Exclusive - Robert Reich Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  09/16/13
  •  | Views: 261,029

In this exclusive, unedited interview, Robert Reich looks to the past for future economic solutions. (7:49)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT FORMERSECRETARY OF LABOR CURRENTLY

A PROFESSOR AT UC BERKELEYFEATURED IN THE UPCOMING

DOCUMENTARY FILM INEQUALITYFOR ALL.

>> WHEN YOU TAKE INTOCONSIDERATION RISING COSTS.

THE RISING COSTS OF RENTSFOR HOMES, DRAMATICALLY

INCREASING COSTS FOR HEALTHCARE, THE RISING COST OF

CHILD CARE AND ALSO THERISING COSTS OF HIGHER

EDUCATION, RISING MUCHFASTER THAN INFLATION, TAKE

ALL OF THESE INTOCONSIDERATION, AND YOU FIND

THAT IT'S MUCH WORSE THANJUST STAGNATING WAGES, IT'S

BASICALLY MIDDLE-CLASSFAMILIES OFTEN WITH TWO WAGE

EARNERS WORKING HARDER ANDHARDER AND HARDER AND

GETTING NOWHERE.

>> Jon: PLEASE WELCOME BACKTO THE PROGRAM, ROBERT

REICH.

(APPLAUSE)(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> GOOD TO SEE YOU, JON.

>> AN UPBEAT FILM, RIGHT.

>> Jon: IT IS AN UPBEATFILM.

AND YOU KNOW ME, I LIKE ANYFILM WITH A POWER POINT

PRESENTATION, KNOCKED RIGHTIN THERE.

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: LET ME TELL YOUSOMETHING, THOUGH.

WE KNOW THE DISTURBINGSTATISTICS.

WE KNOW HOW BAD IT IS.

I WANT TO FOCUS ON-- YOU'REAN UPBEAT MAN.

>> I AM AN UPBEAT MAN, I'MAN OPTIMIST.

>> Jon: SO TELL ME, GIVE MELIGHT AT THE END OF THIS

VERY DARK TUNNEL.

INCOME INEQUALITY IN AMERICAIS GETTING WORSE AND WORSE,

IT'S GETTING MORE AND MORERIGID.

HOW DO WE GET OUT OF THISTRAP?

>> WELL, WE GET OUT OF ITTHE WAY WE GOT OUT OF IT IN

1901.

YOU REMEMBER THAT.

>> YEAH.

I MEAN THE PROGRESSIVE ERA.

IF WE HAD HAD THISCONVERSATION IN 1900 WE

WOULD HAVE HAD A HUGEINEQUALITY GAP IN THIS

COUNTRY, CORRUPTION OF OURPOLITICAL PROCESSES,

URBAN SQUALOR,ROBBER BARONS RUNNING ROUGH

SHOD OVER AMERICA AND YOUWOULD HAVE SAID TO ME IN 1900,

THE EARLIER VERSION OF THISSHOW, HOW DO WE GET OUT OF

THIS AND I WOULD HAVE SAIDWE'RE COMING UP TO A KIND OF

A TIPPING POINT.

I CAN'T TELL YOU WHEN IT'SGOING TO HAPPEN, JON.

I THINK IT'S ABOUT 1901.

AND THEN-- .

>> Jon: WOULD YOU HAVE SAIDTHAT, YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN

THAT PRESCIENT.

IS THERE A COUNTRY WE WOULDHAVE ATTACKED AROUND THAT

TIME?

>> NO, YOU DON'T HAVE TOATTACK A COUNTRY.

IT'S JUST, WHAT HAPPENS ISWE GET TO A POINT IN THIS

COUNTRY WHERE THE IDEAL THATWE ALL LIVE BY, EQUAL

OPPORTUNITY IS SO FAR FROMTHE REALITY THAT WE LIVE IN

EVERY DAY THAT THE COGNITIVEDISSONANCE JUST BRINGS FORTH

CITIZEN ACTIVISM.

>> Jon: IS THERE LEGISLATIVESOLUTION.

IN 1901 IT WAS NOT NECESSARILYA LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION.

>> IT BECOMES A LEGISLATIVESOLUTION.

THAT IS WE GET A PROGRESSIVEINCOME TAX IN THAT ERA IN

THE PROGRESSIVE ERA.

