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Reich writes: "Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?"

Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)


Why There’s No Outcry

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

26 January 14

 

eople ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.

Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?

The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out.

First, the working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has.

In earlier decades, the working class fomented reform. The labor movement led the charge for a minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, and Social Security.

No longer. Working people don’t dare. The share of working-age Americans holding jobs is now lower than at any time in the last three decades and 76 percent of them are living paycheck to paycheck.

No one has any job security. The last thing they want to do is make a fuss and risk losing the little they have.

Besides, their major means of organizing and protecting themselves — labor unions — have been decimated. Four decades ago more than a third of private-sector workers were unionized. Now, fewer than 7 percent belong to a union.

Second, students don’t dare rock the boat.

In prior decades students were a major force for social change. They played an active role in the Civil Rights movement, the Free Speech movement, and against the Vietnam War.

But today’s students don’t want to make a ruckus. They’re laden with debt. Since 1999, student debt has increased more than 500 percent, yet the average starting salary for graduates has dropped 10 percent, adjusted for inflation. Student debts can’t be cancelled in bankruptcy. A default brings penalties and ruins a credit rating.

To make matters worse, the job market for new graduates remains lousy. Which is why record numbers are still living at home.

Reformers and revolutionaries don’t look forward to living with mom and dad or worrying about credit ratings and job recommendations.

Third and finally, the American public has become so cynical about government that many no longer think reform is possible.

When asked if they believe government will do the right thing most of the time, fewer than 20 percent of Americans agree. Fifty years ago, when that question was first asked on standard surveys, more than 75 percent agreed.

It’s hard to get people worked up to change society or even to change a few laws when they don’t believe government can possibly work.

You’d have to posit a giant conspiracy in order to believe all this was the doing of the forces in America most resistant to positive social change.

It’s possible. of course, that rightwing Republicans, corporate executives, and Wall Street moguls intentionally cut jobs and wages in order to cow average workers, buried students under so much debt they’d never take to the streets, and made most Americans so cynical about government they wouldn’t even try for change. 

But it’s more likely they merely allowed all this to unfold, like a giant wet blanket over the outrage and indignation most Americans feel but don’t express. 

Change is coming anyway. We cannot abide an ever-greater share of the nation’s income and wealth going to the top while median household incomes continue too drop, one out of five of our children living in dire poverty, and big money taking over our democracy.

At some point, working people, students, and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history.

Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter.


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+87 # jorarmed 2014-01-26 09:59
Dream on Bob, dream on. You forgot to add a fourth powerful factor: indoctrination. There are other powerful factors you didn't take into account, but I mention here only one.
 
 
+14 # brux 2014-01-26 11:14
Reich likes to look good, but if you see his movie "Inequality For All" it is almost like a sitcom version of the problem, with Reich front and center looking like the proverbial nice guy. I'm sure he is a nice guy, and he has the narrative essentially right, but like he says in the movie, he has learned to be nice and friendly, and that is not what fires up people to action, nor will it motivate him to point to someone else as a leader or tick off strategies for change.

The same can be said of Noam Chomsky ... these guys make money off of being upper class commentators ... they have no skin in the game except to be honest and right ... it is up to someone else to actually lead a response/revolu tion ... and no one like that will come along because they need a media to do that, and they will be shot down before they have any following. Shot down figuratively ... but also literally if the past is any indication.
 
 
-147 # ecoforestree 2014-01-26 12:26
Good points. However, in case you had not noticed, there are two men leading the response/revolu tion you are calling for-their names are Ron and Rand Paul.

Too bad so many knee-jerk liberals are too deafened by Obamaspeak.Chom skyspeak/Reichs peak and brainwashing form both the corporate and the "alternative" media to hear the call. Millions of freedom loving people are already on board and preparing for 2016 when things will finally change! The only thing that will be shot down will be the corrupt New World Order!
 
 
+107 # jon 2014-01-26 13:00
"two men leading the response/revolu tion you are calling for-their names are Ron and Rand Paul. "

You think Rand Paul is NOT a corporatist? What a JOKE.
 
 
+45 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-01-26 16:00
Ron Paul, hated the black people. His son, Rand, any different? Both are evangelical-the bible told us so. Some religious dudes who wrote certain biblical passages were smoking too much weed and dumped on blacks. One day, Rand might even pass the real and appropriate certification board test and become a real doctor.
 
 
+75 # reiverpacific 2014-01-26 13:54
Quoting ecoforestree:
Good points. However, in case you had not noticed, there are two men leading the response/revolution you are calling for-their names are Ron and Rand Paul.

Too bad so many knee-jerk liberals are too deafened by Obamaspeak.Chomskyspeak/Reichspeak and brainwashing form both the corporate and the "alternative" media to hear the call. Millions of freedom loving people are already on board and preparing for 2016 when things will finally change! The only thing that will be shot down will be the corrupt New World Order!


Fer Gawd's sake, quit using that old Reactionary cliché "Knee-jerk Liberals". It'll get you absolutely no respect nor credibility on this site.
In fact you reduce yourself to a "Knee-jerk Reactionary" by it's very use.
You have eaten too copiously of the "Insane root that takes reason prisoner" if you think that the Paul dynasty will -or will get to- change one li'l ol' thing.
Ask anybody in Kentucky.
 
 
+4 # Walter J Smith 2014-01-27 22:48
Or Texas.
 
 
+46 # Anarchist 23 2014-01-26 15:25
Some revolution...fo r women it is straight Fascism right out of the Third Reich...Kinder, Kuchel,Kirke... Children,Cookin g,Church. Minority rights are also in the toilet. If you think these guys will make things better, I have a bridge to sell you cheap!
 
 
+43 # draypoker 2014-01-26 15:57
Good points. However, in case you had not noticed, there are two men leading the response/revolu tion you are calling for-their names are Ron and Rand Paul.

Yes, European experience is that this kind of situation can result in fascism, which is the end result of Rand Paul's frankly loony ideas.
 
 
+32 # E to the M 2014-01-26 16:14
If Rand Paul can't even figure out how to flush his low-flow toilet, how is he going to lead a revolution?
 
 
-1 # Walter J Smith 2014-01-27 22:51
It is a slow-mo-rev-ooooooooooo-luuuuuuuuuuu-shunnnnnnn-the-massessssssssszzzzzzzz....

His son is showing him the way with pot and beer.
 
 
+56 # Cassandra2012 2014-01-26 16:26
And both Ron and Rand are hypocrites when it comes to women's issues. 'Little govt.', no govt interference, EXCEPT when it comes to legislating women's rights to their own bodies! Shameless self-serving males.
 
 
+2 # Walter J Smith 2014-01-27 22:53
Not male. They are asexual paranoid narcissistic schizophrenic reactionaries.
 
 
+37 # BKnowswhitt 2014-01-26 20:52
Last 40 years since Reaganomics .. 28 years the Republicans ran the executive branch .. all during 8 of Clinton they had the house and senate from 1995 until 2008 Republicans made the decisions the degregulations busted the labor unions and ran this country into the ground. George Bush I was the first of them to use the term "New World Order" .. and his dumbass fuckin son took it to the military in the middle east ... so don't blame LIberals for your distaste ... take a look in the Republican Right Wing Mirror asshole!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!
 
 
+30 # laurele 2014-01-26 23:15
Ronald Reagan makes me wish there was a hell for him to burn in. He destroyed this country.
 
 
+16 # NAVYVET 2014-01-27 00:30
Yes! He and his henchmen wrecked our rising alternate energy/energy conservation momentum, so now most coastal regions are beyond saving. The city I live in will be underwater in 45 years. I'm rather glad Florida will be submerged (I grew up in that infested hellhole) but not this city. But it will happen, sadly, along with many other arranged disasters to bring on the Armageddon the Wingnuts slaver for.
 
