Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His website can be found here.

Recent Articles

Congress Should Be Ready to Arrest Attorney General Barr if He Defies Subpoena

On Sunday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee threatened to subpoena Attorney General William P. Barr if he refuses to testify this week about the Mueller report. But a subpoena is unlikely to elicit Barr’s cooperation. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” says the president of the United States. In other words, according to Trump, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: no questioning the attorney general about the Mueller report; no questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy. No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances. No questioning anyone about presidential tax returns. Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers. If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government. If...

Five Responses to Climate Change Deniers

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone who denies climate change? Here are five responses to climate change deniers: 1) The science is undeniable. Scientists have concluded that the Earth’s temperature has been steadily climbing since the late 19th century , just when humans started emitting large amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And it’s intensifying. 18 of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 . And, no. Just because it snows doesn’t mean climate change isn’t occurring. You can see the consequences of extreme weather all around us. Wildfires, hurricanes, droughts. 2) Tackling climate change is good for the economy. Clean energy creates more jobs than natural gas or coal, with three times as many Americans already employed in clean energy as in fossil fuels . These jobs also tend to pay more . States like California that have invested heavily in clean energy have grown their economies, while reducing...

Most Devastating of All: Mueller's Indictment of Trump’s Character

Democrats in Congress and talking heads on television will be consumed in the coming weeks by whether the evidence in the Mueller report, especially of obstruction of justice, merits impeachment. In addition, the question of “wink-wink” cooperation with Russia still looms. Mueller’s quote of Trump, when first learning a special counsel had been appointed—“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked”—has already become a national tagline. Why, Americans wonder, would Trump be “fucked” if he hadn’t done something so awful as to cause its revelation to “fuck” him? We’ll also have Mueller’s own testimony before Congress, and Congress’s own investigations of Trump. But let’s be real. Trump will not be removed by impeachment. No president has been. With a Republican Senate controlled by the most irresponsible political hack ever to be majority leader, the...

How McConnell Is Killing the Senate

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
Congress has recessed for two weeks without passing a desperately-needed disaster relief bill. Why not? Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t want to anger Donald Trump by adding money for Puerto Rico that Democrats have sought but Trump doesn’t want. America used to have a Senate. But under McConnell, what was once known as the world ’s greatest deliberative body has become a partisan lap dog. Recently McConnell used his Republican majority to cut the time for debating Trump’s court appointees from 30 hours to two—thereby enabling Republicans to ram through even more Trump judges. In truth, McConnell doesn’t give a fig about the Senate, or about democracy. He cares only about partisan wins. On the eve of the 2010 midterm elections he famously declared that his top priority was for Barack Obama “to be a one-term president.” Between 2009 and 2013, McConnell’s Senate Republicans blocked 79 Obama nominees. In the...

The Myth of Meritocracy

Most Americans still cling to the meritocratic notion that people are rewarded according to their efforts and abilities. But meritocracy is becoming a cruel joke. The Justice Department recently announced indictments of dozens of wealthy parents for using bribery and fraud to get their children into prestigious colleges. But the real scandal isn’t how far a few wealthy parents will go to get their kids admitted (apparently $1.2 million in illegal payoffs), but how commonplace it has become for them to go almost as far without breaking any laws—shelling out big bucks for essay tutors, testing tutors, admissions counselors, and “enrichment” courses (not to mention sky-high tuition at private schools feeding into the Ivy League). Inequality is lurking behind all this, and not just because the wealthy can afford it. Researchers Daniel Schneider, Orestes Hastings, and Joe LaBriola found that in states with the biggest gaps between rich and poor, well-to-do parents...

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