Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.

Recent Articles

Dictator Trump

AP Photo/Susan Walsh The shadow of President Donald Trump is cast on the wall as he speaks in the East Room of the White House. A president who claims he has an absolute right to declare a national emergency and spend government funds that Congress has explicitly refused to appropriate for the ends he seeks, is assuming the role of a dictator. A president who shuts down government in order to get his way on a controversial issue, such as building a wall along the border with Mexico, and offers to reopen it as a concession when and if his opponents give in, is treating the government of the United States as a bargaining chip. This, too, is the behavior of a dictator. As is spouting lies over what Trump terms an “undeniable crisis” at the southern U.S. border, which is in fact no crisis at all. Donald Trump is violating the Constitution. He is negating our system of government based on the rule of law. He is violating a president’s core responsibility to protect American democracy. But...

Trump Wants Socialism for the Rich, Harsh Capitalism for the Rest

AP Photo/Richard Drew, File The logo for Wells Fargo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. “ America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21 billion saved by the nation’s largest banks last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, more than 4,000 lower-level bank employees got a big dose of harsh capitalism. They lost their jobs. Banks that are too big to fail—courtesy of the 2008 bank bailout—enjoy a hidden subsidy of some $83 billion a year, because creditors facing less risk accept lower interest on deposits and loans. Last year, Wall Street’s bonus pool was $31.4...

The Disaster of Howard Schultz

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks in Seattle. T here are three big reasons why Howard Schultz’s self-proclaimed candidacy is troubling: 1. He could be a spoiler in 2020, splitting the vote and putting Trump back in the White House. Even Bill Burton, a former Obama adviser who has joined the Schultz team, publicly warned against third-party voting in 2016. 2. His message is without substance (he uses empty catchphrases like “silent majority” and “common sense solutions”) and his policy proposals are zilch. When asked by John Dickerson on CBS This Morning what his “big idea” was, Schultz declared: “The big idea is very simple: to unite the country. For us to come together. To do everything we can to realize that the promise of America is for everyone.” To the extent Schultz has defined his candidacy, it’s focused on what he’s against—for example, Democratic proposals to raise taxes and provide Medicare for All. 3. He represents the very worst aspect of...

The Fall of Davos Man

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber Attendees arrive at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. T he annual confab of the captains of global industry, finance, and wealth is underway in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum. Meanwhile, Oxfam reports that the wealth of the 2,200 billionaires across the globe increased by $900 billion last year—or $2.5 billion a day. Their 12 percent increase in wealth contrasts with a drop of 11 percent in the wealth of the bottom half of the people of the world. In fact, the world’s 26 richest billionaires now own as much as the 3.8 billion who comprise the bottom half of the planet’s population. If Davos’s attendees ignore all this, and blame the rise of right-wing populism around the globe on racism fueled by immigrants from the Middle East and from Central America, they’re deluding themselves. The real source of the rise of repressive authoritarianism, nativism, and xenophobia in the United States as well as Italy, Spain, Austria,...

Trump’s Assault on the Rule of Law

Olivier Douliery/ Abaca Press/Sipa via AP Images President Donald Trump's silhouette is seen in the window of the Oval Office as he departs the White House T he “rule of law” distinguishes democracies from dictatorships. It’s based on three fundamental principles. Trump is violating every one of them. The first principle is that no person is above the law, not even a president. Which means a president cannot stop an investigation into his alleged illegal acts. Yet Trump has done everything he can to stop the Mueller investigation, even making Matthew Whitaker acting attorney general—whose only distinction to date has been loud and public condemnation of that investigation. The second principle is that a president cannot prosecute political opponents. Decisions about whom to prosecute for alleged criminal wrongdoing must be made by prosecutors who are independent of politics. Yet Trump has repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to bring charges against Hillary Clinton, his 2016 rival...

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