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

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...

How Trump’s War on Regulation Is Trickle-Down Economics

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Trump on August 2, 2018, at a rally in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania trickle-downers.jpg W hen Trump’s not blaming foreigners for everything that ails America, he’s blaming regulations. Last week, he even blamed regulations for the wildfires now ravaging California. They’re “made so much worse,” he tweeted , “by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount[s] of readily available water to be properly utilized.” I have news for Trump. California’s tough environmental laws are among America’s (and the world’s) last bulwarks against climate change. And it’s climate change—not regulation—that’s wreaking havoc across California as well as much of the rest of the world. Oh, and Californians are using water very carefully. Yet Trump is pushing in the opposite direction. He’s now proposing to let cars pollute more and to strip California of its right to set higher air-quality rules . It’s not just the environment. Trump is also gutting regulations that...

Where Trump Sees Foreign Danger

Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP Immigrant rights' activists march towards the University of Georgia Arch downtown in Athens, Georgia. W hat’s the most worrisome foreign intrusion into the United States—unauthorized immigrants, Chinese imports, or interference in our democracy? For Trump, it’s immigrants and imports. He doesn’t care much about the third. “Border security is national security,” Trump said last week, as he threatened a government shutdown if Congress didn’t come up with money to build a wall along the Mexican border (at an estimated cost at least $25 billion). Meanwhile, Trump has ordered his administration to consider raising tariff rates on $200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting China to threaten higher tariffs on $60 billion more of American goods. Yet Trump continues to assert that talk of Russian meddling in American elections is “a big hoax.” And his White House still has no coordinated plan for dealing with it. Trump has it backwards. Illegal...

Six Reasons for Hope in Trump Times

Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP Demonstrators hold signs as they participate in the "Families Belong Together: Freedom for Immigrants" march in Los Angeles I n these darkest of days, here’s what gives me hope: First, Donald Trump has been a giant wake-up call that we can’t take democracy for granted. The young people of America get this. I’ve been teaching for 40 years and I don’t recall a generation as committed to social justice, reforming this country, and making it work for all and not just a few. Look at those kids in Parkland, Florida. Or the millions more who are getting involved in their communities and in politics. They are America’s future, and they won’t give up. The second thing that makes me optimistic is occurring at the grassroots of America, where there’s more activism than I remember in half a century. The #MeToo movement, Time’s Up, #BlackLivesMatter, #Neveragain, the Poor People’s Campaign, Indivisible.org, Swingleft.org . They and thousands of other groups and millions...

We're Living a Constitutional Crisis

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House I keep hearing that if Trump fires Mueller, we’ll face a “constitutional crisis.” Or if Mueller subpoenas Trump to testify and Trump defies the subpoena, it’s a “constitutional crisis.” Or if Mueller delivers substantial evidence that Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or of obstructing justice, and the House does nothing to impeach him, we have a “constitutional crisis.” Well, I have news for you. We’re already in a “constitutional crisis.” You see, the Constitution is a tiny document. It requires that presidents and others in positions of power be bound by norms, unwritten rules, and long-established understandings of their constitutional responsibilities. Yet look at what’s happened since January 2017: Trump fires the head of the FBI and conjures up a plot that the FBI installed a spy in his campaign; blames the entire Mueller investigation on a conspiratorial “deep...

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