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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

Trustworthy Hillary

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2016 | 8:53 AM

Hillary Clinton's 6-point lead over Donald Trump in last month's CBS News poll has now evaporated. As of mid-July (even before Trump enjoys a predictable post-convention bump in the polls) she is tied with him. Each garners the support of 40 percent of voters.

This...

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Trustworthy Hillary

(267) Comments | Posted July 15, 2016 | 8:21 AM

Hillary Clinton's 6-point lead over Donald Trump in last month's CBS News poll has now evaporated. As of mid-July (even before Trump enjoys a predictable post-convention bump in the polls) she is tied with him. Each garners the support of 40 percent of voters.

This...

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Bernie's 7 Legacies

(2) Comments | Posted July 12, 2016 | 2:30 PM

Bernie Sanders's campaign is now officially over, but the movement he began is still just beginning. He's provided it seven big legacies:

First, Bernie has helped open America's eyes to the power of big money corrupting our democracy and thereby rigging our economy to its advantage and everyone else's disadvantage.

Polls now show huge majorities of Americans think moneyed interests have too much sway in Washington. And thanks, in large part, to Bernie's campaign, progressives on Capitol Hill are readying a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and bills requiring full disclosure of donors, ending gerrymandering, and providing automatic voter registration.

None of these will get anywhere in a Republican-controlled Congress, but they will give progressives a powerful theme for the upcoming election. It's called democracy.

Second, Bernie has shown that it's possible to win elections without depending on big money from corporations, Wall Street, and billionaires. He came close to winning the Democratic nomination on the basis of millions of small donations from average working people. No longer can a candidate pretend to believe in campaign finance reform but say they have to take big money because their opponent does.

Third, Bernie has educated millions of Americans about why we must have a single-payer health-care system and free tuition at public universities, and why we must resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act and bust up the biggest banks. These issues will be front and center in every progressive campaign from here out, at all levels of American politics.

Fourth,the Sanders campaign has brought millions of young people into politics, ignited their energy and enthusiasm and idealism.

Fifth, the movement Bernie ignited has pushed Hillary Clinton to take more progressive positions on issues ranging from the minimum wage to the Trans Pacific Partnership, the XL Pipeline, Wall Street, and Social Security.

Sixth, he's taught Americans how undemocratic the Democratic Party's system for picking candidates really is. Before Bernie's candidacy, not many people were paying attention to so-called "super-delegates" or whether independents could vote, or how primary elections and caucuses were run. From now on, people will pay attention. And the Democratic National Committee will be under pressure to make fundamental changes.

Seventh is the real possibility Bernie has inspired of a third party - if the Democratic Party doesn't respond to the necessity of getting big money out of politics and reversing widening inequality, if it doesn't begin to advocate for a single-payer healthcare system, or push hard for higher taxes on the wealthy -- including a wealth tax -- to pay for better education and better opportunities for everyone else, if it doesn't expand Social Security and lift the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax, if it doesn't bust up the biggest banks and strengthen antitrust laws, and expand voting rights.

If it doesn't act on these critical issues. the Democratic Party will become irrelevant to the future of America, and a third party will emerge to address them.

Bernie, we thank you for your courage, your inspiration, your tireless dedication, and your vision. And we will continue the...

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The Huckster Populist

(8) Comments | Posted July 6, 2016 | 12:48 PM

The tectonic plates of American politics are no longer moving along the old fault lines of "left" versus "right" or even Democrat versus Republican.

As we've seen this bizarre political year, the biggest force welling up is rage against insider elites in both parties, and against the American establishment as...

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The 5 Principles of Patriotism

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2016 | 11:01 AM

We talk a lot about Patriotism, especially around July 4th, but we need also to take to heart its five basic principles.

First: True patriotism isn't simply about waving the American flag. And it's not mostly about securing our borders, putting up walls and keeping others out.

It's about coming together for the common good.

