Apparently, some people think it's big news that Robert Reich has decided to publicly endorse Barack Obama. We shouldn't be surprised. For months now, Reich has been criticizing Hillary Clinton on his blog and elsewhere, distorting her policies and her positions. He's criticized Senator Clinton's solutions on the foreclosure crisis, on health care and trade. He's been in the Obama camp for some time.
Despite his reputation as a liberal and a friend of working men and women, Reich knows how to walk both sides of the street. I recall that he rarely, if ever, mentioned unions during his four years as Secretary of Labor. He has no problem backing proposals that cheer business more than labor, like ending the corporate income tax. If you read his recent book, Supercapitalism, you would think Steve Forbes was the writer. But no, it's the former Secretary of Labor calling for eliminating a tax that helps keep down the tax burden on working men and women across this nation. Does Senator Obama support that Reich idea? Is eliminating the corporate income tax going to be part of the "change we can believe in"?
Reich says that corporate responsibility is counterproductive. He thinks it's a distraction. That's beautiful. Here we have a former Secretary of Labor, someone who should know better, taking the GOP line that corporations need to focus on making money and forget about everything else. The movement for social responsibility has promoted ethical decision-making in business, community development programs, day-care centers, HIV-AIDS training, family-friendly workplaces, and more. To suggest that those developments are a distraction from the responsibility of corporations to amass profits for shareholders, as Secretary Reich does in his book, is shameful.
So is his support for NAFTA. Reich says unfair trade pacts bear no responsibility for the decline in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Two months ago, Reich wrote that "it's a shame the Democratic candidates for president feel they have to make trade - specifically NAFTA - the enemy of blue-collar workers and the putative cause of their difficulties. NAFTA is not to blame." He's wrong on NAFTA, just as Obama"s chief economic advisor Professor Goolsbee was wrong on NAFTA.
Now the question is: Does Senator Obama support fair trade when his friends Goolsbee and Reich say "No."