Robert Reich (born June 24, 1946) has much to offer the Occupy movement as it is finding its way: “I have dedicated my life to ensuring that the economy works for everyone. A central tenet of my writings and the policies I put into place as labor secretary is that our ability to thrive as a nation depends on the capacities of our people who work productively together – both as participants in an economy and as members of a society.”
He spoke to the students who were both protesting fee hikes and supporting Occupy Wall Street on November 15 on the steps of Sproul Hall at Cal in Berkeley:
“I urge you to be patient with yourself because with regard to every social movement in the last half-century or more, it started with a sense of moral outrage. Things were wrong and the actual coalescence of that moral outrage into specific demands came later.
Some people say we cannot afford education any longer, we cannot as a nation provide social services to the poor… Well how can that be true if we are now richer than we have ever been before? Over the last three decades this economy has doubled in size but most Americans have not seen much gain.
The problem with concentrated income and wealth…is an education system that’s no longer available to so many young people… We are losing equal opportunity in America. We are losing the moral foundation stone on which this country and our democracy were founded.
All of you understand intuitively that if we allowed America to go in the direction it was going, with the wealth and the income and the power and the political potential for corruption that all of that represents, that the bullies would be in charge.”
Reich served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He was formerly a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University. He was also chairman, founding editor, and contributing editor of The New Republic, and contributing editor of The American Prospect, Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Reich is a political commentator on Hardball with Chris Matthews, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CNBC’s Kudlow & Company, and APM’s Marketplace and other programs. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the Ten Best Cabinet Members of the century, and The Wall Street Journal placed him sixth on its list of the “Most Influential Business Thinkers.” He was a member of President-elect Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.
His 13 books, include best-sellers, The Work of Nations, Reason, Supercapitalism, and Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future. He is chairman of Common Cause and writes a blog about the political economy.
Regarding a fair and sustainable income and wealth distribution, he recommends, “Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit — a wage supplement for lower-income people, and finance it with a higher marginal income tax on the top five percent. For the longer term, invest in education for lower income communities, starting with early-childhood education and extending to better access to post-secondary education.”
With little information about his personal life, I’m sticking my neck out and calling him an Enneagram Peace Seeker who makes good use of his Achiever and Questioner arrows. Please let me know if you know him well and know the Enneagram well and you have a more accurate guess.
Dept of Labor photo.