Second: Real patriotism is not cheap. It requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going - being willing to pay taxes in full rather than seeking tax loopholes and squirreling away money abroad. Not just voting but becoming politically active, volunteering time and energy to improving this country.

Third: Patriotism is about preserving, fortifying, and protecting our democracy, not inundating it with big money and buying off politicians. It means defending the right to vote and ensuring more Americans are heard, not fewer.

Fourth: True patriots don't hate the government of the United States. They're proud of their country and know the government is a tool to help us solve problems together. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve our government, not destroy it.

Finally, patriots don't pander to divisiveness. They don't fuel racist or religious or ethnic divisions. They aren't homophobic or sexist or racist.

To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen and celebrate the "we" in "we the people of the United...

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The Choice Of Patriotism

(57) Comments | Posted June 28, 2016 | 1:59 PM

We hear a lot about patriotism, especially around the Fourth of July. But in 2016 we're hearing about two very different types of patriotism. One is an inclusive patriotism that binds us together. The other is an exclusive patriotism that keeps others out.

Through most of our history we've understood...

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Por que Donald Trump pode ganhar a eleição dos Estados Unidos

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2016 | 1:40 PM

Uma nova pesquisa "Washington Post/ABC News divulgada recentemente aponta Donald Trump e Hillary Clinton num empate estatístico, com Trump à frente de Clinton por 46% a 44% entre os eleitores registrados.

É um avanço de 11 pontos percentuais contra Clinton desde março.

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A Big Idea For Hillary

(447) Comments | Posted June 20, 2016 | 8:28 AM

If Donald Trump continues to implode, Hillary Clinton will win simply by being the presidential candidate who isn't Trump.

But the prospect of a President Trump is so terrifying that Hillary shouldn't take any chances. The latest match-up polls show her about 6 points ahead --...

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8 Reasons Why Republicans Must Dump Trump

(31) Comments | Posted June 12, 2016 | 5:05 PM

The Republican Party still has time to change its mind. Right now it's supporting for President of the United States a man:

1. Who divides us by race and ethnicity and religion.

He says undocumented Americans "bring drugs, crime, they're rapists." That the Mexican government "sends bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them." And who says he'll round up and deport all 11 million undocumented workers in the United States.

This is a man who equivocated on repudiating an endorsement from David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan. And when asked to repudiate the vicious anti-semitism of some of his followers said "I don't have a message to the fans."

A man who claimed "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the Twin Towers collapsing, when there's no evidence at all to support that statement. And whose response to terrorism is to prevent all Muslims from coming into the United States.

A man who says black criminals are responsible for 81 percent of homicides against whites, which turns out to be a racist myth.

2. Whose incendiary lies are inciting violence across this land, but he excuses them.

When he learned that some of his supporters punched, kicked and spit on protesters of color at his rallies, he said "people who are following me are very passionate."

When a handful of white supporters punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester at another of his rallies, he said "maybe he should have been roughed up."

3. Who bullies, humiliates, and threatens those who dare cross him.

He mocks their physical characteristics, makes up lies about them, degrades them, tries to intimidate them by unleashing hostile attacks on the Internet - announcing, for example, that a family who donated money to a political opponent "better be careful, they have a lot to hide."

He calls a federal judge who's considering a case against Trump University a "total disgrace" and a "hater," and alleging he's Mexican although he was born in the United States.

4. Who spreads baseless conspiracy theories.

He conjectured that President Obama was not born in the United States, and that the government hid information about the Ebola virus and a plague would start in America if flights from Ebola infected countries weren't cancelled. He opined thatTed Cruz's father was with Lee Harvey Oswald during the Kennedy assasination in Dallas, and that child health vaccinations cause autism.

And he suggested that the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia might have been a part of a plot.

Such baseless conspiracy theories can do great damage, when, for example, parents don't vaccinate their children because they fear autism.

5. Whose hateful and demeaning attitudes toward women and boastful claims of sexual dominance have been filling the airwaves for years.

