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 Great Divide

D ot-com billionaires are sprouting like spring crocuses, and their money is trickling down through the rich topsoil of America. The average pay of chief executives of major companies rose 18 percent in 1999, to $12 million. (Back in 1990, it was a modest $1.8 million.) Fearful of the dot-com brain drain, big law firms just hiked the pay of first-year associates to $120,000, not including signing bonuses. Wall Street investment banks, facing the same threat, are even raising the pay of analysts just out of college, to more than $75,000. The frenzy knows no bounds. Setting a new moral example for college students across America, the president of Brown University, not content with a meager $300,000 salary, just jumped ship after only a year and a half for another university that offered three times as much. Fed chief Alan Greenspan fears that all this prosperity is causing consumers to buy more than the economy can produce, which means that inflation is just around the corner. So...

Look Who Demands Profits Above All

Los Angeles Times Despite the populist rhetoric of this campaign season, many traditional Democrats are pushing companies to generate higher returns regardless of social responsibility. These Democrats may not mean to do it, but this is the practical consequence of how they're saving for retirement. American teachers, civil servants, unionized workers, college professors and similar Democratic stalwarts are putting their savings into giant funds like TIAA-CREF, the $ 290-billion teachers' retirement system, and the $ 175-billion California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS. The teachers and others want the highest returns they can get. So the large institutional investors are demanding that companies make big profits and boost their share prices. In recent years, institutional investors have been active in ousting chief executives at IBM, AT&T, Sears, General Motors, Xerox, Coca-Cola, Aetna, Compaq Computer and other blue-chip American corporations that didn't boost...

Why You're Spending More Time in Airports

Broadcast June 8, 2001 Have you ever got to an airport to discover your flight's been delayed an hour or two, or more? Or its been cancelled altogether? Or after your plane leaves the gate, you spend the next hour on the runway waiting for it to take off? And as a result, you miss your connecting flight, and you don t get to the wedding or a funeral or meeting you had to get to? Join the crowd. America's entire air traffic system is overwhelmed, failing to keep up with growing demand for air travel. So now the Federal Aviation Administration comes up with a new 10-year plan, featuring more runways, bigger airports, and better technology. Fine. But the FAA has been promising these things for years, and they haven't happened. Since 1978 only one major new airport in America. In the last decade only a handful of new runways. And the last time the FAA tried a major overhaul of air-traffic technology it wasted billions of dollars on a system that didn't work. The FAA's new plan doesn't...

American Optimism and Consumer Confidence

Broadcast Sept 18, 2001 Ask somebody who's not from the United States to describe Americans, and almost invariably you'll get a description of someone who's outgoing and upbeat. No challenge is too great for us, no obstacle too high. In fact, to the outsider, our overwhelmingly sunny view of life sometimes seems a bit naive, our boundless enthusiasm rather childlike. American optimism carries over into our economy, which is one reason why we've always been a nation of inventors and tinkerers, of innovators and experimenters and why we're the most productive economy in the world. Optimism also explains why we save so little and spend so much. As long as such things have been measured and compared, Americans have had the lowest rate of saving and the highest rate of personal spending of any major economy, and over the last decade, we've saved less and less and spent more and more. Our willingness to go deep into debt and keep spending is intimately related to our optimism and our...

The treadmill of the new economy

Interview by A J Vogl Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich looks at why so many people feel they're running just to stay in place. Robert B. Reich makes it look easy-from university to government back to university again. In 1992, he left Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to serve as secretary of labor during the first Clinton administration-the third in which Reich has served. Four years later, he resigned that position; currently, he is a professor of social and economic policy at Brandeis University and its Heller Graduate School. But while Reich returned to academe, he didn't retire to academe. He keeps busy writing books (eight at last count), is a regular commentator on National Public Radio's "Marketplace," and is national editor of The American Prospect magazine, which he co-founded. He has also been quoted as being interested in running for governor of Massachusetts. Reich's latest book, The Future of Success (Knopf), is related to his magnum opus, 1991's The Work of...

Pages