Robert Reich

  • Aired:  04/18/12
  •  | Views: 19,907

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich lays out the conditions that he believes will lead to the formation of a legitimate third party in the United States. (5:47)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, HE WAS THE SECRETARY OF LABOR UNDER THE COLLATION, CURRENTLY A PROFESSOR

OF PUBLIC POLICY AT U.C.

BERKELEY.

HIS NEW E-BOOK IS CALLED "BEYOND OUTRAGE, WHAT HAS GONE WRONG WITH OUR ECONOMY AND DEMOCRACY

AND HOW TO FIX IT." WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW ROBERT REICH.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HOW ARE YOU, SIR?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HOW ARE YOU?

IT'S AN E-BOOK YOU'VE WRITTEN SO I'M GOING TO HOLD IT UP FOR THE AUDIENCE.

(LAUGHTER).

>> Jon: .

>> TURN THE PAGE.

>> Jon: TURN THE PAGE, VERY NICE.

THIS IS... IS THE... WHAT IS YOUR... WHAT IS THE CENTRAL PROBLEM IN YOUR ESTIMATION RIGHT

NOW WITH OUR TAX SYSTEM IN OUR ECONOMY?

>> TAX SYSTEM.

>> Jon: NO, NOT TAX SYSTEM.

WHATEVER YOU WANTED TO SAY.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO SAY?

(LAUGHTER)

>> I MEAN, I THINK THE TAXES RIGHT NOW, JON, ON THE PEOPLE AT THE VERY TOP WHO HAVE MORE

INCOME AND WEALTH AS A PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL INCOME AND WEALTH THAN THEY HAVE IN ABOUT

80 YEARS, THEY ARE PAYING A LOWER EFFECTIVE TAX RATE THAN THEY HAVE IN 40 YEARS.

SO DOESN'T IT MAKE SENSE?

I MEAN, THIS IS NOT A RADICAL STATEMENT, TO GO BACK TO A TAX RATE THAT WE HAD AFTER THE

SECOND WORLD WAR UP UNTIL 1980?

>> Jon: SO YOU'RE A SOCIALIST?

(LAUGHTER)

>> YOU KNOW, I MEAN, UNDER DWIGHTIZE HOWER THE HIGHEST MARGINAL INCOME TAX RATE WAS 91%.

>> Jon: SO HE WAS A COMMUNIST.

(LAUGHTER)

>> HE WAS A REPUBLICAN.

HE WAS A FORMER GENERAL AND, YOU KNOW, NOBODY ACCUSED HIM OF BEING A COMMUNIST OR A SOCIALIST.

AND I'M NOT SUGGESTING WE GO TO 91%.

I'M JUST SAYING IN THOSE YEARS WE HAD THREE DECADES AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR, THE ECONOMY

GREW FASTER THAN IT'S GROWN SINCE AND EVEN THE EFFECTIVE...

EVEN AFTER ALL THE DEDUCTIONS AND TAX CREDITS PEOPLE AT THE TOP WERE STILL TAXED AROUND 5%,

56%.

>> Jon: BUT THIS WAS THE HEYDAY OF BIG GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE'S CONFIDENCE AND IT WAS

AFTER WORLD WAR II, WE HAD THE MARSHALL PLAN, WE REBUILT NATIONS, WE HAD WON WORLD WAR

II, WE HAD THE G.I. BILL.

PEOPLE FELT LIKE GOVERNMENT WAS COMPETENT AND THAT IT WAS WORTHWHILE FOR THESE PROGRAMS TO EXIST.

HAS THAT SENTIMENT CHANGED?

>> YES.

IT HAS.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Jon: SO WOULD IT BE FAIR TO SAY THAT BECAUSE THAT SENTIMENT HAS CHANGED THAT THERE... THAT

WE HAVE TO LOOK TO ALSO A CHANGE IN THE BALANCE BETWEEN TAXES AND GOVERNMENT?

>> YEAH, I THINK THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

BUT BY THE SAME TOKEN, BIG CORPORATIONS IN THOSE DAYS WERE MUCH MORE AMERICAN.

NOW THEY ARE GLOBAL.