 
+2 # Walter J Smith 2014-01-27 22:55
Where do you think he is if not in Hell?! He led the GOP there, and it cannot get the whole extended tribe inside fast enough. Don't stay tuned; you might feel the heat and/or get burned. Their exodus is picking up a passel of Demcrats.
 
 
+19 # brux 2014-01-27 02:29
When will you conservatives realize you are being duped by the Koch Libertarian into being koch-suckers for the Republican elite! ;-)
 
 
+17 # ericlipps 2014-01-27 05:51
Quoting ecoforestree:
Good points. However, in case you had not noticed, there are two men leading the response/revolution you are calling for-their names are Ron and Rand Paul.


HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA AA . . . !

I'm sorry, I know you're serious. But the Pauline gospel of small government and untrammeled business is what got us into this, not what will get us out. (And yes, I know we don't have "small government," but bogus calls for it have been part of the package, justifying cuts in support for ordinary Americans and restraints on corporate greed and malfeasance.)
 
 
+14 # scottyp 2014-01-27 15:18
Rand Paul? Surely you jest. When he ran for the Senate, as soon as he won the primary, the first thing he did was start taking corporate money. And the first thing he did after being elected was to sponsor legislation for a national right to work law. He's much more corrupt than the candidates who ran against him. Come to think of it, the so called "tea party" movement of which Paul is a big proponent, is the hired gun of the most corrupt twosome in all of politics, the Brothers Koch! Peddle your bull puckey elsewhere, sir.
 
 
+63 # sschnapp 2014-01-26 14:33
Hey brut, you make some sound points but you are far off base to say that Chomsky makes money from being a "commentator." If you mean he sells books, yeah, he makes money from that. I f you mean his expenses are covered for speaking engagements, yeah that happens on occasion, too. But Noam comments for free most of the time, donating his good name, words of wisdom, and time to countless organizations that can't afford to pay him. I have heard him speak scores of time in the Boston area. He gets to these venues on his own and he does NOT accept any compensation. He is a tireless campaigner for justice, well into his 80s. If he believes in a cause and a group, he will offers his support when asked, whether this group can pay for his gas or not.

Noam is certainly a middle class intellectual who makes a very good living -- he has taught at MIT since the 1950s; he's the author of over 100 books. He is the only living person in the top 10 list of most cited authors. He is a world class linguist and regularly makes the top ten list of most influential intellectuals in the world. If you want to challenge his ideas, go right ahead. No one has a lock on the "truth." But please don't make ad hominem accusations on his character. It demeans any good insights you have to offer.
 
 
-12 # Cassandra2012 2014-01-26 16:30
Chomsky also has a record of treating women (e.g. his students) like 2nd class citizens.... he was famous in linguistic circles for his comment, "Phonology is for girls."
Maybe he's come into the 21st cent. on women's rights, but I'd have to be convinced of it.
 
 
0 # CaroleML 2014-01-27 14:54
I agree. For all his efforts to help working people he does deserve to earn a living.
 
 
-75 # RuDog108 2014-01-26 14:36
Chomsky's not only a shill, he complicit in the dumbing down process in our school system.
 
 
-14 # brux 2014-01-27 02:31
One of the problems is that the so-called progressives are not intellectually rigorous. If you say anything negative about their icons they are as fast to hiss and spit as the Republicans ... instead of thinking what it means to have imperfect people on their side.

Progressives have to grow up and stop being ignorant and thin-skinned.
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-01-29 23:13
Quoting brux:
One of the problems is that the so-called progressives are not intellectually rigorous. If you say anything negative about their icons they are as fast to hiss and spit as the Republicans ... instead of thinking what it means to have imperfect people on their side.

Progressives have to grow up and stop being ignorant and thin-skinned.


The hissing and spitting is an acknowledgment of the stupidity of conservative thoughts and the fact that conservatives are so dumb that they express them in public.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 01:58
Quoting brux:
One of the problems is that the so-called progressives are not intellectually rigorous. If you say anything negative about their icons they are as fast to hiss and spit as the Republicans ... instead of thinking what it means to have imperfect people on their side.

Progressives have to grow up and stop being ignorant and thin-skinned.


--- Man! Did you ever come to the wrong place to deliver this epistle.
 
 
+13 # Erowidus 2014-01-27 08:26
Not so sure about your Chomsky connection but you sure are a shining example of the dumbing down process.
 
 
+12 # apollobartender 2014-01-27 09:28
Or, maybe us older generations feel that we are too old to be tazered now. We did our time on the front lines for Vietnam and Civil Rights and other movements over the years and we want to mentor a younger crowd that has the stamina and resistance to carry on. That is being American.
 
 
+3 # David Heizer 2014-01-28 23:08
Quoting brux:
The same can be said of Noam Chomsky ... these guys make money off of being upper class commentators ... they have no skin in the game except to be honest and right ... it is up to someone else to actually lead a response/revolution ...

What kind of revolution do you have in mind? Unless you're talking about blowing things up and seeing blood flow in the streets, what we need is *more* upper class commentators being honest and right. If it were not just Chomsky and Reich and Krugman being the lone voices in the wilderness, but if they were ever to be joined by ten, twenty to their one, the change Reich talks about would happen. Not before.
 
 
+62 # Brian Flaherty 2014-01-26 12:31
Bob:
Ever since the introduction of "quick" Mass Media in the 1920's[First, radio; then, post-WW2 with television; and, iPhones, etc] Corporate America [the 1%] has utilized the brightest minds and the finest technological advances to "teach" the Greater American Public to look "elsewhere" for The Blameworthy. . .As Rodgers & Hammerstein said so eloquently: ". . .You've got to be carefully taught to hate and fear [the OTHER guy]. . .It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear from year to year. . .YOU'VE GOT TO BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT!!!"

And, THEY have sold a Political and Economic Bill of Goods to America. . .

They've used wars and flag-waving and faux patriotism to deflect attention from the REAL villains!

They've created straw men and windmills to joust with. . .

It's really quite simple . . .if you only "dare" to pull back the curtain and take a look at the Wizard. . .
 
 
+8 # Saberoff 2014-01-26 13:37
Good points.
 
 
+20 # vicnada 2014-01-26 14:21
This is right on point. Corporations have control of the masses by use of media. We are asleep. A European friend of mine commented on his last visit that the US has "comfort and convenience" down to an exact science. These sedatives work extremely well to mollify the masses and keep discontent in control. Remote control. Reich is right mostly. But he fails to appreciate that his very platform (and unfortunately his very article) are part of the "feel good" inactivity that keep us oppressed. How many of us, having read his article, are are spurred to join our local union?
 
 
+22 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-01-26 13:56
I like and respect Robert Reich. He did fail to mention one idea:"there too many writers and not enough charismatic people around who have the guts to start a revolution." Aberaham Lincoln, Martin Luther king, Nelson Mandela. Going back hundreds of years, Socrates. All great leaders. Some of them paid the price of starting a revolution based on good cause with their own blood. I can understand why potential great leaders are reluctant to start a revolution.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 02:03
Don't forget Gandhi. The Mahatma was a great revolutionary. I wish he were here now to take us up and out of this quagmire.
 
 
+25 # RuDog108 2014-01-26 14:34
Quoting jorarmed:
Dream on Bob, dream on. You forgot to add a fourth powerful factor: indoctrination. There are other powerful factors you didn't take into account, but I mention here only one.

You are sooooo right about indoctrination. In 1909 one of the Rockefellers said at the funding dinner of what would become Columbia University (which designs educational systems worldwide: "It shall not be our purpose to educate scientists or philosophers, but a people, that shall, willingly, mold itself to our hands." I've been watching this educational system closely for 60 years. They've done a superb job implementing Rockefeller's vision.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 02:08
Quoting RuDog108:
Quoting jorarmed:
Dream on Bob, dream on. You forgot to add a fourth powerful factor: indoctrination. There are other powerful factors you didn't take into account, but I mention here only one.