WE HAVE ANTI-TRUST,ANTI-MONOPOLY LAWS.

IT STARTS WITH CITIZENACTIVISM.

IT STARTS WITH PEOPLE WHOARE SO BASICALLY, YOU KNOW,

THEY'RE PISSED OFF.

THEY SAY I'M TO THE GOING TOTAKE THIS ANY MORE.

THIS IS NOT THE SOCIETY IWANT TO LIVE IN.

IT HAPPENS.

IT HAPPENED AGAIN IN THE1930s, IN THE 1960s, 1963

THROUGH 1969.

AND IT'S GOING TO HAPPENAGAIN.

AND OUR MOVIE IS GOING TOACTUALLY PRECIPITATE IT.

(LAUGHTER)>> Jon: NOW OTHER COUNTRIES

HAVE FACED SIMILAR ISSUESAND THEIR VERSION OF

ACTIVISM WERE, YOU KNOW,REVOLUTION.

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: YOU KNOW IN THIS COUNTRYWE DON'T HAVE A

HISTORY OF THAT IN TERMS OFTURMOIL BUT WE DO HAVE A

HISTORY OF MITIGATING THATTHROUGH SOCIAL PROGRAMS OR

THROUGH LEGISLATIVEMETHODOLOGY.

THAT SEEMS LIKE IT'S NOT ONTHE TABLE ANY MORE.

>> IT'S NOT ON THE TABLERIGHT NOW BUT WE DO REFORM.

WE DID NOT SUCCUMB IN THE30s TO FASCISM OR COMMUNISM

IN THE PROGRESSIVE ERA.

AS WINSTON CHURCHILLREPEATEDLY SAID, AMERICANS

ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THINGEVENTUALLY AFTER THEY'VE

EXHAUSTED ALL OTHERALTERNATIVES.

(LAUGHTER)AND I THINK WE WILL.

YOU LOOK HISTORICALLY YOULOOK AT, I MEAN LOOK,

EVEN-- I MEAN EVEN THE GAYRIGHTS AND GAY MARRIAGE.

I MEAN THIS IS A MAJOR CIVILRIGHTS ISSUE OF OUR TIME.

WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS ON ITIF YOU HAD ASKED ME YOU KNOW

TEN YEARS AGO, 12 YEARS AGOARE WE GOING TO HAVE A BLACK

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITEDSTATES, I WOULD HAVE SAID

YOU KNOW IT'S GOING TO BETOUGH.

IT'S GOING TO BE A LONGTIME.

WE DO THE RIGHT THING, JON.

BE UPBEAT.

(APPLAUSE)>> Jon: LET ME ASK YOU.

YOU KNOW, WE TALK ABOUTCLASS WARFARE.

ANY TIME YOU TALK ABOUT WHENINCOME INEQUALITY GETS LIKE

THIS OR WHEN WE START TOVALUE INVESTMENT SO MUCH

MORE THAN LABOR WHICH IS, ITHINK, WHAT HAS HAPPENED

OVER THE LAST 30 OR 40 YEARS,IF YOU BRING THAT UP IT IS

CLASS WARFARE.

TO REGISTER A COMPLAINTAGAINST A SYSTEM IS CLASS

WARFARE.

YET TO TURN AROUND ANDDIMINISH PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY

NEED FOOD STAMP ASSISTANCEOR BECAUSE THEY MIGHT NEED

OTHER TYPES OF ASSISTANCE,THAT IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE

ALWAYS ALLOWED PEOPLESTRUGGLING TO GET THEIR

FOOTING AND FIND A WAY OUTOF THAT PREDICTMENT, THAT IS

NEVER CONSIDERED APPARENTLYCLASS WARFARE.

THAT IS JUST LOOKING OUT FORGOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE.

>> WELL, THERE IS ANIDEOLOGY THAT HAS COME ABOUT

IN THIS COUNTRY THAT IS VERY,VERY KIND OF MEAN-SPIRITED.

