance is no accident. The country is lucky to be blessed, especially at the local level, with tens of thousands of able elected public officials and capable managers. If the wealthy hate taxes so much, cut them a deal. Let them pay no taxes at all.. In exchange: no driving on a public road, no flushing of a toilet with municipal water, no calling a local police or fire department, no flying out of an FAA airport, no sending a child to a local public school or public university, no walking on a public sidewalk, no purchasing or use of an FDA regulated drug, no eating of DA inspected meat, no SS or Medicaid benefits; no visits to national, state, or local parks, no swimming in a municipal pool, ....
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10:56 PM on 08/22/2013
But according to them, that's all Big Government. A threat to society -- Surely the world will end!
Be skeptical of politicians or be their pawn
09:18 PM on 08/22/2013
"Why the decline of public institutions?"

Simple. Americans have elected folks who care more for their own and their party's power and wealth than for the citizens of this once fine nation.

The problem with big government liberalism is the belief that the "public servants" are cut from a different cloth than those they represent. Alas, they are not. They are as, if not more, focused on wealth and power.
08:27 PM on 08/22/2013
The most mammoth 'entitlement' grab in the nation's history took place in 2008, when American taxpayers were forced to cover the private investment losses of the Wall Street/corporate TBTF's. It was socialism on behalf of the wealthiest, the very entities that had run the economy off the rails...privatized profits, socialized losses, a massive looting of the general citizenry to benefit the ruling plutocratic elites. Government to promote the common good?...a long gone pipe dream.
Born blue-now in bloody RED South
08:24 PM on 08/22/2013
Dr. Reich,

What a most accurate history lesson....I have lived it since the late 50's.

After digesting our progress or lack thereof, I had to return to your opening paragraph.

Our present Congress is not only gridlocked...most who are seated have lost what little common sense they had. Strong hinting of many sleeping with the oober rich is mentioned on a daily basis...the sequester has been a pure insult to many who have previously enjoyed being a part of the middle class, gross insensitivies toward those most in need, i.e., our seniors/pre-school age youngsters....the list never seems to end and we are watching what were once strong infrastructures crumble before our very eyes. Distorted values on how to improve our economy has fallen on deaf ears. Ignoring crime and don't even get me started on drugs. A banking industry that defies any/almost all laws on the books...God help us all.

Knowing we don't always have qualified candidates to elect only adds to the complications. However, that said on 06 November 2012, more Americans spoke and with a lot of luck, they will speak again in 2014. Little by little it's up to us to clean house in Congress and after the super generous campaign donations don't elect a favored candidate, we will hopefully see a re-birth in what can still be the greatest country on God's green earth.

Always sending you blessings, Dr. Reich.
Don't Share My Wealth! Share My Work Ethic!
08:21 PM on 08/22/2013
Dr. Reich:

A few points:

(a) The role of government, as envisioned by our Founders and early ethos, has never been to provide a big pool of public goodies. There is nothing in the Bill of Rights or Constitution that supports such nonsense. As such, government should relegate itself to its core function, that of protector of property rights (including security) and as an unbiased regulator of fair process that applies to all equally or to no one at all; instead of what it is today a subjective distributor of fair outcome for some at the expense of others.

(b) Privatization makes sense. There is no reason why some old retired school teacher needs to pay higher sales tax to fund a subway system that she does not use. Build the cost of the subway into the ticket price and let people pay the real price for that service. Same for roads, hospitals, airports, college, etc. People are tired of an unfair tax system that takes from one poor group of Americans to fund the transportation (or college, or air travel, sports recreation, etc) of another group of Americans.

(c) Thank you for pointing out that at the heart of the problem is a tax revolt. Americans are tired of being preyed on to support other people’s goodies. Time to dial it back and make those that want a service pay or it. That means more privatization, not less.

10:02 PM on 08/22/2013
Actually government's core function is not securing property rights, but securing the unalienable rights of all citizens- see the Declaration of Independence.