You are sooooo right about indoctrination. In 1909 one of the Rockefellers said at the funding dinner of what would become Columbia University (which designs educational systems worldwide: "It shall not be our purpose to educate scientists or philosophers, but a people, that shall, willingly, mold itself to our hands." I've been watching this educational system closely for 60 years. They've done a superb job implementing Rockefeller's vision.


--- I agree. My family was all involved with education and this was the point of their talents as prepared by Harvard (D.Ed.) and Columbia U.(D.Ed.). My father was asked several times by Prentiss Hall to write a book on Progressive Education. He never did. For the longest time I wondered why. Then I came to realize that it was because he had been shaped into a NeoCon and was doing his very best to dismantle true education for working people in this country. I felt like the Reagan kids when they found out what their father was up to.
 
 
0 # Holy Cow 2014-01-28 06:01
Here are some more factors not mentioned: for too many 'can't find a job', and 'any job I find pays far too little' believe they have no other option but to enlist in the military. A suffering conscientious objector is a good example of this (pull up KRDO and KOAA, Kimberly Rivera). And, how the MIC, that I now call the MITC (military/indus trial/terrorism complex) and greedy oil bastards have to have endless war in place, all in order to maintain control over all and keep their bottomless coffers continuing with a constant filling up with warmode $$$$$$$.


Proof certain: NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) continues each and every year, under the guise of 'national security', to grab the vast amount of all taxes paid by the middle class and poor these dreadful days, here in the U.S. of (greed and power) A.(ddiction). Congress still does not know the vast amount being paid to government agents, including big numbers of open and undercover agents, since so much is hidden in today's...
POLICE STATE AIN'T GREAT.

Even if poor quality education, costly upper ed., quashing of unions continue, and marijuana laws get passed in each and every state, with encouragement for all to constantly use pot, thereby preventing activism and revolution, we are still going to see more and more students, workers, and countless others realize they must revolt and implode this evil, greedy mess.
 
 
+120 # Barbara K 2014-01-26 10:13
With the police seemingly to be so militarized nowadays and so trigger-happy, it is much riskier than it was in the past to protest such injustices. It has actually become dangerously risky to protest, and of course, the weather is not cooperating at this time of year. I hope more younger people become active. Many are just no longer physically capable and we need to count on the younger generations to take over for us. We need to vote out the ones who are making our lives miserable and do all we can to get the voters up and out to vote, if that is the best some can do; it is most important. And we need to show big money that OUR VOTES ARE NOT FOR SALE.

..
 
 
+40 # jlohman 2014-01-26 10:27
Ignore the promises. If you are happy with our nation's direction, vote for incumbents that caused it. Otherwise vote for the challengers whose vote hasn't been bought.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 02:13
Quoting jlohman:
Ignore the promises. If you are happy with our nation's direction, vote for incumbents that caused it. Otherwise vote for the challengers whose vote hasn't been bought.


--- And if you don't know where to look for the best Progressives to vote for, check out PCCCActBlue (Progressive Change Campaign Committee). They are always willing to answer questions and give a helping hand to Progressive candidates who want to avoid being hooked into corporate sponsorship. Great group.
 
 
+61 # Vardoz 2014-01-26 11:35
I don't agree- in the 60's police clubbed and used fire hoses on civi rights protesters. The national guard used their guns and killed a student at Kent state not to mention all the civil rights workers that were shot. People fought and died for unions. Vary large protests are better then small ones because police ar less likely to want tens of thousands of protestors to turn violent. I was at the Columbia University riot- Police charged with clubs and beat many students, many were arrested. Now that New York has a progressive mayor, perhaps protestors would be treated better. The service workers marched and no one was hurt. Thousands protested in DC against Global Climate change and no one was attecked. The fact that so many want to find excuses not to protest is a sad reality for all of us.
 
 
+47 # Saberoff 2014-01-26 12:08
The National Guard shot dead four students at Kent State.
 
 
-45 # skipb48 2014-01-26 12:14
Kent State was a replay of the Boston Massacre of 1770 and it is equally misunderstood. It was more an accident then anything.
 
 
+26 # Saberoff 2014-01-26 13:38
Can you explain "accident" please?
 
 
+2 # JSRaleigh 2014-01-27 10:46
Quoting Saberoff:
Can you explain "accident" please?


First of all, for accident substitute "monumental f**k-up".

You have to look at the makeup of the National Guard at the time. The Pentagon hated the National Guard & begrudged every penny of training. The enlisted personnel were a lucky few who managed to get in the Guard to avoid the draft.

They were poorly trained and even more poorly led; a bunch of morons under the command of an idiot. In many ways it was an "accident" only in vein of "an accident looking for a place to happen."

There is also some evidence that before the National Guard opened fire, an FBI informant acting as an agent provocateur fired a pistol toward the National Guard. The order to fire was much more a panic reaction than a rational decision.
 
 
+34 # sschnapp 2014-01-26 14:37
National Guardsmen opened fire with rifles and pistols on unarmed students.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 02:15
#Saberoff, You need to go have a look at the film footage of the shootings. It will quickly cure you of any notion of "accident".
 
 
+19 # Vardoz 2014-01-26 12:19
Thank you
 
 
+36 # lorenbliss 2014-01-26 16:03
I'm appalled that on a supposedly Leftist website so many people seem to have forgotten the killings at Kent State University and Jackson State College. Here are the names of the dead:

At Kent State, 4 May 1970, Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer were murdered by the Ohio National Guard's deliberately commanded volley of M2 Ball, the .30-'06 caliber U.S. service-rifle round. Nine others were wounded, one of whom suffered the living death of being paralyzed from the chest down and thus forever denied the experiences of sexual love and parenthood.

At all-black Jackson State, 15 May 1970, Phillip Gibbs and James Earl Green were murdered by all-white Mississippi cops, who without any provocation (save racial hatred) fired an extended fusillade of at least 140 double-ought buckshot rounds into an anti-war demonstration. The range was extremely close, about 50 feet. (Double-ought buck is intended for close-range killing of large animals such as deer and bear; each round [cartridge] contains at least nine .33-caliber round balls.) The cops wounded 12 other students. The death of Green, a high school student, was a double outrage. He was well behind the police line and was obviously gunned down simply because he was black and in the area. No charges were ever filed against the murderous cops, many of whom – as was typical in the South of that era -- were probably Ku Klux Klan members.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 02:18
Never mind "of that era", #lorenbliss. I live in the south now and believe you me, it is alive and well.
 
 
+1 # Holy Cow 2014-01-29 12:29
Yes, Vardoz, evil greed and power over all addiction ain't nothing new. A number of the dreadful incidents you cited in your excellent, per usual comment, I recalled in '03, when even small children were teargassed, along with their parent(s) here in Colorado Springs, for daring to protest peacefully against our entry into the war in Iraq. And, again came recall in '07, when local cops, ordered by the Bushwackers' anything but patriotic Patriot Act Homeland Security, brutalized and tortured permitted participants wearing green shirts with peace signs in the 2007 St. Paddy's Day Parade. Again, young children parade onlookers were scared beyond belief as they watched all the torture (pull up: Colorado Springs Independent, No Peace or Justice, Rita Ague). And then, more recently, came all the torture of Occupy Wall Streeters. Yet again torture I was asked to protest against and disallow from ever happening again. Not at all easy, but do it we must, with great courage and determination, as peacefully as possible, and.....

UNDO THE EVIL COUP
 
 
+1 # Holy Cow 2014-01-28 06:14
So true, dear Barbara K. And demand legislators, such as Bernie Sanders and a few others, to get going passing a bill that confirms that each voter can vote, and each vote is honestly counted and tallied. Wake up we must, following the tragic, software manipulated vote caca pulled in Florida in 2000, putting into place George W. Bush, the king of clown puppet whores for the villianaire rulers. No more wrongful disenfranchisem ent and software fixed...