They're best summed up in an interview where he said "women, you have to treat them like shit."

6. Who believes climate change is not caused by humans, contrary to all scientific proof.

And he calls for more fossil fuel drilling and fewer environmental regulations, vows to cancel the Paris agreement committing nearly every nation to curbing climate change, and to rescind Obama's rules to curb planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants.

7. Who proposes using torture against terrorists, and punishing their families, both in clear violation of international law.

And if all this weren't enough,

8. Who wants to cut taxes on the rich, giving the wealthiest one tenth of one percent an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million each every year - exploding the national debt and endangering the future of Social Security and Medicare.

This man is Donald Trump, and the Republican Party wants him to be President of the United States.

Why are there so few statesmen left in the Republican Party? Are there no principled Republicans whose loyalty to the nation is greater than their eagerness to win back the White House? No Republican leaders with the courage to stand up and say this is wrong -- that this man doesn't have the character or the temperament to be president, and his election would endanger America and everything we believe in and stand for?

If not, shame on them.

Republicans still have time to dump Trump. For the good of the country and the world, they...

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A Public Note to my Friend, Bernie Sanders

(11) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 4:04 PM

Dear Bernie,

I don't know what you're going to do from here on, and I'm not going to advise you. You've earned the right to figure out the next steps for your campaign and the movement you have launched.

But let me tell you this: You've already succeeded.

At the...

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It's Not Over Until It's Over

(166) Comments | Posted June 5, 2016 | 4:23 PM

This morning I heard from an old friend here in California who said "I'm for Bernie, but he doesn't really have a chance anymore. So isn't my vote for him in the California primary just prolonging the agony, and indirectly helping Trump?"

I told him:

1. True, the electoral numbers...

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Por qué hay posibilidades de que Donald Trump gane las elecciones

(2) Comments | Posted May 29, 2016 | 10:15 AM

Según un nuevo sondeo publicado el 22 de mayo en el periódico Washington Post y en ABC News, Donald Trump y Hillary Clinton tendrían un empate estadístico: Trump se llevaría un 46% de los votos registrados y Hillary, un 44%. Se habría producido una variación del 11% con...

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Advice for Divided Democrats

(1266) Comments | Posted May 27, 2016 | 7:47 AM

With the Democratic primaries grinding to a bitter end, I have suggestions for both Clinton and Sanders supporters that neither will like.

First, my advice to Clinton supporters: Don't try to drum Bernie Sanders out of the race before Hillary Clinton officially gets the nomination (if she in fact does...

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Into the World of Work

(5) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 9:25 AM

What do you need to know -- about the new world of work, but also about yourself -- as you graduate and launch yourself into the world of work? We made a short film of my last class of the semester, where I speak to graduating seniors about these questions...

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Why Trump Might Win

(537) Comments | Posted May 22, 2016 | 10:09 PM

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday finds Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie, with Trump leading Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. That's an 11 percent swing against Clinton since March.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll,...

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Why Trump Might Win

(15) Comments | Posted May 22, 2016 | 7:49 PM

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday finds Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie, with Trump leading Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. That's an 11 percent swing against Clinton since March.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal...

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The Third Way: Share-the-Gains Capitalism

(199) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 2:41 PM

Marissa Mayer tells us a lot about why Americans are so angry, and why anti-establishment fury has become the biggest single force in American politics today.

Mayer is CEO of Yahoo. Yahoo's stock lost about a third of its value last year, as the company went from making $7.5...

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Why Is the Racial Wealth Gap Widening? And What Should Be Done to Reverse it?

(197) Comments | Posted April 27, 2016 | 5:30 PM


Wealth inequality is even more of a problem than income inequality. That's because you have to have enough savings from income to begin to accumulate wealth -- buying a house or investing in stocks and bonds, or saving up to send a child to college.

But many Americans have almost no savings, so they have barely any wealth. Two-thirds live paycheck to paycheck.

