Robert Reich

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Professor Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich (born June 24, 1946) is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three U.S. presidential administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written numerous books, including The Work of Nations; best-sellers Aftershock and Saving Capitalism; and most recently The Common Good. His commentary has appeared in The Atlantic,[1] New York Times,[2] Washington Post, [3] and Wall Street Journal.[4] Reich is a co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, where he writes weekly articles.[5] He also contributes to the economic radio program Marketplace.[6]

News and Controversy

Criticisms of Trump

Reich has been a frequent critic of Donald Trump, calling him an "authoritarian",[7] a "sociopath",[8] and "a clear and present danger to us all".[9] He has also accused Trump of failing to uphold his "fundamental responsibility... to protect our system of government" and undermining the "core values of our democracy".[10]

Reich has also called for Trump's impeachment several times, beginning fewer than three months after he assumed office in 2017.[11][12][13]

He has also criticized the economy under Trump, calling the stock market gains following the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a "sugar high"[14][15] and worrying Trump's China tariffs "could put us into a recession".[16] Despite strong economic growth and unemployment numbers during much of Trump's first term, Reich has pointed out, "almost 80% of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck",[17] "the costs of education, childcare, housing, and healthcare are soaring",[17] and many Americans face hurdles such as stuck wages, being stuck in part-time employment, and being overqualified for their jobs.[18] Reich also mocked Trump's National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow in an MSNBC interview, claiming he had made "quite a lot of money" from betting on the opposite outcome of Kudlow's economic predictions.[14]

Inequality Media

In 2014, Reich co-founded Inequality Media, which he described as "a kind of institution that would enable us to do videos and frame the issues correctly, get the right information, understand public policies, understand politics." Reich hoped to create videos to counteract the trend of lies and misleading statements, saying "There is so much mythology... false statements... so much confusion that people want and desperately need to know the truth."[19] He hopes to use this video platform to "inform and engage the public about the realities and impacts of inequality and imbalance of power in America."[20]

As of September 2019, Inequality Media has produced over 200 videos,[21] about half focused on understanding the economy[22] and democracy.[23] Reich has also interviewed progressive politicians Ro Khanna, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren on this channel.[24]

Theater Production

In 2005, Reich released a political satire play called Public Exposure, which featured a rightwing talk show host as the main character.[25]

Tobacco Issues

On March 25, 1994, as U.S. Secretary of Labor, Reich proposed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enact sweeping rules to dramatically improve the quality of indoor air for American workers, including reducing workers' exposure to secondhand smoke on the job.

The indoor air quality provisions of the proposed rule were to apply to over 4-1/2 million work sites, and the environmental tobacco smoke provisions of this proposed rule would have applied to the over 6 million work sites that are under OSHA's jurisdiction. The proposal would require affected employers to develop and implement indoor air quality compliance plans which would include measures such as inspection and maintenance. For buildings where smoking was not already prohibited by employers or by local requirements, the proposal would require designated smoking areas which are separate and which have outside exhaust systems. The rules were proposed to protect America's working men and women from heart disease,lung cancer,pulmonary tract infections and countless other diseases and illnesses all linked to poor indoor air quality and environmental tobacco smoke, according to the transcript of the press conference where the rules were announced.[1]

The tobacco industry immediately started organizing opposition to Occupational Safety and Health Administration provisions to regulate environmental tobacco smoke.[2]



Reich has been a faculty member at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and at Brandeis University.

As the nation’s 22nd Secretary of Labor, Reich implemented the Family and Medical Leave Act, led a national fight against sweatshops in the U.S. and illegal child labor around the world, headed the administration’s successful effort to raise the minimum wage, secured worker’s pensions, and launched job-training programs, one-stop career centers, and school-to-work initiatives. Under his leadership, the Department of Labor won more than 30 awards for innovation. A 1996 poll of cabinet experts conducted by the Hearst newspapers rated him the most effective cabinet secretary during the Clinton administration.


From the Hoover Institution

Members of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace have criticized Reich's book Saving Capitalism[33] and a written article in Salon, where he called for higher wages.[34]


In Harvard Business Review, Reich's book Supercapitalism met criticism for its assertion that the government, rather than corporations, should be responsible for solving social problems.[35]



In 2003, Reich was awarded the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Prize for his pioneering work in economic and social thought.[36][37]

In 2008, Time Magazine named Reich among its "Top 10 Best Cabinet Members".[38]

Contact Information

Robert Reich, Carmel P. Friesen Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley
Phone (Assistant Aarin Walker): (510) 642-0560
Facebook: /RBReich
Twitter: @RBReich