VOTE DEATH BY DIEBOLD.
 
 
+57 # jlohman 2014-01-26 10:14
I'm a retired business owner, and if I had an employee taking cash bribes from my vendors and swapping them for assets of the company, I'd have him jailed (though execution would be preferable). Yet POLITICAL CORRUPTION and public funding of campaigns is not on Reich's list?

PS: It never is, folks.
 
 
+46 # molesoul 2014-01-26 13:03
Political corruption is on Reich's list quite often in fact - he merely alludes to it in this article by mentioning public cynicism about government.

What I don't understand is your previous post that suggests voting is the way to achieve needed reform. How can this be possible when the current systems of campaign financing, lobbying and the revolving door between Congress and private sector interests remains?
 
 
+18 # barbaratodish 2014-01-26 10:23
There is no OUTCRY because we are all too busy crying on the INSIDE! l(& crying)ol
 
 
+94 # lsapadin 2014-01-26 10:31
As long as you have to either be a millionaire or raise money from millionaires to get elected, politicians will never represent the people who elect them. The first order of business has to be campaign finance reform.
 
 
+19 # ecoforestree 2014-01-26 12:28
And who will do the reforming? The completely Corrupt US Congress?! Lol!!
 
 
+32 # molesoul 2014-01-26 13:22
There is a growing national movement for campaign finance reform - either through legislation or a Constitutional Amendment.

Look for Move to Amend, New Hampshire Rebellion, unPAC, United Republic, Represent.US, People for the American Way, Rootstrikers, Public Citizen, Common Cause, and many others.

The only way to get real reform is to create a MASS movement. Join it NOW!
 
 
+3 # RHytonen 2014-01-27 07:43
And/or run for local office.
(Out of frustration I have chosen this option.)

Maybe if we get business out of LOCAL politics...

THINK: whom do you see as "electable?"
-local business owners? But you must NOT "run a government like a business." Their goals are opposites.

It has to start somewhere.
 
 
+1 # RHytonen 2014-01-27 07:50
We get the government we comprise.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 02:23
Good for you, #RHytonen! It takes guts to get out there and run for office. More power to you and I hope you win!
 
 
+4 # scottyp 2014-01-27 15:29
Quoting molesoul:
There is a growing national movement for campaign finance reform - either through legislation or a Constitutional Amendment.

Look for Move to Amend, New Hampshire Rebellion, unPAC, United Republic, Represent.US, People for the American Way, Rootstrikers, Public Citizen, Common Cause, and many others.

The only way to get real reform is to create a MASS movement. Join it NOW!

Very well put; we do need a MASS movement. As I see it, however, your list is comprised of a succession of splinter movements, all with a similar goal. Now, if we could combine all these different groups into one big mass movement, then perhaps the laudable dream of campaign finance reform could actually become reality.
 
 
+20 # E to the M 2014-01-26 16:38
You are utterly correct! In fact, I believe that if we did nothing except campaign finance reform, our other problems would eventually solve themselves. Take the money out of elections and the democratic process would clean up the other problems over time.
 
 
+2 # soularddave 2014-01-27 23:57
Many of the good groups are aligned already. The approach is truly multi-fasceted, but moving in a progressive direction. We have no time to ignore any pressing issue, and indeed (just look at my inbox) many organizations appeal to many of us for support and action on any given day.

There are petitions to sign, donations to be appealed for and monetary support to be remitted - not to mention several awesome candidates to be propelled into office. Perhaps the Central Democratic Committee isn't the best way to get action on issues, but if you don't read them, you won't know what issues are beginning to stick.

Perhaps there IS a more efficient and effective way to protest and campaign for some of us who have loooong been with the movement. I also agree that there's certainly a time to get into the streets with a sign.

See ya there!
 
 
-54 # jdd 2014-01-26 10:32
There will never be a ruckus as long as Obama is president. Just as there is no anti-war movement.
 
 
+33 # brux 2014-01-26 11:10
The war is really not the same problem as inequality ... and maybe one reason the equality movement gets nowhere is that they insist on focusing on things that are not directly critical to their agenda - like the war, or gay marriage, or whatever else.

The key issue that allowed all this to happen was taxes, and that is what should be focused on. The drain of the taxes from the poor to the rich is still increasing, and consequently the benefits and openings for assistance.
 
 
+50 # REDPILLED 2014-01-26 12:50
More than 50% of discretionary spending goes to the military and its endless wars and empire of bases worldwide.

Those hundreds of billions of our tax dollars should be used to create living wage jobs here in repairing infrastructure, conservation and sustainable energy, homes for the homeless, and feeding the hungry. The issues ARE "directly critical" and interconnected.
 
 
+16 # sschnapp 2014-01-26 14:55
I couldn't agree with you more that the tax shift -- lower taxes on wealth, higher taxes on work; from corporations to individuals, etc. -- has been a key mechanism in concentrating more and more wealth and power at the top. However, you need to connect the dots a bit more. The key issue for a mom who knows her Black 14-year son is at a grave risk when he's out in the evening with friends & the cops decide to sweep the 'hood, is racial profiling & police brutality. The key issue for a working class wife of a young man who thinks he no better economic prospects than to put on a uniform and serve in the military, is the endless war in Afghanistan, Iraq & elsewhere. The key issue for kids born in this country to undocumented parents is deportation. I could go on and on.

I would add to Reich's (and some of the commenters') list of reasons, the left's failure to build on the outrage felt by so many with a coherent narrative that explains what's going on, how we got here, what we need to do to build a movement, AND offers an inspirational vision of what "another world" would look like. It's a tall task, admittedly. Let's not make it harder by arguing that my issue (or solution) is the most important or the best and your's isn't.
 
 
+2 # NAVYVET 2014-01-27 00:49
For another deterrent to political activism, I would like to add New Age, a mercenary, antisocial, anti-intellectu al pseudo-religion where people are bamboozled into becoming True Believers through superficial self-help advice plucked here & there from genuine Eastern religions. The suckers are usually (or were) liberals, who turn New Age into the fundamentalism of the Left and spend time actually believing in astrology and other irrational crap and selfishly trying to get "centered" rather than going out there to demonstrate, march, and help other people. A few have told me with a straight face, "Oh, I'm so imperfect, until I can center myself I'd do more harm than good if I tried to be an activist (again)," I want to spit at them, and have detested New Age since the early 1980s, when I realized how New Age propaganda made excuses for "uncentered" folks not to get involved in social justice, because they're deficient in whatever the guru is peddling. They have sold their brains!
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2014-02-02 02:29
Quoting brux:
...

The key issue that allowed all this to happen was taxes, and that is what should be focused on. The drain of the taxes from the poor to the rich is still increasing, and consequently the benefits and openings for assistance.


--- Yes. No taxation without representation! They are draining us by force and ignoring our cries to cease and desist. The money is going to support an effort (war) that is guaranteed to make industrialist rich and there is no other reasons for all of this war business.
 
 
+41 # skeptick 2014-01-26 10:32
"At some point, working people, students, and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history."

I pray you are right, but what will it look like, and how will we recognize it? Won't it have to look a lot like Edward Snowden, who refused to put up with high school but managed to get his civics right about the essence of democracy? Does Orwell still matter? Where are the precious stories of the survival of wit under the thumb of totalitarianism , and what can we learn from them?
 
 
+35 # brux 2014-01-26 11:08
Yeah, it used to be the fascists were genocidal Nazis that were so blatantly evil and aggressive they demanded a world response to take down ... now the fascists wear suit and ties and we admire them because they have a lot of cool stuff and are mean to everyone else - and the world is so cold and hostile that many people see that and want that. IF they cannot do it themselves they participate vicariously by buying things that make it look like they are powerful ... it's primordial pretense ... who are they kidding.

Those on top just need to curb their greed to the point where they do not tip things against them ... it is easy with today's technology to find that point, and maximize it.
 
