Robert Reich's Inequality For All

Friday, September 27, 2013

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, is featured in Jacob Kornbluth’s new documentary "Inequality for All" out September 27th. They discuss the uneven gains and losses in the U.S. economy over the last 30 years.


Jacob Kornbluth and Robert Reich

Comments [45]

fuva from harlemworld

The problem today is not the unevenness of the playing field; it's the DEGREE of unevenness.
There will always be unequal OUTCOMES. But we should try to insure reasonably equal OPPORTUNITY, because after a certain point opportunity inequality is prohibitive, precludes adequate leveraging of human capital and degrades fertile competition, which hurts US ALL...Again, it's the LEVEL of inequality today that's the issue (which, btw, is something black folk have ALWAYS been confronted with).
Coupla other things your grandma, God bless her, may not have understood and, in turn, you may not understand:
• The significant difference between the reality of the impoverished Chinese immigrant and yours.
• The difference between REASONS and EXCUSES.
Yes, I think you have it twisted. But I also know that this is true about most of us. It's what's holding us back; we can't solve problems we don't understand....But I also know you mean well. Good luck and God bless and all the best. Let's just keep our eyes open.

Sep. 27 2013 12:25 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Henry from Md who wrote:

"ha poor people, get some capital and invest overseas a' la jgarbuz, what are you waiting for? "

That's the American dream, in a nutshell, these days. Ask Warren Buffet.

Sep. 27 2013 12:10 PM
Telisha from Bronx

The playing field was most certainly not even for me. But name me a time and place in history when it has been. Somethings will never change. It's more a part of human nature than anything a law or rule will change. I will tell you one thing my grandmother told me many times. She would point to the gentlemen who owned a restaurant down the street and say this man came from a middle of nowhere town, in the middle of nowhere in China, did didn't speak a lick of English, came here made a business and has a nice home, a car and people who work for him. What is your excuse? Your from the city, in the center of it all, you're from America, people come here to make something of themselves and you are sitting here lready. Noll go out and do...(fill in whatever my problem happened to be that day). I think the same thing applies today,we just give ourselves more excuses and are told by people trying to get our votes how they can all make it better.

Sep. 27 2013 12:08 PM
henry from md

ha poor people, get some capital and invest overseas a' la jgarbuz, what are you waiting for?

Sep. 27 2013 11:52 AM
fuva from harlemworld

And I salute you, Telisha, for your perseverance on an uneven playing field...
People on first, competing with people who start on third, absolutely MUST make it to home base. It's the only way.
But are you saying that, because you made it home, the playing field was NOT unfair, and the people on first did NOT have an unfair disadvantage? And that the silver-spooners on third, who enable the unequal playing field, should NOT be put on blast? And the playing field should NOT be criticized and made more even?
Do you recognize the blessing that is your grandma (just like my ma and grandpa, amongst others, are mine) or do you think you 'made it' on your lonesome?...And, by the way, why was she and your peoples poor? Were they also 'personally irresponsible'?
See, you have degrees and a business and you may know many things, etc., but a deficit of self-awareness and socioeconomic understanding will always limit your swagger...We're crabs in a barrel and it's pathetic...

Sep. 27 2013 11:44 AM
Telisha from Bronx

I also wanted to mention that I try to instill the values I learned and feel are the major reasons I made it to my own kids. The problem is we are all bombarded with reasons why it impossible to do one thing or another. How it's all stacked against us. When I hear this idea back from my own kids it makes me sick.

Sep. 27 2013 11:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Henry from MD

It's basic macroeconomics 101. Capital is elastic, labor is inelastic. Caital today can move to China, Russia, India, wherever. Can labor move as easily and quickly? Can you go anywhere to get a better job just by boarding a plane and exiting to the nearest labor exchange in say Geneva, Switzerland? But you can invest any spare monies you have into a factory in China or Switzerland and enjoy the capital gains and a lower tax rate because it is capital gains.It's really pathetically simple, except for retards, to understand. It's definitely not rocket science.

Sep. 27 2013 11:22 AM
henry from md

@ jgarbuz from Queens, I have agreed with you before, but to suggest that borders are the reason why poor people can't move to other countries as freely as capital shows you are living in La La Land.