Resources and articles

External links


  1. The Atlantic, Robert Reich, organizational website, accessed September 11, 2019.
  2. New York Times, Robert B. Reich, organizational website, accessed September 11, 2019 (subscription needed).
  3. Jennifer Rubin, Robert Reich is Right: Stop Pushing College on Every Kid, Washington Post, March 23, 2015, accessed September 11, 2019 (subscription needed)
  4. Robert Reich, The Necessity of Obamanomics, February 4, 2010, accessed September 11, 2019 (subscription needed).
  5. American Prospect, Robert Reich, organizational website, accessed September 11, 2019.
  6. Marketplace, Robert Reich, organizational website, accessed September 11, 2019.
  7. Democracy Now!, "Robert Reich: Donald Trump Isn’t a Conservative, He is an Authoritarian", Democracy Now!, March 1, 2016, accessed September 26, 2019.
  8. Jonathan Vanian, "Robert Reich Accuses Donald Trump Of Behaving Like a Sociopath", Forbes, February 8, 2017, accessed September 26, 2019.
  9. Robert Reich, "Robert Reich: Trump Is a Clear and Present Danger to Us All", Truthdig, September 19, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  10. Robert Reich, "Robert Reich: The real scandal of Donald Trump", Salon, March 28, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  11. Robert Reich, "Robert Reich: There are at least four grounds to impeach Trump", Salon, April 7, 2017, accessed September 26, 2019.
  12. Robert Reich, "There are many reasons not to impeach Trump. The House should do it anyway", Guardian, May 11, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  13. Robert Reich, "Robert Reich: Democrats Have a Duty to Impeach Trump", Truthdig, May 16, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Bob Brigham, "Robert Reich reveals he bets against Larry Kudlow predictions: 'I’ve actually made quite a bit of money'", Rawstory, August 19, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  15. Alex Henderson, "Economist Robert Reich warns of the 'sugar high; of 'Trumponomics'", Salon, August 18, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  16. Robert Reich, "Robert Reich: Trump's China Tariffs Could Push America Into a Recession", Newsweek, December 10, 2018, accessed September 26, 2019.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Robert Reich, "The Trump economy is hurting most Americans. Statistics won't fool voters", Guardian, May 19, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  18. Robert Reich, "Robert Reich: The Trump Economy Is a Sham", Truthdig, September 25, 2019, accessed September 26, 2019.
  19. Robert Reich, Robert Reich: Inequality Media, Robert Reich YouTube channel, November 27, 2016, accessed September 11, 2019.
  20. Robert Reich, About, Robert Reich YouTube channel, accessed September 11, 2019.
  21. Robert Reich, Robert Reich, Robert Reich YouTube channel, accessed September 11, 2019.
  22. Robert Reich, How the Economy Works, Robert Reich YouTube channel, accessed September 11, 2019.
  23. Robert Reich, How Democracy Works, Robert Reich YouTube channel, accessed September 11, 2019.
  24. Robert Reich In Conversation, Robert Reich YouTube channel, accessed September 11, 2019.
  25. Robert Reich, Andrea Shea and Scott Simon, Reich: Out of the Cabinet, into the Theater, NPR", May 28, 2005, accessed September 11, 2019.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Famous Economists, Robert Reich, organizational website, accessed September 11, 2019.
  27. Charlie Lundquist, Robert Reich on his undergraduate experience at Dartmouth, Tab, accessed September 11, 2019/
  28. David Usborne, Profile: Small guy, big deal: Robert Reich: Can this man get the West to work again? David Usborne on an economist with charisma, Independent, June 12, 1994, accessed September 11, 2019.
  29. Founders and Advisors, Campaign for America's Future, accessed August 4, 2007.
  30. Advisory Board, Roosevelt Institution, accessed September 22, 2007.
  31. Masthead, Democracy, accessed March 31, 2010.
  32. Directors, Truthout, accessed July 15, 2010.
  33. Richard A. Epstein, The Economic Fantasies Of Robert Reich, Defining Ideas: a Hoover Institution Journal, October 12, 2015, accessed September 11, 2019/
  34. Paul Roderick Gregory, Robert Reich's F Minus In Economics: False Facts, False Theories, Forbes, September 10, 2013, accessed September 11, 2019.
  35. Mark Kramer, Why Robert Reich Is Wrong About Corporate Social Responsibility, Harvard Business Review, September 13, 2007, accessed September 11, 2019.
  36. VIZE 97, Laureates, accessed September 11, 2019.
  37. Robert Reich, Lecture at the Occasion of the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Prize, award speech, accessed September 11, 2019.
  38. Time, Robert Reich, organizational website, accessed September 11, 2019.