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

What's a Subpoena, and Why Should Trump Fear It?

A primer on one of the Democrats' most powerful tools to rein in the president

AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House. Y ou’re probably hearing a lot about subpoenas. Or you will very soon, once Democrats take control of the House. A subpoena is a legal command from a court or from one or both houses of Congress to do something— like testify or present information . The term “subpoena” literally means “under penalty.” Someone who receives a subpoena but doesn’t comply with it may be subject to civil or criminal penalties . Here’s how it works. Step One : Let’s say the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives issues a subpoena to the president for information about alleged conversations with Russian officials seeking their help in the 2016 election. Or say the House Ways and Means Committee subpoenas the president’s tax returns–which, in fact, a law enacted in 1924 after the Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding administration specifically authorizes that committee to do . Step Two : If the person named...

Trump's Assault on the Rule of Law

AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi. T he “rule of law” distinguishes democracies from dictatorships. It’s based on three fundamental principles. Trump is violating every one of them. The first is that no person is above the law, not even a president. Which means a president cannot stop an investigation into his alleged illegal acts. Yet in recent weeks Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at least had possessed enough integrity to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. Trump replaced Sessions with an inexperienced loyalist hack, Matthew G. Whitaker, whose only distinction to date has been loud and public condemnation of that investigation. As a conservative legal commentator on CNN, Whitaker even suggested that a clever attorney general could secretly starve the investigation of funds. There’s no question why Trump...

The Next Crash

AP Photo/Richard Drew A board above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. S orry to deliver the news, but it’s time to worry about the next crash. The combination of stagnant wages with most economic gains going to the top is once again endangering the economy. Most Americans are still living in the shadow of the Great Recession that started in December 2007 and officially ended in June 2009. More have jobs, to be sure. But they haven’t seen any rise in their wages, adjusted for inflation. Many are worse off due to the escalating costs of housing, health care, and education. And the value of whatever assets they own is less than in 2007. Which suggests we’re careening toward the same sort of crash we had then, and possibly as bad as 1929. Clear away the financial rubble from those two former crashes and you’d see they both followed upon widening imbalances between the capacity of most people to buy, and what they as...

Amazon and America’s Real Divide

AP Photo/Cliff Owen Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at The Economic Club of Washington. W hile America was fixated on the most tumultuous midterm election in modern history, Amazon reportedly decided that its much-vaunted “second headquarters” would be split between Long Island City in Queens and Crystal City, across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. What does Amazon’s decision have to do with America’s political tumult? Turns out, quite a lot. Amazon’s main headquarters is in Seattle, one of the bluest cities in the bluest of states. New York and metropolitan Washington are true-blue, too. Amazon could have decided to locate its second headquarters in, say, Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis vigorously courted the firm. Indianapolis is also a Republican city in a bright red state. Amazon’s decision wasn’t based on political partisanship, but it reveals much about the real political and economic divide in America today. Amazon’s business isn’t just selling stuff over the internet. It’s...

Democrats: Don't Go High or Low. Go Big and Bold.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. D onald Trump says the midterm elections are a “referendum about me.” Of course they are. Everything is about him. Anyone who still believes the political divide runs between Republicans and Democrats hasn’t been paying attention. There’s no longer a Republican Party. The GOP is now just pro-Trump. Meanwhile Trump is doing all he can to make the Democratic Party the anti-Trump Party. “Democrats,” he declares, are “too dangerous to govern.” They’re “an angry left-wing mob,” leading an “assault on our country.” Never before has a president of the United States been so determined not to be president of all Americans. He’s president of his supporters. Tyrants create cults of personality. Trump is beyond that. He equates America with himself, and disloyalty to him with insufficient patriotism. In his mind, a giant “Trump” sign hangs over the nation. “...

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