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

Trump's Drug Pricing Scam

mayakova/Shutterstock T rump promised to rein in drug prices. It was his only sensible campaign promise. But the plan he announced Friday does little but add another battering ram to his ongoing economic war against America’s allies. He calls it “American patients first,” and takes aim at what he calls “foreign freeloading.” The plan will pressure foreign countries to relax their drug price controls. America’s trading partners “need to pay more because they’re using socialist price controls, market access controls, to get unfair pricing,” said Alex Azar, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, who, perhaps not incidentally, was a former top executive at the drug maker Eli Lilly and Company. By this tortured logic, if other nations allow drug companies to charge whatever they want, U.S. drug companies will then lower prices in the United States. This is nonsensical. It would just mean more profits for U.S. drug companies. (Revealingly, the stock prices of U.S. pharmaceutical...

The Financial Hardships of Trump’s Friends

Trumponomics is a thin veneer of an excuse for giving America’s rich—already richer than ever—whatever they want, while sticking it to everyone else. 

AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File Financier Carl Icahn in New York City T he Environmental Protection Agency recently granted to an oil refinery owned by Carl Icahn a so-called “financial hardship” waiver. The exemption allows the refinery to avoid clean air laws, potentially saving Icahn millions of dollars. Icahn is not exactly a hardship case. According to Bloomberg ’s Billionaire Index, his net worth is $21.8 billion. Over the last four decades as a corporate raider, Icahn has pushed CEOs to cut payrolls, abandon their communities, and outsource jobs abroad in order to generate more money for him and other investors. In 1985, after winning control of the now-defunct Trans World Airlines, Icahn stripped its assets, pocketed nearly $500 million in profits, and left the airline more than $500 million in debt. Former TWA chair C.E. Meyer Jr. called Icahn “one of the greediest men on earth.” No single person has done more to harm America’s working class than Carl Icahn. Not surprisingly...

How to Stop Trump

Nicole S Glass/Shutterstock Protesters fill the streets of Washington on Inauguration Day 2017 W hy did working class voters choose a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful, megalomaniac for president? With the 2018 midterms around the corner, and prospective Democratic candidates already eyeing the 2020 race, the answer is important because it will influence how Democrats campaign. One explanation focuses on economic hardship. The working class fell for Trump’s economic populism. A competing explanation—which got a boost this week from a study published by the National Academy of Sciences—dismisses economic hardship, and blames it on whites’ fear of losing status to blacks and immigrants. They were attracted to Trump’s form of identity politics: bigotry. If Democrats accept the bigotry explanation, they may be more inclined to foster their own identity politics of women, blacks, and Latinos. And they’ll be less inclined to come up with credible solutions to...

The Shameful Silence of the CEOs

Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa via AP Images Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., speaks at an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington C ongressional Republicans would be more willing to stand up to Trump if their major financial backers—big business and Wall Street—had more backbone. Ever since 1971, when the then future Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell urged corporations to mobilize politically, corporate money has flooded Washington—most of it into Republican coffers. Today, big corporations and Wall Street essentially own the Republican Party. In the 2016 campaign cycle, they contributed $34 to candidates from both parties for every $1 donated by labor unions and all public interest organizations combined. They donate far more to Republicans than do extremists like the Koch brothers, and have far more influence over the GOP than does the Tea Party. Which means the CEOs of America’s largest firms have the power to constrain the most dangerous, divisive,...

While China Picks Winners, Trump Picks Losers

(AP Photo/Branden Camp)
(AP Photo/Branden Camp) The coal-fired Plant Scherer in Juliette, Georgia. “ It’s nonsense that there’s a beautiful free market in the power industry,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said last week as he pushed for a government bailout of coal-fired power plants. Republicans who for years have voted against subsidies for solar and wind power—arguing that the “free market” should decide our energy future—are now eager to have government subsidize coal. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is also scrapping rules for disposing coal ash, giving coal producers another big helping hand. As if this weren’t enough, a former coal lobbyist has just become No. 2 at the EPA. If Scott Pruitt leaves (a growing possibility), the coal lobbyist will be in charge. Meanwhile, Trump is imposing a 30 percent tariff on solar panels from China, thereby boosting their cost to American homeowners and utilities. The Trumpsters say this is because China is subsidizing solar. To Trump and his merry band of...

Pages