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By David Kusnet and David Kusnet,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 27, 1997
In "Primary Colors," journalist Joe Klein's Anonymous novel of the 1992 presidential campaign, the character based on Bill Clinton addresses New Hampshire shipyard workers in their union hall. Wounded by alleged sex scandals, he is emboldened to utter what Klein clearly believes are difficult truths:"No politician can bring these shipyard jobs back. Or make your union strong again ... Because we're living in a new world, a world without borders - economically, that is. Guy can push a button in New York and move a billion dollars to Tokyo before you can blink ..."
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NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | September 3, 2014
This week, millions of young people head to college and universities, aiming for a four-year liberal arts degree. They assume that degree is the only gateway to the American middle class. It shouldn't be. For one thing, a four-year liberal arts degree is hugely expensive. Too many young people graduate laden with debts that take years if not decades to pay off. And too many of them can't find good jobs when they graduate, in any event. So they have to settle for jobs that don't require four years of college.
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NEWS
January 27, 2014
I appreciate the op-ed by Robert Reich regarding West Virginia - especially how he doesn't blame the people of West Virginia, but rather points out the dilemma that they are in ( "What's the matter with West Virginia?" Jan. 22). We average people do not know the details of why West Virginia state and local officials chose to allow Freedom Industries (pretty ironic name) to operate with little or no oversight, but we all can guess. We are regularly asked as the to give up our long-term interests such as safety, health and overall economic, communal and personal well-being for the short-term interests of staying employed or maintaining what status we have.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | June 3, 2014
I spent several days in New York last week with students from around the country who were preparing to head into the heartland to help organize Walmart workers for better jobs and wages. (Full familial disclosure: My son Adam is one of the leaders.) Almost exactly 50 years ago, a similar group headed to Mississippi to register African-Americans to vote, in what came to be known as Freedom Summer. Call this Freedom Summer II. The current struggle of low-wage workers across America echoes the civil rights struggle of the 1960s.
NEWS
February 22, 2013
If Robert Reich is looking for "baloney" in the debate over minimum wage hikes, he should start with his recent commentary in The Sun ("The minimum wage and the meaning of a decent society," Feb. 20). Contrary to Mr. Reich's claim, the academic and economic consensus that wage hikes lead to job losses is overwhelming and based on far more than just vague claims. A nonpartisan review conducted by David Neumark (UC-Irvine) and William Wascher (Federal Reserve) concluded that 85 percent of credible economic studies on minimum wage increases from the last two decades point to job loss following a wage hike.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | June 6, 2012
However one looks at last Friday's jobs report, it's a stunning reminder of how anemic the recovery has been -- and how perilously close America is to falling into another recession. Not only has the unemployment rate risen for the first time in almost a year, to 8.2 percent, but, more ominously, May's payroll survey showed that employers created only 69,000 net new jobs. The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised its March and April reports downward. Only 96,000 new jobs have been created, on average, over the last three months.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | February 19, 2014
America has a serious "we" problem -- as in, "Why should  we  pay for  them ?" The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor. It's found in the resistance of some young and healthy people to being required to buy health insurance in order to help pay for people with pre-existing health problems. It can be heard among the residents of upscale neighborhoods who don't want their tax dollars going to the inhabitants of poorer neighborhoods nearby.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | May 16, 2012
Some want the 2012 election to be about regulating America's bedrooms. But it really ought to be about regulating the nation's boardrooms. The bedroom regulators are on the move. Republicans don't want same-sex marriage. Mitt Romney says he's against it, as are the voters of North Carolina, who just approved a Republican-proposed amendment to the state constitution banning it. Twenty-nine other states have similar bans. President Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, Republicans have introduced more than 400 bills in state legislatures banning abortions, requiring women seeking abortions to have invasive ultrasound tests beforehand, and limiting the use of contraceptives.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | June 3, 2014
I spent several days in New York last week with students from around the country who were preparing to head into the heartland to help organize Walmart workers for better jobs and wages. (Full familial disclosure: My son Adam is one of the leaders.) Almost exactly 50 years ago, a similar group headed to Mississippi to register African-Americans to vote, in what came to be known as Freedom Summer. Call this Freedom Summer II. The current struggle of low-wage workers across America echoes the civil rights struggle of the 1960s.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | November 7, 2012
The vitriol is worse than I ever recall. Worse than the Palin-induced smarm of 2008. Worse than the Swift-boat lies of 2004. Worse, even, than the anything-goes craziness of 2000 and its ensuing bitterness. It's almost a civil war. I know families in which close relatives are no longer speaking. A dating service says Democrats won't even consider going out with Republicans, and vice versa. My email and Twitter feeds contain messages from strangers I wouldn't share with my granddaughter.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | March 5, 2014
House Speaker John Boehner says raising the minimum wage is "bad policy" because it will cause job losses. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says a minimum wage increase would be a job killer. Republicans and the chamber also say unions are job killers, workplace safety regulations are job killers, environmental regulations are job killers, and the Affordable Care Act is a job killer.The California Chamber of Commerce even publishes an annual list of "job killers," including almost any measures that lift wages or protect workers and the environment.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | February 26, 2014
If you ever wonder what's fueling America's staggering inequality, ponder Facebook's acquisition of the mobile messaging company WhatsApp. Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $19 billion. That's the highest price paid for a startup in history. It's $3 billion more than Facebook raised when it was first listed, and more than twice what Microsoft paid for Skype. (To be precise, $12 billion of the $19 billion will be in the form of shares in Facebook, $4 billion will be in cash, and $3 billion in restricted stock to WhatsApp staff, which will vest in four years.)
