Robert Reich

American political economist

Robert Bernard Reich (born June 24, 1946) is an American economist, professor, author, lawyer, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, as well as serving as the United States Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997 in the cabinet of President Bill Clinton. He was a member of President Barack Obama's economic transition advisory board.

Robert Reich University of Iowa Sep 7 2011



  • If nothing is done to counter present trends, the major fault line in American politics will no longer be between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. It will be between the 'establishment'—political insiders, power brokers, the heads of American business, Wall Street, and the mainstream media—and an increasingly mad-as-hell populace determined to 'take back America' from them.
    • Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, Reich, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (2010), p. 145
  • The U.S. economy crashes when it becomes too top heavy because the economy depends on consumer spending to keep it going... For a time, the middle class and poor can keep the economy going nonetheless by borrowing. But, as in 1929 and 2008, debt bubbles eventually burst. We're getting dangerously close. By the first quarter of this year, household debt was at an all-time high of $13.2 trillion.
  • Almost 80 percent of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.... 40 percent of Americans said they wouldn't be able to pay their bills if faced with a $400 emergency. The underlying problem isn't that Americans have been living beyond their means. It's that their means haven't been keeping up with the growing economy. Most gains have gone to the top...
  • Trump and his Republican enablers are now reversing regulations put in place to stop Wall Street's excessively risky lending. But Trump's real contributions to the next crash are his sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, rollback of overtime pay, burdens on labor organizing, tax reductions for corporations and the wealthy but not for most workers, cuts in programs for the poor, and proposed cuts in Medicare and Medicaid—all of which put more stress on the paychecks of most Americans.
  • Wealthy corporations and their enablers have spread 5 big lies about unions in order to stop workers from organizing... Know the truth and spread the truth. Lie #1: Labor unions are bad for workers. Wrong. Unions are good for all workers – even those who are not unionized... Lie #2: Unions hurt the economy. Wrong again. When workers are unionized they can negotiate better wages, which in turn spreads the economic gains more evenly and strengthens the middle class... Lie #3: Labor unions are as powerful as big business. No way. Labor union membership in 2018 accounted for 10.5 percent of the American workforce, while large corporations account for almost three-quarters of the entire American economy... most economic gains have been going to executives and shareholders rather than workers... Lie #4: Most unionized workers are in industries like steel and auto manufacturing. Untrue... the largest part of the unionized workforce is workers in the professional and service sectors – retail, restaurant, hotel, hospital, teachers–which comprise 59% of all workers represented by a union... In 2018, unionized service workers earned a median wage of 802 dollars a week. Non-unionized service workers made on average, $261 less... Lie #5: Most unionized workers are white, male, and middle-aged. Some unionized workers are, of course, but most newly-unionized workers are not... Today’s unions are growing, expanding, and boosting the wages and economic prospects of those who need them most.

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few (2015)Edit

  • Government doesn’t "intrude" on the "free market." It creates the market.
  • Those who argue for "less government" area really arguing for a different government—often one that favors them or their patrons.
  • The critical things to watch out for aren't the rare big events, such as the 2008 bailout of the Street itself, but the ongoing multitude of small rule changes that continuously alter the economic game. ... The "free market" is a myth that prevents us from examining these rule changes and asking whom they serve. The myth is therefore highly useful to those who do not wish such an examination to be undertaken.


  • The coronavirus has starkly revealed what most of us already knew: The concentration of wealth in America has created a health care system in which the wealthy can buy care others can’t. It’s also created an education system in which the super-rich can buy admission to college for their children, a political system in which they can buy Congress and the presidency, and a justice system in which they can buy their way out of jail... The system is rigged. But we can fix it... The great divide in American politics isn’t between right and left. The underlying contest is between a small minority who have gained power over the system, and the vast majority who have little or none. Forget politics as you’ve come to see it – as contests between Democrats and Republicans. The real divide is between democracy and oligarchy....
  • The oligarchy understands that a “divide-and-conquer” strategy gives them more room to get what they want without opposition... oligarchies cannot hold on to power forever... When a vast majority of people come to view an oligarchy as illegitimate and an obstacle to their wellbeing, oligarchies become vulnerable. As bad as it looks right now, the great strength of this country is our resilience. We bounce back. We have before. We will again. In order for real change to occur – in order to reverse the vicious cycle in which we now find ourselves – the locus of power in the system will have to change. The challenge we face is large and complex, but we are well suited for the fight ahead. Together, we will dismantle the oligarchy. Together, we will fix the system.
  • Racism is used by those with wealth and power to divide those with neither, so they won’t see where all the wealth and power have gone.
  • Your reminder that America's richest 1 percent now own half the value of the U.S. stock market. The richest 10 percent own 92 percent. So when Trump says the stock market is the economy, know who he's really talking about.
  • As the pandemic surges back, Trump and his lackeys have:
—Tried to dismantle the Affordable Care Act
—Rallied to pass a $740,000,000,000 defense spending bill
—Declined extending additional unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans
Their priorities are crystal clear.
  • So let me get this straight: Extending additional unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans during a pandemic will make them lazy and lead to socialism, but trillions in bailouts to Wall St. bankers and corporate execs is good for the economy?
  • 20,000,000 Americans are at risk of being evicted by September 30.
21,000,000 unemployed Americans will stop receiving expanded benefits on July 31.
16,200,000 American households have lost employer-provided health insurance.
Sound the alarm.
  • Please, for the love of god, do not rush an unsafe vaccine for political purposes.
  • Every company in America should require all workers to be vaccinated, period.
  • Last night I deleted a tweet because it was widely misinterpreted and distorted by conservative media. "Back of the hand" is an idiom for rebuke. I wholeheartedly condemn violence against women.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: