Robert Reich’s Revolutionary Rants

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


rr_edited-1To distract from Barack Obama’s failing presidency and the misery it is causing millions of Americans, leftist gadfly Robert Reich is wheeling out tired old paranoid rhetoric about class warfare and “inequality.”

Using language out of the Communist Manifesto, Reich inveighs against an invisible, cartoonish, Monopoly Man-type villain. Of course, Reich has no interest in talking about the vicious war that President Obama and his allies are waging against productive members of society, those who have affordable health insurance, and those who pay the taxes used up by the nonproductive.

Long a thuggish shill of the now-dying labor movement, Reich rants that

“Opposing a minimum wage hike, blocking unemployment insurance, cutting food stamps, keeping millions from accessing Medicaid … I believe these positions are part of a concerted effort to keep struggling folks down that represents nothing less than a war on the poor and working class.”

Although poll after poll has shown that “inequality” doesn’t register on American voters’ radar screens, Reich and the Left are pushing hard to raise the federal minimum wage, a move that will hit the young, especially young people of color, the hardest. Under 3 percent of all workers in the nation (and an even lower percentage of full-time workers) earn the minimum wage.

Hiking the minimum wage has never been about helping low-income people. In fact it has racist origins and was originally used to hurt minorities. It doesn’t help fast food workers. Increasing the minimum wage would benefit wealthier, white teens at the expense of minority teens, according to American Action Forum:

“Instead of combating income inequality, an increase in the minimum wage may actually enlarge the income gap by limiting earnings from those who need them most (the jobless) and directing them to those who need it least, the top 20% of earners.”

Those living below the poverty line are more likely to be unemployed, as opposed to earning a minimum wage, so they probably wouldn’t benefit from hiking the wage rate, Doug Holtz-Eakin, head of American Action Forum and a former Congressional Budget Office director.

“Minimum wage jobs are meant to be stepping stones, in which workers find internal promotions,” Holtz-Eakin said. “The key to not being poor is work. You have to have a robustly growing economy with job opportunities and we haven’t had that over the past five years.”

“If you raise the minimum wage and stop someone from getting hired, you’re transferring wages from the unemployed to someone already working,” he said.

In Europe unsustainable employee costs are forcing restaurants to replace fast food order-takers with machines, and plans are in place for automated food preparation. It will happen here too, especially in places like SeaTac, Wash., where voters recently approved a job-killing $15-an-hour minimum wage.

The minimum wage eliminates jobs from the workforce, forcing people onto welfare, and helps unions by restricting competition among those offering their labor. People who are dependent on the government tend to support Democrats.

Raising the hourly minimum wage, whether to $9, $10.10 as President Obama proposes, or $15, isn’t really about helping people.

It’s about recruiting voters and creating dependent Americans who will help to perpetuate the power of the Democratic Party.

Like mom, apple pie, and puppies, increasing the minimum wage often scores well in opinion polls. Left-wing activist groups support raising the minimum wage because it helps them to mobilize voters and their own troops.

ACORN used to put minimum wage propositions on the ballot in order to drive up turn out among poor voters. “We would like it to become a fact of political life where every year the other side has to contend with a minimum wage law in some state,” said Jen Kern, director of ACORN’s Living Wage Resource Center.

“This is what moves people to the polls now. This is our gay marriage,” she said a few years ago in a reference to the now-abandoned conservative tactic of putting anti-same sex referendums on the ballot in order to drive up conservative voter turnout.

But facts matter little to Reich, a radical true believer and undistinguished left-wing economist with the gift of gab who served as President Clinton’s labor secretary. Reich is repackaging the arguments that “social justice” crusaders have long used to prey on the naive and ignorant.

Reich is doing this in part to promote his new movie, Inequality for All. Reich says his piece of radical agitprop is aimed at ensuring there is “upward mobility again, in our society and in our economy.” Getting Americans politically involved will help “change the rules” that he falsely claims contributed to the recession that began under George W. Bush and has since intensified under Barack Obama.

In a new MoveOn video, Reich accuses mysterious, unnamed forces — he calls them “they” — of plotting against low-income people. This rhetorical use of the pronoun they ought to be referred to as the Paranoid Third Person. It’s a staple of conspiracy theorists, community organizers, and Saul Alinsky devotees and it’s part of the same whiny refrain we’ve been hearing from Reich and his Sixties leftover friends like Roger Hickey for decades now.