SO IF WE DON'T HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT IS INVESTING IN OUR PEOPLE,

IN EDUCATION, IN JOB SKILLS, IN INFRASTRUCTURE, IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, BASIC RESEARCH

AND DEVELOPMENT, ALL OF THE THINGS WE NEED GOVERNMENT TO DO,

WE CAN'T EXPECT THE BIG CORPORATIONS ARE GOING TO DO IT.

SO WHO IS GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS WORK FORCE IS GOING TO BE COMPETITIVE AND HAVE A LOT OF

VALUE AND GENERATE HIGH WAGES.

>> Jon: BUT IT STRIKES ME THAT WE ARE IN A VERY STRANGE TIME IN

HISTORY WHERE BOTH SIDES OF THE POLITICAL DEBATE... AND WE'RE ONLY ALLOWED TO HAVE TWO,

APPARENTLY, BECAUSE WE'RE CHIMPS.

(LAUGHTER) BUT THE ONE SIDE THAT THEY ESIN MORE SORT OF LAISSEZ-FAIREBELIEV

CAPITALISM, A TAX RATE THAT FREES UP THE RICH TO CREATE JOBS FOR THE REST OF US, SORT OF A

1920s INCOME INEQUALITY MODEL,

THEY SEEM TO HAVE GOTTEN A LOT OF WHAT THEY WANT TAX WISE.

THE OTHER SIDE IS THE NEW DEAL SIDE WHERE THE STATE IS A LARGER

SOCIAL SAFETY NET, THERE'S A LOT OF INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING,

THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS.

THEY SEEM TO HAVE GOTTEN A LOT OF WHAT THEY WANT.

SO NOW WE HAVE TWO CAMPS THAT HAVE BASICALLY CODIFIED THEIR DESIRES BUT CANNOT EXIST FOR

VERY LONG WITHOUT IMPLODING.

>> YEAH, WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK.

ESSENTIALLY.

>> Jon: BUT HAVE WE EVER BEEN IN THAT POSITION?

THERE'S NO... EVERYBODY'S GETTING KIND OF WHAT THEY WANT AND IT'S DESTROYING US.

>> AND THAT'S SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE.

THAT'S NOT SUSTAINABLE.

AND PART OF THE PROBLEM IS THAT BOTH PARTIES ARE DEPENDENT FINANCIALLY IN TERMS OF THEIR

COMMERCIALS, IN TERMS OF...

GETTING REELECTED ON DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCIES THAT, TO SOME EXTENT, ARE SPECIAL INTERESTS

AND NOT... DON'T REFLECT THE PUBLIC AS A WHOLE.

WALL STREET AND BIG CORPORATIONS, REPUBLICAN PARTY,

BUT EVEN THE DEMOCRATS ARE PRETTY DEPENDENT ON SOME OF THOSE SAME SOURCES.

WALL STREET AND BIG CORPORATIONS AND A LOT OF THE... TO SOME EXTENT WHAT'S LEFT OF LABOR UNIONS.

NOT MUCH.

SO WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE?

AND WHO'S REPRESENTING YOU AND ME?

>> Jon: I'M RICH, ACTUALLY, SO I'M OKAY.

(LAUGHTER) I'M DOING VERY WELL.

>> WHO'S REPRESENTING US?

>> Jon: THERE YOU GO.

THAT'S BETTER.

AND, YOU KNOW, IF WE DON'T TAKE BACK OUR DEMOCRACY-- AND I MEAN

THIS QUITE SINCERELY-- FROM THE MONEYED INTERESTS AND SPECIAL INTERESTS, IF WE DON'T HAVE AN

ECONOMY WORKING FOR ALL OF US EVENTUALLY THERE'S GOING TO BE A THIRD PARTY.

>> Jon: WELL, THAT... I FEEL LIKE THE BARRIERS TO THAT ARE SO HIGH AND FOR THE SUCCESS OF

THAT, THAT'S SOMETHING... THE THIRD PARTY, FOR IT TO WORK,

WILL BE THE RISE OF THE APES.

IT WILL BE THE APE PARTY AND THEY WILL...

(LAUGHTER).

... WILL YOU STICK AROUND?

YOU BROUGHT SOMETHING UP ABOUT MONEY THAT I WANT TO TALK TO YOU.

AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK,

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