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

A Second American Civil War?

Imagine that an impeachment resolution against Trump passes the House. Trump claims it’s the work of the “deep state.” Fox News’s Sean Hannity demands every honest patriot take to the streets. Right-wing social media call for war. As insurrection spreads, Trump commands the armed forces to side with the “patriots.” Or it’s November 2020 and Trump has lost the election. He charges voter fraud, claiming that the “deep state” organized tens of millions of illegal immigrants to vote against him, and says he has an obligation not to step down. Demonstrations and riots ensue. Trump commands the armed forces to put them down. If these sound far-fetched, consider Trump’s torrent of lies, his admiration for foreign dictators, his off-hand jokes about being “president for life” (Xi Xinping “was able to do that,” he told admirers in March. “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some...

America's Megalomaniac

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File
I spent last week at a conference in South Korea, during which time Trump went from seeking a meeting with Kim Jong-Un to cancelling it, then suggesting it might be back on. “What does Trump want?” South Korean officials at the conference kept asking me. Notably, no one asked what the United States wants. They knew it was all about Trump. Trump’s goal has nothing to do with peace on the Korean peninsula, or even with making America great again. It’s all about making Trump feel great. “They are respecting us again,” Trump exulted to graduating cadets at the Naval Academy last Friday. “Winning is such a great feeling, isn’t it? Nothing like winning. You got to win.” In truth, the United States hasn’t won anything, in Korea or anywhere else. After 15 months of Trump at the helm, America is far less respected around the world than it was before. The only thing that’s happened is Trump is now making foreign policy on his own...

Trump's Curious Coalition

Trump’s strategy for keeping power is to build up his coalition of America’s white working class and the nation’s ownership class. It’s a curious coalition, to say the least. But if Democrats don’t respond to it, it could protect Trump from impeachment and even re-elect him. It just might create a permanent Republican majority around an axis of white resentment and great wealth. Two decades ago, Democrats and Republicans competed over the middle class. They battled over soccer moms and suburban “swing” voters. Since then the middle class has shrunk while the working class has grown, and vast wealth has been accumulated by a comparative few who now own a large portion of America. Some of their wealth has taken over American politics. Enter Trump. Counties whose voters shifted from Obama to Trump in 2016 had lost economic ground to the rest of America, even more than did solidly-Republican counties. Trump is counting on the unwavering support of...

Trump's Drug Pricing Scam

Trump promised to rein in drug prices. It was his only sensible campaign promise. But the plan he announced Friday does little but add another battering ram to his ongoing economic war against America’s allies. He calls it “American patients first,” and takes aim at what he calls “foreign freeloading.” The plan will pressure foreign countries to relax their drug price controls. America’s trading partners “need to pay more because they’re using socialist price controls, market access controls, to get unfair pricing,” said Alex Azar, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, who, perhaps not incidentally, was a former top executive at the drug maker Eli Lilly and Company. By this tortured logic, if other nations allow drug companies to charge whatever they want, U.S. drug companies will then lower prices in the United States. This is nonsensical. It would just mean more profits for U.S. drug companies. (Revealingly, the...

The Financial Hardships of Trump’s Friends

Trumponomics is a thin veneer of an excuse for giving America’s rich—already richer than ever—whatever they want, while sticking it to everyone else. 

The Environmental Protection Agency recently granted to an oil refinery owned by Carl Icahn a so-called “financial hardship” waiver. The exemption allows the refinery to avoid clean air laws, potentially saving Icahn millions of dollars. Icahn is not exactly a hardship case. According to Bloomberg ’s Billionaire Index, his net worth is $21.8 billion. Over the last four decades as a corporate raider, Icahn has pushed CEOs to cut payrolls, abandon their communities, and outsource jobs abroad in order to generate more money for him and other investors. In 1985, after winning control of the now-defunct Trans World Airlines, Icahn stripped its assets, pocketed nearly $500 million in profits, and left the airline more than $500 million in debt. Former TWA chair C.E. Meyer Jr. called Icahn “one of the greediest men on earth.” No single person has done more to harm America’s working class than Carl Icahn. Not surprisingly, Icahn was a Trump backer from the...

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