 
+37 # bingers 2014-01-26 10:41
We've gotten much from France, including our freedom from British rule. What we need now is the French inspired revolution and the guillotine.
 
 
+59 # brux 2014-01-26 11:04
Funny how Americans never miss an opportunity to bash France, and yet when I was there they have a much better system and lifestyle than the average American.
 
 
+48 # Gordon K 2014-01-26 10:43
Isn't the Occupy movement an outcry?

And no conspiracy? The literal translation of the word "conspire" is "to breathe together." Any time people of common interests meet together for a common purpose, it's a kind of conspiracy. The ultra-rich obviously talk fo each other and work together to advance their own interests. The idea that this all was "merely allowed to unfold" is naive to the point of being delusional. It's not like there haven't been reports--even in the corporate media--of the manipulations of the uber-wealthy. (For example, the New York Times just ran an article on how the Koch brothers are throwing more and more money into primary elections and local politics.)
 
 
+21 # brux 2014-01-26 11:03
Everything is controlled from above now, while nothing shows the plight or situation of normal working people, except to indicate that they are so dumb, useless and deserve whatever happens to them.
 
 
+28 # marjb 2014-01-26 10:49
Where are the precious stories of the survival of wit under the thumb of totalitarianism , and what can we learn from them?

Read some young adult fiction. Starting with books such as "The Hunger Games" trilogy, it is loaded with dystopian universes in which daring teens cleverly fight for freedom - and win. The books are loaded with teaching moments ... kids are catching on. Maybe this is the next generation's answer to Orwell.
 
 
-16 # brux 2014-01-26 11:02
So, you think that killing other children is a "precious stories of the survival of wit under the thumb of totalitarianism "? It kind of sounds like that to me.
 
 
+7 # Cassandra2012 2014-01-26 16:38
No, it is SURVIVAL, doing what one can by outwitting the rules of the rulers, when the rulers pit one set of children against the others while laughing 'all the way to the bank.'
 
 
+11 # brux 2014-01-26 11:01
I think it has a lot to do with the people on the top ... if the "status quo" can suck up from the poor in whatever way and expand that little bit at the top, it disproportionat ely sways political power up there as well, and thus also approval and the appearance of economic growth.

At the same time regular people's images have taken a beating in the media and no one wants to admit to being poor, or needy or vulnerable ... and no one cares if they speak out, they simply look like they are in a situation no one wants to deal with.

We have a real incentive to bring out the continual worst in people, and meanwhile we are also letting the most desperate people into the country at the same time.

Whatever it is the reality of what is happening in this country has not been able to gel enough to demand the media attention and political attention to bother to change anything from those at the top who would be paying.

I figure also everyone expect the change to come eventually so we all expect from crystalizing event or situation that we all finally say " enough is enough" ... but with the media and political and social climate we have now, that is able to be put off over and over.

It's not like the depression where people saw hungry and desperate people in their neighborhoods every day. TV gives us a plastic view of the world.
 
 
+19 # Saberoff 2014-01-26 11:03
"You’d have to posit a giant conspiracy..."

That's exactly what I'm doing! Methodical, Fascist takeover.
 
 
+9 # Majikman 2014-01-26 11:34
Agree, Saberoff. Bilderburgers, anyone? CFR?
 
 
+31 # Carol R 2014-01-26 11:05
This country has slid gone downhill and, as a result, many are suffering. What will happen in the distant future when today most people can no longer save? How can anyone ever retire?

Why should we trust a government that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare but bows to corporate demands for ever more profit? How can we trust a government that always has money for war and the NSA but cuts funding for Meals on Wheels and food stamps? How long before more are homeless and are actually out on the streets begging?

My first thought when I saw the title was to blame the internet and the media for the lack of outcry. I'm sure both have contributed to successful people believing outlandish theories. [Lazy freeloaders want free government handouts. These pampered people won't look for jobs if they receive unemployment insurance and food stamps.]

What is the latest Fox has been spreading? How much is enough?
 
 
+12 # Susan1989 2014-01-26 11:16
Nothing remains the same...there will be change...but if the human brain remains the same, our race wil destroy itself. We blame the system, but humans created it...a huge violent negative enrgy field that is feeding on itself. Freud was onto this when he refuted Adlers focus on social justice. The reptilian brain is the cause of human greed and violence. Even when there is revolution...th is tendency again takes over and the same tendencies emerge. Just look at the American revolution...an d we are still suffering from the same need to dominate that we ran away from.
 
 
+32 # Largo 2014-01-26 11:18
I vote with those who add the violent repression we are experiencing to Reich's list. Occupy didn't disintegrate on its own: it was beaten out by local police armed as storm troopers. Plus, look at what happens to people like Snowden and Manning. Elementary school civic virtues like speaking your mind and challenging evil laws is now labeled as terrorism. Fat cats rule (with a well-oiled machine to bring power and resources to the top that is financed with their pin-money).
 
 
+33 # Eliz77 2014-01-26 11:42
Don't despair. Occupy is alive and growing stronger. Don't buy into the propaganda from the PTB hoping that the people are beaten. Nonviolent revolution is the only viable way to make real change, but it takes dedication and courage. Just because the nonviolent protesters are not violent doesn't mean the opposition will be gentle. There is no easy way to overthrow fascism, which is the present world movement of the 1%. Remember and realize, they only have money. We out number them. There are other ways to defeat corporations besides rioting in the streets. Pay attention, stop complaining. Start organizing.
 
 
+6 # Cassandra2012 2014-01-26 16:44
Yes, remember Gandhi's tactics; remember MLK's. The British and our local stormtrooper-po lice did not cease to be violent, and remain beholden to those who paid them to be violent.
But these days, as in fascist Germany, violence will get you into a Halliburton or Bechtel-run 'concentration camp' or Guantanamo, if it doesn't get you beaten to death outright. Look at the uniforms of the police/ SWAT teams ... right out of 'Star Wars' some of them.
 
 
+21 # brux 2014-01-26 11:19
>> When asked if they believe government will do the right thing most of the time, fewer than 20 percent of Americans agree. Fifty years ago, when that question was first asked on standard surveys, more than 75 percent agreed.

That's a good point ... there is so much amorphous wealth floating around that the real wealthy, the 0.01% can enlist others without a dent in their checkbooks, and buy everyone out. Meanwhile those who are in demand are making out while the making is good ... and it stays good because the basic civility of of our country is being dismantled.

If we wait until someone really awful happens it will be too late. Hitler and the bad guys before lost because they made stupid mistakes in an early time ... now compare facebook with the punch cards they used to the people they wanted to oppress ... and they also are not picking on a productive group as well.

We have a new face of fascism, and it is fascism disguised as big business.

There are good businesses and bad businesses now, but eventually all the good businesses will be bought out by the bad money and put under hierarchical control.
 
 
+20 # dsfingers 2014-01-26 11:19
If you read all of the comments and points it's clear that it's fear and marketing (propaganda) which has always been the tool of totalitarian states, only the 20th century allowed and huge amounts of money have allowed the to be perfected. Reagan's great contribution was careful marketing to create a fear of the government, and with that fear and abdication of individual sense of responsibility for it.
 
 
+10 # hwmcadoo 2014-01-26 12:19
I think it is way too late for a peaceful revolution as power and money has become concentrated in the super elite and the rest of us have no money, no power and no say.

An armed revolution like our first against the power of King George is impossible. Why do we have NSA, heavily armed local police, the military functioning in the USA (prohibited by posse comitatus). In old days the arms of the people and England were muskets. Now the people still have muskets and the enemy has Apache helicopters, missiles, drones and tanks.

The heavy handed approach to dissent seen in OWS will be worse. Some say police and military will not turn on the people. Look at OWS, the Nazis, and the Milgram experiment.

Unless we can get a strong third party we are screwed.
 