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | February 19, 2014
America has a serious "we" problem -- as in, "Why should  we  pay for  them ?" The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor. It's found in the resistance of some young and healthy people to being required to buy health insurance in order to help pay for people with pre-existing health problems. It can be heard among the residents of upscale neighborhoods who don't want their tax dollars going to the inhabitants of poorer neighborhoods nearby.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | February 12, 2014
Why has America forgotten the three most important economic lessons we learned in the 30 years following World War II? Before I answer that question, let me remind you what those lessons were: First, America's real job creators are consumers, whose rising wages generate jobs and growth. If average people don't have decent wages, there can be no real recovery and no sustained growth. In those years, business boomed because American workers were getting raises and had enough purchasing power to buy what expanding businesses had to offer.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | January 29, 2014
With polls showing that a majority of Americans now believe inequality has grown over the past decade, and favor tax increases on the wealthy to expand help to those in need, conservatives want to change the subject. Those with presidential ambitions say we should focus on poverty rather than on inequality. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida points to the "lack of mobility" of the poor as the core problem. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin blames their isolation from mainstream America: "On every measure from education levels to marriage rates, poor families are drifting further away from the middle class.
NEWS
January 27, 2014
I appreciate the op-ed by Robert Reich regarding West Virginia - especially how he doesn't blame the people of West Virginia, but rather points out the dilemma that they are in ( "What's the matter with West Virginia?" Jan. 22). We average people do not know the details of why West Virginia state and local officials chose to allow Freedom Industries (pretty ironic name) to operate with little or no oversight, but we all can guess. We are regularly asked as the to give up our long-term interests such as safety, health and overall economic, communal and personal well-being for the short-term interests of staying employed or maintaining what status we have.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | July 4, 2012
Recently, I publicly debated someone who said Arizona and every other state should use whatever means necessary to keep out illegal immigrants. He wants English to be spoken in every classroom in the nation, and the Pledge of Allegiance recited every morning. And he wants to restore every dollar of the $500 billion in defense cuts scheduled to start in January. "We have to preserve and protect America," he said. "That's the meaning of patriotism. " For my debating partner, patriotism is about securing the nation from outsiders eager to overrun us -- whether they're immigrants coming here illegally or foreign powers threatening us with aggression.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | January 15, 2014
Fifty years ago, when Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the poor were different -- "other," as in Michael Harrington's seminal book of 1962, "The Other America. " That's no longer the case. After the War on Poverty ended, Republicans told working-class whites that their hard-earned tax dollars were being siphoned off to pay for "welfare queens" (as Ronald Reagan decorously dubbed a black single woman on welfare) and other nefarious loafers. The poor were "them" -- lazy, dependent on government handouts and overwhelmingly black -- in sharp contrast to "us," who were working ever harder, proudly independent (even sending wives and mothers to work in order to prop up family incomes dragged down by shrinking male paychecks)
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | January 8, 2014
One of the worst epithets that can be leveled at a politician these days is to call him a "redistributionist. " Yet 2013 marked one of the biggest redistributions in recent American history -- a redistribution upward, from average working people to the owners of America. The stock market ended 2013 at an all-time high -- giving stockholders their biggest annual gain in almost two decades. Most Americans didn't share in those gains, however, because most people haven't been able to save enough to invest in the stock market.
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