The Biggest Economic Challenge of Obama’s Second Term

child chasing obama

Robert Reich: Middle-class consumers won’t and can’t spend because their savings are depleted, their homes are worth a fraction of what they were five years ago, their wages are dropping, and they’re worried about keeping their jobs.

Mitt’s 13% Tax

mitt romney greed

Robert Reich: omney admits to an income of over $20 million a year for the last several decades. Which makes his 13 percent — or even 20 percent — violate the principle of equal sacrifice that lies at the core of our notion of tax fairness.

Erasing Dubya

bush romney

Robert Reich: While Bill Clinton stumps for Obama, Romney has gone out of his way not to mention the name of the president who came after Clinton and before Obama.

The Terrible Economy and the Anti-Election of 2012

obama phone

Robert Reich: The worst economy since the Great Depression and you might think at least one of the candidates would come up with a few big ideas for how to get us out of it. But you’d be wrong.

Memorial Day Thoughts on National Defense

President Barack Obama greets veterans before the Carrier Classic basketball game between the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson, docked at North Island Naval Station in San Diego, Calif., Nov. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Robert Reich: We spend billions on Cold War weapons systems like nuclear attack submarines, aircraft carriers, and manned combat fighters that pump up the bottom lines of defense contractors but have nothing to do with 21st-century combat.

The Dog That Didn’t Bark: Obama on JP Morgan

obama black children

Robert Reich: Obama can can take on Romney and the system that allows private-equity managers to continue to make huge profits at the expense of average Americans.

JP Morgan’s $2 Billion Case for Breaking Up Big Banks

jp morgan samurai

Robert Reich: Let’s also stop hoping Wall Street will mend itself. What just happened at J.P. Morgan reveals how fragile and opaque the banking system continues to be.

Not Socialism, but Better, Fairer Capitalism

socialism and capitalism

Robert Reich: The answer is to reform capitalism. The world’s productivity revolution is outpacing the political will of rich societies to fairly distribute its benefits.

The Stall Has Arrived

black unemployment

Robert Reich: @idening inequality is the underlying culprit. As long as almost all the gains from economic growth continue to go to the top, the vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power to boost the economy on its own.

The Tinder-Box Society

poverty

Robert Reich: Most of the gains from the productivity revolution are going to the owners of capital, while typical workers are either unemployed or underemployed, or else getting wages and benefits whose real value continues to drop.

The GOP’s Death Wish

romney jobless

Robert Reich: How can a political party be so dumb as to piss off Hispanics, women, and young people? Because the core of its base is middle-aged white men.

How Europe’s Double Dip Could Become America’s

europe austerity budget

Robert Reich: Republicans have become the U.S. party of Angela Merkel, demanding and getting spending cuts at the worst possible time – and ignoring the economic and social consequences.

Did O’Reilly Really Call Robert Reich a Commie?

bill oreilly pointing

Robert Reich: What makes America’s current polarization remarkable isn’t the severity of our disagreements but our utter lack of engagement debating them.

Thoughts on Tax Day 2012

mitt thurston howell iii romney

Robert Reich: I worry about the well-financed big lies that the very rich are the nation’s “job creators,” that the benefits from tax cuts on the rich “trickle down” to everyone else.

Fair Economy Essential to Growth

titanic capitalism

Robert Reich: Wealth percolates upward from working people who are adequately educated, healthy, sufficiently rewarded, and who feel they have a fair chance to make it in America.

Mitt’s Low-Tax Killing

romney fever

Robert Reich: Now that Mitt Romney is the presumed Republican candidate, it’s fair to ask how he made so much money ($21 million in 2010 alone) and paid such a low tax rate (only 14.9 percent).

Beyond Outrage

obama purple lady

Robert Reich: I have never been as concerned as I am now about the future of our democracy, the corrupting effects of big money in our politics, the stridency and demagoguery of the regressive right, and the accumulation of wealth and power at the very top.

What Today’s Job Numbers Mean

president obama

Robert Reich: We’ll avoid a double-dip, but the most likely scenario in coming months is a continuation of the same – an anemic jobs recovery.

Social Darwinism or a Decent Society

William Graham Sumner

Robert Reich: The Romney-Ryan plan, by the way, is the most radical reverse-Robin Hood proposal propounded by any political party in modern America.

Turning America Into a Giant Casino

losing gambler

Robert Reich: In the most recent Mega Millions game – whose winning tickets were drawn last week and whose jackpot rose to $640 million – lottery ticket buyers shelled out some $1.5 billion, most of which went to state governments.

Whose Recovery?

obama boeing

Robert Reich: The reverse-Robin Hood budget plan just announced by Paul Ryan and House Republicans (and endorsed by Mitt Romney) would make the lopsidedness far worse – dramatically cutting taxes on the rich and slashing public services everyone else depends on.

Healthcare Jujitsu

obama bb king

Robert Reich: With a bit of political jujitsu, the President could turn any such defeat at the Supreme Court into a victory for a single-payer healthcare system – Medicare for all.

Mitt: We’re No Longer in an Etch-a-Sketch World

etch-a-mitt

Robert Reich: There will be too many videos of Willard “Mitt” Romney during the primary saying things that were designed to appeal to increasingly far-right, far-out GOP primary voters – but will strike most Americans as bizarre if not despicable.

What Republicans Argue When They Have Nothing Left to Say

obama oval office

Robert Reich: It doesn’t even matter that the new Republican tax cut plan would probably raise taxes on many lower-income Americans, All that matters is the headlines.

Why Goldman’s Greg Smith’s Critique Is Way Too Narrow

goldman sachs muppets

Robert Reich: If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement. The problem is endemic abuse of power and trust.

Bye Bye American Pie

obama uaw

Robert Reich: Although the nation is now producing more goods and services than it did before the slump began in 2007, we’re doing it with six million fewer people.

Stop Starving Public Universities and Shrinking the Middle Class

tuition-hikes

Robert Reich: Public higher education has been the gateway to the middle class but that gate is shutting – just when income and wealth are more concentrated at the top than they’ve been since the 1920s, and when America needs the brainpower of its young people more than ever.

The GOP’s Big Investors

Robert Reich: Have you heard of William Dore, Foster Friess, Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons, Peter Thiel, or Bruce Kovner? If not, let me introduce them to you. They’re running for the Republican nomination for president.

The Gas Wars

oil wars

Robert Reich: Nothing drives voter sentiment like the price of gas – now averaging $3.56 a gallon, up 30 cents from the start of the year. It’s already hit $4 in some places. The last time gas topped $4 was 2008.

Manufacturing Illusions:

factory

Robert Reich: Suddenly, manufacturing is back – at least on the election trail. But don’t be fooled. The real issue isn’t how to get manufacturing back. It’s how to get good jobs and good wages back. They aren’t at all the same thing.