It ties in well with the current work of MoveOn, the leftist group that was created to get the neo-Marxists of the modern Democratic Party back on-message by distracting from Bill Clinton’s Oval Office sexual affair with a young intern. True to form, MoveOn is now bringing up marginal or irrelevant economic issues to bail out Barack Obama.

Invisible forces are conspiring against poor and working-class Americans, according to Reich. “What are they really after?”

In his musings, Reich urges viewers to “connect these seven dots.” Cue the violins:

“They’re against extending unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for more than six months even though there’s still only one job for every three unemployed.

They don’t want to raise the minimum wage even though today’s federal minimum is 25 percent below what it was in 1968, adjusted for inflation.

They’re against extending Medicaid benefits to millions of low-wage workers

They want to cut food stamps.

They refuse to invest in education or job training.

They don’t want to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure or have any other jobs programs.

They’re out to bust unions.”

Like any good snake oil salesman, he offers up a simplistic solution:

“Do you see a pattern here? They’re waging a war against the poor and the working class in order to keep people down because when you’re unemployed, without any support, without any bargaining power and you have to feed your family, you’re desperate, and when you’re desperate you’ll take whatever they are willing to pay you even if it’s next to nothing. And you won’t dare make a fuss. You won’t complain about unsafe work conditions or toxic chemicals leaking out of storage tanks or anything else. You won’t run the risk of trying to form a union. You won’t get involved in politics. You won’t make a ruckus or rock the boat in any way. You’ll take whatever they choose to give you because you are sinking. Make no mistake this war against the poor and working class is designed to make sure Americans who’ve been losing ground for 30 years don’t dare do anything about it. Without extended unemployment benefits, a declining real minimum wage, no Medicaid, no food stamps, no education, job training, or jobs program, and no union, you’ll do exactly as they tell you and that’s fine with them but it’s bad for America.”

This litany of nonsense and overblown rhetoric is what we’ve come to expect from Reich and his ilk.

This is Chicken Little, Erin Brockovich-style horror propaganda that has no relationship to life in the real world. In our severely over-regulated society Americans aren’t at peril from unsafe work conditions or toxic chemicals. Americans aren’t dropping dead because of “crumbling” highways. They aren’t clamoring to join unions, which they correctly view as obstacles to progress and self-advancement. No one is trying to abolish the social safety net, get rid of food stamps, Medicaid, or government-subsidized education and job training.

But telling the truth isn’t good for recruiting.

Reich needs to sell an apocalyptic fantasy in order to hoodwink Americans into joining his cause. In fact Reich and his friends in the Obama administration are the ones waging war against the poor and workers, creating more poor people, more unemployed people, more underemployed people, and driving people out of the labor force altogether. With the national debt closing in on $17.3 trillion and the trillions of dollars wasted over the years on the War on Poverty, Americans have little to show after decades of following the policy prescriptions of the Left.

Reich’s noise-making is about the politics of distraction, misdirecting public attention, trying to change the national political conversation, moving it away from the stagnant economy, the failing Obamacare program, the political scandals that are becoming too numerous to count, and the other grave problems in American society that left-wingers have caused and exacerbated.

Given the mainstream media’s continuing love affair with the telegenic Reich, he’s likely to be in the spotlight, deceiving the American public, for a long time to come.

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  • john in cheshire

    As Margaret Thatcher, I think, once said, socialism eventually fails when it runs out of other people’s money. The US being such an affluent country, it is taking a bit longer to reach that point.

    • carpe diem 36

      not affluent any more thanks to obama and his eediot supporters. it did not take that long actually, he started to borrow huge sums of money the first day he became president, and never stopped. the debt is killing this country and he just got an even bigger debt.

  • The Facts

    If Robert Reich is “thuggish,” I fear for the future of gangsterism.

    • carpe diem 36

      not funny and not relevant.

      • Habbgun

        Yeah you are right but The Fartz is off his game. He’s an Israel hater and would rather talk about Robert Reich being Jewish and all that means but he’s got a problem that he’s hearing what he wants to hear.

        He’s a worthless Occupy type. ‘Nuff said……

    • Rob Hobart

      Non-responsive drivel from a troll.

  • motheroftheBeave

    There is nothing more pathetic than an old has been who, having had his undeserved fifteen minutes of fame, is still trying desperately to remain relevant. All he accomplishes is revealing how stupid he really is.

    • Seek

      Reich has enjoyed fame for a lot more than the proverbial 15 minutes. He’s been a public figure since the early 1980s. His widespread influence is what won him the job as Clinton labor secretary. The problem is that to this day many take him seriously as a major economic thinker.

  • retired22

    Very little of this will matter in the near future.America’s 100 years of being Blued,screwed,& tatooed by the Central Bankers will come to an end! The Economy is going over the cliff & we are going to have bigger problems then what slimeballs like Reich think or say.When,not if, the economy goes down it will be the end of western style Fabian Socialism.Without the reserve system of leveraged currency (it’s not money,just credit) the Socialist programs cannot survive. Put in simplistic terms, the banks can finance a $1000 investment with $100 reserve to back that investment.This has been done to the tune of Trillions of $$$’s.When the Pyramid shortly collapses,it will become impossible to fund the Welfare State with the REAL wealth available!

    • T-Rex

      Exactly. The lib/progs and rinos have been staging this fictional theatre of prosperity based on the “full faith and credit” that allows them to create money out of thin air. They delude us and themselves by calculating what is an “acceptable” ratio of debt to GDP by manipulating statistics. What they will not admit is their monetary policies have so devalued our currency that actual wealth is indistinguishable from fiat money created on ledger pages. We Americans have no other option than to accept this “credit” based on “faith”. The collapse occurs when the US dollar is rejected as the preferred currency for global trading. We are in line for another Great Depression.

    • carpe diem 36

      our government has become Madoff writ large. and idiots like Reich are advocating even more of it. most people who work hard and earn a living do not wish to be forced to “share” it with those who do not work. a government that takes our products by force cannot do that for long, it will either run out of other people’s money or we change government. what we see is not good, we are running out of money and we do not see a change in gov’t, the moochers will keep voting for the Madoff’s who will give them more of our money.

  • A Z

    “On April 3, 2009, Reich commented that published U6 employment figures indicate that the United States is in a depression.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Reich

    So why does he not say it now?

    Oh right, a Democrat is in the White House.

  • Rdlake

    The label gadfly certainly fits this Socialist puke. Big government can’t ever be too big for Reich. Fifty years of fighting poverty by pumping trillions of dollars hasn’t advanced the movement one inch. People like Reich & Obama who keep creating new social programs to keep people addicted to government’s handouts.

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    Is he a communist or a punk anarchist? It is important to make these distinctions. See http://clarespark.com/2012/08/16/marx-rivals-and-our-enigmatic-president/. “Marx, Rivals, and our Enigmatic President.”

    • jtrollla

      No. He is a Munchkin from Oz.

  • Biff_Maliboo

    You, too, can create hysterical op-eds and position papers! Mr. Reich will show you how to build your screeds around a handful of proven buzzwords and phrases!

    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/b6/cf/9c/b6cf9c58fbd161928670402877c9549c.jpg

    • theAcefromSpace

      Jon Gnagy?

      • Biff_Maliboo

        Yep.

  • jtrollla

    I thought Reich had retired to Munchkin Land years ago.

  • kasandra

    He’s absolutely right. We need more economic equality. Therefore, I will send him my mailing address and he can e-mail me a chunk of his $4,000,000.00 plus net worth and make us more equal. How ’bout it, doc?

  • CowboyUp

    Uh, Robert?
    Your crew got the money to “rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.” What did they do with it? Over the last 30 years we’ve watched trillions go into repairing those crumbling bridges. The money was spent. No doubt there were plenty of studies, conferences, negotiations, litigation, and contracts. But what got done?

  • Hank Rearden

    On that income inequality thing, gouging poor people and so forth. Isn’t Reich a college professor? Isn’t he “forcing” his students to borrow money to take his course that they HAVE to take to get a good job? Sounds like extortion to me.

    Save the country!!! Cut professors’ wages!!!!

  • keyster

    He and Paul Krugman should tour together.
    “Dumb and Dumberer – How to make yourself seem relevant and intelligent – when you’re really not. ”
    The US has the richest poor in the world. They have cell phones and cars and flat panel TV’s and access to healthcare and local charities. No one is starving. No one is dying in the streets. Reich needs to research just who exactly the poor in America are.