 
+14 # skipb48 2014-01-26 12:22
Mr Reich was right about much of what he said, but he missed out on the decline of the Unions as a focal point of organization. All those social reforms were publicized and promoted by the Unions. Currently, the political clout of organized labor has been greatly diminished. When it all gets bad enough they will rise again, it's just that we haven't reached bottom yet.
The 1%ers don't see that they are creating their own end. Ignore history and repeat it!
 
 
+10 # Vardoz 2014-01-26 12:24
Look at the protesters in Kieve? They are poor, it is cold and they are protesting. What will it take for us to get out there. Organization,ba lls, conviction and desperation.
 
 
+8 # economicminor 2014-01-26 12:36
I agree with most of what has been written. I don't think we really have to worry about the military as they couldn't win the last two wars and I really can't see any long term action against our warriors mothers and fathers.

There is one thing I think most people missed and RR definitely missed was that most revolutions are from hunger and we still have food stamps even though diminished somewhat. Homeless people don't get food stamps as have no address. With the declining percentage of people working, the homeless in this country are growing extremely rapid.

Those at the top do not see these people at all as there are really no statistics on them. I doubt that most of those at Davos have ever even seen a homeless camp. But when this group gets large enough that the soup kitchens can no longer feed them.. Look out.. People who have nothing have nothing to lose and when they get really hungry... It won't be pretty.
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2014-01-26 12:40
Velocity of Money in the real, productive, part of the economy, needs serious attention. Extended TEMPORARY tax cuts (especially for the super rich coupon collecting rentiers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R..., far past any possible contribution to, in fact, depression of, the Velocity of Money in the useful economy drags us further down every day it continues.

Show me the Velocity of Money, back in the useful parts of the economy, and I believe we will be back on the road to where we should have been by this time in our history.

How do you do that? Start with getting money and corruption out of politics with things like Money Out Voters In, Rootstrikers, and the 135 organizations in a coalition to get beyond the politicians with a Constitutional amendment. (The current politicians, legislators, and executive are to compromised, threatened, and unable to get reelected to fight the amassed power of corporations, think tanks, and special interest organizations like ALEC.

It is a tough but necessary path, start by looking at the videos of the main MOVI_C presentation and working groups, starting with https://www.youtube.com/watch?... Look at http://www.moneyout-votersin.o... to help prepare for what the court may do with the McCutcheon case, and go to http://www.reddit.com/r/rootst... for those fired up to beat this beast.
 
 
+10 # Linwood 2014-01-26 12:41
I agree with Reich's reasons, and as time goes by the ubiquitous surveillance we're subjected to becomes an even more important factor, the suppression of domestic dissent. The revolution/uphe aval needs to happen soon.
 
 
+3 # laurele 2014-01-26 23:28
They can watch me all they want, but I will never stop dissenting against injustice. And I am not the only one. We dissenters are everywhere.
 
 
-9 # tigerlillie 2014-01-26 12:43
Well, here's a 4th reason change isn't around the corner: the informed and dissatisfied are too busy stabbing each other in the back. No one quite lives up to their elitist standards.
 
 
+11 # REDPILLED 2014-01-26 12:58
The huge 'elephant in the room' is Catastrophic Climate Disaster, the Climate Emergency which is accelerating and which will make all other issues worse.

Once increasing extreme weather events, floods, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, droughts, tropical storms, and polar vortices cause tremendous damage and high numbers of deaths and injuries, and food and water shortages as well as millions of climate refugees begin to affect more of us, people will have no choice but to demand action. That's why NorthCom was created and local police are being supplied with military weapons - to crush the growing social upheavals which will occur by mid-century as the Climate Emergency hits home more than it already has.
 
 
+7 # Betty Bimbalina 2014-01-26 13:03
This is why reform is currently driven by the older, childless, upper middle class. They're the only ones with the time and resources to call their legislators and organize petition drives on a regular basis. But if the corporate and financial world, along with their frontmen in Congress, keep sucking the value out of this country, eventually we'll all have nothing but time and reason to act. Such a cheery path to look forward to!
 
 
+13 # Inspired Citizen 2014-01-26 13:04
"Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter."

If we can amend the Constitution to state that corporations have no right, only real breathing people do and that money is not speech, it will be radical, not "reform." That could lead to radicals getting elected which could lead to comprehensive campaign finance reform, income equity policies and, most urgently, radical transformation of the energy sector from fossil fuels to green, sustainable energy sources including, in about 10 years, cars that run on water.

Reform is not enough; we need a (radical) revolution against the Republican/Demo cratic 1%.
 
 
+4 # Nancy A 2014-01-26 13:05
This is what I have been asking for a long time now. Americans have been neutered. The long ago activists have all given in, and do nothing. Many old geezers who even fought in wars , do nothing even after seeing the Republic taken down. If there is a large enough group of people that really want to shake this country up and get it back to what is should be, fight the crooks, the slick politicians who are stealing America away from us and selling her, then COUNT ME IN !
 
 
+1 # brux 2014-01-26 22:33
I think the class of people called Americans only existed for the most part in the pretty far past, in the movies, and in commercials. No one is an American anymore except suckers. No one likes Americans, and the stereotypical American's world-view if just chock-full of myths and delusions ... no wonder.
 
 
+10 # reiverpacific 2014-01-26 13:49
It has several names; "Corporate Blackmail", consolidated Media-Ownership and mass dumbing-down to an "Idiotoctacy" in the manner of "Panem et Circenses" (They'll be re-intoducing public executions next with "real blood" hot dogs -and if you think I'm exaggerating, look at the sheer volume of advertising and the emphasis on packaging-glamo rization of shit you don't really need, that you're hit with every day, everywhere you look), the visual media especially being the main profiteers from what passes for elections, fear of bankruptcy from health care costs (ACA helps a little), fear of "Credit Damage" (another mass-marketed con-game) in a vicious circle of the foregoing: "Military Worship", joining up as cannon-fodder being one of the few ways out of poverty, if the young survive it or don't get crippled or go crazy in America's stage-managed wars, "Faux-patriotis m" liked with bible-thumpers and American Exceptionalism being trotted out as the new "Manifest Destiny" (God's on OUR side), "Anti-intellect ualism", attacks on any form of public education and diminished to no exposure to the Arts and Humanities, crumbling infrastructure and degradation of the environment adding to a sense of being trapped and fear of "The other" and now drone-spying and NSA surveillance.
There's much more and I'm sure many of you can add to the list and it's by-products.
I sense a lot of people getting tired of it all and angry into the bargain, ready to generate blowback at home.
 
 
-3 # debbynicely 2014-01-26 14:01
Hello all you with opinions! Do you vote every time for a Democrat? Do you go to your monthly meeting of your Dem LD? Have you signed up to be a PCO so you can talk to your neighbors about the importance of voting for Democrats? If all of you loudmouths got out and informed your neighborhood of the importance of using what little democracy we have left, we could all make a big difference! Get to work!
 
 
+14 # reiverpacific 2014-01-26 15:39
Quoting debbynicely:
Hello all you with opinions! Do you vote every time for a Democrat? Do you go to your monthly meeting of your Dem LD? Have you signed up to be a PCO so you can talk to your neighbors about the importance of voting for Democrats? If all of you loudmouths got out and informed your neighborhood of the importance of using what little democracy we have left, we could all make a big difference! Get to work!

And what assurance is there that yer average "Democratic" politician in this 1.5 party system, is goin' to deliver anything more than a somewhat toned-down version version of what the other side is pushing, especially as they have a recently shameful record of capitulating on major issues?
BTW, if you want a see what real "Democracy" looked like before the sainted founding all-White and slave/property owning Fathers got ahold of it, look up The Great Iroquis Six-Nations Confederacy".
I'm grateful that in Oregon we have some truly forward-looking reps like Sen' Jeff Merkly, Congress-critte r Pete De Fazio and Earl Blumenauer.
Y'rs sincerely; a loudmouth European Socialist; and excuse me for havin' an (PROGRESSIVE) opinion -unlike some of y'r Democrats, especially of the Blue-dawg variety.
 