Once you have wealth, it generates its own income as the value of that wealth increases over time, generating dividends and interest, and then even more when those assets are sold.

This is why wealth inequality is compounding faster than income inequality. The richest top 1% own 40% of the nation's wealth. The bottom 80% own just 7%.

Wealth is also transferred from generation to generation, not only in direct transfers, but also in access to the best schools and universities. Young people who get college degrees are overwhelmingly from wealthier families.

Which is why kids from low-income families, without such wealth, start out at a huge disadvantage. This is especially true for children of color from low-income families. Such families typically rent rather than own a house, and don't earn enough to have any savings.

Throughout much of America's history, the federal government has given families tax breaks in order to help them save and build assets -- such as paying no tax on income that's put away for retirement, and being able to deduct interest on home mortgages.

But these tax breaks mainly help those with high income and lots of wealth in the first place, who can afford to put away lots for retirement or get a large mortgage on a huge home. They don't much help those with low incomes and minimal savings.

Families of color are especially disadvantaged because they're less likely to have savings or inherit wealth, and face significant barriers to building wealth, such as discriminatory policies and practices that thwart home ownership.

These structural disadvantages have built up to the point where the median net worth of white families is now more than 10 times greater than that of African-American or Latino families.

So what can we do to help all Americans accumulate wealth?

First, reform the tax system so capital gains -- increases in the value of assets -- are taxed at the same rate as ordinary income.

Second, limit how much mortgage interest the wealthy can deduct from their incomes.

Then use the tax savings from these changes to help lower-income people gain a foothold in building their own wealth.

For example:

1. Provide every newborn child with a savings account consisting of at least $1,250 -- and more if a child is from a low-income family. This sum will compound over the years into a solid nest egg.

Research shows it could reduce the racial wealth gap by nearly 20% -- more if deposits are larger. At age 18, that young person could use the money for tuition or training, a business or a home. Studies show such accounts can change children's behavior and increase the likelihood they'll attend college.

2. Allow families receiving public benefits to save. Today a family receiving public assistance can be cut off for having saved just $1,000. Raise the limits on what a family can save to at least $12,000 -- roughly three months' income for a low-income family of four -- and thereby put that family on the road to self-sufficiency.

All these steps would allow families to invest in their own futures -- which is the surest way out of poverty. All of us benefit when everyone has the opportunity to accumulate...

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The Endgame of 2016′s Anti-Establishment Politics

(139) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 7:57 AM

Will Bernie Sanders's supporters rally behind Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination? Likewise, if Donald Trump is denied the Republican nomination, will his supporters back whoever gets the Republican nod?

If 2008 is any guide, the answer is unambiguously yes to both. About 90 percent of people who backed...

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The New Common Ground Between Populist Left and Right

(163) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 1:40 PM

The old debate goes something like this:

'You don't believe women have reproductive rights."

"You don't value human life."

Or this:

"You think everyone should own a gun."

"You think we're safer if only criminals have them."

Or this:

"You don't care about poor people."

"You think they're better off with handouts."

Or this:

"You want to cut taxes on the rich."

"You want to tax everyone to death."

But we're seeing the emergence of a new debate where the populist left and right are on the same side:

Both are against the rich to spend as much as they want corrupting our democracy.

Both are against crony capitalism.

Both are against corporate welfare.

Both are against another Wall Street bailout.

Both want to stop subsidizing Big Agriculture, Big Oil, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Both want to close the tax loophole for hedge fund partners.

Both want to ban inside trading on Wall Street.

Both want to stop CEOs from pumping up share prices with stock buy-backs ... and then cashing in their stock options.

Both want to stop tax deductions of CEO pay over $1 million.

Both want to get big money out of politics, reverse Citizens United, and restore our democracy.

If we join together, we can make these things happen.

ROBERT B. REICH's new book, "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few," is now out. His film "Inequality for All" is now available on DVD and blu-ray, and on Netflix. Watch the trailer below:

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