  • wileyvet

    Would belonging to The Lollipop Guild count as unionization?

  • Bernie

    What Robert Reich says should be looked upon more seriously. The major issues in American politics are those of the welfare state. The Democrats always seem to beat the Republicans on these issues and thus win elections. How for example did Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole? By promoting the welfare state. You just have to get used to the idea that the American people want the welfare state and also smaller government. That is a difficult if not impossible problem to solve.

  • SoCalMike

    Robert Reich is a sorry pathetic parasite who has never earned a penny of his own money. No wonder he trots out Marxist swill as if he uncovered something new that wasn’t long ago discredited by facts and history.

    • The Facts

      Except for that job as law clerk and when he taught at JFK School of Government and when he published books, right?

  • garyfouse

    Danny DeVito look-a-like

  • truebearing

    If you think about Reich’s drivel, the conditions allegedly caused by the policies of “they”, are actually what the Left wants. They need a critical mass of poor and desperate people in order for the revolution to succeed.

    “Do you see a pattern here? They’re waging a war against the poor and the working class in order to keep people down because when you’re unemployed, without any support, without any bargaining power and you have to feed your family, you’re desperate, and when you’re desperate you’ll take whatever they are willing to pay you even if it’s next to nothing. And you won’t dare make a fuss.”

    This is exactly kind of desperation the Left wants and needs people to be experiencing in order to get them to buy into the lies of Marxism. The Left is engineering the very outcomes Reich is demogoguing.

    “You won’t get involved in politics. You won’t make a ruckus or rock the boat in any way. You’ll take whatever they choose to give you because you are sinking.”

    Who is trying to kill free speech and eliminate workers options? The Left, but they are projecting their own evil on the Right, once again. The Left doesn’t believe in a middle class or upward mobility. They want egalitarian poverty.

    “Make no mistake this war against the poor and working class is designed to make sure Americans who’ve been losing ground for 30 years don’t dare do anything about it.”

    And the Left is the reason for workers losing ground, but since the solution is voting them out, they resort to their only true talents: lying and blaming.

    “Without extended unemployment benefits, a declining real minimum wage, no Medicaid, no food stamps…”

    These are solutions to being poor? I thought higher paying jobs and the opportunity to start your own business were the solutions to poverty, but now I see the light. minimum wage and unemployment checks are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    “no education, job training, or jobs program, and no union, you’ll do exactly as they tell you and that’s fine with them but it’s bad for America.”

    What good will any of these do if the Left has destroyed job creation, and it obviously has. What a load of toro caca.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    They actually are creating more jobs for robots in some cases each time they raise minimum wage requirements. Robots become more economically feasible as regulations increase the floor price on wages.

  • seewithyourowneyes

    Decreasing poverty would not be in the Left’s best interests. The Left wants to increase the numbers of the disenfranchised, and to increase the numbers of those who imagine themselves disenfranchised. God forbid any of the poor should join the ranks of the productive, tax-paying bourgeoisie!

  • jlevyellow

    Reich sees the problem facing the nation as the conflict between the rich against the poor. We live in strange times, because that is yesterday’s war. The battle that will most affect the poor is against automation. Toll-takers are as rare as hen’s teeth nowadays. Supermarket clerks have been reduced by half or more. Large scale farming is for the rich only. Subsistence farming has now been renamed “hobby farming” because it is really hard to make a living growing vegetables. Secretaries are now computers; bookkeepers are now automated spreadsheets within a business program.

    In short, when labor becomes too expensive, we design a machine to do the job.

    • jlevyellow

      I must add that even highly trained professionals will be replaced by automated beings. Doctors are particularly vulnerable and will certainly be replaced with automated diagnostic programs that will be superior to any particular doctor.. Surgical procedures will be performed with minimal or no human intervention.

  • Realist12

    You are truly a meathead if you think these things. Compassion, empathy for those who weren’t born with a leg up and right color, right family, seem to beyond your reach. I note that neither you or your kindred spirits remember that workers have paid into social security and unemployment insurance from each paychecks for years, just to have a slimy group of wealthy Congressmen vote it away and out of reach.Me thinks you will meet your Maker with a sorrowful history of greed and indifference…but there’s still time to change. Think on this.

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    Obama is a menace!!!