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

The Three Big Lessons We Didn’t Learn from the Economic Crisis

AP Photo/Richard Drew, Fil Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange T en years ago, after making piles of money gambling with other people’s money, Wall Street nearly imploded, and the outgoing George W. Bush and incoming Obama administrations bailed out the bankers. America should have learned three big lessons from the crisis. We didn’t, to our continuing peril. First unlearned lesson: Banking is a risky business with huge upsides for the few who gamble in it, but bigger downsides for the public when those bets go bad. Which means that safeguards are necessary. The safeguards created after Wall Street’s 1929 crash worked for over four decades. They made banking boring. But starting in the 1980s, they were watered down or repealed because of Wall Street’s increasing thirst for profits and its growing political clout. As politicians from both parties grew dependent on the Street for campaign funding, the rush to deregulate turned into a stampede. It began in 1982 when...

Kavanaugh Will Further Divide Us

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, takes his seat after a break before starting a third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. Y ale Law School, from which Brett Kavanaugh got his law degree, issued a statement about him with glowing quotes from professors attesting to his impeccable legal credentials. Perhaps the Yale Law faculty deemed his credentials impeccable because he graduated from Yale Law School. Then again, Clarence Thomas also graduated from Yale Law School (as, in full disclosure, did I). The reason Kavanaugh should not be confirmed has nothing to do with his legal credentials. It’s the blatantly partisan process used by Trump and Senate Republicans to put him on the Supreme Court. The framers of the Constitution understood that Americans would disagree about all manner of things, often passionately. Which is why they came up with a Constitution that’s largely a...

The Next Crash

AP Photo/Richard Drew A screen above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows an intra-day number for the S&P 500 index S eptember 15 will mark the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and near meltdown of Wall Street, followed by the Great Recession. Since hitting bottom in 2009, the economy has grown steadily, the stock market has soared, and corporate profits have ballooned. But most Americans are still living in the shadow of the Great Recession. More have jobs, to be sure. But they haven’t seen any rise in their wages, adjusted for inflation. Many are worse off due to the escalating costs of housing, healthcare, and education. And the value of whatever assets they own is less than in 2007. Last year, about 40 percent of American families struggled to meet at least one basic need—food, health care, housing, or utilities, according to an Urban Institute survey. All of which suggests we’re careening toward the same sort of crash we had in 2008, and...

Don’t Just Impeach Trump. Annul His Presidency.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Charleston, West Virginia. T he only way I see the end of Trump is if there’s overwhelming evidence he rigged the 2016 election. In which case impeachment isn’t an adequate remedy. His presidency should be annulled. Let me explain. Many people are convinced we’re already witnessing the beginning of the end of Trump. In their view, bombshell admissions from Trump insiders with immunity from prosecution, combined with whatever evidence Robert Mueller uncovers about Trump’s obstruction of justice and his aide’s collusion with the Russians, will all tip the scales. Democrats will take back the House and begin an impeachment, and the evidence of impeachable offenses will put enough pressure on Republican senators to send Trump packing. I don’t believe this for a moment. First, the Senate has never in history convicted a president of impeachment. Second, even if Democrats flip the House in November, Republicans will...

Musk, Trump, and the Second Gilded Age

AP Photo/Richard Drew SpaceX billionaire founder and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk I ’ve long admired Elon Musk as a technological visionary. But I worry about his sense of responsibility to the public. Last week, Musk announced on Twitter that he intended to turn Tesla, the electric car maker he founded, into a private company. He said the funding was “secured”—a claim that sent Tesla stock skyrocketing—yet he produced no evidence that the funding was nailed down. There are laws against corporate officials making these sorts of untethered claims, because if untrue they could hurt lots of innocent bystanders—including unwary investors and employees. Does Musk’s behavior remind you of any other powerful person who also makes unfounded claims on Twitter that send heads spinning? Donald Trump is no Elon Musk. Musk seems to genuinely care about the future of humanity. But, like Trump, Musk loves to upend the status quo by breaking norms and maybe even some laws. He also seems share Trump’s...

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