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Economic Opportunity: Robert B Reich

Selected Books

Robert B Reich

  1. Robert Bernard Reich is an American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. 
  2. Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books.  He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. In 2003, Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclav Havel Vision Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the ten most successful cabinet secretaries of the century.

What They are Saying about Aftershock

Reich concludes with a wish list of reforms that might head off such a confrontation. He wants a more progressive income tax, including negative taxes for anyone earning below $50,000. He wants a top income-tax rate of 55 percent, with the kicker that income from capital gains, now taxed at 15 percent, would face the same rate as income from salaries. He wants wage insurance — temporary compensation for workers who take big pay cuts when they shift jobs — as well as investments that make public transportation and Medicare more available.  New York Times

Reich, secretary of labor under Bill Clinton and former economic adviser to President Obama, argues that Obama's stimulus package will not catalyze real recovery because it fails to address 40 years of increasing income inequality. The lessons are in the roots of and responses to the Great Depression, according to Reich, who compares the speculation frenzies of the 1920s–1930s with present-day ones, while showing how Keynesian forerunners like FDR's Federal Reserve Board chair, Marriner Eccles, diagnosed wealth disparity as the leading stress leading up to the Depression. By contrast, sharing the gains of an expanding economy with the middle class brought unprecedented prosperity in the postwar decades, as the majority of workers earned enough to buy what they produced. Despite occasional muddled analyses (of the offshoring of industrial production in the 1990s, for example), Reich's thesis is well argued and frighteningly plausible: without a return to the "basic bargain" (that workers are also consumers), the "aftershock" of the Great Recession includes long-term high unemployment and a political backlash--a crisis, he notes with a sort of grim optimism, that just might be painful enough to encourage necessary structural reforms. Publisher's Weekly

“Important and well executed. . . . Reich is fluent, fearless, even amusing.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“A good read. . . . [Reich] provides a thoughtful dialogue about the structural problems that led to the recent recession. . . . His ideas are worth exploring.”
The Washington Post
 
“One of the clearest explanations to date of . . . how the United States went from . . . ‘the Great Prosperity’ of 1947 to 1975 to the Great Recession.”
—Bob Herbert, The New York Times

“All Americans will benefit from reading this insightful, timely book.”
—Bill Bradley

“Lucid and cogent.”
Kirkus

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