New Clear Vision

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Archive for the ‘Robert Reich’

Government for Whom?

December 20, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

Taking Money Out of Politics and Restoring the ‘Public Option’ of Democracy

by Robert Reich

The defining political issue of 2012 won’t be the government’s size. It will be who government is for.

Americans have never much liked government. After all, the nation was conceived in a revolution against government.

But the surge of cynicism now engulfing America isn’t about government’s size. The cynicism comes from a growing perception that government isn’t working for average people. It’s for big business, Wall Street, and the very rich instead.

In a recent Pew Foundation poll, 77 percent of respondents said too much power is in the hands of a few rich people and corporations. (more…)

Occupy Democracy

November 17, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

Undoing the Hijacking of the First Amendment

by Robert Reich

A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.

First things first. The Supreme Court’s rulings that money is speech and corporations are people have now opened the floodgates to unlimited (and often secret) political contributions from millionaires and billionaires. Consider the Koch brothers (worth $25 billion each), who are bankrolling the Tea Party and already running millions of dollars worth of ads against Democrats. (more…)

Marching to the Music

November 02, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

The Occupiers Strike a Responsive Chord

by Robert Reich

A combination of police crackdowns and bad weather are testing the young Occupy movement. But rumors of its demise are premature, to say the least. Although numbers are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests the movement is growing.

As importantly, the movement has already changed the public debate in America.

Consider, for example, last week’s Congressional Budget Office report on widening disparities of income in America. It was hardly news — it’s already well known that the top 1 percent now gets 20 percent of the nation’s income, up from 9 percent in the late 1970s. But it’s the first time such news made the front page of the nation’s major newspapers. (more…)

Protest, Don’t Parade

September 05, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

Workers Deserve a Better Deal for Labor Day

by Robert Reich

Labor Day is traditionally a time for picnics and parades. But this year is no picnic for American workers, and a protest march would be more appropriate than a parade.

Not only are 25 million unemployed or underemployed, but American companies continue to cut wages and benefits. The median wage is still dropping, adjusted for inflation. High unemployment has given employers extra bargaining leverage to wring out wage concessions.

All told, it’s been the worst decade for American workers in a century. According to Commerce Department data, private-sector wage gains over the last decade have even lagged behind wage gains during the decade of the Great Depression (4 percent over the last ten years, adjusted for inflation, versus 5 percent from 1929 to 1939). (more…)

Medicare IS the Solution

July 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

A Modest Proposal that Makes Sense . . . and Dollars

by Robert Reich

Not only is Social Security on the chopping block in order to respond to Republican extortion. So is Medicare.

But Medicare isn’t the nation’s budgetary problems. It’s the solution. The real problem is the soaring costs of health care that lie beneath Medicare. They’re costs all of us are bearing in the form of soaring premiums, co-payments, and deductibles.

Medicare offers a means of reducing these costs — if Washington would let it.

Let me explain.

Americans spend more on health care per person than any other advanced nation and get less for our money. (more…)

Time to Fight Back

June 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

The War on Workers Undermines Economic Justice

by Robert Reich

The battle has resumed in Wisconsin. The state supreme court has allowed Governor Scott Walker to strip bargaining rights from state workers.

Meanwhile, legislators in New Hampshire and officials in Missouri are attacking private unions, seeking to make the states so-called “open shop” where workers can get all the benefits of being union members without paying union dues. Needless to say this ploy undermines the capacity of unions to do much of anything. Other Republican governors and legislatures are following suit.

Republicans in Congress are taking aim at the National Labor Relations Board, which is likely to consider a relatively minor rule change allowing workers to vote on whether to unionize soon after a union has been proposed, rather than allowing employers to delay the vote for years. Many employers have used the delaying tactics to retaliate against workers who try to organize, and intimidate others into rejecting a union. (more…)

The Windfall of Renewable Energy

May 07, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

Stopping The Oil Company Gusher

by Robert Reich

Exxon-Mobil’s first quarter earnings of $10.7 billion are up 69 percent from last year. That’s the most profit the company has earned since the third quarter of 2008 — perhaps not coincidentally, around the time when gas prices last reached the lofty $4 a gallon.

This gusher is an embarrassment for an industry seeking to keep its $4 billion annual tax subsidy from the U.S. government, at a time when we’re cutting social programs to reduce the budget deficit.

It’s especially embarrassing when Americans are paying through their noses at the pump.

Exxon-Mobil’s Vice President asks that we look past the “inevitable headlines” and remember the company’s investments in renewable energy. What investments, exactly? Last time I looked Exxon-Mobil was devoting a smaller percentage of its earnings to renewables than most other oil companies, including the errant BP. (more…)