Sep. 27 2013 11:16 AM
Telisha from Bronx

I am a woman of color and unfortunately I grew up with almost nothing. We were severely poor, I did not know my father and had a difficult childhood. BUT my grandmother 1- told us we can achieve whatever we dream 2- kept on us and stressed education 3- shut us down whenever we found some cop out to why we couldn't do something (from schoolwork, to careers, to college). I went on to get a graduate degree and now have my own business and do fairly well for myself and family. I did not expect others to do anything for me, I am the one in control of my destiny. I do not have much respect for those who think they "deserve" anything from this life.

Sep. 27 2013 11:14 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

So, why did income inequality get worse during the past 5 years of the Obama administration?

The "income inequality" paradigm scam is a happy new toy for the Alinsky Left (and shameless left wing talk show hosts like BL) .... it is the gift that keeps on giving because NO particular ratio or difference will ever be considered "just" or "fair". It will always be a battle cry for the victim hood lobby.

Sep. 27 2013 11:11 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

to fuva from Harlem

You should move from the Bronx to Geneva Switzerland and get a good job there. Oh, right, you can't because of national borders! I forgot. Well, that's why the rich get richer, because they can move their money anywhere to get higher returns, but you can't move anywhere to get a better job or even a higher welfare check, whatever. Borders are why workers don't move up as fast as those with capital to invest.

Sep. 27 2013 11:08 AM
Judith from New York

I am wondering whether Professor Reich and Mr. Kornbluth see, in addition to the connection to the economy, a connection between the inequality for all and the form of democracy in our country. At the end of the day, a democracy should be working towards the interest of the community as a whole. As soon as the system of organizing the state starts working towards the interests of one group of the community, it becomes an oligarchic form of organization. Personally, I do not mean that we should defend the interests of the poor alone. I think it is the prevailing sense in this country that we do want capitalism, and that we do want to have the wealth of the rich. However, in my view, at this point, the famous idea of the "trickling down" could work only through the legal system, i.e. taxes, reforms in education and healthcare, etc. Otherwise, soon we will have no longer a democracy but an oligarchic form of state organization, and this has never been the ideology of this country. In fact, this will make us leg behind most of the first world countries - for what kind of a leadership could a country have that would tend to ignore the progress in the view of human dignity.

Sep. 27 2013 11:05 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Telisha, wow...
To put the current record levels of income/opportunity inequality on blast is to absolve folk of personal responsibility? Really? Says who? Is it EVER valid to criticize socioeconomic injustice?...To untwist you, this flick will, hopefully, clearly make the connection between the macroeconomic forces at play and the very high Bronx poverty levels, and ALL those ripple effects...

Sep. 27 2013 11:03 AM
Buzzkill from Manhattan

Wait ! did I just hear that the World's largest economy, with THREE HUNDRED MILLION people has a federal workforce of only TWO POINT FIVE million people?
REALLY ? and they want to REDUCE the Federal Government ? What LIES The Republicans and the right tell us when they say the government is bloated ...

Sep. 27 2013 10:55 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"Telisha from Bronx"

"This show is growing more and more tiresome. I find myself tuning out nowadays. Every program is about this divide and conquer paradigm. Race, gender, income, etc, etc, etc. ENOUGH!"

BRAVO !!!!!!!!!!!
Ditto for me.

Sep. 27 2013 10:54 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Micheal C who wrote

"Income inequality is not the fault of global trade that is a red herring .. If that were true then the aggregate net income would have gone down instead of shifting to the 1 %. "

That is correct, and the only other way to give labor a break, is to end national borders. To do away with nations. The reason why capital (the "1%") have the advantage over labor is because capital can ZOOM to where the new opportunities lie, but workers can barely move. They are stuck. They can't just hop a plane and go into the labor office in Shanghai or Geneva Switzerland and find a better job. It is the disparity in the international movements of capital versus labor that creates such a stark contrast. If you want to make things more equal, get rid of national borders. Good luck, politically, with that though.

Sep. 27 2013 10:54 AM

So, according to Reich, outsourcing of jobs was good in principle, we just needed to give them to "better hands". Utterly immoral and wrong. This was the beginning of the slippery slope many find thyself on.