 
+6 # Cassandra2012 2014-01-26 17:07
Right! For example, Mike Madigan in Ill. is a Dem(INO)who seems far more concerned with his narcissistic, power-hungry self than the well-being of Illinois PEOPLE rather than corporations or his political pals. After helping to loot state workers' pensions for years by underfunding (or NOT funding) them even though required by the constitution to do so, ostensibly to 'balance' the budgets of IL governors of both stripes, is now happy to force the victims of such underfunding to pay for the pilfered limousines, helicopters, extra security etc. His own 'sacrifices' are nowhere to be seen. Nor are concessions to corporations, GE, ADM, Boeing, etc. diminished because he and Gov. Quinn] is easily bullied and blackmailed by all the supposed 'jobs' they bring [actually outsource elsewhere] to the state, while paying little or, as in the case of GE and Boeing NO property taxes while enjoying/ using the infrastructure paid for by middle class and working class taxpayers!
The same (comparatively low paid ) state college teachers, teachers, nurses, firefighters, and some Police -in order to get their jobs in the first place- had to give up any access via their employment by the state to SOC. SECURITY, since they were told the state pensions were 'guaranteed' by the constitution of IL!!!
The state pensioners did have a plan [Cullerton's],b ut Madigan so intent on retaining control, passed his -selfish, self-serving- plan secretly one night.
 
 
+2 # brux 2014-01-26 22:00
Information is not all it's cracked up to be. If people voted they'd just figure out a way to make votes count even less than they do now - and just to be spiteful they would take it out on the people who dared to vote anyway.
 
 
+6 # Paul Scott 2014-01-26 14:21
Reich is too intelligent to think that “Why there is no outcry” explains why there is no outcry, about jobs, in this nation. It is my opinion that Reich is being clever, with his single factor theory; for it is but one of a number of factors that has created our self imposed problems here in the U.S. Religion has long been the nasty player in creating the atmosphere that the Founding Fathers tried to prevent with their ban on religion from having a say in the civil affairs of this government’s citizens.

Throughout history religion has been the only [single] culprit that can bring down man’s attempts at governing him/herself. Wealth/religion has always gotten, a free ride, at the expense of the size of the labour pools; this will remain, to be so, until the Second Coming of Christ.

Controlled and uncontrolled immigration will always be used to keep a lid on the cost of labour. Anyone thinking that corporations or the federal government needs to bring people in, from other nations, because of their skills; is the kind of ignorance dreamed of in both politics (representation for wealth) and wealth itself.
 
 
+6 # PerryAdler 2014-01-26 15:04
People who are getting by are amusing themselves with cat videos and don't care about those that aren't getting by...
 
 
+9 # SandyO@PassERA.org 2014-01-26 15:31
I LIKE Robt Reich very much, and appreciate his commentary. So criticizing as he's not criticizing YOU.
At the time Pres. Obama was elected the first time, I thought that there was a wet blanket of depression over the country that dampened everyone's urge to Revolt.

Now I realize that all 3 of this reasons play a role in the seeming angry apathy.

One more that I feel is that we may all be just too torn in too many directions, patching holes in our life, very little gratification, so we have no energy left to bang the drums. Reading this, I realize I AM describing psychological Depression!

American Occupiers were worn out and fractionated by paid Republican interlopers dressed in black. BUT, overseas, they Forge ON! Listen to INTEROCCUPY for updated news on extraordinary revolutions going on in places you would not believe..and you CERTAINLY will not hear about via mainstream media! It's soporific these days; giddy entertainment, that's CNN etc.

Bless you a bunch, Robert, for this article.
 
 
+5 # Rick Levy 2014-01-26 20:15
As a retired senior, I'm glad that I'm not a young person in today's oppressive economy. Maybe it's time for the youth of America to vote with their feet by expatriating and /or studying abroad where there are quality universities with cheaper tuition than their American counterparts. On completing their studies they should consider pursuing their careers overseas as well where they might have a chance of earning a decent living.

Retirees on limited incomes should also think about leaving the U.S. My wife and I expatriated to her home country where we live a modest but comfortable life style that in our economic situation would be impossible in the States .
 
 
+1 # brux 2014-01-26 21:59
If I could find a country where I felt safe and there were other Americans I leave this country pretty darn quickly.

What country are you talking about? Where ... South America, Asia, Europe, Africa?

It is not easy to escape whatever is going on here because it is usually worse in other countries.
 
 
+2 # Rick Levy 2014-01-27 19:40
There are literally millions of Americans living outside the U.S.

Wife and I are in the Philippines. But American seniors without attachments to this or other countries have left the U.S. Also, there is a large colony of American expatriates in Mexico.

If a third world country isn't your cup of tea, consider Canada for one. Look around. Research on the internet. Good luck.
 
 
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-01-26 21:20
In the meantime & despite Roosevelt’s warning, Fear rules: a home-grown demon.
 
 
+1 # thunderable 2014-01-26 22:05
One of the reasons there isn't a real revolt in America is that we've been taught not to trust anyone. Everyone is else potentially "the other". Hell, I don't have any friends or family who really care about what's going on in the world, and I've stopped trying to educate them. IGNORANCE is BLISS!

Plus, how do we fight the overwhelming plutocratic/fas cist system where Corporate America and the US government are allied against progressivism? That combined with the general American indoctrination/ passivity others have mentioned make it nearly impossible to create large scale mass resistance.

And honestly, as aforementioned with regard to the likes of Reich and Chomsky, anyone who is commenting on what's really wrong has a stake in the world being as it is. It gives them fodder to get paid for speeches and to sell books. They won't give that up to lead any revolt. This is all just a policy exercise to these people.

Almost every one or group is a hammer looking for a nail/trying to justify existing - environmental groups need natural degradation to get donations; Elizabeth Warren wants a bigger profile to run for a higher office; the corporate-milit ary-industrial complex sells fear in the forms of "terrorists" to destroy and "you're not good enough if you don't buy X". We're a rat race, and the rats are all eating each other, but that's not new. Nothing has fundamentally changed under the sun; it's like humanity is trapped in perpetual Groundhog Day.
 
 
+5 # laurele 2014-01-26 23:15
Living with parents or with extended family does NOT deter people from activism or fomenting revolution. If anything, it helps the activist revolutionize everyone he/she is living with. There are many, many of us who are part of Occupy and would rather walk over hot coals than serve the one percent.
 
 
+2 # Dennyc 2014-01-27 11:02
There's not much of an extended family left in the USA although I wish there were. I never thought of it as a bad sign that kids were back home living with their parents. We need bigger families now. There's barely any nuclear family left today. Of course, the elites like it better that way - isolate people and you can usually in some fashion secure or intimidate their co-operation. I agree with with you. It's a far better way of facing the problems today than if one were alone. Thanks.
 
 
+2 # SenorN 2014-01-27 00:08
Of course, there is a fourth reason Americans don't insist on progressive change: they are generally uninformed and often misinformed about what is going on.

The majority of people don't investigate the details behind the headlines, and altogether too many of them get their information from biased sources like Fox News that purposely distort the facts to slant coverage in favor of business and the wealthy.
 
 
+3 # AUCHMANNOCH 2014-01-27 03:12
I think that Robert Reich as usual hit the major reasons on why there is no outcry to the utter shite that is happening in America against the majority of the population right on the head. Kiev, Cairo, Syria - I predict Washington is next.People will only put up with so much and I'm hopeful that America will reform its political corporate paid for system system and greedy elitist society and never ending war mode without revolution but I can't see that happening when half of congress are millionaires or multi millionaires and they are as happy as pigs in shit with the way things are.It's time for them and America's 1% to wake up before disaster ruins one of the best societies the Earth has seen. Where the 'common man' and their children has a fair go for hard work and innovation brought about by an affordable roof over their heads, the reasonable cost of nutritious food not fast food garbage, a good education and the opportunity for decent jobs if there are any left that haven't been outsourced to cheap Asian labour!

