Co-published by Fast Company
In this interview, Robert Reich dismisses CEOs’ “symbolic actions,” such as signing highly publicized pledges and petitions.
After their critically acclaimed 2013 documentary, Inequality for All, Jacob Kornbluth and Robert Reich reunited to make Saving Capitalism, which explores the expanding economic and political power of America’s wealthy.
“All of this rhetoric about a middle-class tax cut,” Robert Reich tells Capital & Main, “is just an absurd lie when you look at the numbers.”
Today Capital & Main unveils The Bottom Line, a different kind of business podcast that throws a spotlight on companies that are advancing social progress—and on those that aren’t.
Interviews with a range of thinkers reveal the likely shape of things to come during a Trump presidency.
Last fall, Robert Reich published Saving Capitalism, in which he called for a sweeping realignment of political power to counter the excesses of contemporary capitalism. A realignment has followed, but not the kind Reich had in mind.
Imagine a world where you get a check each month that allows you to cover your basic costs — but don’t have to work to earn it.
Robert Reich stepped down from his post as Labor Secretary in 1996 to spend more time with his teenage sons, Adam, now a sociology professor at Columbia University, and Sam, a writer and director who heads the video department at the popular comedy site CollegeHumor.com. (Reich and Clare Dalton divorced in 2012; he has since remarried.) Resuming the academic career he had embarked on in 1980 as a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, he took a position at Brandeis University and published a well-received serio-comic memoir about his years in the Clinton administration, Locked in the Cabinet.
Other than an unsuccessful run for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he has spent most of the past two decades as a de facto Economic Educator in Chief for millions of Americans. Reich, who co-founded the American Prospect magazine,
It’s two weeks before Thanksgiving, and a crowd of 500 people has filled the Silicon Valley Commonwealth Club to hear former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich discuss a decidedly less than festive topic: How the economy is leaving most Americans behind. The subject, which inspired Reich’s latest book, Saving Capitalism, hits particularly close to home here, where uber-rich tech titans coexist with legions of low-wage workers, even as the middle class is increasingly squeezed out of nearby communities like Redwood City and Milpitas by ever-rising housing prices.
But Reich has no intention of bludgeoning his audience with bleak statistics and grim predictions. “As you can see, the economy has worn me down,” says the 4-foot-11-inch Reich, pausing as laughter spreads across the room. “Really, before the Great Recession I was, you know, 6 foot 2.”
Like a charismatic politician whose flaws have yet to be exposed, the so-called sharing economy enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and success. Uber, Lyft, Airbnb — these companies emerged seemingly from nowhere to become economic and cultural powerhouses, and to challenge the prevailing structure of their respective industries.
But 2015 has not been as kind to Uber and its brethren, as the fascination with a new business model has given way to serious concerns over everything from public safety to worker exploitation to unfair market monopolization. In some ways this is not surprising — the honeymoon for startups can be notoriously brief.
But something larger is at play here. In the age of rampant income inequality, the overhyped promises of the sharing economy are running headlong into a growing desire by Americans for a caring economy.
There’s a reason why even Republican presidential candidates,
It’s no secret that former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich has some misgivings about the direction of the American economy. But the prolific writer, radio commentator and longtime University of California, Berkeley professor isn’t thrilled about how we are educating our kids, either.
As part of a new project with the activist group MoveOn.org, Reich recently released a video that described our education system as “squashing passion for learning, eroding the love of teaching and grinding up generations of young people.” The critique is accompanied by a set of proposals to reinvent American education – one of 10 planks in a broader agenda titled “10 Ideas to Save the Economy.”
Reich has addressed the nation’s education challenges in his books, including 2011’s Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, as well as in his 2013 film Inequality for All (available on NetFlix,
Sunday’s extreme heat didn’t prevent some 200-plus Angelenos from gathering in the Ann and John Nickoll Family Sanctuary at Temple Isaiah for an informal economic summit. The audience for this Westside event, partly sponsored by Bend the Arc, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, included District 5 Councilman Paul Koretz.
The crowd saw a screening of economist Robert Reich’s 2013 film Inequality for All. Narrated by Reich, this documentary provides some of the most incisive analyses of the causes of the income gap yet found in the popular media. The film is recommended viewing for anyone wanting to learn how the American middle class has become an endangered species.
But many in the audience had already seen the film and after the lights came up emcee Serena Zeise brought out the guest speaker and Reich friend, Harold Meyerson. The affable yet acerbic Myerson is a native son of Los Angeles who years ago moved east to become a Washington Post columnist and American Prospect editor-at-large.
In this uncertain post-recession era, economic inequality seems to be the only thing you can count on being in full supply. It’s certainly a subject that’s increasingly on people’s lips – thanks in no small part to Jacob Kornbluth’s 2013 documentary, Inequality for All. The film, wryly narrated by economist Robert Reich, lays out Reich’s astute perspective on how our country has arrived at the point where 400 Americans own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the country combined.
Sunday the Southern California Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will screen Inequality for All, an event that will serve as a refresher course for some and an eye-opener for others who have not seen the film. Afterwards, Harold Meyerson, American Prospect editor-at-large and Washington Post columnist, will offer his always lively insights into what’s happened since the documentary’s premier, along with a discussion of commercial property tax reform.
Saturday, June 22, Grand Performances will present Inequality for All, a film directed by Jacob Kornbluth in which former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich examines America’s widening economic gap. The documentary, part of L.A. Film Fest, screens free at 8:15 p.m., outdoors, at California Plaza. Frying Pan News reporter Luke Dowling sat down with Michael Alexander, Grand Performances’ Executive and Artistic Director, to ask about the event and Alexander’s vision for Los Angeles’ arts landscape under the city’s new mayor.
Frying Pan News: Why did you decide to include a documentary about economic inequality this season?
Michael Alexander: Documentary filmmaking is an art and some of the documentary filmmakers that we’ve worked with have also touched on the very issues that face people in their everyday lives. What are people going to decide to do for themselves?
On Robert Reich’s website the economist and U.C. Berkeley public policy prof has eight simple principles for Congressional progressives to follow as they tangle with conservatives over that contentious piece of topography called the Fiscal Cliff: