Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=Robert Reich

title=United States Secretary of Labor
predecessor=Lynn Morley Martin
successor=Alexis Herman
president=Bill Clinton
birth_date=birth date and age|1946|06|24
spouse=Clare Dalton
profession=Academic, commentator

Robert Bernard Reich (born June 24, 1945) is an American politician, academic, writer, and political commentator. He served as the twenty-second United States Secretary of Labor, serving under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. Reich is a former Harvard University professor and the former Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. Reich is also on the board of directors of [] He is a trustee of the Economists for Peace and Security. He is an occasional political commentator, notably on "Hardball with Chris Matthews", "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" and CNBC's "Kudlow & Company".


Reich was born into a Jewish family, and he attended John Jay High School in Cross River, New York. He attended Dartmouth College, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1968 and winning a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. [Turco, Al. [ "Democrat Robert Reich says he’s prepared to make a difference in Mass."] , "Stoneham Independent", March 20, 2002. Accessed April 21, 2008. "Reich started out as a graduate of John Jay High School, a regional public high school in small-town Cross River, New York. Reich then earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1968 and won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford where he received degrees in philosophy, politics and economics."]

A longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, going back to their days together at the University of Oxford and Yale Law School respectively, he was invited to head Clinton's economic transition team. He later joined the administration as Secretary of Labor. During his tenure, he implemented the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), successfully promoted increasing the minimum wage, successfully lobbied to pass the Pension Protection Act and the School-to-Work Jobs Act, and launched a number of job training programs.

At the same time, he lobbied Clinton to address bigger societal issues, and pushed for improvement of conditions for those in poverty. In addition, Reich used the office as a platform for focusing the nation's attention on the need for American workers to adapt to the new economy. He advocated that the country provide more opportunities for workers to learn more technology, and predicted the shrinkage of the middle class due to a gap between unskilled and highly skilled workers.

After the Clinton administration

In 1996, between Clinton's re-election and second inauguration, Reich decided to leave the department to spend more time with his sons, then in their teen years. He published his experiences working for the Clinton administration in "Locked in the Cabinet".

Reich became a professor at Brandeis University, teaching courses for undergraduates as well as in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. In 2003, he was elected the Professor of the Year by the undergraduate student body.

In 2002, he ran for Governor of Massachusetts. He also published an associated campaign book, "I'll Be Short". (Reich is 4'10".) Reich was the first Democratic candidate for a major political office to support same-sex marriage. He also pledged support for abortion rights, and strongly condemned capital punishment. His campaign staff was largely made up of his Brandeis students. Although his campaign had little funding, he surprised many and came in second in the Democratic primary with 25% of the vote.

In 2003, he was awarded the prestigious Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Prize, by the former Czech president, for his writings in economics and politics. [ [ Foundation VIZE 97 - Laureates ] ]

In 2004, he published "Reason", a handbook on how liberals can forcefully argue for their position in a country increasingly dominated by what he calls "radcons", or radical conservatives.

In addition to his professorial role, he is a weekly contributor to the American Public Media public radio program Marketplace, and a regular columnist for the American Prospect.

In early 2005, there was speculation that Reich would once again seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts. He instead became one of the earliest endorsers of the then-little-known candidacy of Deval Patrick, who has previously served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration. Patrick would go on to take the state party's endorsement, win the three-way primary with nearly 50% of the vote, and be elected Governor in a landslide in November 2006.

In September 2005 Reich testified against John Roberts at his confirmation hearings for Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Reich recently published an article that was extremely critical of the Clintons, referring to Bill Clinton's attacks on Barack Obama as "ill-tempered and ill-founded," and accusing the Clintons of waging "a smear campaign against Obama that employs some of the worst aspects of the old politics." [ [ Robert Reich's Blog: Bill Clinton's Old Politics ] ]

On April 18, 2008 Reich endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States. [ [ Robert Reich's Blog: Obama for President ] ]

Political and Philosophical Stance

Robert Reich holds a liberal political stance. In an interview with The New York Times, "I don’t believe in redistribution of wealth for the sake of redistributing wealth. But I am concerned about how we can afford to pay for what we as a nation need to do." []

In response to a question as to what to recommend to the incoming president regarding a fair and sustainable income and wealth distribution, Reich said, "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 all the way up to better access to post-secondary education." [] He also holds an altruistic stance with regards to financial risks,"So let’s help families stay in their homes and continue to pay mortgages that are refinanced so they can afford to pay them. And let’s have better financial oversight so the next time money is cheap, mortgage lenders don’t shove it into the hands of people who don’t know what they’re getting into." []

Reich understands the dangers and moral hazards of laissez-faire capitalism and favors a more regulated economic system that protects those lower on the income scale. []


*He played himself as a detective in a skit on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"; they amusingly contrasted each other in height, as Conan is 6'4" and Reich is 4'10".

*A selection from his book "Locked in the Cabinet" is featured in "The Lanahan Readings in the American Polity, Fourth Edition"

*Reich is frequently a contributor to CNBC's "Kudlow & Company" and occasionally "On the Money".

*He made his first video blog (vblog) debut on [] on March 7, 2007 where he revealed he dated Hillary Clinton while in college.

*His son Sam Reich runs CollegeHumor's CHTV portion of the website and is part of the web video comedy group Dutch West.


* 2007: "Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life" ISBN 0-307-26561-7
* 2004: "Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America" ISBN 1-4000-7660-9
* 2002: "I'll Be Short: Essentials for a Decent Working Society" ISBN 0-8070-4340-0
* 2000: "The Future of Success: Working and Living in the New Economy" ISBN 0-375-72512-1
* 1997: "Locked in the Cabinet" ISBN 0-375-70061-7
* 1991: "The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism" ISBN 0-679-73615-8
* 1990: "Public Management in a Democratic Society" ISBN 0-13-738881-0
* 1988: "The Power of Public Ideas" (editor) ISBN 0-674-69590-9
* 1989: "The Resurgent Liberal: And Other Unfashionable Prophecies" ISBN 0-8129-1833-9
* 1987: "Tales of a New America: The Anxious Liberal's Guide to the Future" ISBN 0-394-75706-8
* 1985: "New Deals: The Chrysler Revival and the American System" (with John Donahue) ISBN 0-14-008983-7
* 1983: "The Next American Frontier" ISBN 0-8129-1067-2
* 1982: "Minding America's Business: The Decline and Rise of the American Economy" (with Ira Magaziner) ISBN 0-394-71538-1

ee also

*The Trap (TV Documentary Series) Reich features in "The Trap", a BBC documentary.


* [ Official website and biography (includes contact information, articles and columns, and radio appearances)]

External links

* [ The American Prospect articles] by Robert Reich
* [ Robert Reich interview]
* [ Personal blog]
* [ USDOL biography]
* [ UC Berkeley bio]
* [ Explanation of Multiple Epiphysial Dysplasia (MED), also known as Fairbanks disease]
* [ Explanation of Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia (MED)]
* [ Jonathan Rauch's review in Slate exposing falsehoods in "Locked in the Cabinet"]
* [ Rauch's review of the revised paperback edition of "Locked in the Cabinet"]
* [ Tom Hazlett's article on "Locked in the Cabinet" and problems with Reich's other books]
* [ Appearance on Conan O'Brien Show]
* [ Robert Reich's blog posts] for the Why Democracy? project
* [ Christopher Lehman Haupt's review of] "The Work of Nations" for "The New York Times"
* [ Review of "Reason" by Steve Weinberg of the] "San Francisco Chronicle"
* [ Ted Widmer reviews "Reason" in the] "New York Times Book Review"
* [ "Locked in the Cabinet" gets a good review from Daniel L. Wick at the] "San Francisco Chronicle"
* [ 2004's "Locked in the Cabinet" reviewed by Richard Bernstein of] "The New York Times"
* [ Alan Wolfe reviews "The Future of Success" in the] "New York Times Book Review"
* [ "Invisible Handcuffs." Robert Frank reviews SUPERCAPITALISM for the] "New York Times Book Review"
* [ "Supercapitalism" favorably reviewed by Tom Abate of the] "San Francisco Chronicle"
* [ Sept. 6, 2007 review of SUPERCAPITALISM in] "The Economist"

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