If that is class warfare and as the right wing will say the rich will go overseas then so be it. But if they want to sell stuff in America then the rich American's imported goods should be taxed at 30% whatever country they are hiding in.
 
 
+4 # RHytonen 2014-01-27 08:01
Quoting AUCHMANNOCH:
...I predict Washington is next.People will only put up with so much .....It's time for them and America's 1% to wake up before disaster ruins one of the best societies the Earth has seen. ...
If that is class warfare and as the right wing will say the rich will go overseas then so be it. But if they want to sell stuff in America then the rich American's imported goods should be taxed at 30% whatever country they are hiding in.

Agreed.
Tax the sh*t out of them - and LET THEM LEAVE.
We need a new kind of businessperson who is responsible to society, not based on infinite growth for it own sake, and a new kind of government that accepts NO input from business or wealth except their taxes - and ther compliance with regulation or charters need to be revoked..as was originally intended in tolerating the necessary corporate evil. It was only supposed to be ad hoc,susceptible always to revocation on hint of harm to society or the economy, and for ventures too large to be allowed a durable economic presence, like skyscrapers and bridges. Much of that should have been nationalized instead.
95% TMR, tax ALL income as wages.
 
 
+1 # JSRaleigh 2014-01-27 10:08
Professor Reich writes, "It’s possible. of course, that rightwing Republicans, corporate executives, and Wall Street moguls intentionally cut jobs and wages in order to cow average workers, buried students under so much debt they’d never take to the streets, and made most Americans so cynical about government they wouldn’t even try for change."

... except, that would imply they had enough foresight to look ahead beyond their current quarterly P&L
 
 
0 # barbaratodish 2014-01-27 10:35
We need some celebrity, etc., at the Super Bowl to do what the French comic, Dieudonne, has started,and what he has been banned for! (He's banned because he dares to make fun of how seriously the 1% and all the 1% wannabes, take their FAUX "LIFE" PERFORMANCES. He uses a customized, designed anti(and uncle?) establishment "UP YOURS" sign that all the PERFORMERS OF FAUX "LIFE" take to be an insult. Instead of ANYONE actually GIVING the consciousness raising "up yours" sign, anyone that PERFORMS political correctness, (which, political correctness, I am saying IS FAUX "LIFE) TAKES the sign as a self projection that INSULTS THEMSELF, BECAUSE THOSE THAT ARE "INSULTED" KNOW THAT THEY ARE FAUX "DEAD" inside, at least emotionally! In other words, instead of being and giving an insult, an "insult" like "up yours" can only be taken, because the 1% and the wannabes are so emotionally defensive that they FAUX "LIVE" by impressions, so an IMPRESSION, namely the symbolic "UP YOURS" is enough to show that the elites, and elite wannabes, ARE their impressions of themselves instead of their experience of themselves. It figures that the French may be the harbingers of another French Revolution! If someone will pay for my superbowl ticket, I will try to get an "Up yours" pep rally and demonstration going! btodish@kean.edu , btodish@verizon.net
973 484-1023 (H) 973 368-3511 (C)
http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Q/ID/2429235743/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/world-europe-25849418 >
 
 
-1 # Dennyc 2014-01-27 11:04
When I see that Reich has given his wealth to the poor and is living in a very small hovel as home, then and only then will I trust him enough to carry his words to other ears.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2014-01-27 17:30
Have you given all your money to the poor and live in a hovel? Are you saying that he isn't entitled to any opinion on these matters otherwise? Do you know what kind of house he lives in?

I don't know anything about Robert Reich's lifestyle, but I have seen him speak and consider him very genuine. He started working in Washington in the 70's and has seen the big increase in concentration of special interest power there since then.
 
 
-1 # Dennyc 2014-01-27 20:25
While Reich accomplished some minor changes in the state of affairs for American workers, he was Bill Clinton's buddy and served in government appointments during the Ford, Carter and Clinton administrations during which people of color the world over were slaughtered to make their countries 'safer' for corporate America and their investors. One only has to look at the condition of American labor now to understand that during the Clinton Adm's tenure the demise of good working conditions and salaries really began to accelerate from the earlier Reagan and Bush years. Reich's already been busted for making up scenarios in his books. NAFTA anyone? He's a bum with a little soul, that's a little soul when he's enhancing his image as a liberal, an elite liberal. Read more.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2014-01-28 12:18
Denny,
Yes, those administrations weren't perfect. But how can you make Reich responsible for all their actions?

I don't know if Reich would agree with this, but I think some losses for American workers were inevitable after the 60's. Remember that American industry was on top of the world in the 50's and 60's because much of the rest of the industrialized world was destroyed during World War II. So people all over the world were buying our products, and we Americans thought we could have everything. That's actually part of the root of our hubris: we thought we could end poverty, defeat communism, and send everyone to college.

But eventually the rest of the world was bound to recover and start to compete with us economically. That would make it difficult to sustain the level of income and standard of living growth we enjoyed in the 60's. That doesn't justify the "trickle down" policies Reagan and others implemented. They were delusional and of course worsened the position of working people.

Robert Reich worked in Washington in the 70's and has documented how our government has become more and more controlled by special interests. I believe he is really on the side of the common man.
 
 
+2 # Donna Fritz 2014-01-27 15:01
College students don’t want to make a ruckus because they’re laden with debt? Huh? Robert doesn't explain the connection.

Btw, the reason college students in the 60s and 70s protested the Vietnam War was because of the military draft.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2014-01-27 17:51
Donna,
You raise a good question. Here is one thought about that. One of the reasons students have often been able to devote themselves to activism is that they weren't under a lot of financial pressure. They were in the exploration stage of life and didn't need to "settle down" right away. That's why students and recent graduates often went into the Peace Corps. Once one "settles down," one doesn't have as much time to devote to activism and may feel less secure doing so.

This relates to something I observed here in Birmingham. Though the city is 73% black, few blacks participated in Occupy demonstrations. The demonstrations were mostly filled with caucasian students and middle class people. I assume a lot of the blacks were busy earning a living or perhaps afraid of retaliation if they got active.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2014-01-27 17:11
I think our constitution doesn't work for us anymore. France has had about 5 constitutions in the time we've had one. I believe generally a change in constitution was due to some terrible catastrophe like defeat in a war. I think we need some fundamental change.

We need initiative and referendum. In other words, we need to be able to vote as citizens of the United States for the laws we want. If the people vote, they have to take responsibility for the choices they make. As it is now, cynicism gets greater and greater because people don't believe they really have a stake in their government.

When we vote on our own laws, they can't be 1,000 pages long and full of pork for special interests.

I realize one problem with I&R is that the people can make mistakes. Look at how Californians screwed up their state with Proposition 13. But now they've realized that and are starting to move towards repealing it.

A less radical proposal that I actually think would do some good would be what Australia does: require people to vote and fine them if they don't. That would do a least a little to increase the sense of investment in government common people feel.
 
 
+3 # Walter J Smith 2014-01-27 23:03
RE: "At some point, working people, students, and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history.

Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter."

That is typical left-pretending liberalist progressivism drivel.

As Thucydudes observed about 2400 years ago, slaves never create revolutions; they do not even revolt. They follow their masters wherever their masters direct them to go, even if it is to their collective death.

Those of us observing from a somewhat different perspective are stunned into a paralysis-like silence by the abominably hollow, bombastic, self-serving, rhetorical flourishes accompanying total political impotence of the Democratic Party and every one of its mouthpieces. Like Reich.
 
 
0 # tgemberl 2014-01-28 17:19
So what alternative are you proposing?
 
 
0 # Jingze 2014-01-29 06:30
USA citizens, simply put, are too stupid to act. They prefer to be led around by the nose by their masters.
 

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