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Robert Reich
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Robert Reich is the nation's 22nd Secretary of Labor and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. His film Inequality for All is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and Netflix. His homepage is robertreich.org.

Entries by Robert Reich

The Increasing Irrelevance of Corporate Nationality

(99) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 2:17 PM

"You shouldn't get to call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from the American taxpayers," President Obama said Thursday.

He was referring to American corporations now busily acquiring foreign companies in order to become non-American, thereby reducing their U.S. tax bill.

But the president...

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The Rise of the Non-Working Rich

(217) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 7:27 PM

In a new Pew poll, more than three quarters of self-described conservatives believe "poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything."

In reality, most of America's poor work hard, often in two or more jobs.

The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit...

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The Limits of Corporate Citizenship: Why Walgreen Shouldn't Be Allowed to Influence U.S. Politics If It Becomes Swiss

(63) Comments | Posted July 6, 2014 | 5:31 PM

Dozens of big U.S. corporations are considering leaving the United States in order to reduce their tax bills.

But they'll be leaving the country only on paper. They'll still do as much business in the U.S. as they were doing before.

The only difference is they'll no longer be "American,"...

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Freedom, Power, and the Conservative Mind

(298) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 3:22 PM

On Monday the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that privately-owned corporations don't have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners' religious beliefs.

The owners of Hobby Lobby, the plaintiffs in the case, were always free to...

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Hillary's Hardest Choice (and the Democrat's Dilemma)

(19) Comments | Posted June 29, 2014 | 10:32 PM

What's the reason for the tempest in the teapot of Hillary and Bill Clinton's personal finances?

It can't be about how much money they have. Great wealth has never disqualified someone from high office. In fact, some of the nation's greatest presidents, who came to office with vast fortunes --...

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Break the Koch Machine

(191) Comments | Posted June 27, 2014 | 11:07 AM


A number of billionaires are flooding our democracy with their money, drowning out the voices of the rest of us. But Charles and David Koch are in a class by themselves. They're using their fortune -- they're the fifth and sixth richest people in the world -- to create their own political machine designed to protect and advance their financial interests. The Koch machine includes:


1. Political front groups pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into elections at every level of our democracy, while disguising the sources of the money.

2. Giant advertising campaigns to convince Americans climate change is a myth, the Affordable Care Act will harm them, unions are bad, and wealthy people deserve tax cuts.

3. A network of think tanks designed to come up with findings the Kochs want. For example, over $23 million for studies arguing we should abolish the minimum wage or keep it where it is forever.

4. A campaign to suppress the votes of minorities. In the last presidential election, funding white "poll-watchers" where minorities vote, leading to complaints of voter intimidation. And peddling a Voter ID bill to state legislators across the country, designed to make it harder for many to vote.

5. A nationwide effort to bust unions. Funding anti-union campaigns in states like Wisconsin, and pushing an anti-union law that's been used in dozens of states to undermine workers' collective bargaining rights.

And 6. A long-term strategy to unravel America's campaign finance laws, even organizing secret meetings with sympathetic Supreme Court justices.


The Koch political machine would be troubling in any circumstance. But it's especially dangerous in present-day America, where wealth is more concentrated than it's been in over a century and the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to big money.

The problem isn't that the Kochs are so rich, or their political views are so regressive. The problem is they're using their exorbitant wealth to impose those views on the rest of us, undermining our democracy.

More than 200,000 of you have already signed my MoveOn petition denouncing the Koch brothers for undermining our democracy.

The Kochs won't care what we say, but when a half a million of us stand up to them, politicians will have to think twice before taking their money. When a million of us stand up to them, their money will be a political liability.

Standing up to bullies is the hallmark of a civilized society. Please join our petition -- and stand up for our democracy. The link to the petition is at the end of the video.

Or go here.

Our democracy is not for sale.

ROBERT B. REICH's film "Inequality for All" is now available on DVD and blu-ray, and on Netflix. Watch the trailer below:

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Real Business Leaders Want to Save Capitalism

(138) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 8:56 AM

A few weeks ago I was visited in my office by the chairman of one of the country's biggest high-tech firms who wanted to talk about the causes and consequences of widening inequality and the shrinking middle class, and what to do about it.

I asked him why he was...

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The Three Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Poverty

(246) Comments | Posted June 14, 2014 | 12:35 AM

Rather than confront poverty by extending jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed, endorsing a higher minimum wage, or supporting jobs programs, conservative Republicans are taking a different tack.