Sep. 27 2013 10:53 AM

PLEASE, also look at Lawrence Lessig on the same point:

Sep. 27 2013 10:53 AM
Dei from Queens

OMG. How can this guest even talk about unions. How can unions survive against global wages?! His support for free trade policies with countries that do not have out same standards have killed unions far more than any Republican policy. This guy does not deserve to be on this program.

Sep. 27 2013 10:53 AM
Schmulik from Queens

"why not poverty for all" "we will never eliminate poverty" ... lies of an economic bully that is ignorant of world economics a self hating member of the economic serfdom that Fox news satiates with BS

Sep. 27 2013 10:51 AM

What everyone CAN DO - even children. Put your representatives on your speed dial and MAKE the CALLS. OFTEN! Be a squeaky wheel. It's easy. If hundreds/thousands of Americans called their reps (local, state and federal) every day - We WOULD see a difference.

Sep. 27 2013 10:51 AM
Dee from Montclair

I lost my house after applying for help through the HOPE program. I was advised to stop paying my mortgage and the bank aggressively went after my house. How can we depend on the government for anything?

Sep. 27 2013 10:50 AM
Ana from UWS

Saw. the movie last night and really enjoyed it but would like to know why
it didn't go into greater detail about the repeal of Glass-Steagall

Sep. 27 2013 10:50 AM

This guest is ridiculous. Another one....

Sep. 27 2013 10:49 AM
Jacob from Manhattan

Michael C -> really, competing against billions of people for labor does not affect income?! What? You must be one of these new MBA's that use special math.

Sep. 27 2013 10:49 AM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

You can, indeed, be politically active by maintaining awareness of what is going on. I know so many people that are clueless about what is going on and they turn around and vote against their own interest. Ignorance is really the reason why we are in this mess.

Sep. 27 2013 10:49 AM

Isn't the increase in the disparity between the super rich and the everyday people more a function of actions of the FED who is inflating the money supply in order to stabilize the economies of the entire country / world?

In addition hasn't the president, his philosophy and his administration helped to create an anti free enterprise atmosphere in our country and there by creating a disincentive for businesses to hire?

Sep. 27 2013 10:47 AM
Elise from Manhattan

To the caller. Solution: you are not a slave to your job. You have options. Look for a different job, career, educate yourself in a different field. You know, what everyone else does.

As for thew guest - he fully supported international trade which is what was behind this divide to start with. I cannot listen to him any longer.

Sep. 27 2013 10:47 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Who asked her to be or become a single mother? Did her husband die? We have welfare for widows and orphans. But if a father is driven out of his home, and away from his children, does the taxpayer have to pick up the tab?

Sep. 27 2013 10:46 AM
Ben from New York

Great show, Brian, and great topic. But why in the world are you name checking "What's the Matter With Kansas?"

Anyone with your wisdom can see that New York City contains hundreds of thousands of people who vote their values, not their economic interest.

Wealthy New Yorkers (like myself) would benefit tremendously from lower taxes on the rich and no estate taxes, yet the city votes overwhelmingly for policies that tilt towards social justice.

So why should any of us, or Thomas Frank, be surprised that there are people in Kansas who vote for conservatives candidates who destroy the state economically yet spout the values (on abortion, gay rights, etc.) that these Kansans hold dear.

It's a silly question.

Sep. 27 2013 10:46 AM
Telisha from Bronx

This show is growing more and more tiresome. I find myself tuning out nowadays. Every program is about this divide and conquer paradigm. Race, gender, income, etc, etc, etc. ENOUGH! There are plenty of problems we all share. This program has become all about envy politics, promoting no personal responsibility for one's lot and has generally become preachy instead of informative.

Sep. 27 2013 10:44 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The reason why "many people don't get it" is because their ancestors came here to be free and get as rich as possible. Naturally, when people here feel poorer they get bitter. But most are smart enough to realize that when you remove the opportunity to get rich, you also condemn the country to what happened in Russia and China under communism. Although this lesson apparently has begun to fade as the Cold War becomes a distant memory.

