ROBERT B. REICH, 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 thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock" and “The Work of Nations." His latest, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, "Inequality for All," is now available on Netflix, iTunes, DVD, and On Demand.

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COLBERT REPORT, NOVEMBER, 2013

WITH BILL MOYERS, SEPT. 2013

DAILY SHOW, SEPTEMBER 2013, PART 1

DAILY SHOW, SEPTEMBER 2013, PART 2

DEMOCRACY NOW, SEPTEMBER 2013

INTELLIGENCE SQUARED DEBATES, SEPTEMBER 2012

DAILY SHOW, APRIL 2012, PART 1

DAILY SHOW, APRIL 2012, PART 2

COLBERT REPORT, OCTOBER, 2010

WITH CONAN OBRIEN, JANUARY, 2010

DEBATING RON PAUL, JANUARY, 2010

  • The Oddness of the President’s Upcoming Deficit-Reduction Plan


    Monday, September 12, 2011

    On Monday the President will offer ways to pay for his $467 billion American Jobs Act mostly by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

    I’m all in favor, but it’s an odd strategy. If any Republican was prepared to vote for the jobs bill, this will send him or her scurrying.

    So if the President was never really serious about getting Republican votes in the first place — if his jobs bill and the tax increase on the wealthy were always going to be part of his 2012 election year pitch — why didn’t he make his jobs bill big enough to do the job?

    Here’s another odd thing.

    The deficit-reduction plan the President will present Monday to Congress’s special supercommittee on the debt (now struggling to come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction) will also propose some $2 to $3 trillion in additional deficit reduction over the next ten years — including changes in Medicare. 

    According to the President’s plan, those tax increases and spending cuts would go into effect in 2013.  

    But there’s a strong likelihood the American economy will still be anemic in 2013, if not on life support. Even if we avoid a double dip the jobs picture we’ll almost certainly be terrible. Even if by some miracle job growth soared to the average monthly growth over the past decade, the unemployment rate wouldn’t get back down to 6 percent until 2024.

    When unemployment is still in the stratosphere, it would be insane to start cutting the deficit by $3 trillion to $4 trillion. That would push unemployment into outer space.

    And in proposing such a huge deficit reduction package, the President continues to reenforce the Republican lie that the budget deficit is our biggest challenge — indeed, that we’re in the fix we’re in because government has become too big.

    If the President wants to show his creds on deficit reduction, at least put in a trigger that begins to lower the deficit only when unemployment falls to 6 percent.

    Our national crisis is joblessness and low wages, not the deficit.  

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