They're peddling three big lies about poverty. To wit:

Lie #1: Economic growth reduces poverty.

"The best anti-poverty program," wrote Paul...

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Seattle Is Right

(3) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 1:52 PM

By raising its minimum wage to $15, Seattle is leading a long-overdue movement toward a living wage. Most minimum wage workers aren't teenagers these days. They're major breadwinners who need a higher minimum wage in order to keep their families out of poverty.

Across America, the ranks of...

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The Way to Stop Corporate Lawbreaking Is to Prosecute the People Who Break the Law

(55) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 9:42 PM

Today (Thursday, June 5) GM releases the results of its internal investigation about why it failed to respond to an ignition switch defect in millions of cars that has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

But who's really to blame when a big corporation breaks the law? The government...

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Freedom Summer II

(66) Comments | Posted May 31, 2014 | 6:48 PM

I spent several days in New York last week with students from around the country who were preparing to head into the heartland to help organize Walmart workers for better jobs and wages. (Full familial disclosure: My son Adam is one of the leaders.)

Almost exactly fifty years ago a...

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The Practical Choice: Not American Capitalism or 'Welfare State Socialism' but an Economy That's Working for a Few or Many

(242) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 9:23 AM

For years Americans have assumed that our hard-charging capitalism is better than the soft-hearted version found in Canada and Europe. American capitalism might be a bit crueler but it generates faster growth and higher living standards overall. Canada's and Europe's "welfare-state socialism" is doomed.

It was a questionable assumption...

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Tim Geithner and the Wall Street Bailout Redux

(216) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 9:11 AM

Timothy Geithner's new book about the financial crisis, Stress Test, is basically an argument that the Wall Street bailout succeeded. That's hardly surprising, given that Geithner was in charge of the bailout when Treasury Secretary (as was his predecessor at Treasury, Hank Paulson), and so has an inherit interest in...

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How the Right Wing Is Killing Women

(446) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 5:59 PM

According to a report released last week in the widely-respected health research journal, The Lancet, the United States now ranks 60th out of 180 countries on maternal deaths occurring during pregnancy and childbirth.

To put it bluntly, for every 100,000 births in America last year, 18.5 women

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The Six Principles of the New Populism (and the Establishment's Nightmare)

(259) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 10:52 PM

More Americans than ever believe the economy is rigged in favor of Wall Street and big business and their enablers in Washington. We're five years into a so-called recovery that's been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for the middle class. "The game is rigged and the American...

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The 4 Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Inequality

(313) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 1:08 PM

Even though French economist Thomas Piketty has made an air-tight case that we're heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the nineteenth-century robber barons, right-wing conservatives haven't stopped lying about what's happening and what to do about it.

Herewith, the four biggest right-wing lies about inequality,...

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Les sociétés qui traitent leur PDG comme un roi et leurs employés comme des esclaves

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 11:44 AM

Jusqu'aux années 1980, les présidents d'entreprises étaient payés, en moyenne, 30 fois plus qu'un employé de premier échelon. Depuis, le salaire des PDG est monté en flèche, jusqu'à atteindre 280 fois le salaire d'un employé; et dans les grandes entreprises, ce chiffre peut atteindre les 354 fois.

Dans le...

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Ces compagnies qui traitent leur PDG comme un roi et leurs employés comme des esclaves

(2) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 9:47 AM

Jusqu'aux années 1980, les présidents d'entreprises étaient payés, en moyenne, 30 fois plus qu'un employé de premier échelon. Depuis, le salaire des PDG est monté en flèche, jusqu'à atteindre 280 fois le salaire d'un employé; et dans les grandes entreprises, ce chiffre peut atteindre les 354 fois.

Dans le...

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Raising Taxes on Corporations that Pay Their CEOs Royally and Treat Their Workers Like Serfs

(183) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 8:08 AM

Until the 1980s, corporate CEOs were paid, on average, 30 times what their typical worker was paid. Since then, CEO pay has skyrocketed to 280 times the pay of a typical worker; in big companies, to 354 times.

Meanwhile, over the same thirty-year time span the median American worker...

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Antitrust in the New Gilded Age

(41) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 9:20 AM

We're in a new gilded age of wealth and power similar to the first gilded age when the nation's antitrust laws were enacted. Those laws should prevent or bust up concentrations of economic power that not only harm consumers but also undermine our democracy -- such as the pending Comcast...

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