Sep. 27 2013 10:44 AM
Michael C from Manhattan

Income inequality is not the fault of global trade that is a red herring ... If that were true then the aggregate net income would have gone down instead of shifting to the 1 %. The USA still has the richest men, the most billionaires, is still the No 1 economy. Income inequality is a result of policies that are unfolding in front of our eyes right now with republican efforts to deny health care and food assistance to the poor. These policies were and are being made to disenfranchise the gains politically and economically that were made by all classes and races after the New Deal. Imagine if the 40 some odd million Americans that live at or below the poverty line were members of the middle class and those who are burdened by debt and supposedly in the middle class were able to spend ( employ) The rich do not manage their money they pay others to manage it for them. We do not need the rich to finance innovation.. kickstarter and other crowd sourcing can fund products and services that we want and will need. NO Billionaire started Apple , or Google , or Microsoft, etc etc etc ... all of these job creators and innovators came from the unwashed middle and lower middle classes...

Sep. 27 2013 10:44 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ jgarbuz - I do strongly agree with you, having spent years studying the processes, that globalization along with widespread adoption of manufacturing technology has altered the structure of the the US and global economies.

At the same time, as Reich just said, "there is no silver bullet" to close income inequality, which has worsened over the past 30+ years. The Neoliberal economic agenda set at Bretton Woods post-WWII are what the current globalized economy is based upon. US officials set these rules which are playing out now.

Reich specifically responded to to you jagarbuz and you sanych...

Sep. 27 2013 10:44 AM
Cynthia Herzegovitch

Unfortunately many of the fast food jobs that were part-time jobs for teens are now "full-time" jobs for their parents. I don't think they were designed for that. I am not sure making those jobs at a higher rate is the best answer, better step is to get the adults into better jobs and give these first rung jobs back to kids (HS & College) that want/need a part time job. That means companies need to INVEST in their best asset THEIR EMPLOYEES!!!

Sep. 27 2013 10:42 AM
David from MANHATTAN

Please ask Mr. Reich about his support of NAFTA. NAFTA has helped to create a lot of the huge inequality and unemployment in this country the Mr. Reich is talking about.

Sep. 27 2013 10:42 AM

Thank you, Robert!!

Sep. 27 2013 10:41 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Why not povertyforall. com? Because poverty for all is the only way you're going to end inequality, Mr.Reich.

Sep. 27 2013 10:40 AM

The phone line is busy...

Would you ask Reich about NAFTA?

How he made money outsourcing jobs and now profits from crying about it.

Sep. 27 2013 10:37 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

One of the reasons for the Great Depression was because we put up huge tariff walls to try to save jobs, but instead it broke down world trade, exacerbated the Depression, and ended up with WWII. WE got rich after WWII because we destoyed the economies of Europe and Japan, and almost everyone except us. Then we opened up world trade because we had the advantage until Japan and Europe caught up again, and then China and Indian turned capitalist.
We may have income inequality, but we also have more TVs and gadgets then ever in history.

Sep. 27 2013 10:37 AM
John A

We's all in the cookie jar, thanks to drunk mom.
Translation: holding taxes unnaturally low (the cookies) is the reward for voters to vote for fiscally irresponsible (drunk) governors.

Sep. 27 2013 10:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Income inequality is the fault of global trade. If you eliminate trade, we will all become equally poor. The fastest way to income equality is to end all trade with other countries. Then, like in the old Soviet Union, or in today's North Korea, we will become equally poor. Even in Iran, thanks to sanctions, we see how poverty is increasing. Of course, the commissars will grab more of what is left for themselves. Again, learn about the old Soviet Union or even about today's North Korea.

Sep. 27 2013 10:33 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes, NJ

Plutocrats become more equal! Google Joe Mirsky More MOney Than You Could Ever Spend.

Sep. 27 2013 10:18 AM


Small screens, tiny keyboards, fat fingers, dislexic brains...

Sep. 27 2013 10:02 AM

Crocodile tears...

Robert Reich was the Secretary of Labor in Clinton administration when NAFTA was adopted with great secrecy and spread. This what started the exodus of jobs out of this country.

I saw interviews with Mr. Reich. When asked about NAFTA he always dances around the issue. I just wonder if he also cries out big progressive tears...

Sep. 27 2013 09:56 AM

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