Promoting the general welfare is not providing goodies, but part of the mandate of Federal government
11:23 PM on 08/22/2013
And they give us the Patriot Act, with the only thing patriotic about it is the name. It is unconstitutional on it's face.
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10:59 PM on 08/22/2013
And you Sir, are a part of the problem.
Tell the Truth
07:49 PM on 08/22/2013
Incomes keep going Down.......................6 % decline under BO to date.

No Business Confidence.

U6 @ 14.3 %

AND...................Interest Rates going Up !

Wise Old Men are right again.

Short the DEMS.
09:05 PM on 08/22/2013
11:19 PM on 08/22/2013
The employment office is not in the White House.
Semper Fi
07:41 PM on 08/22/2013
Another brilliant Robert Reich article!

Thank you.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
07:19 PM on 08/22/2013
There would be no Internet, no Nasa, no network of satellites to make wireless comm possible without investment made prior to a business plan. The private sector simply did not bring the internet about. Further only until *after* public outlays, which gave them time to observe and tinker, could they bring it to fruition.

Public spending is the foundation of our private enterprise system, and each have their role, but we are badly out of balance -- the private sector, incapable of real innovation when left to its own "eat your young" actualities (see China and Russia now that have capitalism without Democracy for examples), has gained way too much control over our civilization. Which has placed us all in great peril.
10:24 PM on 08/22/2013
You have it backwards. Private enterprise is the foundation of public spending. The government can print all the money it wants. Its worthless without the private sector generating wealth that can be reasonably taxed. Without private investment, the government has nothing. Countries like Greece are figuring it out the hard way.
Bill Denaro
08:55 AM on 08/23/2013
uh, its you that has it backwards, there is no private investment without a secure government, solid economy, good infrastructure, good education system, you could also see Greece for this, and about every other country in the world.
Love, Tolerance, Enlightenment
11:24 PM on 08/22/2013
Love you man!
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
12:34 AM on 08/23/2013
06:40 PM on 08/22/2013
The US should be investing in rebuilding our crumbling infrastrure and developing a greener,competitive 21stC economy that emphasizes R&D and education. Such investments would decrease unemployment, increase consumer spending, and decrease the long term debt. Instead, the military industrial security complex and their bought and paid for politicians are demanding military intervention in Syria, a war against Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program, and spending tens of billions to militarize the border. Just as disastrously, the Republicans are hell bent on cutting taxes even more on their wealthiest millionaire and billionaire backers. The future indeed looks bleak for middle class and the poor.
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11:01 PM on 08/22/2013
There have been several such bills stalled in the House. You know who you can blame for that I'm sure.
12:36 AM on 08/23/2013
It is bleak already. Millions are already at the point of 'eating grass' and 'let them eat cake'. You know what follows...
Business exists to benefit MANKIND, MANKIND does N
06:29 PM on 08/22/2013
Bravo Professor! Keep up the good fight! WE need your tutelage. Thank you for trying!
05:49 PM on 08/22/2013
Too true! The silent majority has watched as money has been transferred from the middle classes upward. Unless and until, we realize we have a voice and a choice and a vote for our own self interest, the status quo will persist.

Vote for real representatives of the people.
Vote for taxation to be shared progressively by all people. Limit the tax burden on small businesses.
Create a system for revaluing homes, putting capital back into the hands of the middle class. Eliminate student loans and lower credit card rates.

Start passing Glass Steagall for the 21st Century/The Sherrod Brown/Vitter Bill on derivatives and Bank Capitalization/overturn Citizens United. Stop the revolving door between Government and Industry.

Insist that lawmakers live by every law that governs the rest of us.
It's a beginning. One step at a time.

We can do it. We count and we have choices. United we stand.
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08:10 PM on 08/22/2013
And they ignore the public will. The protests, the petitions, the letters, the polls. And almost every new congressmen turns tail on positions upon entry into Washington.
12:00 AM on 08/23/2013
It is a puzzlement why folks do not vote for their own best interest. de Tocqueville feared the republic would come apart if the people decided to only vote their own economic interest; the people are both better and worse than that. Now just the majority of politicians vote their own best interest and to blazes with the rest of us.

I admire your convictions. I am not so hopeful.