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Robert Reich on Jobs

Former Secretary of Labor; Democratic Challenger MA Governor


MA workers should be able to find a job at a living wage

Every able-bodied person who wants to work should be able to get a job paying enough to keep that person and his or her family out of poverty. But too many Massachusetts workers can’t live on what they earn.
Source: Campaign web site, RobertReich.org , Jan 25, 2002

Prodded Clinton on minimum wage & corporate welfare

Reich’s prodding of Clinton on the minimum wage, worker training, and what he calls corporate welfare alienated him from the former president. “I made his life miserable,” Reich said in an interview earlier this year on Fox News.
Source: Frank Phillips, Boston Globe, p. A1 , Nov 30, 2001

Social mobility and median wages are down

Q: Some studies say wages are down, some say they’re up, some say social mobility is no good, some say social mobility is terrific.

A: There’s no question that people are better off than they were in 1992. There are more jobs. People feel a little bit better about their wages and their prospects. But over the long term, a major challenge is to restore not just job growth but also wage growth. Some people say that social mobility is as great than it was in the 1980’s, and that’s simply not true. A lot of evidence points to the fact that it is harder to move upward if you are near the bottom or in the bottom 20% or 30%. [With wages], you’ve got to distinguish between average wages and median wages, because so many people at the top are doing so well, the average is pulled up. You’ve got to look behind averages, and you’ve got to examine what’s happening to the little guy. And in fact, with regard to median wages, we see that median wages, beginning in the late 1970’s, began to decline

Source: Interview on PBS Frontline, WGBH Boston , Jul 2, 1998

Wage disparity between boss & workers hurts companies

Q: Why aren’t we seeing the wage increases that we used to see in typical economic expansions?

A: Wages for Americans in the top 20% of earnings are doing quite well. If you’re in the top 5%, you are doing extremely well. If you’re in the top 1%, you are doing better than the top 1% has done probably in 50 or 60 years. But if you’re in the bottom 20% or 30% or 40%, you’re not doing well. Also in benefits - health benefits, pension benefits. If you’re near the bottom, your benefits are also eroding.

Q: Are CEOs making too much money?

A: It’s not good for a company in terms of its own bottom line to allow too great a gulf to open up between the compensation of the boss at the top and everybody else. The best companies try to encourage a sense of teamwork, of common enterprise, of everybody in the same boat together. You cannot do that if the CEO is earning 140 times what the average worker in that company is earning.

Source: Interview on PBS Frontline, WGBH Boston , Jul 2, 1998

Americans deserve a livable wage: raise the minimum

Q: What about the minimum wage?

A: We proposed, in January of 1995, an increase in the minimum wage, and we’ve been fighting for that for the last year and three quarters. Hopefully, we will get it because Americans at the bottom, twelve million of them, deserve at least a livable wage.

Q: Critics say many of them will lose jobs because companies can’t afford to pay them the minimum wage.

A: The minimum wage is heading toward a forty year low if you adjust for the real purchasing power of a dollar. Now, in 1938 this country decided we’d have a certain minimum standard in terms of no child labor, minimum wages. We’d have an absolute floor, and we also established some rudiments of health and safety at the workplace. Now, if you believe in those minimum requirements, you’ve got to say to yourself, we’re heading to a forty-year low. We’ve got to at least make sure that people who work full-time don’t live in poverty.

Source: Interview on PBS Frontline, WGBH Boston , Jul 2, 1998

2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Jobs: Robert Reich on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
John Kerry
Scott Brown

2011 Special Elections:
CA-36:Jane Harman(D)
CA-36:Janice Hahn(D)
NV-2:Dean Heller(R)
NY-9:Anthony Weiner(D)
NY-26:Chris Lee(R)
NY-26:Kathleen Hochul(D)
Retiring 2012:
CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
TX-14:Ron Paul(R)
Running for Mayor:
CA-51:Bob Filner(D)
Running for Governor:
IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
WA-8:Dave Reichert(R)
Running for Senate:
AZ-1:Jeff Flake(R)
CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
UT-3:Jason Chaffetz(R)
Dem. Freshmen
in 112th Congress:

AL-7:Terri Sewell
CA-33:Karen Bass
DE-0:John Carney
FL-17:Frederica Wilson
HI-1:Colleen Hanabusa
LA-2:Cedric Richmond
MA-10:Bill Keating
MI-13:Hansen Clarke
RI-1:David Cicilline
GOP Freshmen
in 112th Congress:

AL-2:Martha Roby
AL-5:Mo Brooks
AZ-1:Paul Gosar
AZ-3:Ben Quayle
AZ-5:David Schweikert
AR-1:Rick Crawford
AR-2:Tim Griffin
AR-3:Steve Womack
CA-19:Jeff Denham
CO-3:Scott Tipton
CO-4:Cory Gardner
FL-12:Dennis Ross
FL-2:Steve Southerland
FL-21:Mario Diaz-Balart
FL-22:Allen West
FL-24:Sandy Adams
FL-25:David Rivera
FL-5:Rich Nugent
FL-8:Dan Webster
GA-2:Mike Keown
GA-7:Rob Woodall
GA-8:Austin Scott
ID-1:Raul Labrador
IL-8:Joe Walsh
IL-10:Bob Dold
IL-11:Adam Kinzinger
IL-14:Randy Hultgren
IL-17:Bobby Schilling
IL-8:Joe Walsh
IN-3:Marlin Stutzman
IN-4:Todd Rokita
IN-8:Larry Bucshon
IN-9:Todd Young
KS-1:Tim Huelskamp
KS-3:Kevin Yoder
KS-5:Mike Pompeo
LA-3:Jeff Landry
MD-1:Andy Harris
MI-1:Dan Benishek
MI-2:Bill Huizenga
MI-3:Justin Amash
MI-7:Tim Walberg
MN-8:Chip Cravaack
MO-4:Vicky Hartzler
MO-7:Billy Long
MS-1:Alan Nunnelee
MS-4:Steven Palazzo
GOP Freshmen
in 111th Congress:

NC-2:Renee Ellmers
ND-0:Rick Berg
NH-2:Charlie Bass
NH-1:Frank Guinta
NJ-3:Jon Runyan
NM-2:Steve Pearce
NV-3:Joe Heck
NY-13:Michael Grimm
NY-19:Nan Hayworth
NY-20:Chris Gibson
NY-24:Richard Hanna
NY-25:Ann Marie Buerkle
NY-29:Tom Reed
OH-1:Steve Chabot
OH-15:Steve Stivers
OH-16:Jim Renacci
OH-18:Bob Gibbs
OH-6:Bill Johnson
OK-5:James Lankford
PA-10:Tom Marino
PA-11:Lou Barletta
PA-3:Mike Kelly
PA-7:Patrick Meehan
PA-8:Mike Fitzpatrick
SC-1:Tim Scott
SC-3:Jeff Duncan
SC-4:Trey Gowdy
SC-5:Mick Mulvaney
SD-0:Kristi Noem
TN-3:Chuck Fleischmann
TN-4:Scott DesJarlais
TN-6:Diane Black
TN-8:Stephen Fincher
TX-17:Bill Flores
TX-23:Quico Canseco
TX-27:Blake Farenthold
VA-2:Scott Rigell
VA-5:Robert Hurt
VA-9:Morgan Griffith
WA-3:Jaime Herrera
WI-7:Sean Duffy
WI-8:Reid Ribble
WV-1:David McKinley
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Page last updated: Nov 06, 2011