BUT IF YOU ASK SOMEBODY WHOIS, YOU KNOW, CONSERVATIVE

AND SAID WE SHOULDN'T BEGIVING FOOD STAMPS, YOU SAY

LOOK IT, SHOULDN'T IT BE ACOUNTRY IN WHICH EVERYBODY

WHO IS WORKING FULL-TIME, IFARE YOU WORK HARD, WORKING

FULL-TIME, SHOULDN'T YOU GETOUT OF POVERTY.

SHOULDN'T BE BE ABLE TORAISE YOUR FAMILY.

THEY SAY WELL YEAH, YEAH.

AND I SAY WELL, IF THAT'STHE CASE, THEN SHOULDN'T THE

MINIMUM WAGE BE RAISED TOBEING A LIVING WAGE, ENOUGH

FOOD STAMPS SO EVERYBODY CANMAKE IT IF THEY ARE WORKING

FULL-TIME?

AND A LOT OF PEOPLE COMEAROUND.

YOU KNOW, BUT-- .

>> Jon: WORKING FULL-TIME,BUT THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE

THAT, YOU KNOW, HERE'S THEOTHER THING ABOUT SOME OF

THESE POOR PEOPLE, THEY HAVETWO OR THREE JOBS, AREN'T

THEY JOB HOGGING.

ISN'T THAT REALLY THE ISSUE?

>> YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT,THAT'S REALLY THE ISSUE.

>> Jon: SHOULDN'T THERE BE AMORE SOCIALIST JOB

DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM.

>> I HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT ITTHAT WAY, FRANKLY.

>> Jon: BUT IT'S NOT JUSTPEOPLE THAT WORK-- IT'S THIS

IDEA THAT SOMEHOW IF ARE YOUUNDEREMPLOYED OR NOT

EMPLOYED, THAT YOU ARE LAZYAND GAMING THE SYSTEM THAT

IS-- THAT THERE IS THIS IDEATHAT POOR PEOPLE IN THIS

COUNTRY ARE COASTING ON THEBENEFICIENCE OF ALL THE RICH

BENEFITS THAT THEY CAN JUSTTAKE ADVANTAGE OF.

IT'S A LIE, IT'S A STRUGGLEAND THERE IS NOT A PERSON IN

THAT SITUATION THAT DOESN'TWANT OUT OF THAT SITUATION.

>> OF COURSE IT A HUGE LIE.

AND IT'S PERPETRATED,UNFORTUNATELY, BY SOME

PEOPLE WHO ARE DOINGEXTREMELY WELL.

I MEAN WHAT WE-- THE LATESTRESEARCH SHOWS THAT THE TOP

1% ARE NOW TAKING HOMEALMOST 23% OF TOTAL INCOME

IN THIS COUNTRY, THIS IS ANEW RECORD.

ALL, 95% OF THE -- .

>> Jon: SO WHY NOT CHANGETHE TAX STRUCTURE TO BE MORE

PROGRESSIVE.

WHY END THE SOCIAL SECURITYTAX-- WHY CAP IT, WHY NOT

JUST KEEP GOING.

WHY NOT MEANS TEST SOME OFTHESE BENEFITS.

I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT.

>> WELL, I'M WITH YOU.

>> Jon: BUT THAT SEEMSSIMPLE.

>> WELL, I AGREE.

(LAUGHTER)>> Jon: BUT SO WHY DON'T

THEY DO THAT?

WHY IS THAT-- WHY IS THAT SOHARD POLITICALLY?

>> I'LL TELL YOU.

>> Jon: WHY IS THATDIFFICULT.

>> THE REASON IT'S DIFFICULTIS BECAUSE WITH RISING

INEQUALITY AND CONCENTRATEDINCOME AND WEALTH AT THE TOP

ALSO COMES A LOT OFPOLITICAL POWER AT THE TOP.

AND UNLESS WE GET BIG MONEYOUT OF POLITICS, WE ARE

GOING TO FIND IT MORE ANDMORE DIFFICULT TO DO

ANYTHING IN THIS COUNTRYTHAT MAKES ANY SENSE.

>> Jon: WELL, ALL RIGHT-- (APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: WILL YOU STICKAROUND?

ALL RIGHT, INEQUALITY FORALL.

IT PLAYS IT IN SELECT CITIESBEGINNING SEPTEMBER 27th.

ROBERT REICH, HE KNOWS WHATHE'S TALKING ABOUT.

(APPLAUSE)

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